The Americans were loyal subjects up to and past 1760. During the French and Indian War, Americans had contributed a great deal in cash and in troops, and being loyal to the empire, did not feel cheated or betrayed. It was the aftermath which lead to the dissatisfaction and resentments which were later exploited to cause the rebellion.
George III became king with the death of George II, his grandfather, late in 1760. For all intents and purposes, the French and Indian War was over by then. There had been several wars between France and England in the century before the French and Indian War, and the Americans in many cases had been largely left to their own devices to defend themselves. They didn't resent this, it was their corner of the empire to defend. In 1689, William III and Mary II of England went to war with France. It was basically England, Holland, the Holy Roman Empire and several German stateson the one hand, and France as their enemy. William was Dutch, but his mother had been Mary Stuart, the sister of King Charles II and James II. He married Mary Stuart who was the daughter James Stuart, who had briefly been King James II of England. In 1688, the English army officers abandoned him, and he fled to France. William landed in England, and Parliament arranged a new succession. In 1689, France again attempted to invade Holland, as Louis XIV had done since 1672. (There was a hell of a lot more than that going on, but it didn't impinge on North America.) This began the Nine Years War (1689 to 1698). In North America, the colonist called it King William's War. At this time there began the pattern of France attempting to curb the power of the Holy Roman Empire (basically, Austria and the German states she controlled), and England and Holland taking sides against the French. France did not want Austria to be powerful in Europe, and nobody wanted France to be powerful. There was little effect on North America, as England and France fought at sea, and the French encouraged Indian raids into English territory in North America. The colonists had defneded themselves since the foundation of Jamestown in 1607, and since the English sent them arms and munitions, they were content with that. (For the British who object to my use of England and the English, keep in mind that the Act of Union was not until 1715.)
In 1700, King Charles II (Carlos II) of Spain died without a son, and he had named the Duke of Anjou, the second grandson of Louis XIV of France, as heir to the entire Spanish empire. William III didn't think much of that idea, and neither did Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor, wh
o had taken over from his brother Joseph that same year. So in 1701, the War of the Spanish Succession began, and Willaim began to put together another coalition as he done in 1689. However, he died in 1702, and his sister-in-law became Queen Anne. The war in North America was largely a replay of King William's War, and the colonists called it Queen Anne's war. Again the English supplied arms and munitions, and their navy opposed the French, but they sent precious few troops. They were more interested in protecting the sugar islands in the West Indies, and the money boys in Parliament didn't give a rat's patoot about the North American colonies, but they cared a great deal about the sugar islands. Once again, the Americans (as they were now calling themselves and were being called in London) did their duty by the empire without complaint. John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough lead Queene Anne's armies, and those of the Dutch and most of the German allies brilliantly, and Prince Eugene of Savoy did the same for the Holy Roman Empire. Sidney Godolphin, the first Earl Godolphin, lead the government at home. Although he stepped down as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1701, he continued to run Queen Anne's government behind the scenes, until late in the war.
The war had little effect beyond the frontier of the English colonies. The Indians were often used as proxies, as in Florida and Alabama, and in the raids on the English colonies. The English did take over Newfoundland, but the only troops the English provided attempted to take Québec from the French, now with some colonial aid, a project at which they consistently failed miserably. The Amerians were content with their lot, however. They had been fighting the Indians for almost a century now, and they were not threatened by French troops. Marlborough saw to it that Louis XIV hand his hands full in Europe. Late in the war, Robert Harley (later Earl of Oxford and Mortimer) became Lord High Treasurer and lead the Whig movement to end the influence of Lady Marlborough on the queen, and to take over from the Tories. This had little immediate effect on the Americans, but it did mean that the money boys in Parliament were increasingly in charge of policy. That was to have eventual disastrous consequence for the British, but hindsight is always 20-20.
