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Amanda Buckley December 1, 2016 F Block US History
Revolution to Constitution Scrapbook
1775 to 1889
1775 - Battle of Lexington and Concord
The battles of Lexington and Concord were fought on April 19, 1775, kicking off the American
revolutionary war. On the morning of April 18, 1775 local colonial militias, also known as
minutemen, met with British regulars in Lexington, Massachusetts. When the British had finally
arrived to the Lexington green the militias were waiting. A bullet was then shot through the air,
known as “the shot heard around the world”, a shot that no one knows who fired that set off a
chain reaction of popular government. That night the British marched to Concord to search for
arms and ammunition, along with their new regiments who had joined them. The British were
unaware that most arms had already been relocated and American militias arriving at Concord
prevented the
British advance.
The British began
to burn what they
were able to find
and militiamen
thought the whole
town would
btorched so they
rushed to
Concord’s North
The British fired
but fell back when
the colonists
returned to the
Volley. The British
were chased back into Boston and along the way Colonial militias had intercepted them, firing at
them from behind trees, stone walls, houses and sheds. The British policies to raise taxes and
control American expansion turned into a revolt but the battles proved that the colonists could
stand up to one of the most powerful armies in the world. In the image above the reader can
better understand the chaos during the battles in Lexington.
1775- Battle of Bunker Hill
Dear and Hon'd Mother ...
Friday the 16 of June we were orderd on parade at six 'o Clock,
with one days provision and Blankets ready for a March
somewhere, but we knew not where but we readily and cheerfully
obey'd, ...
[W]e march'd down, on to Charleston Hill against Copts hill in
Boston, where we entrench'd & made a Fort ... we work'd there
undiscovered till about five in the Morning, when we saw our
danger, being against Ships of the Line, and all Boston fortified
against us, The danger we were in made us think there was
treachery and that we were brought there to be all slain, and I must
and will say that there was treachery oversight or presumption in
the Conduct of our Officers, for about 5 in the morning, we not
having more than half our fort done, they began to fire (I suppose
as soon as they had orders) pretty briskly for a few minutes, then
ceas'd but soon begun again, and fird to the number of twenty
minutes, (they killd but one of our Men) then ceas'd to fire till
about eleven oClock when they began to fire as brisk as ever, which
caus'd many of our young Country people to desert, apprehending
the danger in a clearer manner than others who were more diligent
in digging, & fortifying ourselves against them.
– Peter Brown, letter to his mother (June 25, 1775)
Above is a letter written by Peter Brown to his mother after the Battle of Bunker Hill. On June 16,
1775 American troops were ordered to travel to Bunker Hill. The Americans would have been
able to bombard the town and British ships in Boston Harbor from this destination but they
accidentally traveled to Breed Hill. The following morning the British were stunned to see
Americans threatening them because in the 18th century, British military custom demanded that
the British attack the Americans, even though the Americans were in a superior position
militarily. Major General William Howe chose to march his British troops uphill. Howe believed
that the Americans would choose a head-on attack but he was wrong. Early in the afternoon, 28
barges of British soldiers crossed the Charles River and stormed the hills. The Americans waited
and then unleashed a bloody series of shots. Several British troops were killed or wounded and
the rest retreated down the hill. In the second wave, the British rushed the hill again and they
retreated once again, suffering a great number of casualties. The Americans were running low on
ammunition the third time the British charged the hill. Hand-to-hand fighting ensued. The British
eventually took the hill and won the battle but lost a great amount of soldiers.
1776- Thomas Paine
During the Revolution, one important document that expressed both sides of the Revolution was
a pamphlet called Common Sense
, written by Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine was an artisan with
little education but his piece of work became
very important because anyone could
understand the conflict between Great Britain
and the colonies when they read it. Paine
wrote in a simple, direct style to allow this,
avoiding references to Greek and Latin
literature. Common Sense
first appeared in
January of 1776. It persuaded several readers,
several whom favored a peaceful settlement of
differences with the British government at the
time, to support a complete, absolute and
likely violent with Britain instead. It made a good case for establishing an independent
government and Thomas Paine became a successful man. The picture aside gives you a good
image of Thomas Paine around the year of him publishing Common Sense
1776 - The Second Continental Congress issues the Declaration of
In June 1776, the Congress decided it was time for the colonies to cut their ties with Britain after
more than a year after the war. The congress decided to create a statement stating all the reasons
for separation in a document known as the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson was a
lawyer and plantation owner who was chosen to draft the statement. He split the
Declaration of Independence into four parts and many sections were inspired by John Locke, an
english philosopher whose writing helped Jefferson find support for the revolution.
1. Introduction The introduction stated the purpose which was for one people to dissolve
the political bands which have connected them with one another.
