War and the Creation of the American Republic

  1. Strengths and Weaknesses
    1. England - Strengths
      1. Large population, string economy, strong navy
      2. Allies among Loyalists, Indians, slaves
      3. Able to use Canada as a base
      4. For most of war, England had more troops
      5. Troops better supplied
    2. England - Weaknesses
      1. War fought far from home
      2. Enormously expensive to fight
      3. Increasingly unpopular distraction from other colonies
      4. Good generals, but made some poor decisions
    3. Americans - Strengths
      1. Fought at home - start out holding 99% of territory
      2. Much of population prepared to help
      3. Alliance with France
      4. Good leaders
    4. America - Weaknesses
      1. Weak national unity
      2. Not everyone wants independence
      3. Poorly supplied troops
      4. Many troops went home in the summers
    5. Americans held the land, England the seas
  2. French assistance
    1. Why? Revenge (for Seven Years War) and continuing imperial rivalry
    2. French surprised by Revolution, not sure what to do
    3. Pierre Beaumarchais
      1. Watchmaker to King's mistress
      2. Hatches a plan - a dummy-front company to funnel money and donations to rebels
      3. Couldn't help openly without declaring war
    4. King authorizes 200,000 pounds (money, not weight) of help for Americans
      1. First shipment arrives in 1776
      2. Americans will fight early part of war mainly with French weapons
      3. Bankrupts French royal treasury, leading to French Revolution
  3. Fighting the War
    1. Washington's strategy
      1. Quickly realized he couldn't take the British head on
      2. Didn't fight if he didn't had to
      3. All he had to do to win was survive and keep army intact
      4. Became a master of retreat, employed guerilla tactics
    2. Battle of Saratoga - Oct 17, 1777
      1. First major American victory
      2. Crucial - no one would help Americans,  not even France, until Americans proved themselves
  4. Alliance with France
    1. Benjamin Franklin goes to Paris
      1. Was the American with greatest respect in Europe
      2. Renowned for scientific work and "folksy" wisdom
      3. Regarded as a backwoods genius
      4. Pretended to be a hick in Paris - Became the hit of Paris
      5. Women wore necklaces with his image
    2. Treaty of Alliance - February, 1778
      1. French recognized U.S. independence
      2. Americans allowed to conquer Canada and Bermuda; French to conquer British West Indies (neither happened)
      3. Neither side would sign peace treaty without other's permission
      4. Commercial agreement - U.S. would buy more French goods
    3. Makes victory possible
      1. At 1781 Yorktown victory, more French troops than American
      2. French Navy keeps British at bay
    4. Spanish will also secretly ally with Americans
  5. Peace
    1. John Adams joins Franklin in Paris to negotiate peace
    2. Initial treaty (Nov. 30, 1782)
      1. British agree to American independence
      2. Sets boundaries (St. Lawrence and Great Lakes, Mississippi, northern border of Florida)
      3. British troops out
      4. Debtors on both sides pay debts
      5. Loyalists can keep property
    3. Why did British agree to Mississippi border?
      1. Colonists only controlled area to the Appalachians
      2. British wanted U.S. to be strong enough not to be dominated by France
      3. Wise policy - in time U.S. will become friendlier to British than France
      4. U.S. will refuse to side with French in later wars against British
    4. Final Treaty of Paris signed in 1783