A Very Short Introduction to the American Revolution

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Chapter 1: Revolution's Origins

The long and short of it is that the British perspective was they were investing a tremendous amount to protect the colonies against the French and Native Americans, both in and out of the context of the French-Indian War. So to pay for that protection, they felt a need to impose taxes. And the colonies uniformly hated this tax. The English had been taxing the imports/exports but there had been no actual tax imposed on the colonies up until this point.

"But the British government perceived the French threat and ordered the colonies to meet with the Iroquois to secure their alliance against the French. Delegates from seven colonies met with Iroquois representatives in the summer of 1754 in Albany, New York. The conference was a failure. Individual colonial agents made separate agreements with the Iroquois ... but devised no united strategy. Franklin and Massachusetts political leader Thomas Hutchinson drew up a plan of union, under which each colony would choose delegates to a forty-eight-member grand council, to meet every year in a different colonial capital; this council would raise troops and taxes from the colonies for common defense, though each colony would continue to govern itself. The king would appoint a president-general, to ensure that the council did not conflict with British policy. Though the Albany council approved the plan, the colonial assemblies did not. None would cede any of its powers or prerogatives to the other colonies. Somewhat bitterly, Franklin said the colonies would only unite if the British government forced them to do so."

"In the wake of the violence, Boston's town government demanded removal of the troops, warning that ten thousand people in surrounding communities were ready to march in and drive the soldiers out. Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson ... complied, having the soldiers involved in the shooting arrested and the others sent to New Jersey."

Chapter 2: Rebellion in the colonies

"The colonies agreed on little other than that Parliament could not tax them. Massachusetts and New York had a long-standing dispute over the land between the Connecticut and Hudson rivers, and New York was on the verge of war with New Hampshire over Vermont, with the people of that area adamantly against being part of either. Pennsylvania and Connecticut both claimed the Wyoming Valley, which Connecticut settlers were farming under their seventeenth-century charter."

On Ethan Allen's capture of Fort Ticonderoga[1]

The troops procured a few boats around 2 a.m. for the crossing, but only 83 men made it to the other side of the lake before Allen and Arnold decided to attack, concerned that dawn was approaching.[54] The small force marched on the fort in the early dawn, surprising the lone sentry, and Allen went directly to the fort commander's quarters, seeking to force his surrender. Lieutenant Jocelyn Feltham was awakened by the noise, and called to wake the fort's commander Captain William Delaplace.[55] He demanded to know by what authority the fort was being entered, and Allen said, "In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!"[56] Delaplace finally emerged from his chambers and surrendered his sword,[56] and the rest of the fort's garrison surrendered without firing a shot.[57] The only casualty had been a British soldier who became concussed when Allen hit him with a cutlass, hitting the man's hair comb and saving his life.[58]

It wasn't till Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense that a clear perspective for the rebellion coalesced, though it took a while for that idea to gain prominence and wasn't clear. They were rebelling but it wasn't clear what their goal was. It's almost as if America fought itself into the idea of independence.

British strategists knew they needed more men than England could provide. Clinton thought Russians would be ideal for fighting in America--tough, used to a variety of climates, and best of all, unlikely to desert as they could not speak English. But Catherine the Great politely refused, saying she did not want to imply that George III could not put down his own rebellions. So the British turned to Germany. As elector of Hanover, George III lent five of his own German battalions to himself as the king of England.

Because of the Sedition Act during the Adams term, there were two congressional elections and one presidential election when it was a federal offense to criticize incumbents.