At the end of that war in 1713 (the Duke of Anjou became the King of Spain anyway), England was granted trading rights on the Spanish Main, the north coast of South America as well as Cuba and Florida. Queen Anne died in 1714, and Louis XIV in 1715. It would be too much trouble to explain why, but the Elector of Hanover (descended from Henry VII) became King George I of England. The Act of Union in 1715 united (sort of) Eng;amd. Scotland and Ireland, creating the United Kingdom and leading the English to over-optimistically call the island Great Britain. In the long run, though, it was good for England and Scotland--for Ireland, not so much.
In 1731, a Spanish coast guard ship off Florida boarded a British merchant vessel, and the Spanish captain cut off the ear of Jenkins, the English captain. He appeared before a committee in the House of Commons, but no written record survives. The British prime minister, Walpole, was not able to drum up much public support for a war with Spain, so the matter was dropped. In 1739, though, Walpole and the money boys in Parliament were looking for a way to get more concessions out of Spain, so they dredged up the Jenkins incident, and demanded reparations from Spain. Spain told them to F-off, as Walpole knew they would, and so they went to war. Neither nation was in a position to invade the other, so it was necessarily a naval war. (More than a century later, Thomas Carlyle dubbed it the War of Jenkins' Ear.) Mostly, the British tried to take Spanish territory in South America. Admiral Vernon successfully took Porto Bello and became a public hero. He also lead two disastrous expeditions against Caragena, in which Lawrence Washington participated. Lawrence later named the Washington family estate on the Potomac River Mount Vernon in his honor.
George Anson lead an expedition against Spanish shipping in the Pacific. Historians no longer consider military history cool, so they focus on the deaths from scurvy, many of them claiming that more than 1400 men died of the disease. I consider that figure overinflated, although certainly more than a thousand men died of scurvy. But Anson persisted and shut down Spanish shipping on the west coast of South America. He tried to take the Spanish treasure galleon from Manila, but did not arrive in time due to adverse winds. After standing off and on for months, it became clear that the galleon would not sail from Acapulco that year, so Anson headed west into the Pacific. More men died of scurvy, and Anson arrived in China with HMS Centurion, his flagship, and less than 300 men. He had left Spithead three years earlier with six warships and two supply vessels, and more than 2000 officers, sailors and soldiers. But in June, 1743, he intercepted the treasure galleon, ran down and engaged it, and took it. They had been hoping for a good haul, because it had not sailed the previous year, but it exceeded their wildest expectation. They had already taken about 50,000 or 60,000 pounds sterling from Spanish ships, and were hoping to get 500,000 or 600,000 Spanish pieces of eight, Spanish dollars, since the ship hadn't sailed the year before. But in the galleon, they found more than one million, three hundred thousand pieces of eight, as well as some gold coins and gold and silver ingots. There were fewer than 250 survivors in his ship, but they were all now very rich men. The eventual tally was more than a quarter of a million pounds sterling.
That was good, because the Spanish had taken hundreds of British merchant ships. The Royal Navy wasn't protecting trade, because they were too busy taking French ships. At the end 9f 1740, while Anson was on his way to glory and fabulous riches, and Vernon was squandering American lives in South America, Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia and the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, had both died. Frederick II of Prussia immediately invaded Silesia, which the Austrians had stolen from Prussian way back in 1631. The daughter of Charles V, Maria Teresa, never forgave Frederick, and the war of the Austrian succession was underway. The American's called it King Georges War. The Spanish and British fought over Florida, and the Royal Navy took Havana. At the end of the war, Spain traded Florida for Havana. This lead to bad times for the Americans until the War of 1812, but that was a later story.
Once again, the British sent troops to North America, but not to protect the colonies--their goal was to take Canada away from the French. The Americans, who had to fight off the Indians, nevertheless gave the empire a good deal of support in the way men, ships and supplies. Many Americans died in Vernon's expeditions in South America, too, mostly from disease. But the colonists still thought of themselves as empire loyalists. Troops from New England, supplied from New England, and supported by the Royal Navy, had taken the fortress of Louisbourg, in what is now Nova Scotia. After the war, Britain gave it back to the French, which irritated the hell out of the Americans, but they were still loyal. Now the scene is set for the the Revolution.
