American History: A Survey (Brinkley), 13th Edition


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American Revolution

The military phase of the American Revolution began in Massachusetts in 1775, but quickly spread. An American invasion of Canada in 1775 and 1776 proved unsuccessful, but combined with patriot agitation in the South, it convinced the British that the colonial revolt was not a local phenomenon in the area around Boston. After the British evacuated Boston, the focus of the war moved to New York and Pennsylvania. There, from 1776 to 1778, the struggle turned into a conventional war in which the American were woefully overmatched. A series of British blunders and misfortunes allowed the Americans to escape defeat and even to score an important victory in upstate New York in the fall of 1777. The British turned their attention to the South, and spent three frustrating years battling a new and baffling form of guerrilla warfare throughout the Southern countryside. Despite significant victories at Savannah and Charleston, the British commander Lord Cornwallis was forced to surrender the bulk of the British troops at Yorktown on October 17, 1781.


In the first phase of the war, where were the forts that the British used for their attacks? What geographical features did Britain take advantage of to press its attack?


What cities were key to both British and Colonial strategy? What features of climate and geography made these cities so important?


How did climate and geography impact the American and British war effort? What are examples of hardships or opportunities imposed by these factors on both sides of the war?


How was the war in the South different from that in the rest of the colonies? How did geographic and human settlement patterns make it difficult for England to win the war in the South?


How did the entry of France into the war give a critical advantage to the colonists? What new path of transport and troop movement did the French intervention open up for the colonists? How did this entry weaken Britain's military position?

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