Ch 4 Sec. 2 Ideas Help Start a Revolution

Mr. Clifford
US 1
 May 1775:
 After the violence at Lexington &
Concord delegates from all 13 colonies
met at the 2nd Continental Congress
in Philadelphia.
 Battles between Massachusetts
militia and British soldiers continued
Pro War View
John Adams (MA) argued:
 colonies should
establish a government
and declare
independence from
 Colonies adopt
Massachusetts militia as
the Continental Army.
 Appoint general to lead
Continental Army
Peace & Reconciliation
 John Dickinson, PA
 Opposed Massachusetts
aggressive stance.
 Believed reconciliation
with Britain was the
only way to end the
conflict peacefully.
 June 1775:
 Violence in Massachusetts continues.
 In Philadelphia, the 2nd Continental
 adopts the Massachusetts Militia as the Continental
Army (Congress will supply army with provisions)
 Colonel George Washington is appointed General
of the Continental Army (only request was to
receive no commission)
 2400 British soldiers were ordered to strike at militiamen
who had taken Bunker Hill. (actually called Breed’s Hill)
 Massachusetts militia men were ordered to hold their fire
until they saw “the whites of their eyes”.
 British forces advanced three times before finally taking
the hill
 British lost over 1000 soldiers
 colonial militia lost only 450
 Huge moral victory for colonists
 Bunker Hill would be the deadliest battle of the war.
 Most delegates still felt loyalty to King George III (John
Dickinson, PA) & blamed bloodshed on King’s
ministers in the colonies.
 Congress sent King George an ‘Olive Branch
 Petition stressed that the congress wanted a return to
the ‘former harmony’ between colonies and Britain.
 King George rejects the petition
 labels the 2nd Continental Congress as ‘rebels’
 orders a naval blockade of the American coast.
 50 page anonymous pamphlet written by Thomas
 Paine had immigrated from Britain to colonies 2 years prior
 ‘Common Sense’: time had come for colonists to fulfill
their ‘destiny’ by declaring independence.
 Opportunity to create a better society
 equal social & economic opportunities
 Free from tyranny
 ‘Common Sense’ sold nearly 500,000 copies.
 Helped t0 overcome many doubts about separating from
 Public sentiment in the colonies
began to shift towards
 Communities and families in all 13
colonies debated the issue.
 Colonial delegates debated whether independence from
Great Britain was their best & only option for protecting
their ‘God given’ liberty.
 Committee was assembled to develop a formal
declaration explaining why colonies had right to declare
 Thomas Jefferson, a 33 year old Virginian was given the
duty of writing the document with help from: Ben
Franklin, John Adams, Philip Livingston, & Roger
 -Jefferson used concepts written by English philosopher
John Locke who believed that people had ‘natural rights’
(life, liberty, & property) and that people willingly enter
into a ‘social contract’, an agreement in which people
consent to choose (vote) & obey a government as long as
the government protects & defends their natural rights. If
the ‘social contract’ is not upheld and the government
becomes tyrannical then the people have a right to resist
or rebel.
-Jefferson referred to natural rights as ‘unalienable
rights’ and the most important of these ‘God given’ rights
are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
 - Americans now faced the most difficult decision of
their lives. They had to decide whether they were:
 Patriots (Americans who support US independence)
 Loyalists (Americans who support Great Britain).
 The issue would divide communities, churches,
towns, & families throughout the United States.
 Exact number of loyalists is unknown
 Many loyalists would change sides depending on the
outcome of the war.
 Most Americans who worked for the Crown remained
 Many Americans remained loyal simply because they
believed that the British would win easily.
 Others felt true loyalty towards the Crown because
they believed the Britain would protect their rights
more effectively that the colonists.
 The Patriots drew their numbers from:
 those who saw economic opportunity in independent
 The patriot cause embraced:
 farmers
 artisans
 merchants landowners, & elected officials. German
immigrants in Pennsylvania also joined the patriots.
Patriot numbers made up little less than half the
population of North America.
 Quakers: generally supported the Patriots but did not
- African Americans: many fought on the
side of the Patriots while African Americans in the
middle-southern states were Loyalists since the British
promised freedom to slaves who would fight for the
Crown. (25,000 African Americans would eventually
fight in the American Revolution)
- Native Americans: mainly supported the
British because they believed colonists were a bigger
threat to their lands.
 When the Patriots declared independence, they
knew it would bring war. Many believed that this
was the biggest mistake of their lives. Members
of the 2nd Continental Congress are now ‘enemies
of the Crown’ and if captured will hang. They
have no choice.

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