I've spent more than two hours on this post. You'll have to wait for me to do the rest.
The historian Barbara Tuchman wrote an excellent book entitled The March of Folly. In the preface, she tells the story of the Renaissance Popes (at one time, at the beginning of the 15th century, there were three of them) had, through their greed, corruption, cupidity and stupidity caused the Protestant Reformation. Then she looked at two modern examples: Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War, and Lord North and the American Revolution. But even before Lord North took office, the British seemed hell-bent of screwing up their relations with the American colonies.
During the French and Indian War, the colonies had provided provisions, transport by land, sea and lakes and rivers, and sent thousands of troops to support British operations, which were not defending the colonies, but were making war on New France (Canada) to attempt to take it away from the French. Still, the colonists did not complain, they saw it as doing their part. Historians today say the French and Indian War lasted until 1763, but they're conflating the French and Indian War with the Seven Years War in Europe, when Russia, Austria and France attacked Prussia. The two events were coincidental, but otherwise unrelated. After Wolfe's troops took Québec in 1759 (he was killed at the outset of the battle, and the Marquis de Montcalm, who commanded the French, was mortally wounded trying to rally his troops at the gates of the city, and died overnight)--the Royal Navy delivered more troops and supplies in the spring of 1760, and it was all over for the French in North America. Jeffrey Amherst, who had done well in the war, was sent with British troops to set up forts, and settlers were admitted to what we would call the Midwest. The Indians didn't much care for that, and in 1763, they started a war, attacking British forts and killing settlers. The Americans could have told them what would happen, but they were not consulted, and the poor saps who had taken up the offer for land to settle were the victims. General Gage was sent in to clean up the mess, which George III's government was quick to blame on Amherst. It became known as Pontiac's War or Pontiac's Rebellion, from the name of a charismatic Ottawa chieftain.
When Gage wanted to quarter his troops on the American colonists, and make them pay for their provisions, the Americans balked--it was certainly something which no one in Britain would have tolerated. The Americans had provided quarters and provisions for British troops during the war, even though those troops were not directly defending them, but now they asked why they should have to do that in peacetime. The British government issued a proclamation forbidding the Americans from crossing the mountains, a case of closing the barn door after the horse was gone. The Americans were already over the mountains in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Parliament passed the Quartering Act of 1765, which gave the army the right to seize large buidings like barns, warehouses and taverns, to quarter the troops, and required the colonial assemblies to provide provisions for them--fat chance. Now the people in New York were pissed off (that's where Gage lead his army after the Pontiac War) along with the people over the mountains in the south. Colonial assemblies ignored orders to provide provisions, and some British officers just seized peoples' food.
During the French and Indian War, Thomas Pownall had been sent to New England to replace the somewhat deluded Governor Shirley, who seemed to think he was a great military man. In the spring of 1758, Pownall had written to the Lords of Trade (who were responsible for the colonies, which tells you a lot about how Parliament saw the role of the colonies) to tell them that before the war, Massachusetts had an annual budget of about 45,000 pounds sterling. He told them that now, one man in seven in Massachusetts was serving the King by land or sea, and that the colony had run up a debt in excess of 330,000 pounds. The assembly passed a measure to sink the debt which raised property taxes and put a surtax on the excise--taxes on tobacco, alcohol, playing cards, luxury items--and that the colonists accepted it because it had been passed by their elected representatives. That went right over the government's collective head.
