The American Revolution War, also referred to as the American war of Independence was fought from 1775-1783 with the Kingdom of Great Britain. This war of independence led to overthrowing of British rule in the American territory and this signaled change in the history of American politics. British rule had been imposed to 13 colonial governments that were established by the Second Continental Congress, and it was till the 1775 that Revolutionaries took control of the 13 administrative territories. In 1778 the United States of America declared their independence a move that was supported by other European nations. This was ironical because the American themselves both Natives and African Americans took sides of the war as some supported the British rule while other fought for liberation. The Revolutionary War started between the US government and the British administration but ended with a series of fights that was concluded in a global war involving several European nations. This essay looks at the American Revolutionary War in relation to what caused it and the effects of the war; among, other interesting proceedings that took place.
Causes of the Revolutionary War
The need of political revolution in America was the main cause of the war. The colonists were fed up by the legitimacy of British rule in their own territory who governed them without their representation whatsoever. In a bid to star a revolt, the First Continental Congress gathered to enhance their relation with the Great Britain. Their outcries were not given a consideration and in the following year, the Second Continental Congress was formed from Provincial Congresses to forward petitions to George III to address their grievances without success. The Americans wanted their sovereignty and at the same time withdrawing their allegiance with British Monarchy which called for the declaration of their freedom in 1716. France was in support of the US administration and to aid them, France supplied guns and ammunitions to the colonialists. The Continental’s rule of the British army motivated France’s intervention into the war in 1778. Dutch Republic and Spain which were former colonies of France and were by then France allies also entered the war by fighting against the British administration for the succeeding two years and even threatened to invade England; despite, their vigorous attacks on Gibraltar and Minorca. Spain’s intervention led to the defeat of British army in West Florida and this made Americans secure their colonies in the southern wing.
The involvement of France in the war is considered pivotal following their victory in Chesapeake a feat that led to the surrender of British army in Yorktown in the year 1781. The Paris treaty of 1783 put an end to the war and this was a historic moment because the American sovereignty was officially declared in the territories surrounded by the Mississippi River westwards, Canada northwards, and Florida southwards. “ The signing of the treaty was due to the campaign of 1777, resulting in the capture of Burgoyne’s army on the Hudson and to the fierce, if inconclusive, battles around Philadelphia,” (Greene, p. 139). However despite the treaty being signed, it is explained that there was a breach because of the stand off about who was to be in control of Ohio, (Giddens, S. and Giddens, O., p. 5). The US War on Independence was fought in a foreign land with opposition emerging from within the colonists themselves. The success of the war could not have been realized without the aid offered by France and the distance factor which seriously disadvantaged and weakened British force into the war. British experienced logistical problems in their operation while the Americans were well versed with the war terrains had adequate food supplies, and manpower to push the war to the brink.
The Revolutionary War Combatants
Before the war begun, the 13 colonies that were led by American governments had no established/well trained troops. The only source of manpower was militia groups who were not well armed, lacked official clothes, and had no skills in conducting a war. Their services could not fully be depended on as they could fight for a few weeks and then recede to their homes. The militias were also not willing to advance far way from home just for fighting’s sake and therefore, they could not be fully depended on during war operations. This therefore meant that the legitimate troops would be overwhelmed especially at the battles of Saratoga, Bennington and Concord. The Americans therefore had to develop another strategy; suppressing the activities of the Loyalists whenever British personnel were not in the area.
George Washington was appointed leader of Continental Army because of the dire need of training military troops back in 1775. Continental Army was a project that was secured and in progress; though, Washington still monitored and coordinated the efforts of the militia groups. This is because, “Many times the state governments or Washington called for militia forces, and they either did not come or came slowly and in small numbers.” Washington had to plan in advance so as to know the exact number of militia that would join the force, (Kwasny, p. 332). In November 1775, Continental Marines was also set up by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia to aid in opposing the British rule after a resolution by the Continental Congress. The entire army consisting even of the militia was disbanded in 1783 after the Revolutionary cause was purposely attained amid a below the standards troop size according to European standards.
The Role of the Loyalists, Native Americans and African American
It is justified that majority of Americans supported the opposition of the British colonialism; but almost a 1/5 of the population remained loyal to the British administration while the remaining were neutral. An approximation of 25,000 Loyalists were in the battle line defending British rule while others served in the Royal Navy. In the land offensive war fronts, Loyalists troops fought in battles of North America but it was not an easy task for the British administrators to marshal all the Loyalist factions. Onto the South side, Loyalists were a nuisance to the British administration because it was difficult to divide troops who would protect Loyalists’ territory and at the same time resist major American attacks. The British had to take military acts and still make sure that the opinions of the Loyalists were not offended.
