The American Revolution Describe America’s colonies in the late 1700s. List events that led to the American Revolution. Explain the Enlightenment’s influence on American government. The Enlightenment ideas inspired the American Revolution and the new government that followed it. Voltaire thought England’s government was the most progressive in Europe. Remember The Glorious Revolution of 1688 was the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. The colonies thought the English were tyrannical and wanted to separate and start a new nation. The colonies were developing an identity and prosperity. The colonists had been occupying the North American shores for 150 years. The 13 colonies had its own self government based on limited government. Nationalism was growing and many did not see themselves as British. Still they were British subjects and had to obey the laws. In 1651 the British Parliament passed a trade law known as the Navigation Act. This limited trade to only Britain and the other European countries. Colonists had to pay high taxes on imported French and Dutch goods. Britain did buy colonists raw materials for low prices and sold finished products to the colonies. During the 1600s and 1700s the British colonies had been self governing along the Atlantic coastline in North America. King George III assumed the throne in Great Britain in 1760. The population of the colonies had grown from 250,00 in 1700 to 2,150,00 in 1770. The colonies economically survived by trading with the countries of Europe. 1754: War was waging in North America between the British and the French. The French had established themselves in parts of North America. The war was known as the French and Indian War– Note: the war received its name from the native Indians who fought with the French. 1763: the war ended with the British and the colonies defeating the French and seizing almost all French land in North America. The French and Indian War cost Britain a large amount of money and debt. The colonists would benefit from the win and the British expected the colonists to contribute to paying for the costs of the war. 1765: Stamp Act-passed by Parliament in which colonists would pay a tax to place a stamp on all print and paper goods. This of course angered the colonists who had never paid a direct tax to the British. The colonists argued that the tax was against their natural rights. (John Locke) “taxation without representation.” The British had representation in Parliament, the colonists on the other hand argued that they did not have representation and could not be taxed. Growing Hostility Leads to War: The colonists were supporting independence from the British. 1773: The colonists protested the import tax on tea. A group of colonists dumped tea into the Boston Harbor. This event became known as the “Boston Tea Party.” King George the III was so angry he ordered the British navy to close the harbor of Boston. September, 1774: First Continental Congress –all the colonies except Georgia met in Philadelphia, PA. At this meeting the colonists wrote down their grievances against the British . The king did not pay any attention to the colonists demands. Second Continental Congress: Met to discuss what would be the colonists next move. April 19, 1775: Lexington, Massachusetts gunfire was exchanged between British and American which spread to Concord. The Second Continental Congress had to make some decisions , the group chose to raise an army and chose the Virginian George Washington to lead the revolution. The Influence of the Enlightenment: July 1776: Second Continental Congress delivered the Declaration of Independence, the document was written by Thomas Jefferson. The document was based on the ideas of John Locke-natural rights. Locke discussed that people had the right to rebel against an unjust ruler. The Declaration of Independence listed the abuses of George III. In the end the document discusses the separation from Britain. In the beginning Britain was not going to allow the colonists to separate without a fight. After the Declaration of Independence was published both sides went to war. At first glimpse the colonists looked disorganized against the most powerful military in the world. Reasons for the colonies success: 1. Colonists motivation for fighting was stronger than the British. 2. The British generals were overconfident and has made several mistakes. 3. Time was on the side of the Colonists. This was an expensive was to fight for the British. 4. Colonists did not fight alone. Louis XVI did not believe in the American Revolution, but wanted to weaken Britain. 1781: The French and Americans combined forces and defeated Lord Cornwallis near Yorktown, Virginia. Americans won their independence. Americans Create a Republic: 1781: Articles of Confederation was the first plan of government. This would allow citizens rule through elected representatives. A Weak National Government: Created a loose confederation of the 13 states. The Articles of Confederation created a weak national government. There were no executive or judicial branches just a legislative branch. In the Congress: A. each state regardless of size, received one vote in Congress. B. Could declare war C. enter into treaties D. Coin money E. No power to collect taxes or regulate trade F. New laws difficult to pass laws needed the approval of the 9 of the 13 states Limits on the national government soon became a problem. The new national government needed money to operate. They could request contributions from the states. American Revolutionary veterans complained Congress owed them back pay for their services. States were issuing their own money. Some of the states tariffs (tax) on goods from neighboring states. February, 1787: Congress approved a Constitutional Convention to revise the Articles of Confederation. May 25, 1787: Constitutional Convention had their first session. 55 delegates were experienced statesmen familiar with the political theories of Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau. The delegates debated for four months over new approaches to governing. The Federal System: the delegates were concerned over a strong powerful central government controlled by one person or group. Three separate branches were established- Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Checks and balances system-each branch checking the other branches. Federal System: power was divided between national and state governments. The Bill of Rights: September 17, 1787: the delegates signed the new Constitution. 9 of the 13 states needed to have approval. The states had huge debates. Federalists: Supporters of the Constitution. They wrote the Federalist Papers stating the new government would be a balance between national and state powers. Antifederalists: felt the Constitution gave the central government too much power. They also wanted a bill of rights which protected the rights of the individual citizens. Bill of Rights: Congress formally added to the Constitution the ten amendments. The amendments protected basic rights as freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion. Remember these rights were supported by Voltaire, Rousseau, and Locke. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights: both of these documents put the Enlightenment ideas into practice.