2. Declaration of Rights In the second section of Declaration of Rights, Jefferson used
Locke’s idea that stated that he believed that all people have natural rights, rights that
belong to them simply because they are human. Jefferson explained these political ideas
and explained that governments derive their power from “the consent of the governed”
and that people retain the right “to alter or to abolish” their government.
3. List of complaints against king In the list of complaints against the king it was
complained that in a government based on rule of law, public officials must make
decisions based on the law and not their own personal wishes. Colonists were sick of
what they saw as self-interested decisions made by the king.
4. Resolution of independence In the conclusion in the fourth section, Jefferson argued and
concluded that these united colonies are, and of right to be free and independent states.
The Declaration of
Independence succeeded in
declaring a nation’s
independence and also defined
the basic principles on which
American government and
society would rest. The image
below of a draft of the
Declaration of Independence
helps the reader see all the
corrections and changes that
Thomas Jefferson made during
the writing process.
1776- Battles of Trenton and Princeton
On December 25, 1776, Even Washington took his army across the Delaware River. It was
extremely cold, snowy weather and they had to suffer through it while marching from the shore
of New Jersey to Trenton. All of their guns to became damaged and soaked, making them useless.
Washington ordered them to use their bayonets. When they got there the Hessians at Trenton
were not prepared, so they surrendered and Washington did not lose any men. A week later he
was also able to take Princeton. Being able to take these two cities warned the British more
reminding them that the Americans were starting to become a serious issue. The victories also
boosted American spirits and attracted more men to the continental army. The image below
helps readers better understand the weather and how miserable it would have been to have to
fight under such harsh conditions.
1777- Washington Under Siege
In the year of 1777 General Washington was disappointed that local farmer were keeping
much-needed food to themselves to earn higher profits and some farmers would sneak grain into
Philadelphia to feed the British soldiers who would pay in silver or gold. When Washington was
disgusted in the lack of commitment of his patriot fighters his ability to have leadership skills
began to be questioned. They questioned how Washington and his army could endure in the cold,
rebellion, deprived environment. A Prussian volunteer named Baron Von Steuben was shocked at
the lack of American discipline and he began to help Washington train the army Prussian style.
The troops improved as well as the weather that winter with more food and wives staying in
Valley Forge during the cold season. Washington ruined any ideas of him not having leadership
abilities and 1778 brought better fortune to the American cause. Washington froze at Valley
Forge while Benjamin Franklin was busy securing the French alliance. The war would now be
different. Below is a letter written by George Washington to George Clinton during this time.
Head Quarters, Valley Forge, February 16, 1778
Dear Sir: It is with great reluctance, I trouble you on a subject, which does not fall within your province; but it is a
subject that occasions me more distress, than I have felt, since the commencement of the war; and which loudly
demands the most zealous exertions of every person of weight and authority, who is interested in the success of our
affairs. I mean the present dreadful situation of the army for want of provisions, and the miserable prospects before
us, with respect to futurity. It is more alarming than you will probably conceive, for, to form a just idea, it were
necessary to be on the spot. For some days past, there has been little less, than a famine in camp. A part of the army
has been a week, without any kind of flesh, and the rest for three or four days. Naked and starving as they are, we
cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery, that they have not been ere this excited by
their sufferings, to a general mutiny or dispersion. Strong symptoms, however, discontent have appeared in particular
instances; and nothing but the most acitive efforts every where can long avert so shocking a catastrophe.
Our present sufferings are not all. There is no foundation laid for any adequate relief hereafter. All the magazines
provided in the States of New Jersey, Pensylvania, Delaware and Maryland, and all the immediate additional
supplies they seem capable of affording, wil not be sufficient to support the army more than a month longer, if so long.
Very little been done to the Eastward, and as little to the Southward; and whatever we have a right to expect from
those quarters, must necessarily be very remote; and is indeed more precarious, than could be wished. When the
forementioned supplies are exhausted, what a terrible crisis must ensue, unless all the energy of the Continent is
exerted to provide a timely remedy?
Impressed with this idea, I am, on my part, putting every engine to work, that I can possibly think of, to prevent the
fatal consequences, we have so great a reason to apprehend. I am calling upon all those, whose stations and influence
enable them to contribute their aid upons so important an occasion; and from your well known zeal, I expect every
thing within the compass of your power, and that the abilities and resources of the state over which you preside, will
admit. I am sensible of the disadvantages it labours under, from having been so long the scene of war, and that it must
be exceedingly drained by the great demands to which it has been subject. But, tho' you may not be able to contribute
materially to our relief, you can perhaps do something towards it; and any assistance, however trifling in itself, will be
of great moment at so critical a juncture, and will conduce to keeping the army together till the Commissary's
department can be put upon a better footing, and effectual measures concerted to secure a permanent and competent
supply. What methods you can take, you will be the best judge of; but, if you can devise any means to procure a
quantity of cattle, or other kind of flesh, for the use of this army, to be at camp in the course of a month, you will
render a most essential service to the common cause. I have the honor etc.