The Seven Years War had cost Britain plenty, and they were now saying that they had spent the money to protect the colonies, which was largely BS. They sent troops to North America to take Canada away from the French, and the colonies had spent much blood and treasure to support them. But based on that claim, Parliament passed the Stamp Act, to attempt to get their expenditures back from the colonists. After all, under the "theory" of mercantilism, that's what colonies are for, right? I'm sure you've heard all about the Stamp Act. The colonists boycotted British goods, and Parliament repealed the Stamp Act. But they passed what became known as the Declaratory Act, saying the Parliament had the power to legislate for the colonies in all matters. That went over like a lead balloon. The colonies had been paying their own way and defending themselves for a hundred and fifty years, and they had done it through their own assemblies. They pointed out that they weren't represented in Parliament, which replied that they were virtually represented. They also passed a Sugar Act, which actually reduced the tax on molasses from the West Indies, but they sent the Royal Navy to enforce the act. There had always been some kind of sugar tax, but the colonists had largely ignored it, and when anyone was arrested, they were tried before a local jury, who almost invariably let them off. Now they were haled into admiralty courts.
I could go on and on, but basically, it was as though the government of George III was in the grip of some evil genius which would piss off the colonists at every turn. From the loyalty and jubilation at the defeat of the French in 1760, in less than ten years, government had alienated most Americans. A large proportion of the population remained loyal, but now there were enough people who were outraged for rabble-rousers like Sam Adams to whip up a rebellion. The colonists were not compelled to rebel, but at least of third of them came to believe that they had no other choice in the face of the tyranny of Parliament.
Thank you. That was very helpful
Many decades ago, my brother and his wife, my wife and I, went to Fort Ticonderoga. It had a similar history of wars between the French, Native Indians, Canada, and the US.
The French called it Carillon. In 1758, the largest European army yet assembled in North America marched north in New York to take the fort. There were thousands of colonial militia members, and the colonies provided provisions and transport by land and by the lakes. The commander was James Abercrombie, a thorough incompetent. His second in command was George, Lord Howe, who was competence personified. The troops--English, Scots and Americans--liked and admired Howe. On the day the army arrived to begin the siege, Howe was shot dead in a skirmish with the French. The officers in Abercrombie's army urged him to cut a road to some nearby heights to force the French to abandon their position. Abercrombie refused, saying such a road could not be made. (That's exactly how the British took Ticonderoga from the Americans during the revolution.) So Abercrombie threw his troops at the French all day, and the French fought them off all day. Abercrombie later blamed the American militia, which was unjustified, and his subordinate officers said as much. This was just one more incident that rankled with the Americans.
The battle of Carillon at Wikipedia
Was there a defining moment before the revolution that led the resistance to declare independence rather than simply oppose British tyranny, as I assume they had done before?
Setanta, would that be the Boston Massacre?
PS hi @perennialloner, this is a fascinating thread. Thank you for starting it.
I'm not sure what you mean by "oppose British tyranny." The colonists considered themselves British. They had a case of the ass with Parliament. Get rid of the idea that there is ever a "defining" moment for large, complex historical events. See the response to Jespah below.
That was an important symbolic event, Jespah, but the road to rebellion was littered with events, resentments, acts of Parliament, perceived betrayals by King George's government (which was not the same as Parliament), betrayals by the army and navy. There was a concatenation of events and personalities which lead to the rebellion. It would be impossible to pick a single event that triggered rebellion. The Boston massacre certainly outraged people in New England--in the Carolinas and Georgia, probably not so much, although they would have been troubled by it. If i had to pick a single event, it would be the battle of Lexington/Concord, which was really a single event, along with the armed mob (i.e., the militia) who assembled and fired on the British as they retreated to Boston.
Sorry, I mispoke. I guess by defining moment I meant to say turning point if that's any better. I understand that there isn't one occurrence that large, complex historical events can be reduced to but I wonder if there was a moment when specific actors of the resistance like Benjamin Franklin, who - to my understanding - wanted to embody a British aristocrat for much of his life, decided that seceding from Britain to be free of the Parliament's tyranny was the answer. Maybe I'm beating a dead horse. If I am, I apologize.
In the case of our revolution, there was an odd progression of events which i do not see elsewhere in history. For well over one hundred fifty years, there had been English-speaking colonists on the mainland of the North American continent. They may have had their resentments from time to time, but by and large they were loyal subjects and willing participants in the empire. When word came in 1760 that the regulars still held Québec (the city) and had been relieved by the Royal Navy, the Americans celebrated. Just fifteen years later, the moving armed brawl took place when the regulars and Marines marched from Boston to Concord, and then back again. How did the situation turn around so fast?
