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The American Revolution was a political battle that took place between 1765 and 1783 during which colonists in the Thirteen American Colonies rejected the British monarchy and aristocracy, overthrew the authority of Great Britain, and founded the United States of America.
See the fact file & timeline of key events below for more information on American Revolution or alternatively, you can download our 41 page American revolution worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- The British government attempted to pass laws, enforce several taxes, and increase its control over the colonies. The colonies strongly objected to these laws and taxes. They wanted England to have no control over them.
- For ten years before the war started, tension grew between England and the colonies.
Causes & Events of the American Revolution
- When the British government became involved, members of the colonies worried that they would lose their freedom and be persecuted.
- Members of the colonies didn’t agree with paying tax to Britain. This lead to their motto ‘No Taxation Without Representation.’
- The colonies didn’t like the laws imposed on them by Britain, including the Sugar Act, the Tea Act and the Stamp Act.
- Members of the colonies were constantly being punished by the British for rioting, which made them even angrier.
- The Boston Port Act forced the colonies to pay for the tea they had destroyed, in what came to be called the Boston Tea Party, before the port would be reopened, which angered the locals and scared others.
- The Tea Act of 1773 was imposed on the American colonies by the British government. The Act intended to subsidise the struggling East India Company, which was very important for the British economy, and the Tea Act would raise money from the 13 colonies for it.
- The people of the colonies did not agree with the unfair taxes they had to pay and, as a result, destroyed over £90,000 worth of tea in the Boston Tea Party of 16 December, 1773. The American protesters boarded three trade ships in the Boston Harbor and threw 342 wooden chests of tea into the water. In today’s money, that tea would have been worth roughly a million dollars.
- The Stamp Act was another tax imposed on the American colonies by the British in 1765. The tax covered printed materials, specifically newspapers, magazines and any legal documents.
- It was named the Stamp Act because, when these materials were purchased, they were given an official stamp (pictured above) to show that the buyer had paid the new tax.
- The Boston Massacre started because the local people were taunting British soldiers – shouting and threatening them – because they did not agree with the British Army having a place in their city.
- During the Boston Massacre, British soldiers stationed in Boston killed five men and injured six others. Two of the injured men later died because of their wounds.
- The five men who died were Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr. Crispus Attucks is thought to be the first American casualty of the American Revolution.
- All eight soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre were arrested. Six of them were released and two were charged with manslaughter. Their punishment was ‘branding of the thumb’.
- The British called the massacre the ‘Incident on King Street’.
- The American Revolution, also known as the Revolutionary War, officially began in 1765.
- British soldiers and American patriots started the war with battles at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
- Colonists in America wanted independence from England.
- The colonies had no central government at the beginning of the war, so delegates from all of the colonies were sent to form the first Continental Congress.
- George Washington, a former military officer and wealthy Virginian, was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.
- Members of the Continental Congress wrote a letter to King George of England outlining their complaints and declaring their independence from England.
- On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, in which the colonies declared their independence from England.
- On October 17, 1777, the Battles of Saratoga brought a huge victory for the Americans after the defeat and surrender of General John Burgoyne.
- The winter of 1777 to 1778 became a huge challenge for General Washington as they spent winter training at Valley Forge.
- By February 16, 1778, France honored the Treaty of Alliance with America and recognized them as an independent country from Britain.
- The official government of the United States was defined through the Articles of Confederation on March 2, 1781.
- The last major battle of the American Revolutionary War took place at the Battle of Yorktown. General Cornwallis surrendered, marking the unofficial end of the war.
- The war ended in 1783, and the United States of America was born. By April 9, 1784, King George III ratified the treaty.
Timeline of the American Revolutionary War
June 29, 1767 – The British parliament passed the Townshend Acts [named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer] which imposed taxes on common products imported to the Colonies like paper, tea and glass. The Colonial assemblies reiterated by condemning taxation without representation.
October 1, 1768 – British troops were sent to Boston to quell rising political unrest in the colonies. The civilians treated the newly arrived Redcoats as invaders by taunting them. Boston citizens, having gained control of the city, prevented the soldiers from carrying out their duties. This led to rising tension between the two sides.
March 5, 1770 – Boston Massacre – British soldiers opened fire on a mob of colonists at the Customs House on what was formerly King Street [now, State Street]. Their action resulted to the deaths of 5 individuals — 3 who died on the spot and the other two later on.
April 12, 1770 – The Townshend Acts were repealed.
June 10, 1772 – Rhode Island locals ran the revenue schooner Gaspee aground and burned it in defiance to unfair trade legislation.
May 10, 1773 – To support the failing East India Company, the British parliament exempted the company’s tea from import taxations and allowed east India to sell its product to the colonies directly. This angered the colonists seeing the move as as a tax indirectly funding one British company.
July 1773 – The Hutchinson Letters Affair – These letters, written by Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson, were published on a Boston newspaper. Through these, many colonists were convinced that the British were planning to squelch their freedoms.
