Category: Historical Events


The Battle of Saratoga was a Military Turning Point, which shifted war in favor of the Americans. It all started with General Burgoyne. He had gone down south from Canada in campaigns to try take New York region and try to cut the Upper Colonies from the Southern ones: weakening Patriots drastically. This couldn’t happen as Americans Soldiers fought with all their hearts, and made the British fall into their trap at Saratoga. Patriots won this battle and in October 17, 1777 made general Burgoyne surrender their troops. This was the greatest Patriot victory yet, which greatly increased American soldiers’ spirit and which suggested Patriots had a chance to win the war.

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The Battle of Saratoga allowed and made French recognize Patriots’ independence. Since long ago, we could observe a France which secretly supplied weapons and ammunitions to Patriots. They were helping secretly because they didn’t want a show or create an open alliance; but now that they saw that the Patriots had an opportunity to win the war, they were willing to form an open alliance with them Americans against the British. France gladly welcomed the opportunity to even with British, and damage and weaken an old enemy. After Saratoga, French decided to negotiate a treaty in February 1778, with Americans. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson went in the American Delegation to negotiate and secure an Alliance with French. In February 6, the “Treaty of Alliance” is signed bringing many benefits to the Americans. Benjamin Franklin was a key figure during the negotiations and in winning France population’s support. He was praised by the French for showing himself as a humble and common American who loved French. French Navy would make a more even war. Joint operations of French and Americans failed miserably on the first years, but as the years passed, French and Americans improved in battle and their the greatest victory together would happened in 1781.

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The Battle of Saratoga and the alliance with French were critical and essential for winning the war. Without the French, Patriots would have surely lost. Some benefits of French alliance were that french provided supplies and ammunitions to British so that they could continue fighting; french provided volunteers, either soldier or generals, such as Marquis de Lafayette, a brilliant general who help trained patriots and provided military expertise to the Continental Army; French with their navy fought against British Navy; French protected British strategic points and finally that because of French, the war ended in 1781 with victory for the patriots (as well as french). As you can see the French were key elements in winning the war. Without them America would probably not exist today. The Battle of Saratoga and Treaty of Alliance are two things that should be known today about the Revolutionary war: for their importance and impact in history.

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In war there is a time for fighting, a time for thinking and even a time for resting, a time of temporary peace. When winter arrived in the revolutionary war, both the patriots and the British decided to stop fighting for a while, since mobilization of troops and fighting was much tougher when struggling to keep your body warm or walk on dense snow.
On the winter of 1777 and 1778, the patriot army had lost Philadelphia and needed a place to spend the winter. It had to be close enough to Philadelphia in order to have some intel on the British and prevent them from marching deeper into Pennsylvania, but not so close that British could risk a night raid on the Patriots while they were asleep.

Washington decided to make camp at Valley Forge, it was a optimum defensive spot for the Patriots. It was surrounded by mounts that provided a natural barrier and it had the Schuyilkill River to the North which was an obstacle for anyone who wanted to attack them. Besides having a very good geographical location for defending, it was 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia, it was close enough to send spies and gather intel and far enough for the British not to risk their troops on a march to attack the colonists.

Everything looks perfect up to this point, but the Continental army is going through very hard times. Out of the 10,000 man he has at his command, only 1/3 of the army possessed boots and coats to spend the winter. Many of the soldiers had to wrap up their feet using dead rat fur, and that was for the lucky ones who could find rats to kill. The rest of the soldiers walked barefooted on snow! If you haven’t touch snow in your bare skin entire life, let me tell you, it so cold, that it burns your skin. Now to that, add up the cold winds that blow and marching almost 10 hours a day. Some historians assure, that the Continental army left a trail of blood wherever they marched.

