The American Revolutionary War

Who are the two countries involved?

Britain and her thirteen colonies (who come to be the United States of America). Britain was ruled by King George III. The thirteen colonies were Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Originally, the American colonists had no representation within the British Parliament.

What is the breakdown in the international relationship?

The King of England didn’t want the colonies to become their own country, so he declared war. This started the American Revolutionary War, which began in 1775, and ended in 1783.

What caused the breakdown of the relationship?

Tax & Government

The American colonists were unhappy about how they were being treated by Britain. They were being taxed on imported paint, glass, lead, paper, tea (Townshends Act, 1767), as well as every piece of printed paper they used, such as ship's papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, and playing cards (Stamp Act, 1765). Although, in 1770, Parliament repealed on Townshends duties except the tax on tea, which remained in order for Britain to assert its right to tax the colonies. The Americans considered this taxation with representation which became the slogan “taxation without representation is tyranny”. This came about because colonists were not allowed to choose representatives to Parliament in London, which passed the laws under which they were taxed. To be taxed only with the consent of one's representatives in Parliament was a particularly cherished right of the people under English law, so each additional tax caused more resentment from the colonists. The fact that they were being taxed was not the biggest grievance the colonists had, it was more that they lacked representat ion in the government that ruled them.

French & Indian War

The above taxes came about because Britain needed money to pay for its war debts, and the King along with the Parliament believed they had a right to tax the colonists. They also passed acts which required the American Colonies to provide soldiers with any needed accommodation and housing, along with food. Colonial authorities were required to pay the cost of housing and feeding these troops.


The colonists began to resist by boycotting British goods. They were encouraged to save money and force Britain to repeal. In Boston, merchants vote to block English trade, meaning they will not import or sell British goods. Customers are urged to boycott the Brazen Head, and other shops that continue to sell imported goods. Patriotic colonists are expected to purchase goods made in America.

Boston Tea Party

This act of defiance served as a protest against taxation, specifically surrounding tea. British Parliament had adjusted import duties with the Tea Act in 1773, in such a way it allowed the East India company to undersell even smugglers in the colonies. While consignees in Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia rejected tea shipments, merchants in Boston refused to concede to Patriot pressure. On the night of December 16, 1773, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships in the Boston harbor and threw 342 chests of tea overboard. It took nearly three hours for more than 100 colonists to empty the tea into Boston Harbor. The chests held more than 90,000 lbs. (45 tons) of tea, which would cost nearly $1,000,000 dollars today. Britain responded by closing the Boston port, and creating the Coercive Acts in 1774: four punitive measures enacted by Parliament in retaliation for acts of colonial defiance. This pushed the two sides closer to war.

First Continental Congress

The Continental Congress (1774 - 1789) served as the government of the 13 American colonies and later the United States. On September 5, 1774, delegates from each of the 13 colonies except for Georgia (due to being dependent on Britain for military supplies during an uprising) met in Philadelphia as the First Continental Congress to organize colonial resistance to Parliament’s Coercive Acts. The delegates included a number of future luminaries, such as future presidents John Adams and George Washington, and future U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice and diplomat John Jay. The Congress was structured with emphasis on the equality of participants, and to promote free debate. After much discussion, the Congress issued a Declaration of Rights, affirming its loyalty to the British Crown but disputing the British Parliament’s right to tax it. The Congress also passed the Articles of Association , which called on the colonies to stop importing goods from the British Isles beginning on December 1, 1774, if the Coercive Acts were not repealed. Should Britain fail to redress the colonists’ grievances in a timely manner, the Congress declared, then it would reconvene on May 10, 1775, and the colonies would cease to export goods to Britain on September 10, 1775 . After proclaiming these measures, the First Continental Congress disbanded on October 26, 1774.

The American Revolutionary War