American Revolution

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The American Revolution refers to the period during the last half of the 18th century in which the Thirteen Colonies that became the United States of America gained independence from the British Empire.

In this period, the Colonies united against the British Empire and entered a period of armed conflict known as the Revolutionary War or as the American War of Independence, between 1775 and 1783. This culminated in an American Declaration of Independence in 1776, and victory on the battlefield circa 1781.

France played a key role in aiding the revolution, providing the American patriots with money and munitions, organizing a coalition against Britain, and sending an army and a fleet that played a decisive role at the battle that effectively ended the war at Yorktown. The Americans, however, were heavily influenced by the ideas of the enlightenment philosophers, being against absolute monarchy, and did not see the French form of government as a model.

The American Revolution included a series of broad intellectual and social shifts that occurred in the early American society, such as the new republican ideals that took hold in the American population. In some colonies, sharp political debates broke out over the role of democracy in government.

The revolutionary era began in 1763, when the military threat to the English colonies from France ended. Adopting the view that the colonies should pay a substantial portion of the costs of defending them, Britain imposed a series of taxes which proved unpopular and, because the colonies lacked elected representation in the governing British Parliament, many colonists considered the laws to be illegitimate. After protests in Boston, the British sent combat troops, the Americans mobilized their militia, and fighting broke out in 1775. Although Loyalists were about 15-20% of the population, throughout the war the Patriots generally controlled 80-90% of the territory; the British could only hold a few coastal cities. In 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies voted unanimously to adopt a Declaration of Independence, by which they established the United States of America. The Americans formed an alliance with France in 1778 that evened the military and naval strengths. Two main British armies were captured at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781, leading to peace with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The United States was bounded by British Canada on the north, Spanish Florida on the south, and the Mississippi River on the west.

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