“We have this day no less than 2,873 men in camp, unfit for duty because they are barefooted and otherwise naked.” – George Washington

Not only that, supplies for food were scarce, the men would usually work tirelessly under the cold winter in order to build some cabin for them to spend the night, but they would do this starving. They received very few and inadequate supplies of meat and bread, luckily for the Continental army, the baking talents of general Christopher Ludwig helped them by providing them one pound of freshly baked bread a day, which was better than nothing. George Washington taking a look at the desperate situation in which his army stands, decides to write a letter to the Congress in which he explained that if circumstances didn’t improve he would be force to starve, disperse or dissolve the Continental army.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But still, it took some time for the letter to arrive, and patriots had to hold on. Horses were starting from starvation, and the soldiers were dying because of exposure of wounds to the outer environment, not only that but with all these factors of lack of hygiene, hunger and living overcrowded in one cabin made sickness ravage Valley Forge; typhoid, jaundice, dysentery, and pneumonia were among the many diseases that killed 2,500 men that winter.

After many attempts from Washington to make the Continental Congress send supplies, there was still no reply. The Congress had too much things to do throughout the whole territory. But a luckily sky heaven angels came to the rescue, and these angels were the women. Wives, daughters, sisters, nieces, mothers all of them provided help to this army in need. They help to nurse and treat them, sewing and making coats and clothing to the army, and gathering and cooking food for the exhausted soldiers. Some even disguised themselves as men and fought in the battles ahead.

“They were as sky heaven angels, that came to our aid in the most adequate moment… “- taken from a soldier’s diary

Not only did the army received this miraculous morale help, but the army received as well specialized training by the European general Baron Friedrich von Steuben. He taught them discipline, taught them organization while in battle and gave this farmers and merchants a top quality military training that would really prove to be useful when fighting the red coats in future battles.

Having no help or support at all from the Continental Congress, George Washington and his army were not only able to withstand the hardest of challenges that winter had against his weaken army, but they were able to improve their skills, increase their motivation for fighting, and were eager to fight the British when spring arrived, and their wishes will soon become true. After 6 months of having arrived to Valley Forge, word of the British leaving Philadelphia and moving north toward New York arrived, and George Washington went on their pursuit.
It is incredible that when you think about it, Washington was able to win such a great war against the best army in the world by those times, with an army of farmers and merchants; just because of the fact that he and his army were able to survive for one more day in that cold winter of 1777-1778. It is the little things, the ones who make up the huge difference in the end.

“There is a Destiny which has the control of our actions, not to be resisted by the strongest efforts of Human Nature.” – Mighty General George Washington

There are tales in histroy and life, that would never be forgotten; those tales that you would even want your grandson to know; stories that you tell to your child with the uttermost joy and excitement. One of this tales is the Crossing of the Delaware, a tale we want to share with you all. I’m sure most of the Americans have heard it, after all it is a compelling story, an example of freedom and independence that can help us understand that American liberty wasn’t always assured; that people needed to fight against all odds with all their hearts until the very end for it. George Washington and his men as they crossed the Delaware, took history in their own hands and incredibly changed its inexorable course. As things were going, British in a few months were expected to win the Revolutionary War, but this revolutionaries ultimately changed this in this tale; a tale that would be always sounded through history. There was nothing easy about what this men did. They were not equipped, they had no clothes, no food. Marching in the winter was harsh, especially when shoes were not available, and crossing icy water was dangerous and not a recommendable action. However all this was done just to take on the Largest and Strongest Army in the world. These Americans were models of persistence and Washington himself one of the most brilliant leaders. In 1776, twenty hundred men crossed the Delaware. Now in 2012 more than two hundred ninety million Americans, and not just Americans, are beneficiaries of their bravery.

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Our tale opens in the late 1776. It was a time of trouble in the country. As war raged on against British, Patriots well doing not so well, and consequently were losing the war. By November of 1776, the British had defeated George Washington and is men on Long Island, and New York was lost. Patriots have been driven out of New York, and were now pursued through New Jersey. How could the Americans defeated the well trained Redcoats? Many of the americans had no jackets for warmth and many had no shoes and marched with rags wrapped around their feet. And to worsen the situation, everybody was hungry. To find an answer to this question, Washington and his generals decided to use the “surprise element”: cross the Delaware River into Trenton, New Jersey. On the other side of the river British had stationed Hessians which had no respect for American Soldiers and believed they would never do something daring or even bold. Washington would then the unexpected: something daring and bold; cross the Delaware.