For the Americans, it was a series of betrayals, as they saw it. The Sugar Act, attempted to end almost one hundred fifty years of smuggling. They had always smuggled, and the Royal Navy had looked the other way. Everybody smuggled: the planters in the Sugar Islands smuggled between the Dutch, French and Spanish islands; people in England smuggled wine and brandy, furs and silk from the continent. Now suddenly the Navy and government were trying to end smuggling, but only in North America. The navy had betrayed them.
The Quartering Act required the colonists to provide what they had always freely given in time of war--but this was in peacetime. The army had betrayed them, and did so again when they shot down people in the streets of Boston, the Boston massacre that Jespah referred to.
Parliament betrayed them again and again--the Sugar Act, the Quartering Act, the Stamp Act (a blatant and transparent attempt at a cash grab), the Declaratory Act, the Boston Port Act. The King's government betrayed them with the Royal Proclamation which prohibited them from crossing the mountains. They had already crossed the mountains. It was an attempt to avoid conflicts with the Indians such as the recent Pontiac War--but it was stupid and wrong-headed, and it lead to the Quartering Act and the riots in New York when Gage's army took people's barns and warehouses, and in a few cases, even came and took the food from their homes.
They knew this wasn't happening in Britain, and would never happen there. The English had never liked nor trusted standing armies, and now they were raising a standing army in North America. Before Frederick, Prince of Wales, died in 1751, Prince George had been a royal nobody. His only friends had been young army officers. After the Seven Years War, a lot of them were out of work, so the Earl of Bute came up with this nifty plan whereby they would get work, and they could get troops to keep the colonist from crossing the mountains (they were already across the mountains!). That was the establishment of the Royal American companies, troops raised in North America, with officers from the unemployed ranks of those who had fought in the Seven Years War. It was another stupid and wrong-headed move, and it made the colonist resentful, and King George resented their resentment.
Really, Barbara Tuchman had it right. it was the March of Folly, and it seemed that the government and the King did everything wrong. From the point of view of the Americans, these were deliberate provocations, which ended in blood and warfare in April, 1775, in Lexington, Concord and the long nightmare march back to Boston. The King had already told Parliament in an address in February, 1775, that a state of rebellion existed in the American colonies, and at Lexington and Concord, the colonists made that claim a reality.
I imagine people responded to shooting deaths (although I agree it probably meant more for Northerners, plus Attucks was a man of color) and the entering into homes because those were more personal invasions. These trampled on all sorts of rights.
Imagine being forced to keep a soldier in your home, to feed him and add extra logs to the fire if he says he's cold. Picture doing this when you're poor or close to it. This was a recipe for resentment, even from people who might have supported the British cause, I suspect.
Earlier, i said that the people of the Carolinas and Georgia were not outraged by the Boston Massacre, although they may have been troubled. I think an explanation was in order. The Sugar Act did not affect the people of the south, because they weren't run runners. They undoubtedly smuggled, butthey didn't smuggle molasses in to make rum, which they would then smuggle into England, Holland and France. That was how it worked in New England, so thepeople there were incensed by the Sugar Act, especially because it was now being enforced (the earlier Molasses Act actually had twice as much tax, but it was not effectively enforced), and because trials were taken out of the hands of local juries and put into Admiralty courts. I find it hard to feel sorry for the New Englanders, given that they were involved in a criminal activity, and more odious, the rum running involved a three point trade route, with the rum runners using those proceeds to buy cheap trade goods, which they used to buy slaves in Africa. But this isn't about morality--the Sugar Act upset people in the north, but not the people in the south.
The Quartering Act also didn't mean much in the south. They had contributed precious little to the war effort, and had not been "protected" by the regulars, as was the case in the north. (The regulars were not, in fact, there to protect anyone--their mission was to take New France [Canada] from the French.) So no one attempted to troops on the southerners. There is a long, complicated explanation for why the Stamp Act didn't mean as much in the south, which i won't go into. The Stamp Act was the first thing to annoy the southerners, but it did't annoy them all that much. The Declaratory Act and the Boston Port Act didn't mean much to them, either.
