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The American War of Independence

• The 7-YEARS WAR (1756- 1763)
-the conflict in North America between France & Great Britain
» 1763-Treaty of Paris- FR was defeated
- GB gained Canada, Florida and river Mississippi

• after the war GB decided to leave its 10,000-men strong army on the American
continent-> in order to keep the army GB increased the taxes on American
- the SUGAR ACT(1764)
- the STAMP ACT(1765)- it required stamps to be placed on all official
documents, including newspapers
- it was repealed in 1766 due to intense colonial opposition
- the TOWNSHEND ACT (1767)- C. Townshend (the British Chancellor) placed
taxes on goods imported into American ports
- they were repealed in 1767 except the tax on tea

• The BOSTON MASSACRE (March 5, 1770)
- the British soldiers were shooting at demonstrators
- a group of colonists in protest against the tax threw the tea cargo of the East
India Company into the sea
 after this event the British Parliament passed hard retaliatory measures:
- the Boston port was closed
- the British army on the American continent was reinforced
- the colonies’ right of self-government was greatly reduced

• this gave the colonies a reason to unite- all the colonies except Georgia sent
their delegates to the 1-ST CONTINENTAL CONGRESS (1774) in Philadelphia:
- they demanded greater independence from GB
- they decided to build their own armed forces- militia

• at LEXINGTON (April, 1775)
- the first armed conflict between the militia and British soldiers
 the beginning of the American War of Independence

• the 2-ND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS (May, 1775) in Philadelphia:
- they agreed on measures of leading the war
- the militia was proclaimed ‘Continental Army’ with GEORGE WASHINGTON as a
commander in chief
- initially, the Congress did not favor the separation from GB, but when the King

refused any negotiations, they started
the fight for independence

• on 4-th July 1776 the Congress passed the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
written by THOMAS JEFFERSON- it contained ideas, such as:
- all people are equal
- everybody has the right to security and liberty
- whenever government becomes destructive it can be abolished and
reorganized by people = the right to revolution
- the 13 colonies formed a union called The United States of America
• in November 1777 the Congress passed the ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION:
- the first constitution of the United States (until 1789)

- the American army was supported by: France, Spain & Netherlands – because
Britain was their main colonial enemy
1776-1779- the American troops were defeated by British army in several battles
but none of them was decisive
1777-the American troops won the battles at TRENTON and PRINCETON
-> these battles encouraged their hopes
-the turning point of the war was the battle at SARATOGA:
- the American troops won
- the French entered the war (they hoped to get back the territories lost
in the 7-Years War)
 because the British army could not win in the north they moved to the south

1781- in the battle at YORKTOWN the Continental Army supported by the French
troops led by Lafayette forced the British army led by Cornwallis to surrender
 the end of the American War of Independence

• the peace negotiations lasted for two years
-> in September 1783- the PEACE TREATY was signed in PARIS:
- GB recognized the independence of the USA (the western border was at the
river Mississippi)
- FR gained Tobago in the Caribbean Sea and Senegal in Africa
- Spain gained Florida

•1787-the Congress elaborated a NEW CONSTITUTION (it came into effect in 1789)
- it contained federal principles-> every state had its own government but
all were ruled by one central government with:
- the 2-chamber congress- legislative power
- the president-executive power-> the 1-st president became
- the greatest court- judicial power

• 1803- the USA bought LOUISIANA from Napoleon Bonaparte
-> this practically doubled their territory

• 1823- the MONROE DOCTRINE was declared:
- the policy of non-intervention of the European countries to the affairs of
the American Continent.

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