Washington called a meeting of Generals and worked out a plan. They agreed that American Troops would cross the Delaware River at Christmas night from different places. Before Dawn of December 26, they should attack the Hessian at Trenton. Washington warned his officers to keep the plan a secret, because to succeed, they needed to catch the Hessians by surprise. By December 25, Americans gathered near the Delaware River ready to cross it and reach Pennsylvania secretly. This task was eased as days before, Washington had order his army to take any boat they found and could use. Reaching the other side of the Delaware River would place Patriots in safety for a time, and also would give them a great military advantage; however the perils that awaited were great. But the Patriots, beaten down as they were, would be able to succeed over these perils and fight again in war? Spirit and morale were essential for succeeding; and who better than Thomas Paine to rise it? Paine had marched with the army across New Jersey and had come with some words to encourage them. Paine wrote: “These are times that try men’s souls” “The summer soldier and the sunshine Patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” George Washington would read many of his work such as “American Crisis” to their men to raise their spirits.

Finally the night came. George Washington lead twenty-four hundred men, the main part of the army to a crossing point about nine miles from Trenton. There the soldiers crowded in a black ship that would take them to the other side of the shore. The night that day, was very cold, and the river freezing. The men had a difficult crossing. They had to break ice to get the boats in the river and they needed to evade large chunks of floating ice in their way. The good things was that Washington had some good seafarers who new how to navigate in treacherous waters. The sailor maneuvered boat after boat across the icy river. As soon one group got to the New Jersey shore , they returned to pick up another ones. Washington crossed at the early hours of the crossing. He stood and watch how the wet soldiers arrived. He concluded that their spirit was good but that there was one problem, the crossing was taken longer than expected. Another problem was transporting the cannons, that together with the ammunition, weighed two thousands pounds. Placing them into a slippery boat and making sure that it didn’t sink on the way was difficult, dangerous and slow.

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Downstream, two of George Washington’s commanders struggle to take their men across the river but they couldn’t. General James Ewing and Colonel John Cadwalader could not get through the ice so they had to give up the battle at Trenton. By three o’clock, Washington’s men had already crossed and went on, marching the nine miles to Trenton. It was four o’clock when the army started to move; many hours later than Washington had initially planned. He feared that as the sun was rising, their attack wouldn’t be a surprise; however, there was no turning back. Luckily the Americans encounter with the Hessians resulted a complete surprise. The Americans with their courage and cannons won the first fight and made the Hessians retreat to an orchard field. After having retreat, the Hessians organized an attack hours later, from the orchard. After two hours of fight, the Battle of Trenton was over. Americans had had few deaths, while nine hundred Hessians had been captured. After many defeats, the patriots had finally won a great victory.

Here our tale ends, tale of honor and respect which helped to forge a new independent nation. The crossing of the Delaware resulted as planned, and brought the Patriots their first major victory after having so many defeats. The Crossing of the Delaware is something you should never forget, after all it secured independence and victory.

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Finally the moment has come. Colonists had decided to declare Independence. It is a great moment, but before going any further, we’re going to explain how general opinion changed from people wanting to remain under British rule, to people desperately wanting an Independence from them.