Another factor would have been the attitudes of the loyalists, the Tories in the south. I can't say if there were more of them, but they were very militant. In the mid-Atlantic states and New England, people kept a close watch on the Tories, so they were not inclined to bring attention to themselves, they kept their heads down. In the South, although the rebels were very active initially, when the Continental volunteers marched away, the Tories in the militia formed armed bands, and began hunting leaders of the rebellion in their states. The war in the south was bitter, brutal and bloody. Many southerners joined Tarleton's Legion, and many served Cornwallis when he marched inland in the Carolinas. It is not unreasonable to suggest that people in the south were not terribly enthusiastic for rebellion in the years before Lexington and Concord, and a good many of them were outraged that people were firing on the regulars in 1775.
Do you think any of those differences (of course we know there were several others) led in a straight line to the Civil War? I mean this more in terms of the North and the South having such obviously differing interests. With slavery and slave owning being but one of them.
Maybe . . . i think it's kind of "iffy," though. Technically, slavery was legal everywhere in the colonies before the revolution. It was hypocritical for New Englanders to take a moralistic stance about slavery, given their role in the slave trade. something southerners pointed out in the 1840s and -50s as the issue heated up in the years leading up to the civil war.
But a lot of it was the product of neglect by the "mother country." James I died in 1625, and his son, Charles I, soon got into disputes with Parliament about religion and the religious establishment. He prorogued Parliament in 1628, and tried to govern for ten years without a parliament. This lead to the crisis which culminated in the civil wars in England in the 1640s and early 1650s. The colonies were pretty much on their own, and they frequently traded with the French and the Dutch in the West Indies, especially when they needed firearms, powder and shot to defend themselves against the aborigines (Virginia and Maryland) or to make war on the aborigines (Massachusetts). John Winthrop sailed for Massachusetts in 1630, bringing the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company with him, in a bid to establish an independent colony.
The civil wars in England meant that no help would come from England for the colonies--some colonists returned to England to fight in the civil wars, but far more found refuge from the strife in America. When the Stuart monarchy was restored in 1660, the colonies had been governing themselves for decades, and in the case of Virginia, largely was self-sufficient for more than 50 years. Even after 1660, there was a good deal of more or less benign neglect. Charles II paid his debts to those who had supported his father in the war by giving land away in North America, and in the specific case of his debt to Admiral William Penn, he paid his debt by giving the admiral's son William Penn the province of Pennsylvania (Penn's Woods). The Carolinas were settled by dozens of people who were being rewarded by the King. Charles II was nobody's fool, and he largely left the colonies to their own devices, simply appointing royal governors, who had little real power, and were usually ignored by the colonists. New York, New Jersey and Delaware were created from the Dutch colony of New Holland after Charles II's brother, James, Duke of York, captured New Amsterdam in 1664, and Charles left land owners in possession, and gave freedom of conscience to the Dutch and Swedish colonists (what became Delaware had been a Swedish colony, which the Dutch had stolen, fair and square), something he could do without reference to Parliament.
So really, one needs almost to look at each colony individually. There may well have been more Tories in the Carolinas, given that they were there at all because of royal favor. That was not true, though, of Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and the Hampshire grants (New Hampshire). Georgia was envisioned as a penal colony, but the land was too valuable, and settlers flooded in, who mostly wanted to be left alone.
One might say that the seeds were sown in the colonial and the revolutionary periods, but the strife that lead to our civil war was largely home-grown. Hypocrisy abounded in every region of the colonies and latter in the fledgling nation.
