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The American Revolutionary War
The American Revolution: The Shot Heard 'Round the World

The American Revolution ended two centuries of British rule over most of the North American Colonies, resulting in the formation of the United States of America.

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The various causes of the American Revolution can be traced to the end of the French and Indian War, when Britain had succeeded in gaining territory from France at the expense of increasing its already enormous national debt. In an attempt to relieve Britain of its financial burden, Parliament decided that the American Colonists would have to help pay for their own defense, despite the fact that a French invasion was no longer a real threat.

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Toward this end, Parliament passed the first of several tax laws, the Stamp Act, which taxed all paper products in the colonies. The Americans declared it was unfair to tax them when they had no representation in Parliament, and protests eventually escalated to open hostilities in 1775, when the British Regulars fired on the Minutemen of Lexington, Massachusetts.

This conflict contributed to the formation of the Continental Congress (which directed the American war effort) and to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The first years of the war saw major defeats for American forces, who were outnumbered 3-1 by the British army, but the tide soon turned as nations such as France, Spain and the Netherlands offered troops and assistance, elevating the conflict to the status of an international war.

Eventually, George Washington's army and a force under the French Count de Rochambeau trapped Lord Cornwallis, the leader of the British army, in Yorktown. After a siege, Cornwallis surrendered his army of more than 7,000 men on October 19, 1781. However, it wasn't until the Treaty of Paris in 1783 -- a full eight years after the initial outbreak of violence -- that Great Britain signed the formal peace treaty recognizing the former colonies as an independent nation.


Related Links

American Revolution @ HistoryChannel.com
Resource sells documentaries on the war and offers a series of related articles.

American Revolution.org
Outfit assembles scholarly and local analysis, as well as providing over a thousand links.

Virtual Marching Tour
Resource covers the battles and the people of the war.

Liberty! The American Revolution
PBS Online provides insight into all aspects of the conflict and life surrounding it.

American Revolution Homepage
Comprehensive timeline accompanied by photographs.

The Revolutionary War
Hypertext accounts examine political and military events; provide biographies and quotes; sample writings of the time.

Journey Towards Freedom
Reference tool and discussion forum designed by ThinkQuest, featuring an illustrated tour of historical sites.

The History Place
Textual rendering of significant events of the conflict in the form of a series of detailed timelines.

Encyclopedia Brittanica
Survey account of the war offers links, photographs, summaries and maps.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook
Fordham University resource provides links to historical documents connected with the conflict.



Topics

West Point Atlas
Find detailed maps of important areas and events from the Revolutionary War.

Military.com History Archive
Peruse biographies of some of this war's famous participants.

Military.com Discussions
Chat with others about the War of Independence.

Veterans Stories
Read a first-hand account of the war by Ebenezer Denny.

Museums and Memorials
Directory features contact information for American Revolution museums across the nation.


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