Native Americans were critically affected by the war especially those who resided on the east of River Mississippi. This population was confused in regards to what front to support during the war. Majority of this group were opposed top the Americans ideals of resisting the British rule because they feared that there territory could be taken by the American government later on. The largest group that supported the British rule came from Iroquois tribe. Iroquois Confederacy was a powerful one but due to the fight, they conflicted, with a group supporting the colonialists and the other supporting the British. Sullivan Expedition was sent to Iroquois to destroy them because of their opinion to support the British rule. Finally, there was role played by the African Americans as they served in Continental Army after George Washington lifted the ban on enlistment of blacks in the army. The reason for Washington’s action followed after the Continental Army was overwhelmed by troop shortage amid the need to resist British offensives. Following this move, they were promised freedom from slavery and as a result they fought for the Revolutionary cause.
Limitations of the British Rule in Revolutionary War
The Americans were greatly supported by the international community; the French administration, Spain, and the Dutch Republic. Another thing that worked in their favor was the logistical problems faced by the British rule because they had to operate from the port cities. Americans were also adequately supplied with food, terrain mastery not withstanding and these worked in their favor against the British soldiers, (Wilbur, pp.32-34). The British also had an ineffective communication problem and they had to wait for ships to and from The Great Britain for official communication regarding the war, after which action could be taken. At times information feedback was received after becoming irrelevant as this period took approximately two months.
It was difficult to suppress rebellion in America due to a number of inadequacies. Colonies were in command of larger territories without a centralized location for strategic organization. It was a general concept that whenever a city was captured, end of war would be reached but this was not the case for British rule. For example, despite the seizure of Philadelphia and New York cities, there was no cease fire in the war. The colonies were large and given the British lack of manpower to impose their rule, they were overwhelmed. Any areas that were conquered needed to be backed by manpower to maintain control. At the same time American Revolutionaries continued their fight for independence and lack of adequate soldiers limited British offensive operations to suppress the ambitious Revolutionaries. The British could defeat the Americans in war but they lacked people that would remain to occupy the colonies. Their manpower shortage was further aggravated by French and Spanish entry into the war.
Another challenge that the British faced was how to handle the Loyalists and maintain their support for the British rule. Loyalists were important to the British rule because they needed to keep their colonies under their empire. There was serious military limitation and peace ambassadors had to double their service by joining the war factions. Still, there was the issue of alienation that Loyalists would have been disturbed with in case the British rulers had recruited Native Americans to fight in the war. The success of British rule in Scotland and Ireland was due to harsh methods that they used against them; however, they could not apply the same method in the case of Revolutionaries’ cause because of the need to retain Loyalists allegiance. The number of challenges faced by the British administration was overwhelming and this led to the downfall of their rule. The victory of the United States in the war on the other end led to the attainment of independence.
Consequently, the Revolutionary War had a number of effects as both the American and British suffered while others lost their lives. The war led to a number of deaths; but, the number could not be ascertained because in those periods diseases claimed a number of lives too. “No complete list of the military dead of any war has ever been made. There are the missing who were lost forever in every war,” (Peterson, p. 7). It was also difficult to distinguish which deaths occurred following small pox epidemic of 1775-1782 and which one resulted from the aftermath of the war. Washington’s move to have all his soldiers inoculated against smallpox was hailed as it played a very important role in ensuring the health of his soldiers was not compromised.
The results of any given war are always of benefit mainly to the generations of the future rather than those who fought. The Revolutionary War of the United States was a war that led to attainment of independence of the US by Americans from the rule of the British Empire. Lives of Americans were lost during the war but today we enjoy the fruits of our freedom fighters and most importantly, the role that was played by the Commander-in-Chief; George Washington. In a war they are winners and losers and in this instance, the British lost and the United States won and got their independence.
Giddens, S. & Giddens, O. “A Timeline of the War of 1812.” Timelines of American History. Washington, DC: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2004. Print
Greene, Francis Vinton. The Revolutionary War and the Military Policy of the United States. New York, NY: READ BOOKS, 2007. Print
Kwasny, Mark V. Washington’s Partisan War, 1775-1783. Pennsylvania: Kent State University Press, 1998. Print
Peterson, Clarence Stewart. Known Military Dead during the American Revolutionary War, 1775-1783. Washington, DC: Genealogical Publishing Com, 2009. Print
Wilbur, C. Keith. “The Revolutionary Soldier, 1775-1783: An Illustrated Sourcebook of Authentic Details about Everyday Life for Revolutionary War Soldiers.” Illustrated Living History Series. New Jersey: Globe Pequot Press, 1993. Print