The American Revolutionary War – US Military History

George Washington’s role in the Revolutionary War

The American Revolutionary War transpired between 1775 and 1783. During this period, there were constant conflicts between the American states and the British Crown. In Pennsylvania, for instance, the Penn family opted not to offer financial contributions for running the colony. The numerous dissatisfactions in several states prompted the beginning of the war in 1775 (Stewart, 2005). In this war, one American played a significant role in marshalling the troops to drive away the Britons.

This person was none other than the first President of the United States, George Washington. During the American Revolution, Washington was tasked with leading the Continental Army to the war against Great Britain as the commander in chief. Notably, his leadership skill of trustworthiness made him be entrusted with the Continental Army; he commanded immense respect from this wing of the army. They were victorious in this war due to Washington’s determination and ability as a general to mobilize the army towards a common goal of driving away the British.

In addition, Washington remained loyal during their disagreement with the British Crown in the 1760s and 1770s; this trait coupled with his long-term experience in the army made the Continental Army to consider him as their general. In 1774, the cordial relationship made him elected to the first Continental Congress. Between 1761 and 1776, Washington was a planter in Virginia, the most populous among the thirteen colonies. His stay in Virginia also helped in gaining the allegiance of the Virgins during the Revolutionary War (Stewart, 2005).

Therefore, Washington’s loyalty also made his general-ship successful, as he was able to convince the Virgins to support their mission. Although they encountered difficulties in the early years of the war, Washington kept the Army in the field with a fighting spirit for liberation. Markedly, on 26th December 1776 and 3rd January 1777, the Continental Army unexpectedly attacked the Trenton and Princeton garrisons respectively. They continued fighting until October 1781 when the British surrendered at Yorktown. Clearly, George Washington’s leadership style was the force behind the success of the Revolutionary War.

Effectiveness of American military strategy and organization during the War of 1812

The war of 1812 that took more than two years was between the United States and England. The U.S. citizens’ at the coastline were unhappy with the manner in which the British were equipping the Indians with weapons and urging them to attack the Americans. Not all the Americans supported this war; others even opposed it citing possibility of decrease in revenue.

The Military applied the offensive strategy of fighting, that is, they laid more focus on conquering Canada in the north through land campaigns (Stewart, 2005). They, obviously, feared the Royal Navy and only planned to build ships to lead the fight in the Great Lakes. This strategy was not effective given their approach to the powerful Royal Navy. Their navy could not match the Royal Navy in terms of experience; therefore, they only focussed on controlling the Great Lakes and disrupting the Merchant trade.

The disunity among the Americans was a factor towards their failure to achieve their mission. Besides, the American military at this time was weak given that the then President Madison had not rectified the drastic changes in the military that President Jefferson carried out. President Jefferson had weakened the army and reduced the standing army to a minimum. This action weakened both the wings of the army hence could not effectively fight against the well-prepared British Army.

Moreover, their organization in terms of leadership was weak. Remarkably, no generals who coordinated the Revolutionary War were present in the War of 1812. Therefore, Americans presented an inexperienced military leadership to guide their Army into the war. They were actually underestimating the capability of their enemies in Canada.

According to Stewart 2005, their disorganization and war strategy is also revealed when they failed to convince the New England states to back their invasion of Canada. When they realized that the British Army were more powerful than their initial expectations, they requested for New York’s support but it failed. This forced them to change their strategy to defensive, and eventually lost in the war. This war of 1812 is popularly known as ‘American worst-fought war’.

The most important results of the Mexican War and the Mexican Cession on the United States

The most important result of the Mexican War to the U.S. is documented in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty spelt out how Mexico surrendered parts of its land to the United States. This land grabbing by the U.S. was significant as they had the opportunity to control slavery in the newly acquired states of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and California.

On the other hand, the pro-slavery Americans wanted more slaves to come and work in their farms. The battle for control of states deepened leaving Mexico embarrassed and not happy with the U.S. citizens. The war not only led to the expansion of the U.S. territory but also hastened the upcoming of the Civil War (Stewart, 2005). For example, Robert Lee and Ulysses Grant participated in both the Mexican War and the Civil War.

The American imperialist in the 19th century held that the boundary of America was fated to expand into the Northern American Continent and even exercise control over its neighbours. Manifest destiny, therefore, is a belief that encompassed religion, economic strengths, and culture. The Americans viewed this idea as inevitable and believed that their continent could languish if they do not expand tremendously.

Further, some were of the opinion that the expansion into uncivilized territories will enhance democracy and economic empowerment. Notably, when John L. O’Sullivan coined this term in 1845, at the same time, America realised an expansion of over 60% (Stewart, 2005). Other Americans also wanted more land to become rich. Therefore, this doctrine, of western expansion, also propelled the U.S. to conquer parts of Mexico at the end of the Mexican war and exercise control over their neighbours.

Comparing and contrasting two major leaders in the Civil War, 1861–1865

During the Civil War, 1861-1865, the United States was under the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. During same period, Jefferson Davis became the first and only President of the Confederate States of America. These two leaders were the major players in the Civil War. Abraham’s election as the U.S. President and his antislavery campaign received a massive opposition from the pro-slavery states. In 1861, he announced that South Carolina’s secession was illegal and offered to wage war to protect the Federal Union.

The states that were pro-slavery formed the Confederation States of America under the leadership of Jefferson Davis (Stewart, 2005). Clearly, the southern states used the slaves as workers in their large farms. After his inauguration, Lincoln ordered for the formation of a special army to conquer and repossess the confederacy states. The need to ensure that the Federal Union remains together and the issue of slavery prompted Lincoln to go to war with the Jefferson’s led states.

On the other hand, Jefferson did not want to be the President at the time and mostly disagreed with those who criticised him. He was not able to withstand the harsh challenges, even though his past attributes showed a wide experience in military and political affairs. Abraham felt scared by the southern states; therefore, decided to fight the states other than allow them to secede. During the Civil War period, Lincoln ensured that capable generals were in the army and even ensured a constant supply of superior weapons.

Jefferson, on the other hand, had little interest on the war, continued rewarding people who were failures and even became loyal to the Northern states. Stewart 2005 notes that when the Northern States defeated the Southern states, an Emancipation Proclamation was issued. The Proclamation gave Lincoln rights to repossess the properties of the rebellious states and free the slaves.


Stewart, R. W. (2005). American Military History Volume 1: The United States Army and The Forging of a Nation, 1775–1917. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army.

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