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Second Continental Congress

Representative body of delegates from all thirteen colonies. Drafted Declaration of Independence and managed colonial war effort. (1775-1781)


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.

Thomas Paine/Common Sense

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.

George Washington

Led the American colonists in their battle against the British. Was a good leader, boosted morale.

Marquis de Lafayette

French soldier who served under George Washington in the American Revolution. Great example of foreign policy.

Baron von Steuben

Spoke no English when he came to America, whipped GW's troops into shape for battle at valley forge. Taught soldiers how to fight.

John Burgyone

Helped lead British troops in the battle of Saratoga, the victory which revived the faltering colonial cause and made possible the urgent aid needed from France, and ensured American independence.

Benedict Arnold

Initially, a heroic soldier fighting on the colonist's side, but eventually, a traitor, selling out the colonists after being bribed by the British. Crushed Americans, especially, G dubs,

Treaty of Paris, 1783

Peace treaty signed by Britain and US 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.

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.

Battles of Lexington and Concord

First battles of the Revolutionary War, fought outside of Boston. The colonial militia successfully defended their stores of munitions, forcing the British retreat to Boston.

Battle of Saratoga

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

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.

Articles of Confederation

First American Constitution that established the US as a loose confederation of states under a weak national Congress, which was not granted power to regulate commerce or collect taxes. The Articles were replaced by a more efficient constitution.

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