The Beginnings of the Revolution

Chapter One

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six


Many Americans have very little insight as to how the American Revolutionary War was actually initiated. It seems like such a distant event in the past. The Revolutionary War is almost a foregone conclusion for most Americans. However, some of the more educated of our nation might be able to describe how it all got started from a military standpoint. But not as many would yield an adequate description of the culture sand society in which it was birthed as a reality.  

The American Revolution of the 1770s and 1780s was not conjured up one night in a Boston Pub by a pair of angry colonial businessmen. There is no doubt that the people of the New England British colonies were subconsciously preparing to be an independent nation several years before the reality of the Revolutionary War victory set in. It was a process that came to a climatic explosion over two or three decades. John Adams, one of the Revolution’s leaders and later United States president wrote: “The Revolution was in the hearts and minds of the people long before a drop of blood was shed.”[1]

The new society that was taking form in New England and down the North American Atlantic coastal regions was primarily made up of agrarian interests, elementary industries, tradesmen and craftsmen. The Colony’s interests in military conquests were very minimal. While most of the colonists owned guns or some form of weaponry, such equipment was mostly maintained for the hunting of wildlife for food. Each colony maintained its separate militia establishment, and each concentrated on the problems of protecting or extending its own frontiers; co-operation among the militias of the various colonies was confined to specific expeditions in which two or more colonies had an interest.[2]           

Over a period of years subtle tensions grew between the British colonialists and their British King on the other side of the Atlantic. Both the thrill of constant discovery and the challenges of survival and travel created a very strong psychology of independence in the mindset of most of the New Englanders.  

This independent mentality came to a head with the tradition authoritative rul of the British crown in the mid 1770s. It was a crisp morning on April 19, 1775 in both Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts that ignited the entire war against the colonist’s English King George III. The night before was a time of colonial suspicion. The anxious colonists knew that something was about to happen. Messengers on horseback including Boston silversmith Paul Revere, fanned out across New England to raise the alarm. Summoned by the feverish pealing of church bells, militiamen from countless hamlets hurried toward Concord. [3]

Some of the militiamen arrived on time; many did not. The initial gathering turned out to be a standoff that consisted of a battle of words only. The mentality of this confrontation would have resembled a modern municipal police force being confronted by a battalion of the U.S. Army. The Americans were withdrawing when someone fired a shot which led the British troops to fire on the minutemen. The British then charged with bayonets leaving eight dead and ten wounded.[4]  

There were many other things that happened. Much had been contemplated and  discussed prior to that fateful day in April of 1775. The concept of founding a new nation based on personal freedoms of speech, religion and thought and one where people were self-governed, had been simmering in the hearts and minds of the continental leaders for decades. These leaders were quite a diverse company of men.[5]    

No one group of people had patterned such a concept since the Roman Empire of antiquity. So this idea of a new government that placed a high value on personal liberties and freedom of religion would be a dangerous experiment that was destined to take place in the new world of the Americas. It took a group of people with a handful of determined leaders to come together and form what we now know as these United States of America. While none of them had much experience in military or government processes, their hearts saw the potential and the benefit of the ultimate formation of this new nation .

That initial transformation did not happen on one specific day in April 1775 or even on that 4th day of July in 1776. It was a long and trying series of events, conversations and even heated debates that often blanketed any possibility of hope for the future formation of the republic we know as the United States of America. It was a progressive evolution of separation from fellow kinsmen, statesmen and in some cases even close family members. Just because someone was an American colonist did not automatically make them a rebel against the English rule and authority that they had known all of their lives. The English culture and mindset was deeply ingrained in the vast majority of the colonial population. Most of them thought of themselves as English people first, and then as American colonists second. 

But this transition which involved a revolution would eventually happen and the United States would become a viable reality in the 18th century global community. The republic was formed and the democracy became a functioning entity to be reckoned with, and it remains that way to this day. As the world’s oldest democracy, the United States stands as the “test case” for those who regard self government as inherently unstable, inherently self destructive.[6] These United States of America have continually proven themselves in face of adversity, diversity and confusion.

[1] English, June A. Scholastic Encyclopedia of the United Stated at War (New York, New York.

Scholastic Inc.,1998) p.4

[2] Matloft, Maurice American Military History (Washington D.C. United States Army, 1968) p.28

[3] Ferling, John Myths of the American Revolution (SmithsonianVol.40, Number 10, January 2010)


[4] Hamby, Alonzo Outline of U.S. History (New York, Nova Science Publishers,2006)  p.43,44

[5] Fletcher, Max M.  Founding Fathers – Rebels With a Cause (History Channel Documentary,2000)


[6] Robinson, Daniel American Ideals: Founding a Republic of Virtue (Chantilly,Virginia. Great

Courses, August 2011) p. 40

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