Chapter 8: “America Secedes from the Empire”
~ 1775 – 1783 ~
I. Congress Drafts George Washington
1. After the bloodshed at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, about 20,000 Minutemen swarmed around Boston, where they outnumbered the British. 2. The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775, with no real intention of independence, merely a desire to continue fighting in the hope that the king and Parliament would consent to a redress of grievances. a. It sent another list of grievances to Parliament. b. It also adopted measures to raise money for an army and a navy. c. It also selected George Washington to command the army. 1) George had never risen above the rank of colonel, and his largest command had only been of 1200 men, but he was a tall figure who looked like a leader, and thus, was a moral boost to troops. 2) He radiated patience, courage, self-discipline, and a sense of justice, and though he insisted on working without pay, he did keep a careful expense account amounting to more than $100,00. II. Bunker Hill and Hessian Hirelings
1. In the first year, the war was one of consistency, as the colonists maintained their loyalty while still shooting at the king’s men. 2. In May 1775, a tiny American force led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, surprised and captured the British garrisons at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. 3. In June 1775, the colonials seized Bunker Hill (before known as Breed’s Hill). a. Instead of flanking them, the Redcoats launched a frontal attack, and the heavily entrenched colonial sharpshooters mowed them down until meager gunpowder supplies ran out and they were forced to retreat. 4. After Bunker Hill, George III slammed the door for all hope of reconciliation and declared the colonies to be in open rebellion, a treasonous affair. 5. The King also hired many German mercenaries, called Hessians, who, because they were lured by booty and not duty, had large numbers desert and remained in America to become respectful citizens. III. The Abortive Conquest of Canada
1. In October 1775, the British burned Falmouth (Portland), Maine. 2. The colonists decided that invading Canada would add a 14th colony and deprive Britain of a valuable base for striking at the colonies in revolt. a. Also, the French-Canadians would support the Americans because they supposedly were bitter about Britain’s taking over of their land. b. General Richard Montgomery captured Montreal. c. At Quebec, he was joined by the bedraggled army of General Benedict Arnold. d. On the last day of 1775, in the assault of Quebec, Montgomery was killed and Arnold was wounded in one leg, and the whole campaign collapsed as the men retreated up the St. Lawrence River, reversing the way Montgomery had come. e. Besides, the French-Canadians, who had welcomed the Quebec Act, didn’t really like the anti-Catholic invaders. 3. In January 1776, the British set fire to Norfolk, Virginia, but in March, they were finally forced to evacuate Boston. 4. In the South, the rebels won a victory against some 1500 Loyalists at Moore’s Creek Bridge, in South Carolina, and against an invading British fleet at Charleston Harbor. IV. Thomas Paine Preaches Common Sense
1. In 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, which urged colonials to stop this war of inconsistency, stop pretending loyalty, and just fight. 2. Nowhere in the universe did a smaller body control a larger one, so Paine argued, saying why tiny Britain had to control gigantic America. 3. He called King George III “the Royal Brute of Great Britain.” V. Paine and the Idea of “Republicanism”
1. Paine argued his idea that there...