African-American preacher who helped start the Free African Society and the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church
African-American woman who sued for her freedom in a Massachusetts court and won, helping to end slavery in Massachusetts
A philosophy of limited government with elected representatives serving at the will of the people to create and enforce laws. The government is based on consent of the governed.
Treaty of Paris of 1783
The peace agreement that ended the Revolutionary War. In this treaty, Britain recognized the United States as an independent nation. The treaty also established the USA's boundaries, which stretched from the Mississippi River on the west, to the Great Lakes on the north, and to Spanish Florida on the south. The Americans also retained rights to fish near Newfoundland, which greatly upset the Canadians.
Battle of Yorktown (1781)
The final battle of the war, in which the French and American forces led by George Washington defeated British General Cornwallis.
Battle of King's Mountain (1780)
Patriots (farmers and mountain men) fought here against British and American Loyalists. Patriots won the battle by using guerrilla warfare tactics. This Patriot victory took the momentum in the South away from the British and over to the American side.
Battle of Cowpens (1781)
During this South Carolina battle, the Americans won an important victory over the British by successfully relying upon guerrilla warfare tactics.
Battle of Savannah (1779)
This city in Georgia was the site of a British victory. British were frustrated with their failure to defeat the Patriots in the North. The British wanted to bring the rebellion to an end and damage the American's ability to trade from port cities like this one. The British also mistakenly believed that southern Loyalists and slaves (who were promised freedom) would join the cause on the side of the King.
Battle of Charles Town (1780)
The British siege of this South Carolina city resulted in the Americans suffering their worst defeat of the war (5,000 soldiers captured).
Battles of Saratoga (1777)
A series of battles between British soldiers and the Continental Army (Patriots) in upstate New York that proved to be a turning point of the Revolutionary War. When the Patriots won, France recognized the colonies as an independent nation and agreed to two treaties: (i) a Treaty of Alliance, and (ii) a Treaty of Commerce (trade). Spain also recognized the United States as a result of the British defeat here.
Battle of Trenton (1776)
After crossing the Delaware River on Christmas night, the Continental Army (led by General Washington) defeated 900 Hessian troops here with a surprise attack in the early morning hours. The battle lasted less than 1 hour, resulted in only 3 Patriot casualties, and the victory provided a tremendous boost to the Americans' morale.
Marquis de Lafayette
A wealthy nobleman who arrived in America at the age of 19 to fight with the Patriots. This Frenchman believed deeply in the cause of liberty that the Americans were fighting for. He became known as the "soldier's friend" after spending his own money to supply the troops; became a general on George Washington's staff and later fought in many battles. When he died, he was buried in France in a grave covered with earth from Bunker Hill.
Baron von Steuben
The German commander who taught Washington's troops how to fight during the terrible winter at Valley Forge.
He was the commander of British soldiers in the Southern colonies; he was also selected to replace General Howe and was eventually forced to surrender to the USA at Yorktown, Virginia.
Called the "Swamp Fox". Used guerrilla warfare tactics in South Carolina to help the Continental Army fight against the British.
A "hit-and-run" technique used in battle; fighting by small bands of soldiers, using tactics such as sudden ambushes.
George Rogers Clark
Young American military leader who led raids on British troops and Native Americans on the Western frontier (Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky) during the Revolution. Won an important victory at Vincennes, Indiana.
A privately-owned ship that has government permission during wartime to attack an enemy's merchant ships.
John Paul Jones
Commander in the Continental Navy; won victories victories for America in British seas. He was a daring, hard-fighting Scotsman who helped to destroy British merchant ships in 1777; while commanding his ship, the Bonhomme Richard, during a battle, he famously said, "I have not yet begun to fight."
soldier who runs away from battle or war and does not intend to return
General William Howe
He took command of British troops in North America after the Battle of Bunker Hill in Massachusetts. He captured New York and Philadelphia, but failed in his plan to isolate the New England colonies in 1777. He resigned in 1778. His decision NOT to join General Burgoyne helped cause the British defeat at Saratoga.
Washington's army spent a harsh winter here in 1777-1778; 25% of troops who served during this time died from disease and malnutrition; they lacked food, proper clothing, and shelter. The German officer Von Steuben came here to train the American troops.
Jewish-American financier from Poland and Revolutionary Patriot who helped fund the army during the American Revolution.
General John Burgoyne
Often called "Gentleman Johnny", this man led British troops from Quebec to Albany. After he was defeated in the Battles of Saratoga by the American General Horatio Gates (October 1777), Gentleman Johnny and more than 5,000 British soldiers marched to Boston and were placed on prisoner of war ships that returned them to England.
American public official, writer, scientist, and printer. After the success of his book, Poor Richard's Almanac (1732-1757), he entered politics and played a major part in the American Revolution. Franklin negotiated with King Louis XVI for French support of the USA (Treaty of Alliance), signed the Treaty of Paris (1783), and helped draft the U.S. Constitution (1787-1789). His numerous inventions include the lightning rod, bifocal spectacles (glasses), and a stove.
King Louis XVI
The King of France during the American Revolution; after the United States won the Battles of Saratoga, he signed a Treaty of Alliance with the USA and provided money, supplies, and soldiers in support of the Patriot cause
The name given to the first published copies of the Declaration of Independence; these documents did not include any signatures of the delegates to the 2nd Continental Congress
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
the three unalienable rights listed in the Declaration of Independence that all people are born with and that cannot be taken away; these rights were identified by the British philosopher, John Locke
English philosopher who believed people have "natural rights" that no one can take away; his ideas influenced the writers of the Declaration of Independence.
Richard Henry Lee
a Virginia representative to the 2nd Continental Congress who proposed the first resolution (in June 1776) calling for independence of the American colonies
a resolution introduced on June 7, 1776 to the Second Continental Congress proposing independence; after this proposal, a committee of five, including Thomas Jefferson, was created to draft the Declaration of Independence
written formally in a large clear script, as a deed or other legal document (e.g., 56 signatures on the Declaration of Independence)
the original, 4-page handwritten document prepared by Thomas Jefferson that was presented to the 2nd Continental Congress for approval on July 4th; this document was edited and revised by John Adams, Ben Franklin and others
Lt. Colonel Barry St. Leger
British commander who, along with General Howe and General Burgoyne, was supposed to lead an army to meet in Albany, NY in order to conquer the Hudson River Valley (New York); St. Leger's troops never reached their destination because they were tricked by General Benedict Arnold into believing the American's had a large army