The Road to Revolution summary and notes



The Road to Revolution summary and notes


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The Road to Revolution summary and notes


The Road to Revolution

Section 1 An American Way of Life Develops


Colonial Society: The influence of Great Britain was still strong in many ways, but as America more clearly formed its own identity, that influence became less and less important. In the colonies, social status depended mainly on wealth and occupation, not by birth.

Social Classes:

  1. Gentry- church officials, wealthy land owners, planters and successful merchants.
  2. Middle Class- skilled artisans, shopkeepers, doctor and lawyer.
  3. Poor- farmers, free servants and unskilled laborers.
  4. Indentured slaves and slaves.


Social Mobility: possibility for a person to move from one social class to another. In Great Britain and Europe, a person stayed in same class for life. This is not true in America. Only slaves had no chance of improving their social standing.


The Great Awakening: renewed interest in religion was characterized by preachers with fiery sermons warning people of the dangers of Gods anger. Traveling preachers were popular.


Enlightenment Ideas in America: or the age of reason. This movement emphasized science and reason as the guides to life. Followers of the movement though that reason would help them see the world more clearly.


John Locke: one Enlightenment thinker. Locke believed the purpose of government was to protect people’s rights- life, liberty and ownership of property. If government fails, it should be changed.


Scientific Thinking: Sir Issac Newton- the idea that people could understand the world by observation and by experiment.


Benjamin Franklin: a printer, writer diplomat and inventor. Honored in many countries, Franklin was one of the most admired people in colonial America Franklin invented the lightning rod. Franklin wrote “Poor Richards Almanac”- a colonial best seller. Besides the calendars and forecasts, the almanac reinforced the growing American belief that anyone could be a success with hard work.

Section 2 The French and Indian War


By the early 1700s, France and Great Britain were competing to be the richest and most powerful nation in Europe.

The French and Indian in the colonies and the seven years war in Europe resulted in the French losing all their holdings on the North American mainland. Two others- Russia and Spain- also claimed land in North America. Russia’s fur-trading posts were located on the Pacific coast. Spain claimed a large part of the Southwest. French and English trackers competed for the profitable fur trade. Before long their nations would clash over the land itself.

Both France and English claimed the Ohio Valley, the French moved in first, and then the English. The French wanted the land because it lies between Canada and their settlement in the Mississippi River Valley. British settlers wanted to move west. By 1750 the fight for Ohio region was on.


Native Americans take sides: Both the French and English wanted the Native Americans on their side. The French however offered them something more important than just goods to trade- respect.

Unlike the British, the French however tried to understand the Native Americans lifestyle. The eastern Native Americans sided with the French. The six nations of the Iroquois League, however, sided with the British. The Iroquois Nation was powerful.

French began to build a string of military forts. These extended from Lake Erie in the northwest to as far south as the Ohio River. They spread in Virginia, which made the colonists mad. A young, Virginian Major named George Washington told the French to leave- they would not. Fighting began.

Under pressure, Washington’s men quickly built a makeshift fort that they called Fort Necessity. French quickly captured the fort and men were prisoners. Most, including Washington were set free. The colonists aimed to make sure the Iroquois would support the British against the French. Colonists promised trade.


The Albany Plan: (Benjamin Franklin)

This Albany Plan of Union called for a council made up of delegates from each colony, with a leader appointed by the British King. Council would manage relations with Native Americans. It would have the authority to raise and equip an army and navy. The council would be able to tax the colonists.


All 13 Colonies disapproved of the plan:

On July 9, 1755, the relocated British were ambushed near Turtle Creek. As the French fired from the wood many British soldiers panicked. About 1,000 soldiers (British) were killed. General Braddock commanded 2,000 British soldiers, 450 colonial soldiers. France and Great Britain declared war in 1756. King George appointed William Pitt minister of was. Pitt believed the war be won or lost in America, not Europe. He sent troops and the powerful British navy. This decision changed the course of the war.

British won several important battles. The fall of Louisburg, a major French Fort. Another was the capture of Fort Duquesne.


The Battle of Quebec: In 1759 Pitt gave General James Wolfe the most difficult task of the war- captured Quebec, the capital of New France. Wolfe did just that. He defeated French commander Marquis de Montcalm. The capture of Quebec marked the end of French power in North America.


