The American Revolution
It challenged and undermined the absolutist power of European monarchies. It created a functioning government based on Enlightenment principles like republicanism, popular sovereignty and the separation of powers.
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The American Revolution showed that revolutions could succeed and that ordinary people could govern themselves. Its ideas and examples inspired the French Revolution and other nationalist and independence movements. Most significantly, the American Revolution gave birth to the United States, a nation whose political values, economic strength and military power have shaped and defined the modern world. The story of the American Revolution is one of rapid changes and developments. In , the First Continental Congress met and formed an 'Association,' which ended up assuming leadership and spurred new local organizations to end royal authority Olsen, 9.
The Revolutionary Challenge
Because of the influence of these Associations, many people joined the movement, and collection of supplies and mobilization of troops began to take place. The leadership of the Association was able to fan "public opinion into revolutionary ardor" 9. However, not everyone favored the revolutionary movement; this was especially true in areas of mixed ethnic cultures and in those that were untouched by the war. The citizens of the middle colonies were especially unenthusiastic about the revolution Ward , Among those who did support a change in the government structure, not everyone who joined the movement favored violence.
Quakers and members of other religions, as well as many merchants from the middle colonies, and some discontented farmers and frontiersmen from southern colonies opposed the use of violence, and instead favored "discussion and compromise as the proper solution" Olsen, 9.
The patriots were able to gain a great deal of support for a violent Revolution from the less well-to-do, from many of the professional class, especially lawyers, some of the great planters and a number of merchants 9. Support for the Revolution increased when it became clear that King "George III had no intention of making concessions" 9.
By the Fall of , the American people "had in place the mechanisms of revolutionary organization on the local and colony level. A Congress of the colonies would coordinate and control the revolutionary movement" Ward, The Revolutionary War erupted on April 19, The reason the British and the Americans resorted to using arms after a decade of fighting verbally and ideologically over the rights of the British subjects in the colonies, was because both sides had finally "become convinced that force alone could decide the issues that divided the empire" Miller , In April , the battle of Lexington occurred, closely followed by the battle of Concord.
Foreign Policy Challenges
The shot at Lexington marked the first blood spilled in the war of the American independence Ward, 3. These two very important instances of bloodshed served to evoke the spirit of American patriotism all over the colonies Olsen, The Second Continental Congress met on May 10, and George Washington was elected commander of the patriotic forces. December 20 - British capture Savannah , GA. June 18 - Sullivan expedition attacks Indian villages in NY. May 12 - British capture Charleston , SC.
September 23 - British officer John Andre arrested for spying.
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October 14 - Gen. Nathanael Greene named commander of the southern Continental Army. May 9 - Spanish capture Pensacola.
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5. The American Revolution
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