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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.

Loyalists

Loyalists… well they were against many of the Patriots ideas and sided with the king; that’s why they earned a place in our post.

There was 1/5 of the colonists that were loyal to Britain; this people were called “loyalists”. Loyalists were wealthy people known to have sold out everything to get a position at England government. This was believed to be true for many years and persons, but it was just a stereotype. Very few were like this, but many others were just farmers and normal people that were loyalists for the reason that they hated the militia drafts and because for them is was ridiculous to go and fight against the British army who was back then so powerful, that it could go over any other nation, not to mention the colonists.

Loyalists started to express their ways of thinking through out the colonies by newspapers, trying to disperse their ideas everywhere, but patriots decided then to shut down the loyalist newspapers so this couldn’t happen. Patriots also started to ask for taxes that were even more expensive then the British ones. Loyalists didn’t understand that those taxes were to build the great army they needed to fight Britain. Loyalist now were angry for two more things: because patriots didn’t gave them freedom of speech and because the taxes, which were more expensive.

Slaves also ended up becoming loyalists, because many of these people worked for the patriots, and because of the hate they felt for there owners taking away their liberty. They decided then to go on to the other side. Many of them escaped just to go join the British army to help “destroy” their owners. Native Americans also were also appealed by Loyalism. Because British seemed to protect the land west to the Mississippi and were trying to remove the colonists from this land, many Native Americans sided with the Colonists.

Loyalists mostly felt insecure throughout the colonies, because Patriots could torture them, so many moved to Boston where the Red Coats where established. Although Boston was under siege, they felt safer there,having the British army to protect them.

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Before war rages on and the violent strife for freedom in America begins, we are going talk to you about the Armies of the King, and The Armies of the Congress, a very interesting topic in the American Revolution.

 

King’s Army
In 1775, the British Army, known also as the King’s army, was one of the best in the world. In the past years they have already beaten the Spanish “superior” force and have also beaten the French, that even allied with the Indians, couldn’t defeat them. They were nickname “Redcoats” because of their red uniform jackets. The British Army came from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. They were also joined by thousands of blueish green-coated German Soldiers hired from the states of Hesse and Brunswick, and by the green coated Loyalists. A third of the American population remained loyal to Britain, and thousand of these Loyalist fought as king’s troops.

 

Congress’s Army
The congress’s Army, the American Revolutionary army, was made up of Continentals, which are regiments of soldiers raised by the Continental Congress. Because of this, the Congress’s Army is often referred to as the “Continental Army”. Civilian militia would often leave their homes to fight together with these army for the Revolution. Continentals usually wore blue or brown coats, and usually wore the old fashioned three- corner cocked hats, while riflemen and militia volunteers mostly wore civilian clothes or hunting shirts. The Continental infantryman was the heart of the Congress’s army, trained to stand firmly in rank during the heat of battle.

Weapons and Technology:
Both Continental and British infantry carried smoothbore muskets and used the same battle tactics: massed firing by ranks and charging with the bayonet. In one hand, we have the British who would produce grenades and would train elite grenadier companies for each of their regiments. In the other hand, we have the American artillery which was essential to the success of the revolutionary forces. Gunners were respected for their outstanding accuracy and skill, and helped win key battles in the revolution.

 

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“In defence of the freedom that is our birthright… We have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the agressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.” John Hancock

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.

 

John Hancock

Now don’t misunderstand this John Hancock with the one of the movie Hancock, although they might have the same name, one is Will Smith acting as a superhero, but the other one is a prominent statemen and merchant of the city of Boston and an actual hero of the American Revolution.

John Hancock was probably one of the wealthiest man that lived during those times in the colonies. Although his father died when he was young boy, Hancock was adopted by his aunt; and uncle and from them he inherited a shipping business that provided him with a lovable amount of profit. But don’t think of Hancock as a rich boy who had slaves and servants do all the work for him. Although he did had slaves, Hancock had an iniciative to prove himself a worthy man. He graduated from the Boston Latin School and later enrolled on the Harvard College where he received his bachelors degree.

Hancock was, by this times, very oriented to business, he didn’t cared that much for politics since, they didn’t concern him; but as tension among Britain and the colonies, began to appear after the Seven Year War. He started to take roll in politics affairs, starting with the  approval of the Sugar, Stamp and Townshend Acts, he soon started to use his funds to finance the colonial cause against these taxation without representation, since these taxes started to harm his profit and the colony of Massachusetts itself.

After a while, Hancock started to get used to this taxes, but many other merchants refused to pay them, and soon started to smuggle imported merchandise from the dutch or the swedes into the colonies in order to avoid these taxes. Knowing these duties officers in Boston are vigilant and have their eyes opened in case they see a posible smuggler’s shipment.  On May 9, 1768 these officers spot the boat “Liberty” , which is John Hamcock’s property. They notice the ship contains a cargo of Madeira wine, 25 pipes of it to be exact, and started to get suspicious since the ship had a cargo that needed only 1/4 of its carrying capacity. They assumed that John Hancock had only paid taxes for those 25 pipes, but he had hidden many more on a secret compartment on the ship and was planning to unload them in the night, without paying the duty taxes for it. They didn’t have any proof of this, but they forboded to unload the “Liberty” and accused John Hancock as a criminal smuggler.

