Essay on the Fighting During the Revolutionary War

Published: 2021/11/23
Number of words: 1245

The Revolutionary war, also known as the American Revolution, is greatly touted as the major catalyst for the American independence. The war started zealously on April 18th 1775 and lasted for eight more years (1775-1783), although it started on the back of years of unrest and relentless violence between colonists and the British government.

The Revolutionary war was sparked by the British Crown. The crown introduced new and unpopular taxes to service the mammoth debt they accrued as a result of aiding the American colonists during the French and Indian war (1756-1763). The expensive venture of mounting and funding an army on foreign soil was more than the British government could bear. As such, they expected the Americans to service a portion of the hefty debt. Hence, parliament levied several Acts of taxation meant to protect the Crown’s coffers. The most notable Acts meant to raise revenue from the colonies included the Stamp Act (1765), the Townshend Act (1767) and the Tea Act (1773). These policies were met with anger and agitation from the colonists who decried of their lack of representation in parliament. They also pressured the British to accord them their rights and freedoms just as they did to other colonial territories (Baack 42).

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Consequently, colonial resistance ensued while the British government schemed ways of reasserting its authority on its American subjects. Meanwhile, parliament passed a raft of measures (Coercive Acts) to curtail the freedoms of the colonists, while the Americans maintained that they would not pay taxes without parliamentary representation.

A group of colonial delegates met in September 1774 to air their grievances against the British Crown. The group formed a Continental Congress in a bid to resolve hostilities and be on the same wavelength as the English. The Continental Congress adjourned to reconvene in May 1775, unfortunately, by this time the war was in earnest. The battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts took place on April 19th, 1775, when local militiamen went on a war path with British soldiers, marking the beginning of the Revolutionary war.

On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence from their masters, this resulted in a full-blown war between the British Crown and the colonists. In 1778, France (Which had been secretly helping the American rebels since 1776) joined the war openly. The French were on the American side of the war, turning what had been a civil war into a full-scale international conflict. This tilted odds of the war in favor of the American side. The American Army Troops benefited immensely from the training and discipline of the Prussian military leader sent by the French. With the French on board, the American were able to force the British to yield in 1781at Yorktown, Virginia. This essentially meant that the Americans had won their independence. Fighting did not cease formally though until September 1783, when Britain and United States signed the Treaty of Paris, thereby granting independence to the Americans ceremoniously (Wallenfeldt 57).

Advantages of the opposing sides during the Revolutionary War

The winning tradition cultivated over time by the British meant that the Americans would always be the underdog when they faced the Crown. This was demonstrated by Britain’s triumphs over powerful nations such as France.

It did not help Americans’ course that Britain’s military was the best in the world. The soldiers were well trained, well paid, well fed and well equipped. This meant that the dominated over many countries of the world.

The British government was able to raise funds more quickly than the Continental Congress. Hence the British colonialists were steps ahead of the Americans. With the funds, they were able to hire the Hessian Mercenaries to help wage war against colonists.

Some tribes in the United States joined the British in fighting the rebels. They feared the replacement of the Crown which had protected their land all along. This weakened the Americans while strengthening the British

On the flipside, Americans had advantages as well. Americans were spirited in the fight of their rights, freedoms and independence. Despite the inexperience of their military and political leaders, they made up for this with competence.

Military equipment, reinforcements and supplies took a lot of time to reach the British Army since they were fighting away from home. This disadvantaged the British Army. Additionally, the war was an expensive venture for the British with taxpayers questioning its importance. Furthermore, the French aid during the war tipped the odds in favor of the Americans.

Problems of the Articles of Confederation

Articles of Confederation (1776-1789) encompassed the first American constitution. The Article gave rise to a weakened National government and powerful states. The states were separate entities which became interlinked periodically, such as in times of war. The central government had limited powers. In times of financial strain, it had to request the states to offer reprieve (Dougherty 33).

Only the state governments had the power to impose taxes. To meet its financial obligations, the central government had to request money from the states. On most occasions, the states were incompliant with these requests, leaving the government greatly underfunded. This meant that the government could not pay its debt and could not borrow from other countries or institutions.

Owing to its constant fiscal deficiencies, the central government was not able to mount an army of its own, thereby being susceptible to internal and external aggression. Defense of the entire nation was placed on the hands of the states. This led to the infamous Shays’s Rebellion that exposed the weaknesses of the Article.

American producers were left out to dry since they were not protected against international competitors. The central government was not in a position to control tariffs on foreign imports neither did it have a say on interstate trading. This means that rival states could easily interfere with the operations of each other.

The threshold of passing policies was too steep. Nine out thirteen had to vote in favor of a policy for it to pass. Amendment of the Articles was even a taller order. It required all thirteen states to agree for a change of the Article to be implemented.

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Accomplishments of the Confederation Congress

Confederation Congress was a unicameral body that had legislative function. Delegates of the Congress were drawn from different states. Each delegate was entitled to one vote. The Congress was created under the Articles of Confederation in 1781 (McCormick 411). The Congress had the following accomplishments:

  • This was a platform where delegates met to navigate the way forward for independent America.
  • The Confederation oversaw the revitalization of the American merchant trade. This was occasioned by the establishment of diplomatic relations with Continental Europe and some of its Caribbean colonies.
  • The organization of the Northwest Territory created the perfect framework for the confederation Congress to expand further west, hence provide a roadmap for systematic transition from to statehood.
  • During the Revolutionary War, the Confederation Congress led British’s former colonial territories to triumph.

Work Cited

Baack, Ben. “The Economics of the American Revolutionary War.” EH. Net Encyclopedia (2001).

Dougherty, Keith L. Collective action under the Articles of Confederation. Cambridge University Press, 2006.

McCormick, Richard P. “Ambiguous Authority: The Ordinances of the Confederation Congress, 1781-1789.” Am. J. Legal Hist. 41 (1997): 411.

Wallenfeldt, Jeff. The American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812: People, Politics, and Power. Britannica Educational Publishing, 2009.

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