Samuel Adams

.       Boston brewer and Patriot leader

.       Agitated against British legislation (Tea Act, Intolerable Acts, etc.)

.       Relatively radical, lost influence after revolution as more conservative minds (Hamilton) took the lead


Benjamin Franklin

.       Inventor, scientist, printer, politician, diplomat

.       Helped draft both Declaration of Independence and Constitution


King George III

.       King of England throughout Revolutionary period

.       Poor choices in appointment of ministers produced Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, Intolerable Acts, etc.

.       Oversaw the loss of the American colonies


John Hancock

.       Successful Boston merchant, governor of Massachusetts

.       Helped organize resistance to British taxation, participated in Boston Tea Party

.       Best known as first to sign Declaration of Independence


Marquis de Lafayette

.       French general, made Major General of Continental Army, 1777

.       Led French and American forces to final victory at Yorktown

.       Major cultural hero in America in decades after war


Thomas Paine

.       British-born author of Common Sense, the most influential pamphlet in turning American public opinion in favor of independence

.       Was an atheist; his attacks on religion later made him object of scorn in America



George Washington

.       Virginia planter, first president of the United States

.       General, led American army during Revolutionary War

.       Established democratic norms for American presidency




1765 Stamp Act Passed

.       Act of British Parliament required all paper goods in colonies to be taxed and stamped

.       First internal tax levied on colonies; repealed following colonial outcry


1765 Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions Passed

.       Virginia House of Burgesses passed five Stamp Act Resolutions, decrying British taxation

.       Argued that only colonies could tax themselves, not Parliament

.       Led to creation of Stamp Act Congress, the first ever united body of the 13 colonies


1765 Declaratory Act Passed

.       Parliamentary act rejected American arguments that only colonies tax themselves

.       Reasserted notion of virtual representation, the idea that Parliament acted in the interest off all British subjects, including colonists, even if they did not elect their own representatives directly


1770 Boston Massacre

.       Rioting colonists provoked British troops into firing into crowd, killing five

.       Engravings of the event made by Paul Revere were most effective piece of visual propaganda in war

.       John Adams served as attorney for accused British soldiers in trial


1773 Boston Tea Party

.       Ships carrying East India Company tea surpluses boarded by Patriots, who cast tea supply overboard into Boston Harbor in protest of colonial taxation policies


1774 Intolerable Acts

.       Five Parliamentary acts passed to punish Boston Tea Party

.       Closed Boston harbor; moved trials of all crown officials from colonies to England; gave King control over Massachusetts officials; allowed extended quartering of troops; enlarged Quebec 

.       In response, newly formed Continental Congress declared boycott on trade with Britain


1775 Battle of Lexington and Concord

.       British Regulars tried to seize colonial gunpowder cache in Concord, Mass., fought colonial militiamen there

.       Militiamen inflicted substantial casualties against British during march back to Boston

.       First armed conflict of Revolutionary War


1775 Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition

.       King George III refused "Olive Branch Petition" sent by Continental Congress

.       Prior to Proclamation, many colonists believed that only Parliament, not King, was against them

.       With King's hostile intent now clear, many Patriots decided full rebellion was only option


1775 Dunmore Proclamation

.       Royal Governor Dunmore of Virginia declared that all slaves who served with British forces in the war would be given their freedom; offer later extended to all colonies

.       Infuriated Thomas Jefferson and other slaveholding Americans


1776 Publication of Common Sense

.       Thomas Paine's pamphlet suggested that colonists' rights had been violated and independence was only solution

.       Thousands of copies sold in the first days of publication in January

.       Hugely influential in pushing colonists toward independence



1776 Declaration of Independence

.       Continental Congress adopted Jefferson's text, announcing freedom from British rule

.       Armed conflict of Revolutionary War had already begun a year earlier at Lexington and Concord


1777 Battle of Saratoga

.       Major victory for American forces in battle in northern New York

.       5,700 British soldiers imprisoned

.       Victory essential in galvanizing French support for American army


1777 Winter at Valley Forge

.       Washington's army encamped for the winter just northwest of Philadelphia

.       Lowest point of American morale and prospects during war

.       Troops were poorly fed, clothed, and housed through brutal cold winter


1781 Yorktown

.       British General Cornwallis surrendered to American and French forces after his army besieged at Yorktown, VA.

.       Final battle of Revolutionary War


1781 Articles of Confederation Ratified

.       First national government designed with weak central authority to prevent development of anything similar to British tyranny

.       Events like Shays's Rebellion convinced many that stronger national government was needed

.       Weak Articles of Confederation replaced by strong US Constitution in 1787


1783 Treaty of Paris

.       Officially ended the Revolutionary War

.       Resolved territorial disputes, including location of US-Canadian border

.       Congress recommended restitution of all property to rightful owners, even Loyalists






.       Loyalist American colonists had strong economic ties with Britain, opposed independence

.       South Carolina and New York were Tory strongholds in America


Sons of Liberty

.       Radical activists who opposed British rule, engaged in both underground resistance and open demonstrations

.       Leaders included Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams


Committees of Correspondence

.       Organized by colonial governments to communicate with other colonies before 1776

.       Helped establish inter-colonial contact and encouraged notion of American interdependence





Salutary Neglect

.       English stance toward colonies form 1676 to 1763, allowed colonies essentially to govern themselves

.       Enforcement of strict trade regulations such as Navigation Acts generally avoided, allowing smuggling to become rampant and allowing independent economic growth in colonies

.       After French and Indian War, British attitudes changed and Parliament reasserted its right to tax and regulate colonies, leading to conflict




Boston, Mass.

.       Center of anti-British agitation leading up to Revolutionary War

.       Site of Boston Massacre, 1770; Boston Tea Party, 1773; Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775


Lexington and Concord, Mass.

.       Small villages located outside Boston, site of first battle of Revolutionary War, 1775


Valley Forge, Penn.

.       Site of bitter winter encampment of George Washington's army, 1777-78




Yorktown, Virginia

.       Site of final battle of Revolutionary War, successful French and American siege of Cornwallis's British Army