He was sent to two trials, at the first trial he lost the case, and the ship “Liberty” was confiscated and used to enforce trade regulations, although it didn’t took long before some angry colonists burned it down in Rhode island, one year after confiscation. And on the second trial, having John Adams as his lawyer, he faced the charges of having unloaded 100 pipes of wine, illegaly without paying duties for them. If Hancock was sentenced guilty, he would have to pay a fine that tripled the value of these wine shipment, and these added up to £9,000! Luckily for Hancock after 5 months of proceeding these trials, charges were dropped for unknown reasons and John Hancock was left alone for a while.

Many colonists got really angered for this incident, and saw Hancock as a martyr to the cause of the Patriots. They instantly, took the first opportunity they found to take revenge for that, and the Boston Tea Party occured. But on the other hand, loyalists and the British crown saw Hancock as a smuggler, a thief, a man with no honor who was swimming on dirty money, he was even named “King of the Colonial Smugglers” and was thought to be the head of all smuggling operations. But historians have not found any proof of him being a smuggler of any kind, and that the mayority of his money was earned with honest work and trade.

Now going a big further in time, John Hancock was hated by the British for being such an important member of the Revolution in the colonies. He became the president of the Second Continental Congress and during the War for Independence he was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and maybe his most remembered and significant action was to be the first, of all representatives to sign the Act of Independence of the United States of America. His large and stylish signature was the first one to be on a document, that would change the world forever.

Question: The Midnight Ride

General Thomas Gage had secretly dispatched the troops towards Lexington and Concord. In a short time after they had been dispatched, the notice of the British Army marching toward Lexington was found out by some Colonists. Paul Revere was one of these colonists and he rode as fast as he could toward Lexington.

The horse was running as fast as it could run. The man was crying at the top of his voice:

“The British are coming! The British are coming!”

Or wait, was it “The Redcoats are coming”? Many history books present different versions of this story. Some claim that Paul Revere shouted that british were coming, others that the redcoats were coming, and some even claim that he shouted that the regulars were coming out. There are even some stories that say that Paul Revere was captured and didn’t reveal the message in time. Whatever the truth is, we want to know your opinion about this subject. Please comment and at the end we’ll see which story wins with the best arguments.

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“Give me FREEDOM or give me DEATH”


– Patrick Henry

“Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write”


– John Adams

“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can”


– Samuel Adams

“The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I Am Not A Virginian, But An American!”


– Patrick Henry

Battle of CONCORD

[Extension coming soon]

After events in Lexington, the town of Concord turned into alert, knowing of the advancement and approach of the British troops. In the morning, the men started to gather to begin their march to go and confront the redcoats. However, at the time when these colonists got to see the British, they enter in fear and retreated to a hilltop outside of town.

British continued to advanced until they got to Concord. They entered it with two purpose: destroy weapons and gather of food. But the British didn’t count with something; Militia returned and attacked the british troops as they approached the North Bridge in Concord. As the British were walking through, militia had grown stronger as more and more farmers had left their duties to join and fight. At first, the militia was just looking silently, hidden in the trees or rocks, but after, they opened fire through many positions of the road making the british tired and angry. At last the British suffered a lot; having 73 dead, 174 wounded, and 26 missing. The Colonists got 49 dead, 39 wounded and five as missing. The fight for freedom had begun. The British were now retreating back to Boston. The Colonist had a small taste of victory and were desiring more.

The only bright spot for the British was the fact that Lord Percy, which had left Boston with a smaller army after the main British force had moved to Lexington at first, had finally arrived to Lexington, waiting to disperse the Colonists. The Battle now through Concord and Lexington… resulted a success to colonists.

The REVOLUTIONARY WAR HAD BEGUN.

The colonists’ relationship with the British had deteriorated and had taken a drastic turn with the imposition of the coercive or intolerable acts. Tension was growing high, especially on Boston and its surroundings after the port of Boston was closed by the British, as answer to the Tea Party. Chaos was around as many patriot leaders decided to leave the city because of fear of being arrested, hiding in smaller places. Tension increased even more in the colonies with the appointment of General Thomas Gage as the royal governor Massachusetts. John Hancock, Samuel Adams and other Patriot leaders, convened on a Provincial Congress, decided to ignore his government, and made their own rules and laws that colonist would follow. The consequences of this actions were foreseen, so in the Provincial Congress, it was also decided to stockpile weapons and ammunition.

To the west of Boston there is a village called Lexington where the inhabitants were also amunition for a war, which they suppose it was about to come. April 19, 1775, suddenly two man; one named Paul Revere and William Dawes arrived and made the call to advice that the British or red coats were coming. Supposedly they had been sent by General Gage to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams which were currently at Lexington after Massachusetts Congress, and also with the objective of destroying all the weapons and ammunitions they had heard were being stored in Concord. By night the size of the British troops increased constantly, which then began to move in search of their objective.

The local militia at Lexington decided to hold the British and rail them back to Boston. In the very morning, about 70 patriots gathered at Lexington Green waiting for the Red Coats to arrive. When the British reached Lexington, the commander got surprised for the small amount people that had the colonists force. As reaction to this, he commands the colonists to throw their weapons, start to disperse and walk away. Some colonists obeyed and started to move; with their weapons still in hand, when suddenly… a gun was fired. Still, it is unknown from where it came but is believed that this shot was fired by a colonist who was hidden in a place nearby. This shot was the one that trigger the war, making British to answer back killing some colonists. The others ran away, leaving free the road for the British to continue moving west.

 

” We shall never retreat, we shall never surrender ” – Bostonian Patriots