The event that swung general opinion toward Independence was Thomas Paine book, “Common Sense” published in January 1776. It was a short but powerful book that expressed all the colonists ideas; ideas they had for many time longed to express but had never been able to. The language used in the book was simple, so that everyone could understand, and direct, straight, forceful. Paine mentioned the things directly as they were without trying to make them look better, without circularity. In his book, Paine proposed that colonists should declare Independence to Britain, that they should form a republican state government, and finally proposed the union of the new states. The reasons for this was that he said that King George III and the aristocrats were frauds and parasites. He wanted the common people to be able to elect all the governors and authorities, not just one third, and he hated the structure and rigid classes of England, where Noble classes smothered common people. Paine thought that with independence and a republican state government, people would be rewarded because of merit and not because of inheritance; the colonies would be able to decide for themselves and be able to trade with whomever they wanted, and also be able to make diplomatic decisions; and they would be free from the the tyrant’s clutches. In short time, Paine’s idea had build the like for independence, and shortly the congress decided it was time for Independence.

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It was a bright day, July 2nd, 1776. The Congress has decided and voted for independence and that now America should be free. The task of writing the declaration of Independence was given to Thomas Jefferson, and by July 4th, 1776, everything was set up. On this memorable day, 4th of July, Americas proudly declared independence. They were free from tyranny, free to make their new government, but above everything else free to prosper. But still, declaring independence was something, but achieving it was completely different. This would bring many difficulties to America, starting that no other country in America had ever won independence against an European country before.

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The Declaration of independence, as expected, drew upon many of Paine’s Ideas. It also was greatly influenced by the Enlightenment ideas. It expressed that all men are created equal and emphasized that men had three unalienable right that could never be taken away: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 56 men signed the declaration of Independence, the first one being John Hancock. It is a beautiful document and in the following paragraphs we are going to analyze it.

The declaration of Independence can be divided into three parts: The Preamble, the Grievances and the Independence or conclusion. The ideas expressed in the Preamble explain the unalienable rights of man as well how governments should really be. It introduces the topic of Independence, and in two paragraphs, it reflects the Enlightenment ideas that all men posses these unalienable rights which are life, property, and pursuit of happiness* that no one can’t ever take away. It states that a government is instituted to protect these rights, but if it fails to do so and is destructive to them, people have the right to change or abolish it. If a government is full of abuses and usurpations, it is people’s right to throw off such government and establish one that would protect their future. It states that the government of the present King of England, George III, has caused repeated injuries and usurpations, so it is necessary to alter the government and separate from it.

The document continues with facts of the king’s faults and usurpations. This part is the Grievances. The Grievances, as its name suggest, are primarily complains toward the king, parliament action’s, and things that shouldn’t be happening that are happening; which are making the colonists declare independence. In several points, there are many complains about the Intolerable acts, the Taxation without Representation, violation of rights and many other faults that have angered the colonists and made them look for the independence. The Grievances end by claiming they had tried redress and have petitioned it many times, but every time they were rejected. The King is a Tyrant and is unable to rule people.

The final part is the actual declaration of Independence and the conclusion. They claimed they had warned the British that their legislature was unfair, and that they have been disavow with their many usurpations; so therefore they must separate from them and remain neutral; enemies at war and friends at peace. Colonies should become independent states with no political connection with Britain. They shall be free to make diplomatic decisions and trade.

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A bright day has shun in the Colonies, with airs of hope and gusts of war. Patriots would fight to the end to see all this ideals become through and we’ll never stop to fight if someone threatens their liberty. The Declaration of Independence is finally been sign, and at the same time…. struggle and bloody war has been opened.

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Click here to find and read the declaration of independece.

War had started. The battles of Lexington and Concord had triggered what had for a long time remained hidden and asleep, but still in existence in the heart of every patriot; the fight for liberty and freedom. As New Englanders kept Boston seized and more militia support arrived, decisions were needed to be taken. The New England Colonies also needed a definite and official answer from the other colonies to know whether they were planning to support them in war and join their side or not. Because of all these, a new congress was decided to be held as quickly as possibly, where members from all colonies were expected to come up with thoughtful decisions and rational conclusions.

