George Washington had never risen above the rank of a colonel in the militia Lost more battles than he had won
Had outstanding leadership, he radiated patience, courage, self-discipline, and a sense of justice Congress wanted a commander from Virginia , the largest and most populous colony Could be counted on by his peers to check "the excesses of the masses".
Bunker Hill and Hessian Hirelings
Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold surprised and captured the British garrisons at Ticonderoga and Crown Point The British launched a frontal attack on Bunker Hill with 3000 men The colonist met the force head on but ran out of gunpowder and was forced to abandon the hill July 1775, the Continental Congress adopted the "Olive Branch Petition," to profess American loyalty to the crown and begging the king to prevent further hostilities. August 1775 , king George formally proclaimed the colonies in rebellion George the third hired German mercenaries called Hessians Hessians were more interested in booty than the British cause
The Abortive conquest of Canada
October 1775, British burned Falmouth, Maine
American leaders believed that the conquest of Canada would add a 14th colony Richard Montgomery pushed up the Lake Champlain and was joined at Quebec by the bedraggled army of General Benedict Arnold An assault on Quebec was launched on the last day of 1775 and the colonies lost French Canadians leaders showed no real desire to welcome the colonist In January 1776 the British set fire to the Virginia town of Norfolk In march they were forced to leave Boston
In 1776 the colonist won in February against 1500 loyalists In June the colonist won against an invading British fleet at Charleston
Thomas Paine Preaches Common Sense
Many Americans continued to consider themselves part of a transatlantic community in which the mother country of Britain played a leading role "Common sense" written by Thomas Paine said why not throws off the cloak of inconsistency? Nowhere in the physical universe did the smaller heavenly body control the larger one. He also referred the king as "the Royal Brute of Great Britain."
Paine and the Idea of "Republicanism"
Republic-where power flowed from the people themselves, not from a corrupt and despotic monarch Republicanism appealed to British politicians critical of excessive power in the hands of the king and his advisers The colonists' experience with governance had prepared them well for Paine's summons to create a republic. Most Americans considered citizen "virtue" fundamental to any successful republican government The collective good of the "people" mattered more than the private rights and interests if individuals Some favored a republic ruled by a "natural aristocracy" of talent
Jefferson's "Explanation" of Independence
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia said that the united Colonies should be free and independent The declaration of independence was used to cut up ties with British and was an inspirational appeal to enlist other British colonies in the Americas, to invite aids from foreign nations, and to rally resistance at home Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson to daft the declaration of independence The declaration of independence was formally approved on July 4, 1776 Thomas Jefferson gave his appeal universality by invoking the "natural rights" of humankind-not just British rights Marquis de Lafayette hung a copy of the declaration of independence in his home
Patriots and Loyalists
Loyalist- colonials loyal to the king-Tories
Patriots American rebels-Whigs
Many colonists were neutral like the Byrds of Virginia
Militias took up the task of "political education" served as effective agents of revolutionary ideas Loyalists, numbering about 16% remained to their king
Loyalty is ordinarily regarded as a major virtue-loyalty to one's family...