– George Washington, letter to George Clinton (Feb. 16, 1778)
1780- Charleston
In May of 1780 the war in the north had ended and the British believed that there were loyalists
in the south waiting to help them. The British then made the decision to take Charleston, South
Carolina. Clinton set sail for South Carolina to cut off America's resources and once they arrived
they demanded a surrender. After a short period of time Lincoln finally made the decision to
surrender and the British had gained control over much of the Southern Colonies. The British also
captured the cities of Savannah in December 1778, Camden in August of 1780 and Wilmington in
February 1781.
1783- Treaty of Paris
The image aside is an image of the Treaty of Paris, a document that negotiated between the
United States and Great Britain. It ended the revolutionary
war and recognized American Independence. John Adams,
Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and Henry
Laurens were named for the five-member commission to
negotiate the treaty. The French foreign minister expected the
Americans to coordinate their diplomatic strategy with the
French but the Americans distrusted the French and
persuaded an independent course. For its part, the United
States agreed to use its powers to end the persecution of
Loyalists by state and local governments and to restore their
property confiscated during the war. Both countries agreed
not to block creditors from seeking to recover debts owed to
them. The articles of peace were signed by Adams, Franklin,
Jay and Henry Laurens for the United States and Richard
Oswald for Great Britain on November 30, 1782. The final
treaty was signed on September 3, 1783, and ratified by the
Continental Congress early in 1784.
1787- Constitution of the United States
In 1787, delegates to a convention in Philadelphia created a new plan of government, the
Constitution of the United States. It was created inside the Pennsylvania State House and the
historic meeting is now known as the Constitutional Convention. It took the convention 3 months
to produce the document and it was finally adopted two years later in 1789 when it was
approved by 9 out of the 13 states (the requirement.)
In September 1789, Congress proposed twelve constitutional amendments that were mostly
drafted by James Madison and they were designed to protect citizens’ rights. The states ratified
ten of the amendments and they then took effort on
the day of December 15, 1791. These first ten
amendments of the constitution are now known as
the Bill of Rights. Under the constitution the people
and the government were the same so they saw no
need for the people to protect their rights from
themselves. Hamilton quoted the Preamble of the
Constitution to claim that “the people surrender
nothing” under the new system meaning that they
keep all the power. He also argued that “Here is a
better recognition of popular rights” than any added
list. The Bill of Rights was going to help ensure the
protection of individual freedoms but still many
people were against it. In the end, the Federalists
gave in and the compromise with the anti-Federalists
led them to victory.
The Election of 1800
The ELECTION OF 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was a hard-fought and
intense campaign where each side believed that victory by the other would ruin the nation.
Federalists saw Jefferson as an un-Christian deist whose sympathy for the French Revolution
would bring chaos to the United States. Democratic-Republicans wanted strong centralization of
federal power, but believed this could only happen under Adams's presidency. Republicans'
objected to the expansion of the U.S.
army and navy as well as the attack on
individual rights in the Alien and Sedition
Acts and new taxes spending used to
support broadened federal action. The
sides were mainly different because the
Federalists wanted strong federal
authority to restrain the excesses of
popular majorities but the Democratic-Republicans demanded that national authority was to be
reduced so that the people could rule more directly through state governments. The election was
decided in the House of Representatives where each state was allowed a single vote. The
Democratic-Republicans broadened the old Anti-Federalist coalition and urban workers as well
as artisans who had supported the Constitution during ratification and who had mostly
supported Adams in 1796 now joined the Jeffersonians. Leaders such as James Madison who was
the main figure in shaping the Constitution changed his political stance by 1800 when he
emerged as the ablest party organizer among the Republicans. The Democratic-Republicans
believed that government needed to be generally accountable to the people and their coalition
and ideals would dominate American politics into the nineteenth century. The image above with
the words “There can be only one” shows the intensity of the campaign.
George Washington
One of the single most important
man for the success of the
Revolution and the stability of the
US Nation was George Washington.
He participated in the First and
Second Continental Congresses and
his role in the fight towards
independence became crucial
during the war when he served as
the commander of the Continental
Army. Although Washington's
record as a military strategist is
sometimes questioned, he had a
large number of critical victories in
the Revolutionary War. He became a political leader once again at the Constitutional Convention
in 1787 where he was elected the presiding officer. He then agreed to be a presidential candidate
and during his election in 1789 he received lots of support. He became the first president of the
United States.