Course of Revolution

Early Protests

1. Stamp Act Congress of 1765: it was called by colony of Massachusetts and represented by 8 other colonies. Moderated led by John Dickinson drew up a ‘Declaration of Rights and Grievances’. They argued that no tax should be imposed without the consent of the colonial people. They threatened to stop imports of British goods.

2. Sons of Liberty and Daughters of liberty: it was a secret society founded by Samuel Adams and John Hancock in Boston 1765. It called people to not use the stamps. Their slogan was “Liberty, property and no stamps”.

On the behest of Benjamin Franklin, Stamp act was repealed under the PM Rockingham Government.

When colonies protest against the Townshend Act, British Parliament resorted by sending the troops to Boston to pacify the protest at the earliest. This was taken an insult by the locals who now began to take the violent means to protest.

3. Boston Massacre 1770: when soldiers were guarding the customs offices they had to face the angered crowd. People protesting against the Townshend act began throwing items to the soldiers. Instead of dispersing the crowd, soldiers began firing on the crowd and killed five Americans. This is called as Boston Massacre. This term was coined by the Samuel Adams who used this as a propaganda against the colonial powers.

In 1770, Lord North became the PM in Britain and repealed the Townshend Act. Parliament replead all the major taxes except the one on tea.

4. Committee of Correspondence 1772 was created as a reaction to the Boston Massacre. It was created by the patriots to propagate anti-colonial ideas among the masses. First such committee was created by the Samuel Adam in Massachusetts. Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson served in one such committee of Virginia.

5. Burning of British ship Gaspee by the members of Sons of Liberty led to the trial of American in Britain. This further added fuel to fire.

Benjamin Franklin leaked the letters of Thomas Hutchinson, the governor of Massachusetts which revealed the autocratic rule and attitude of the British to restrict the liberty of the Americans.

6. Protests after the Tea Act:

Sons and Daughters of Liberty began organising the public demonstration. They even warned the merchants to buy the tea coming from EIC ships. They called volunteers to boycott the tea arriving at colonial ports.

Merchants began boycotting the tea coming from EIC.

7. Boston Tea Party: despite various ongoing protests, Governor of Massachusetts allowed the tea unloading on Boston ports. In a sudden strike, 180 Boston patriots marched to the port, raided three ships coming from China and dumped the tea in the water. Its organiser was Samuel Adams. Whole of the Boston city was punished for this event.

Government’s reaction: Boston harbours were sealed and merchants were denied any form of trade (Intolerable Act of 1774). Town meetings were forbidden without Governor’s permission. Quartering acts were resumed.

8. Other reasons: France came to help the revolutionary military with money and muscle.

Role of Intellectuals, Philosophers and writers:

  1. John Locke is called as “philosopher of the American Revolution”. He gave critical concepts of social contract, natural rights, “born free and equal” and protestant ideology to the American people decades before the revolution.
  2. Thomas Jefferson made his famous declaration that “all men are created equal.”
  3. Thomas Paine composed books and pamphlets such as “Common Cause”, “Right of men”.
  4. Benjamin Franklin founded of “American philosophical society”. He opposed authoritarianism both political and religious, and supported scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment.
  5. John Adams always argued that American always had the sense of independence, that just wanted a push to bring it into reality.
  6. Samuel Adams founded the Sons of Liberty society and organised Boston Tea Party.
  7. Patrick Henry gave famous slogan “Give me liberty, or give me death!”.

First Continental Congress (1774)

  • Elected representatives of thirteen colonies united for the deliberation and discussions on collective actions. It included personalities like Patrick Henry, George Washington, John and Samuel Adams, John Jay, and John Dickinson. They met in Philadelphia and adopted a declaration of personal rights, including life, liberty, property, assembly, trial by jury, no taxation without representation and no stationing of military without prior approval.
  • In October same year, Continental Association was created. It universally prohibited the trade with British.
  • Continental Congress appointed George Washington as the Commander-in-Chief for their combined forces against the British powers.
  • Three Wars of 1775: three battles were fought between the combined colonial forces and British forces. These were Battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. Through these battles colonial forces were in control of Boston and created provincial congresses. In all 13 colonies, Patriots had overthrown their existing governments, closing courts and driving British officials away. They all agreed on the republican form of government with written constitution. In 1776, New Hampshire ratified the first state constitution.

Second Continental Congress (1775) and later

  • This was also organised in Philadelphia. War continued with full effort. Congress acted as the de facto national government of the people.
  • On 5th July, 1775, congress sent an Olive Branch Petition to dilute the difference with the crown and avoid further conflict if desired reforms are being undertaken. King of England absolutely refused to even hear the petition and issued the Proclamation of Rebellion, declaring the colonies to be in open rebellion.
  • Infuriated by the King’s move, congress formed a committee to draft a new constitution. This was headed by Thomas Jefferson.
  • On 4th July, 1776 Congress approved a document Declaration of Independence. It announced the separation of 13 colonies from the rule of Britain. It was written by Thomas Jefferson. It declared that all men are created equal and independent. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” was a famous quote of the declaration. After this declaration, Americans began fighting for the independence.
  • Second Continental Congress approved a new constitution, the “Articles of Confederation,” after which the Congress was dissolved and new set of government and institutions were created.
  • In 1781, British forces under Cornwallis surrendered to the colonies’ forces under George Washington.

Why US won?

  1. King George III didn’t got required support in the Parliament to defend his choices.
  2. Many in England sympathised with the rebel government in US.
  3. External forces such as France provided all requisite support to the revolutionaries.
  4. Peace of Paris: under this Treaty of Paris 1783 was signedwhere Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Jay participated from US while on the English side representatives of King George III came. On the side-lines of this treaty, Treaty of Versailles was signed by Britain with France and Spain.


  1. Independence of 13 colonies was recognised.
  2. New areas between Appalachian mountain and Mississippi was acquired.
  3. Loyalist were not persecuted and prisoners of war were released.
  4. Spain and France got their territories back in US and beyond (e.g. Florida)
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