The revolutionary war, taking place from April, 19, 1775 and ending on September, 3, 1783, is one of the important turning points in the history of United States of America. Anne M. Todd gives a thoughtful insight into the circumstances leading to war, the battle locations, weapons used during the war, and the crucial authorities leading the war in her book (The Revolutionary War). According to Todd, the Revolutionary War occurred because the colonists wanted to separate from the Great Britain, and form an independent nation. A series of legislative mistakes by the British parliament emboldened the revolutionaries call for cessation. One thing which the author succeeds at is putting together a masterpiece which gives a background of the Revolutionary War, and the progression of the war.
The Revolutionary War by Anne Todd starts describing the setting of the war. Before the Revolutionary War, in 1754 to be precise, Britain and France went to war over the piece of land covering the Appalachian Mountains. Although Great Britain won the war in 1763, the war had taken a heavy toll on Great Britain’s expenditure, and constrained their budget. A stop-gap resolution calling for the 13 American colonies to help in footing the war bills was passed by the British parliament. This move that greatly angered the colonists because they had not been consulted before passing the resolution. The colonists were of the opinion that they should be left to decide which taxes they had to pay. Many years later, this would turn out to be one of the issues causing friction between the colonists and the Great Britain.
Faced with some financial constraints, the British parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765, a move which placed taxes on items such as newspapers and other legal papers. Some colonists failed to procure these goods, and a year later their calls were heeded when Britain removed the tax. However, in 1967, the parliament passed some acts, placing tax on items such as tea, glass and paper. These acts were collectively referred to as the Townshend Acts. By this time, many colonists were angry with the British government due to the taxes, and protests against the British government began to gather momentum. One of the remarkable moments during the protests came on March, 5, 1770, when protestors threw stones and snowballs to the British soldiers. The soldiers hit back, shooting five colonists and wounding others. This move emboldened the colonists further, who termed the killings as the Boston Massacre. The aftermath of these killings saw the British parliament remove all the taxes on its colonies, apart from the Tea tax. Apart from giving a background of the war, Anne Todd also highlights some of the most important figures in the Revolutionary War.
One of the key figures fighting for the dropping of the tea tax was Samuel Adams. Adams organized the tea merchants in 1773, in order to make sure that tea coming from the Britain was not offloaded at Boston. Colonists, disguised as American Indians, climbed aboard the ship carrying the tea, and dumped huge loads of the tea into sea, an event which was christened s the Boston Tea Party. The news of the Boston Tea Party was not received well by the British parliamentarians, who went ahead to pass the Intolerable Acts. These laws prohibited among other things holding town meetings, and trade activities in Boston. The British government also ended the self-rule in Massachusetts, and placed the state under the British Army. After the Boston Tea Party, Anne Todd proceeds to give the series of events that took place leading to the war, starting with the appointment of General Gage.
General Thomas Gage was made the Massachusetts governor during this period. In 1775, General Gage found out that a cache of weapons was being gathered at Concord, and this prompted action from the British troops. After entering Lexington, the British troops met around 77 minutemen, resulting into an exchange of fire between the two sides. Several minutemen were killed in the operation. However, on reaching Concord, the British troops met a large force of minutemen, and this forced the troops to retreat to Boston. On their way, the Local militias confronted the British troops, and this led to an exchange of fire between the two sides and leading to a significant loss of the British troops. The Lexington and Concord battles officially commenced the Revolutionary War.
Efforts to reach a compromise diminished when the Congress was labeled a bunch of traitors through a loyal decree. The Congress retaliated by declaring United States of America an independent state in 1776. France, Spain and the Dutch Republic offered ammunition secretly to the American revolutionaries. With war supplies, weapons and ammunitions, the American revolutionaries took full control of most of the states in 1776. However, the British Royal Navy still maintained control of the New York City. The success of the American revolutionaries encouraged France to openly enter the war in 1778.
Other French allies such as Spain, and the Dutch also took on Britain in the successive years, thus severely testing the strength of the British Army. For instance, the involvement of Spain led to the withdrawal of British troops in West Florida, and the involvement of the British Army forced the British Army to surrender in Yorktown, Virginia. After the Yorktown incident, support for the war in London had plummeted, and this led to the resignation of the British PM. The British House of Commons voted in April, 1782 to end the war, and preliminary peace treaties were signed towards the end of 1782. This led to the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which recognized United States as a sovereign nation, and this officially brought the war to a cessation. With the signing of the treaty, the British government ceded all the Native American territory. Territorial borders were roughly marked with Canada to the north, Florida to the south and the Mississippi River to the west. Although the war was sought on the American soil, it resulted into negative implications not only for the Great Britain, but also for France and Spain in 1781. For example, the involvement of France ruined the country’s economy and drove the country into massive debts.
Altogether, The Revolutionary War presents a good historical perspective of the American Revolution War. Anne Todd succeeds at giving a good account of the events surrounding the Revolutionary War, the participants, and the notable figures who took part in leading the revolution. In the book, The Revolutionary War, the writer maintains a balance between keeping the book entertaining and informative at the same time.
Todd, A. M. (2001). The Revolutionary War. Mankato, MN: Capstone.