December 16, 1773 – Boston Tea Party – An act of vengeance for the Tea Acts, colonists – American patriots – dressed as Mohawk Indians dumped some 300 chests of tea of the East India Company into sea at Boston Harbor.
May-June 1774 – The Parliament’s answer to the Boston Tea Party was the passing of four laws known as the Intolerable Acts, harsh laws that stripped Massachusetts off of its power to govern itself and of judicial independence. The colonists, in turn, boycotted from buying British goods.
September 1774 – The Continental Congress was formed in direct opposition to the Intolerable Acts.
April 19, 1775 – Battles of Lexington and Concord – the first skirmish of the American Revolution between the British soldiers and the Minutemen. The latter had been warned by the upcoming attack by the American Patriot Paul Revere.
June 16, 1775 – George Washington was appointed the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army by the Continental Congress.
June 15, 1775 – The Battle of Bunker Hill occurred, the first major battle in the American Revolutionary War. While the use of Bunker Hill as the location of the battle is common, majority of the fight happened on Breed’s Hill. At this time, after the colonists learned the British were planning to send troops to occupy the hills surrounding Boston, some 1,000 Continental Army soldiers under the command of Colonel William Prescott built earthen fortifications on Breed’s Hill and waited for the enemy forces.
The British won the battle, obviously, as they had more ammunition and experience when it came to fighting. But their victory came with a staggering 1,054 casualties compared to the Patriots’ 367. The fight was a morale booster for the Americans as they realized they had a chance at winning against the British. The British, in turn, also realized that war in the colonies wasn’t easy and that it would be costly.
July 5, 1775 – The Continental Congress extended the Olive-Brach Petition, a proposal requesting the British Crown to recognize American rights and end the Intolerable Acts. In return, there will be a cease fire. But British King George III rejected it.
August 23, 1775 – George III declared the 13 British colonies to be in open rebellion.
Winter 1775-1776 – The Invasion of Quebec [Canada] – This was the first major military move made by the Continental Army during the American Revolution and was headed by Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold.
January 9, 1776 – The pamphlet Common Sense was anonymously published in Philadelphia. The 48-page booklet was written by Thomas Paine and encouraged the citizens of the 13 British colonies to gain independence from the British Crown.
May 2, 1776 – France started to give secret aids to the Continental Army.
July 4, 1776 – greatly celebrated in recent times as the Fourth of July, on this day, the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence.
August-December 1776 – Battles of Long Island and White Plains
Battle of Long Island – also known as the Battle of Brooklyn and the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, this fight was the first major one of the American Revolution fought after the Continental Congress declared America’s independence. It was also the revolution’s biggest battle in terms of fighting and troop deployment. The battle was won by the British.
October 26,1776 – Battle of White Plains – fought on October 26, 1776, the battle resulted in the British winning with Washington’s troops retreating farther north.
December 26, 1776 – fought between the Americans and the Hessians, the Battle of Trenton was a small but vital battle for the Americans. After a series of defeats, the Continental Army was at its lowest point until George Washington and his army defeated the Hessian soldiers at Trenton. The win boosted American morale and army re-enlistments.
January 2-3, 1777 – in the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey, General Washington attacked the British rearguard and train situated near Princeton after left Trenton to avoid the advances of the enemy. The Americans won this round.
September 19-October 7, 1777 – Battles of Saratoga – These series of battles were part of the British-initiated Saratoga Campaign wherein they attempted to capture the strategic Hudson River valley. The fight consisted of two small battles fought on the same ground — 14 kilometers south of Saratoga, New York. The Americans won the battles. The Saratoga battles marked a number of things — 1) It was the climax of the Saratoga Campaign, 2) The resulting victories were very decisive for the Continental Army and 3) The battles’ greatest outcome was British surrender.
October 13, 1777 – 5,700 British soldiers together with German and Loyalist troops surrendered following the British’ defeat in Saratoga. It was a great turning point for the Americans in the American Revolution.
February 6, 1778 – France recognized United States’ independence.
August 16, 1780 – the Battle of Camden resulted in the defeat of Major General Horatio Gates’ army against the British forces led by Lieutenant General Charles, Lord Cornwallis. It was an embarrassing defeat for Gates following his victory at Saratoga. He also had the bigger army. But his political connections greatly helped his not being questioned or court martialed with regards to the disastrous defeat.
March 1, 1781 – the Articles of Confederation were ratified by the Second Congress. These articles served as the First Constitution of the United States.
September 5, 1781 – Battle of the Capes [also known as the Battle of the Chesapeake and the Battle of the Virginia Capes] This naval battle fought between France [Rear Admiral Francois Joseph Paul, the Comte De Grasse] and Britain [Rear Admiral Thomas Graves] ended with the French winning strategically for the Americans as the win basically denied the British troops evacuation and reinforcements.
October 19, 1781 – this date marked the end of the Siege of Yorktown [also known as the Battle of Yorktown, Surrender at Yorktown, German Battle and the Siege of Little York] fought by the British [Lord Charles Cornwallis] against the combined forces of the Americans [General George Washington] and the French [Comte de Rochembeau]. The battle ended with Cornwallis’ surrender and the start of peace negotiations between the warring parties.