Section 3

Taxes and Boycotts: The Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War doubled the size of Great Britain’s North American. Problems arose. The territory was expansive to support and defend. When Great Britain tried to make colonists pay, they grew angry.


Trouble on the Frontier:  The Native Americans who supported the French started attacking British forts Ottawa leader Pontiac led this uprising called Pontiac Rebellion, defeated several British forts. When Pontiac learned that the French signed the Treaty of Paris and could no longer get aid, his forces stopped fighting.


The Proclamation of 1763: Pontiacs Rebellion led the British to close western lands to settlement. Proclamation of 1763- forbade colonists from settling west of the Appalachians. Many problems, post war problems face Great Britain. Money; Parliament feels the war had been fought to make colonists safe from French attacks- at little cost to them. They could help pay. Colonists saw it differently. They felt the war had not been to protect them, but rather to protect British trade. So therefore the parent country should take responsibility for defending its empire.


Sugar Act of 1764: putting a tax on foreign molasses and sugar. Colonists refused to pay. Colonists bought sugar and molasses cheaper from the French.

Quartering Act 1765: required colonists to pay for Quartering- housing and feeding-British soldiers in their area.


Stamp Act: (1765) - forced people to pay a special tax on certain items that were then stamped to show the tax had been paid.

Parliament was trying to tax the colonists directly.

The Stamp Act, then clearly violated the cherished idea “No taxation without representation”.


Son of Liberty: They seized and burned piles of the hated stamps. By the end of 1765 more than 1,000 merchants had signed agreements not to buy or sell British goods. (Boycott)


Stamp Act Congress: representatives from each of the colonies meet to draw up a protest against the Stamp Act. The letter written to King George III.


Repeal of the Stamp Act: but they passed the Declaratory Act which states that Parliament has the right to rule and tax colonies.


More Conflicts with Parliament

Townsend Acts- placed taxes on paint, glass, lead, paper, and tea coming into America.

Colonists respond:

No importation agreements: they agreed to not import the items that were taxable.

Talk of Independence: Samuel Adams leader of Son of Liberty warned Parliament that they are threatening American rights and liberties. Colonists would not stand for it.


Boston Massacre- five colonists were killed in Boston. First casualty of Revolution was Crispus Attucks, an African American sailor.

The Townsend Acts were repealed, with the exception of the tax on tea. This tax remained to remind the colonists of Parliaments authority, for tea was a very popular drink.


Committees of Correspondence: group of colonists whose duties were to keep all colonists informed.


Tea Act: gave the East India Company exclusive rights to sell tea directly to the Americans without paying the British import tax. This cut out business for colonial sea captains and merchants.

Drinking tea became a symbol for giving into Parliament laws. Colonists stopped drinking tea.


Boston Tea Party: Son of Liberty boarded the East India ship carrying 500,000 pounds of tea (300) barrels and dumped them in the sea.


Section 4 On the Brink of War

Punishing the Colonies


Intolerable Acts:

  1. Closed ports of Boston until, tea have been paid for.
  2. British officials accused of crime, would be tried in England rather than America courts.
  3. British troops could be quartered in any town in Massachusetts even private homes.
  4. Reduce the colonies rights to self government.


Quebec Act: extended the Canadian province of Quebec south to the Ohio River.


First Continental Congress: In September 1776, 56 delegates from every colony except Georgia met in Philadelphia to discuss their fate. Congress didn’t make a lot of solutions. But they approved Massachusetts plan for arming and training a militia- a group of citizens who would be ready to fight. The Congress arranged to meet again in a second congress in May 1776.


The Colonists take Arms:

Minutemen: be ready to fight in a minutes notice.

General Thomas Gage learned that the colonials had guns and gunpowder stored at concord. He sent troops to seize them and arrest two colonial leaders- Samuel Adams and John Hancock.


Paul Revere famous ride upon learning the troops were coming to Concord Minutemen at Lexington were ready shots fired, and 8 colonists fell dead and 10 were wounded. One British soldier was wounded. British marched on to Concord. At Concord in the end, British casualties and wounded were nearly three times those of the American Revolution.


The Second Continental Congress: The congresses choose George Washington to build a Continental army. The second continental congress would lead the American colonies directly to war.




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