By the way, hypocrisy was an issue because of the situation before the revolution, and during the revolution. I've mentioned how the New Englanders were involved in the slave trade. For Massachusetts, the revolutionary war was largely over in less than a year. It began on the long, bloody road between Boston and Concord, of course. Washington arrived after Bunker Hill, and he found a god-awful mess, with thousands of militiamen coming and going pretty much as they pleased, and electing their own officers. He did his best to straighten things out, but got little cooperation from the commanders of the state militias. They were aghast at the idea that he actually expected them to fight the regulars, and feared the British would burn Boston (they had set fire to Charles Town during the battle called Bunker Hill). Before he arrived, Benedict Arnold, an officer in the Connecticut milita, was sent to New York to take Ticonderoga (it was actually his idea). Arnold arrived at about the same time as Ethan Allen and his "Green Mountain Boys," and they took the fortress with pathetic ease. Then,of course, Arnold and Allen fell to squabbling over who was in command. Henry Knox was a Boston bookseller who had read many books about war and military matters, and who had dreams of military glory. Washington sent him to Ticonderoga, and he performed the very difficult mission of dragging the cannon from the fortress back to Boston.
Washington had urged the militia commanders to fall in with his plan to attack Boston over the ice once the inner harbor had frozen. They were horrified at the thought, and again urged the argument that the regulars would burn Boston. At one point, Washington rather testily asked them if they thought the army would burn the roof over its head in the dead of winter. There was no moving them, though, so Washington came up with another plan. He had now a small force of Continentals, some recruited locally, and some sent up from Congress in Philadelphia. So, at the beginning March, 1776, Washington set them to work making fascines, the woven small branches of trees and shrubs, and digging up the ground around Cambridge. On the night of March 4, he sent his dragoons to secure Dorchester Heights, and the infantry followed after with cartloads of dirt, rocks and fascines. There was no way to dig up the ground on the Heights overnight, so they made gabions (crude boxes) with the fascines, filled them with diret and stones. and set up instant fortifications (although after all that work, i'm sure the Continentals didn't think of them as instant). Then they dragged the guns Knox had brought from Ticonderoga onto the Heights. The next morning, they lobbed a few shots into the harbor, just to say hello to the Royal Navy. Washington refrained from a general bombardment, though, because now they might burn down Boston. Howe wanted to land troops and attack them, but during two weeks of bad weather, he found out how aghast the officers of the army and the navy were. It would be Bunker Hill all over again, only now the rebels had heavy artillery, and the navy was seriously threatened. Finally, on March 17th, the regulars marched down to the harbor front, dropped down into boats and were ferried out to warships and transports. Then they sailed away, never to return.
Although there were some raids, the war was essentially over for New England. But life goes on, and there's always plenty of good money to be made. New England merchants made a good deal of money selling salt beef, salt pork and grain to the British in Halifax (something they also did during the War of 1812). They don't teach you that in high school, and likely not even in university--but southerners knew, and it was just one more bone stuck in their craw, especially in view of how horrendous their experience of the war was after 1778.
There are legions of sinners, and precious few saints in history.
Ah, it's Evacuation Day!
When I was a kid growing up in Pennsylvania, we learned about Penn and also the Lenni Lenape (sp?) native Americans. Then we moved to NY and I didn't know from Mohawks and too much about Saratoga. I know Saratoga was the site of a pivotal battle.
Saratoga was the military swan song of Benedict Arnold. Because of his later betrayal, kids are not taught in school how important he was in keeping the revolution alive from 1775 to 1777. At Saratoga, he was a madman, leading the troops to the attack--the New Englanders in particular liked and trusted him. Some people claim he was drunk, but hey, whatever works.
The Iroquois Confederacy spent 150 years attempting to destroy or drive out the French--from 1608 to 1759. They were very pleased with the outcome of the French and Indian War. Therefore, when the revolution began, they remained loyal allies to the King, especially as they so admired William Johnson, who had been the King's Indian agent until his death in 1774. That sealed their fate. Washington, who had spent a good many years fighting Indians in the French and Indian War, and no longer had any regard for them, sent General Sullivan into Mohawk country in 1779, to destroy them. They fled to Canada, where the King granted them land, and the English settlers got busy robbing them blind.