 

The Second Continental Congress was convened on May 10, 1775 in Philadelphia. Unlike the first one, ALL thirteen colonies sent delegates and representatives to it. The impact of this Congress was enormous, as well as it splendor and importance. There were many members and delegates gathered including: John Hancock from Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, and Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania. The first thing the congress did was to assume the responsibility of war with Britain, as well give whatever aid necessary to the New Englanders by sending volunteers from the Middle and Southern Colonies to support them and also supplies. Seeing the Seizing of Boston and the battles fought against England, the congress decided to train their men and form a Continental Army. The Continental Army was easily recognized for their famous blue coats. The Congress also decided to place George Washington as the commander of this army. Having fought with great leadership in the French and Indian War (Seven Years War), and coming from Virginia, which was the most powerful and richest colony, George Washington was the best candidate, as he was experienced in battle and assured support from Virginia. He soon proved the Congress they were right about him. The Congress also authorized the printing of money to come up with money for supplies. The Congress had even appointed a standing committee to conduct relations with foreign governments, in case one day the need to ask for help arose; a decision that would later on become the key to victory of the colonists against Britain.

Some radical members of the congress, such as John Adams, wanted to declare independence from Britain. Although some thought this way, the majority did not seek for independence and hope to remain part if the Empire, of course without taxation. Radicals finally recognized that many of the colonists were not ready for independence, for many even thought of allying with the king against the parliament, not knowing the truth about the king. So in July, 1775, after three months of blood share, congress sent an Olive Branch Petition to the king. This petition was a direct appeal to King George III which represented peace.The congress members pleaded to George III, trying to arrive to peaceful resolution and then declaring their loyalty to the Crown. The King rejected the Olive Branch Petition and instead sent more troops to Boston. He declared the colonies to be in a state of rebellion and he dared to hire Hessian mercenaries to try to take over the colonists and colonies. After some months, Congress members were also wanted for treason. As all these happened the cry independence each time grew stronger, as well as the desire to fight for freedom and liberty.

 

The Boston Tea Party

The British East India Company, which was the British joint-stock company in charge for the importation of British tea into the Americas, started to experience economic problems, and the fact of the colonists being on a boycott, just made this worst. In order to help the company, Parliament paased a law that allowed the company to sell its tea directly to the colonists. This way the Brittish tea would be sold at a cheaper price even with the tax, than the smuggled tea brought from Dutchland, and this shall lure the colonists to pay the tax imposed by the British.

But colonists aren’t foolish, they saw the trick that British were trying to pull off, and refuse to buy the tea from the British, even though it was cheaper than the smuggled one. This shows a true rebelion spirit; they won’t give up their efforts, just because the British offered them a better trade. They had already said “We will not accept taxation, without representation,” and they wouldn’t back down on their words, on their rights and their freedom.

On the night of December 16th, 1773, Boston Patriots took matters into their own hands. They all dressed as Mohawk Indians in order to avoid recognition, if by any chances they were caught by the British. They waited until the time was appropiate to board the British ships and then throw ALL the British Tea into the ocean. They also had forbidden to take any bag of tea, that was British with them; they all had to end up in the bottom of the ocean, and who ever was caught taking some tea with him, would be considered a traitor and tied up with a rope and thrown to the ocean, because as said before, “all the tea had to end up in the bottom of the ocean.”

Now this seems a very weird form of rebelion, just imagine all the tea that was wasted by being thrown into the ocean. I personally think it would have been best for them to confiscate all the tea and take it with them, and make the British forfeit all taxes imposed on the colonists without representation, before returning it to them (Remember they must not use or drink this tea, because they are rebeling at this point in order not to pay taxes they consider unfair, since no representation is given to them. They are not looking to provoke the British to start a war, or at least not for now). But who knows what would have happened in that case, probably the war between the Patriots and the British would have taken place earlier in history, because the British would have taken that as a serious insult. Maybe, if the patriots would have been disloyal to their word of not using the British tea, they would start to smuggle the British tea and this would have caused internal problems among the Patriots. Many outcomes could have ocurred, but The Boston Tea Party took place that way, and many people think that was the best way for it to happen, the best way for people in the Boston Colony to rebel against those unfair taxes.