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Armed Neutrality (1780)

Loose alliance of nonbelligerent naval powers, organized by Russia's Catherine the Great, to protect neutral trading rights during the war for American independence.

Battle of Bunker Hill (1775)

Fought on the outskirts of Boston, on Breed's Hill, the battle ended in the colonial militia's retreat, though at a heavy cost to the British.

Common Sense (1776)

Thomas Paine's pamphlet urging the colonies to declare independence and establish a republican government. The widely-read pamphlet helped convince colonists to support the Revolution.

Declaration of Independence (1776)

Formal pronouncement of independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson and approved by Congress. The declaration allowed Americans to appeal for foreign aid and served as an inspiration for later revolutionary movements worldwide.

Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789)

Declaration of rights adopted during the French Revolution. Modeled after the American Declaration of Independence.

Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784)

Treaty signed by the United States and the pro-British Iroquois granting Ohio country to the Americans.

Hessians

German troops hired from their princes by George III to aid in putting down the colonial insurrection. This hardened the resolve of American colonists, who resented the use of paid foreign fighters.

Battle of Long Island (1776)

Battle for the control of New York. British troops overwhelmed the colonial militias and retained control of the city for most of the war.

Loyalists

American colonists who opposed the Revolution and maintained their loyalty to the King; sometimes referred to as "Tories".

Model Treaty (1776)

Sample treaty drafted by the Continental Congress as a guide for American diplomats. Reflected the Americans' desire to foster commercial partnerships rather than political or military entanglements.

Olive Branch Petition (1775)

Conciliatory measure adopted by the Continental Congress, professing American loyalty and seeking an end to the hostilities. King George rejected the petition and proclaimed the colonies in rebellion.

Treaty of Paris (1783)

Peace treaty signed by Britain and the United States ending the Revolutionary War. The British formally recognized American independence and ceded territory east of the Mississippi while the Americans, in turn, promised to restore Loyalist property and repay debts to British creditors.

Patriots

Colonists who supported the American Revolution; they were also known as "Whigs".

privateers

Privately-owned armed ships authorized by Congress to prey on enemy shipping during the Revolutionary War. They, more numerous than the tiny American Navy, inflicted heavy damages on British shippers.

Battle of Saratoga (1777)

Decisive colonial victory in upstate New York, which helped secure French support for the Revolutionary cause.

Second Continental Congress

Representative body of delegates from all thirteen colonies. Drafted the Declaration of Independence and managed the colonial war effort.

Battle of Trenton

George Washington surprised and captured a garrison of sleeping German Hessians, raising the morale of his crestfallen army and setting the stage for his victory at Princeton a week later.

Battle of Yorktown

George Washington, with the aid of the French Army, besieged Cornwallis at Yorktown, while the French naval fleet prevented British reinforcements from coming ashore. Cornwallis surrendered, dealing a heavy blow to the British war effort and paving the way for an eventual peace.

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