C8 - America Secedes from the Empire 1775-1783 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in C8 - America Secedes from the Empire 1775-1783 Deck (33):

Benedict Arnold

Colonial military leader. He and Ethan Allen led an attack in 1775: Ticonderoga and Crown Point, captured these British forts, including gunpowder and guns.

In 1780 he was feeling unappreciated and turned traitor, supporting the British.


Second Continental Congress

May, 1775: Met in Philadelphia. All 13 colonies sent representatives.

Goal of many delegates was still to persuade Britain to listen to colonists grievances and fix things...not independence.

The delegates did adopt measures to raise $ to create an Army and Navy.

Chose George Washington to lead the Army. There were some misgivings about choosing him...he had never led a very large group of soldiers. One reason he was chosen is that he was from Virginia. Many colonies were starting to mistrust the New England/Boston militia leaders. So a leader from VA was palatable to most delegates. George Washington proved to be a great leader


Thomas Paine

Radical who wrote Common Sense.

He called for independence from Britain AND the creation of a new kind of political society, a Republic, where power flowed from the people, not from a King. He argued that all government officials should derive their power from popular consent.

Idea of Civic Virtue: In a republic, civic virtue was fundamental since power would no longer rest with a single all powerful ruler. Individual citizens had to be able to sacrifice their personal self-interest to the public good.

Not all Patriots agreed with Pain's ultra-democratic approach. Some thought Republicanism meant an end to hereditary rulers (royal families/Kings), but that the republic would be ruled by a "natural aristocracy" of talent


William Howe

British General who had the upper hand over George Washington's troops at the Battle of Long Island in Fall, 1776, but failed to chase/crush the Americans. He did not like winter fighting...spent time with his mistress instead, the wife of one of his soldiers.


John Burgoyne

British General sent in 1777 to capture the Hudson River Valley.



American colonists who favored independence. Fought against the British Redcoats.



About 16% of American people. Colonists who were loyal to the King/did not agree with the Declaration of Independence.

Many were governors (royal/hired by the King) or British officers. They knew where they got their paychecks and did not want to lose that by siding with the Patriots.

Many loyalists viewed themselves as "a better sort" of people. Saw the Patriots as "lawless mobs"

Thought colonial militias were no match for "His Majesty's Army"

Some black slaves fled to fight on the British side hoping to be free after the war.

Some loyalists were seen as traitors, became outcasts, and moved back to England.

Hugh Gaine: formerly a Loyalist, but stayed in America after the war...a printer, he reintegrated himself into society, became an American, and even did printing work for the Army.

After the war, some Loyalists were charged with crimes and treated badly, but for the most part, they either went back to England or re-integrated themselves as Americans.



Foreign fighters hired by the King. Example: Hessians from Germany.


George Washington

Planter from VA. Chosen by 2nd Continental Congress as leader of the Continental Army.


Horatio Gates

American General who won the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777.



Private American armed ships...privateers were given arms and paid to attack British ships.


John Paul Jones

One of America's first Naval commanders.


Comte de Rochambeau

French commander of 6000 troops that landed in Rhode Island in 1780 to fight with the Americans against Britain.


natural rights

Thomas Jefferson said that humans were born with natural rights. That rights were not granted by a King.


Patrick Henry

Said in speech before VA assembly: Give me Liberty or Give me Death.


Marquis de Lafayette



Common Sense

Pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. 1776. Became a best-seller with many people reading his ideas.

He stated that no where in the physical universe did a smaller heavenly body control a larger one. So why should the small island of Great Britain control the large country of America? He stated that it was common sense that America should be independent.


Declatation of Independence

Passing of Richard Henry Lee's motion, by the 2nd Continental Congress, declaring independence from Britain.

Thomas Jefferson was given the task of putting the statement in writing. Formally approved by Congress on July 4, 1776.

Called the "shout heard from round the world"


Charles Cornwallis

Lord Cornwallis - a British general.


Nathanial Greene

American General who lost some battles (exhausted British General Charles Cornwallis) and ended up clearing British out of most of Georgia and South Carolina by 1781.


Barry St. Leger

British military leader


Treaty of Paris of 1783

Ended the war. America by far gained the most from the Treaty.

3 American envoys: Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and John Adams. In the treaty, Britain formally recognized the Independence of the United States.

America was given land to the Mississippi river, north the Great Lakes and as far south as Florida (Spain ruled Florida at that time). Americans had to agree to not prosecute Loyalists.

France was happy to see the end of this costly war.


Richard Henry Lee

Virginia delegate at the 2nd Continental Congress in Philly. Said "These United Colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states. A month later his motion was adopted: On July 2, 1776.


Admiral de Grasse

French naval officer who offered to help the Americans attack British (led by Cornwallis) at Yorktown in the Chesapeake Bay. They beat Cornwallis, causing surrender in October 1781.


Thomas Jefferson

At 33 years old, wrote the Declaration of Independence.


John Jay

One of 3 American envoys (ambassadors) who went to Paris. He was suspicious of French motivations as treaty talks started, and he quickly made a preliminary peace agreement in 1782 with Britain.


George Roger Clark

American frontiersman who seized several British forts by surprise, forcing British from the area north of the Ohio River.


Bunker Hill/Breed's Hill

June 1775. Colonists seized this hill near Boston. Killed 3000 British Redcoats as they tried to attack/regain the hill. Eventually colonists ran out of gunpowder and had to retreat.

After this battle, King George formally proclaimed the colonies in rebellion. Made these skirmishes treason...a crime punishable by hanging.

King George also made deals with German princes who needed $. He hired mercenaries/fighters to be sent to fight the colonists. Hessians. Many of them were not loyal to the cause. Some quit the army and continued to live in America.


Benjamin Franklin vs. William Franklin

Ben Franklin was a Patriot. His son William was a Loyalist (was also the last royal governor of NJ)


Baron von Steuben

Prussian drillmaster who whipped the colonial militia into shape during the winter of 1777 (Valley Forge).


Battles of Revolutionary War

1775: Battles of Lexington and Concord - After colonists put in place a boycott of British goods, British soldiers went to Lexington and Concord to try to seize gunpowder, and rebel ringleaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Colonial minutemen were there in defense. 8 colonists were killed. Then British marched to Concord where colonial militiamen forced British to retreat.

1775: Battle of Bunker Hill - 3000 Redcoats killed

Fall, 1776: Battle of Long Island. British were beating George Washington. Due to wind and fog, Washington's army was able to escape to Manhattan Island and finally reached the Delaware River.

December 1776: Battle of Trenton. George Washington re-crossed the icy Delaware River, surprised/captured 1000 Hessians, then slipped away and defeated a small British detachment at Princeton.

Late 1777: George Washington lost battles of Brandywine and Germantown to British led by General Howe.

October 1777: Battle of Saratoga. Colonial soldiers won. British general Burgoyne had to surrender to American general Horatio Gates.

Winter 1777: Colonial soldiers spent in Valley Forge, PA.

October 1781, Cornwallis surrenders to America after losing battle of Yorktown. Americans had help from French land troops and the French Navy.


Ben Franklin - Ambassador to France

Ben Franklin was a very skilled politician. He used France's bitterness toward Britain (after Britain beat France in the 7 years war) to America's advantage.

France secretly provided much of the gunpowder and firearms.

In 1778, France under King Louis XVI publicly offered the Americans a treaty of alliance. This predictably led to Britain and France at war against each other by 1778.


Colonial war becomes world war

In 1778, France publicly offered the Americans a treaty of alliance. This predictably led to Britain and France at war against each other by 1778.

In 1779, Spain and Holland joined the war against Britain.

Most of Europe came out against Britain.

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