George III was the king of England then. As soon as the war was declared by the Americans, he sent an English army under the command to Lord Cornwallis and Burgoyne. The Americans appointed George Washington as their Commander.
1. Rise of Washington (1775):
George Washington had earned a name and reputation for himself during the seven years’ war when he served under General Braddock. Washington was a Verginia Plasters Soon he became the first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen. This could be possible only through his honesty of purpose, indomitable courage and simplicity of character. The colonists appointed him their Commander-in- Chief in 1775. As such George Washington showed intiring zeal of his job, the raw recruits that were committed to his care developed military discipline before long, and faced the British troops with destination and success.
2. Engagements of Lexington and Bunker’s Hill (1775):
The representatives of Massachusetts collected at concord, against the orders of the British Government. Also they began collecting supplies and militia. The Governor of Boston, General Gage, sent a small contingent of soldiers to disperse the colonists and destroy their stores. Both sides met at Laxington and the first shot was fired that shook the world.
A band of the militia was done away with. Their stores were burnt. Then the Governor’s forces began to return. The remainder of the militia lined up the road sides and from behind the hedges kept up such a brisk volley of fire on the English troops that they were compelled to retreat Boston. The British lost two hundred men.
Now, in order to cover Boston, the Americans took up a strong position on Bunker’s Hill. Governor Gage sent a force to turn them out from the Hill. Another Skirmish ensued between the two parties. Then of course, the colonists were disloged from the Bunker’s Hill. Thus the stage was all set for a general outbreak.
3. Developments between 1775 and 1776. During this period the following events of moment transpired:
(i) The Olive Branch Petition (1775):
This was the last attempt made by the colonists to bring about reconciliation with the British government. In stead of taking recourse to any damaging approach, the colonist sent a petition to the king of England, George III.
This came to be known as Olive Branch petition. In this the colonists requested the British king to consider their grievances and demands in a peaceful manner. However, King George III asked Lord North to reject the petition on the ground that it had come from a body which had no legal existence. There upon the colonists decided on direct action.
(ii) Colonists’ Attempt at Canada:
Out of desperation the colonists made an attempt on capturing Canada. However, this attempt disastrously ended. One of their generals named Montgomery was killed in Quebec. Thus the cause of colonists in Canada was wrecked.
(iii) English Evacuation of Boston (1776):
After the foregoing events the English never again had any real hold over the New England states. At this time the British army was very slender. The army was scattered all ever the world and its total strength was about Forty thousand troops only. To cope with such a formidable uprising the English army was not sufficient. The English therefore raised troops from Germany sent them over to America. This step on the part of the English government further offended and alienated the colonists.
(iv) Advantages to colonists:
The colonists derived advantages from these happenings. Firstly, the vastness of the country fought for the colonists even more than their armies. Secondly, the great distance between England and America rendered communications difficult.
Thirdly, the country even when subjugated could only be held by numerous forts and the scantiness of the British troops prevented these forts from being sufficiently garrisoned. Fourthly and lastly, the longer the war lasted the more were the chances of success for the colonies.
In addition, the colonists had procured the help of the French. In fact the British Government was spending time in teaching the Americans how to fight.
4. Declaration of Independence (1776):
The delegates of the thirteen American states signed the Declaration of Independence on 4th July, 1776. This was declared as the birth day of America. They said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed; that, whoever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it…” (Declaration of Independency).
The Declaration was published because of the spread of democratic and republican principles the evacuation of Boston and the employment of German troops by the English. The Declaration of Independence also stated that these united colonies are and ought to be intending; (ii) they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown; (iii) all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolve.
This Declaration is very important in many ways but primarily because in it began the independent history of U.S.A. Regarding this Ram Say Muir Says,-“From this movement a new state came into existence and we must no longer speak of the colonists but of Americans.
5. Broandy wine to Saratoga (1777):
The English made elaborate arrangements for subjugating the colonists. It was arranged that How would continue his operation against Philadelphia. Sir John Burgoyne was to march from Canada along Lake Champlain and down the valley of the Hudson. Besides, General Glinton was ordered to advance m New York and make a junction with Burgoyne. The plan thus was to cut off the Northern states with the others.
Philadelphia was captured by how who defeated Washington at Brandy wine With Burgoyne it was however, a different story. He had to cover a very long distance. He faced much hardship but still he advanced to some extent and met the insurgent Militia leader Genera Gates, with fifteen thousand men.
Burgoyne made a desperate attempt to break through the enemy’s lines but failed. Ultimately, Burgoyne ended in a terrible disaster. He not only surrendered but also signed. Saratoga convention. The British troops were allowed to march out of their camp with the honour of war and lay down their arms. There after, these soldiers were sent to Massachusetts as war captive.
6. France with America (1778):
The disaster of Saratoga proved a turning point in the war of America Independence. The balance was now in favour of the colonists. This had made to government of England keen on securing’ peace. Lord North therefore passed the Reconciliation Bill in 1778.
It granted the American colonists all their demands, Short of Independence. However, soon after this enactment France began to meddle with the Americans colonists all their demands, short of independence. However, soon after this enactment France began to meddle with the American affairs because she wanted to average herself for her humiliation during the Seven Year’s War.
