the Revolutionary War began it was not always easy for the Continental Congress
to know who was really for the cause and who was not. John Adams, who later
became the second president of the United States of America said it
like this, “We are about one third Tories, and one third timid, and one third
This meant about one third of the population was still loyal to the British
King, about one third were neutral to either side , and about a third of the
population were committed to forming a new nation through the act of
were many incidents similar to that which happened in April 1775, but the
battles did not become official until the Colonies proclaimed their
independence from the British crown in a document written by the notorious
Virginian philosopher and statesman Thomas Jefferson. King George III responded
quickly establishing military operations throughout the colonies, but
concentrating on the more northern half of the population.
British began to squelch the colonial minutemen from the start. They
continually outmanned and outgunned the typical rebel militia. The British
soldiers were well trained and disciplined combatants, and could be very
imposing in their “Red Coats” as they entered a community.
Continental Congress promptly installed George Washington as their Commander in
Chief and General of the Colonial troops.
But the troops were thin in rank compared to the British forces, poorly
equipped and often underfed. Although there were over 200,000 enlistments
during the war, Washington in fact never had more than 8,000 Continental
regulars in a single battle. But
they were very determined to gain full independence and freedom from Great
August of 1776, just two months after the signing of the Declaration of
Independence the British won the battle of Long Island and securing the New
York Harbor for its sea faring fleet. Even though the Americans would win an
occasional battle, the British seemed to be steadily gaining ground. King
George had also hired over 8000 German mercenaries to assist his troops in the
1777, the American colonies began to form an alliance with France, England’s
long- time adversary, Benjamin Franklin would become the key ambassadorial
component to this most valuable relationship. And it would prove to be a very
pivotal event that started changing the outcome of the war.
was late in December of 1777 That George Washington would establish camp for
his troops at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It was a bitter cold winter that
yielded much hardship on the troops. The Continental Congress had very little
funds to work with when it cam to the support of the troops. The experiences of
the soldiers and officers and the accounts they produced have given Valley
Forge a special place in American history. It was both the nadir of America’s
revolutionary hopes and the turning point in the evolution of the Continental
army into a formidable force.
Revolutionary War would continue on until October 19, 1781 when British General
Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown. This act of
surrender put an end to any serious hostilities in the Colonies. However,
officially the Treaty of Paris was not signed until September 3, 1783. The
Revolutionary War had established the thirteen American Colonies as the United
States of America.
new government had much to accomplish so that it could remain such a viable
reality. It would take a process lasting over six years so that a constitution
could be written and ratified. It was not until 1789 that George Washington was
unanimously voted into office as the first President of those United States.
Revolutionary War was a necessary component of the establishing of the United
States of America. But like any other aspects of initiating any new entity
there is always great risk and an obvious price to pay.
we have seen it took decades for the concept and need of independence from
England by the Colonies to mature. But when the time was obvious, those
colonists and their militia rose to the occasion. Despite their lack of
experience and war technology, the colonial militiamen endured over five years
of consistent warfare with an army representing a nation with seemingly endless
resources and allies.
psychology of the war and the logistics of the battlefields seemed at times to
be overwhelming, but both the people and the troops struggled, endured and
prevailed to see the dream of one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty
and justice for all.
All of the Revolutionary
rhetoric and religious idealism would not go untested. Nor would the
interpretation of the founding documents go unquestioned over the next two and
a half centuries. The founding fathers knew that the United States would be a
developing project of principals, values and goals for as long as this new
great republic would endure. And so the door of progress and reevaluation was
left open for future leaders to apply as would best suit the needs of the
government of the people, by the people and for the people.
David G. John Adams (New York,
New York. Simon & Schuster,
Richard B. The Making of a Nation
(New York, Stonehenge Books, 1963) p.18
Ballard C. Disasters, Accidents and
Crisis in American History (New York, New
York. Facts On File Inc., 2008)