March 5, 1782 – the British Parliament gave peace negotiations the nod.
September 3, 1783 – the date of the signing of the Treaty of Peace in Paris [more commonly known as the Treaty f Paris] which formally ended the American Revolutionary War.
Key Individuals of the American Revolution
King George III – reigning British monarch during the war.
George Washington – The commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first United States president.
Benjamin Franklin – more than an inventor, Benjamin Franklin was a writer, a statesman and a diplomat, one of the five-man committee who drafted the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson – the 3rd president of the United States, Jefferson is credited for mainly drafting the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Paine – the English author who wrote Common Sense, the 48-page pamphlet which encouraged the colonists to gain their independence. He also served as the personal assistant of General Nathanael Greene
John Hancock – the president of the Second Continental Congress [1775-1777] and a main signer of the Declaration of Independence. He became the first governor of the Massachusetts Commonwealth.
Patrick Henry – an American patriot and lawyer who stirred fellow Virginians to enlist in the Continental Army with his passionate “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech.
John Adams – the first vice-president and second president of the United States, John Adams was one of the five-man committee tasked to draft the Declaration of Independence.
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben – this Prussian Major-General was appointed the temporary Inspector General of the Continental Army in 1778 and disheartened at the condition of the American troops, he went on to create a standard method of drills for the whole army. His military blue book “Regulation for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States” was used by the United States Army until 1814.
Thomas Sumter – Brigadier General Sumter was a prominent figure in the South Carolina militia. He earned the nickname Carolina Gamecock after defeating British officer Banastre Tarleton and the latter complained about him fighting “like a gamecock”. British General Lord Cornwallis also called Sumter as “one of my great plagues”.
Paul Revere – made famous by his midnight ride, Paul Revere became famous for alerting the Colonial militia of the incoming British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord.
Casimir Pulaski – this Polish nobleman, soldier and commander is dubbed the “father of American cavalry” after the reforms he made on the American Cavalry during the revolution. After joining the American Revolutionary War, he became known for saving General Washington’s life. He is also one of the seven people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship.
Gilbert du Motier, “Marquis de Lafayette” – Lafayette offered his military service to the Continental Army during the American Revolution at the young age of 19 as he believed the American’s fight for independence was a noble cause. He developed a close relationship with George Washington, played an important role in campaigning for support for the army from the French and eventually, conducting an exceptional military campaign in Virginia that resulted to Cornwallis’ surrender.
Benedict Arnold – More known for his treasonous acts against the Americans, Arnold started as one of the early heroes of whom later became one of the most infamous traitors in U.S. history after he switched sides and fought for the British.
American Revolution Worksheets
This is one of our best ever bundles and includes everything you need to know about the American revolution across 41 wonderful pages. These are ready-to-use American Revolution worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the many events, places, and people that make up the infamous American Revolution. These worksheets are cross-curricular and can be used in Social Studies as well in English Language Arts.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- American Revolution Facts
- Crossing the Delaware
- Fill in the Blanks
- Patriots vs Loyalists I
- Patriots vs Loyalists II
- The Liberty Bell
- War Heroes
- The Boston Massacre
- What is ‘Branding of the Thumb’?
- The Tea Act Word Search
- Artwork Analysis
- Revolution Acrostic
- Thirteen Colonies
- Sons of Liberty
- Matching Battles
- Stairway to Independence
- Stars and Stripes
- Pivotal Revolutions
- Intolerable Acts
- Treaty of Paris
- Women at War
- Design Your Own Stamp
Description Of Activities:
Crossing the Delaware
Using the included text, students will answer a quiz that tests their knowledge and understanding of the crossing of the Delaware river by the Continental Army.
Students will observe a painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware from 1851 and answer questions about the artwork and what they think of it.
Causes of American Revolution Quiz
Using the provided list of American Revolution causes, students will answer a series of fill in the blank quiz questions to test their knowledge.
Patriots vs Loyalists
There are two worksheets here for students to write arguments for both the Patriots and the Loyalists, as well as a critical thinking exercise focused on a famous painting.
The Liberty Bell
Using their own research, students will answer a set of 8 questions about the Liberty Bell, including where it was made, when it first cracked and how big the crack was.
This section includes three fill in the blank biographies for six famous heroes of the American Revolution. Students will need to research and identify each of them.
The Boston Massacre
Using the included source material, students will learn about the Boston Massacre and then answer a series of 6 true or false questions about the events.
What is “Branding of the Thumb”?
Using their own research, students will need to fill in the blanks and answer questions about “branding of the thumb”, an olden style punishment for soldiers during the Boston Massacre.
The Tea Act Word Search
The included fact file will be used by students to expand their knowledge of the Tea Act of 1773, which can then be used to complete the word search worksheet.
Design Your Own Stamp
Students will learn about the Stamp Act of 1765, imposed by the British on the American colonies, and then design their own unique stamp with the provided worksheet.
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Link will appear as American Revolution Worksheets & Facts: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 7, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.