Another reason being that Franco wanted to take back Canada and thus Shetter the English colonial Supremacy. To being with, France joined the American colonists and recognised their independence. They agreed to confer on Americans highest degree of liberty with the people of the world ever had. To the British it was a matter of prestige to fight and win against France, otherwise it was bound to lower British Prestige in Europe.
It was felt that French interference hanged the whole meaning of the war and thus peace should be brought about, Pitt, the Earl of Chatham, however opposed the move. He was of the opinion that advocating reconciliation with America was good but it should not be done at the cost of England’s honour France, He said “Shall this great Kingdom, which has stood the threatened invasion of the Spanish Armada, now fall prestige before the House of Burbon? Shall the people, that but Seventeen years ago were the terror of the world, stop so low as to this entire to ancient inveterate enemy? ‘Take all we have; only give us peace; It is impossible.’
7. Evacuation of Philadelphia (1778):
Washington and his army were in a very deplorable state of affairs in 1777. His men were bare footed and otherwise necked Washington everyday. His cause was weakened and he became Powerless. However, the timely arrival of men, money and a large fleet from France, changed the course of War. The English were compelled to evacuate Philadelphia in 1778. Almost the whole of the middle states fell into the hand of the colonists. Now the English made New York as their head-quarters.
8. Battle of Yorktown (1781):
The battle and the surrender of Yorktown in 1781 virtually marked the end of the American War of Independence. The Southern States were still regarded as loyal and therefore the British decided to continue military operations therefore. In the beginning it looked as if the English were succeeding against the colonists.
Clinton took Charleston and went back to New York leaving behind Cornwallis in command. The Congress sent General Gates, the hero of Saratoga, to oppose Cornwallis. Gates was defeated at Canden.
The Southern States of America faced the danger passing over to the British hands. It was in this year (1780) that war took a little turn to the advantage of England. Corn Wallis won at Canden. Ronday not only relieved Gibraltar but also managed for the relief of the besieged. He also captured to Spanish ship and defeated French fleet at Dominica.
In this year France also did not come forward with military assistance. On the other hand ship building activities of England considerably increased. It appeared that the balance was in favour of England.
The Same Year, at Guilford, Cornwallis defeated the Americans under General Green. However, the smallness of Cornwallis army as opposed to the vastness of the country made it a fairly difficult task to keep the conquered country under firm control. Eventually he was forced to march towards New York along the coast. The reason was that Corn Walli’s five thousand soldiers were completely fogged out. When he reached York town, he fortified his position and waited for the British fleet; which was expected to help him.
A French squadron had intercepted Admiral Graves in his passage from New York and blockaded the English army, facing the sea, Mean while fifteen thousand soldiers under Washington surrounded the English forces on the land side. Corn Wallis had no option but to surrender. He accordingly could not escape the mishap that followed.
He made an abortive attempt to break through the American lines. Therefore on October 19, 1781 four thousand British soldiers marched out of York town with the War honours and laid down their arms. On the two sides were lined up the French and the America armies. This news reached England as a thunder clap. Lord North exclaimed, “O’ God! It is all over”. While George III received the news with quiet resignation.
9. Treaty of Versailles (1783):
American Independence came to an official close in 1783 by the Treaty of Versailles. The signatories of the Treaty were England, America, France and Spain. The main clauses of the Treaty were.
1. England should give a formal recognition to the independence of the United States,
2. Florida and Minorca should be given back to Spain.
3. Pondicherry and some other small possessions in India besides. Tobago, Senegal, Goree and State Lucia were to be given back to France.
(1) The effect of this Treaty were really far-reaching England had been best by many powerfully enemies and had waged a long and continuously war against her own “Kith and Kin” and was, thus anxious for peace. She had indeed lost her fairest possession. England came to learn to respect the claims of those who were dependent on her. However, this is said to have added a hundred Million to the national debt.
It has rightly been said, “Nevertheless that the American War of Independence deprived great Britain of one empire; but it strengthened the foundations of another in India.
Warner and Marten have touched a very important aspect of the treaty when they say. “The independence of United Stated was recognised and in spite of their efforts to save them the British had to leave such of the loyalists who did not immigrate to Canada to the mercy or rather to the Vengeance of their fellow Colonist.
(2) In 1787, the delegates from the Colonies met at Philadelphia to decide the future status of the American Colonies. There they constituted a federal republic, which they named as the United States of America. This is the First republic of the modern world. They too drafted a federal I constitution.
(3) The successes of the Americans on their struggle encouraged the revolutionary agitations in Ireland and France.
(4) Further, the War led to the opening of the First English settlement in Australia. Before the war. Great Britain used Viginia in America as a place of exile for the English convicts. But after the war the English Government searched for another place. They looked to Australia. In 1787 some convicts were sent to Botany Bay In 1788 the first Australian settlement was made ‘Gradually a new British Empire was built in Australia.
(5) Lastly, the American War of Independence struck the first blow at the rock of Colonialism. Here after England followed a liberal policy towards her Colonies.