The American Revolution or War of Independence (1775-1783) and its influence on the British Empire

Term Paper, 2004

11 Pages, Grade: 1,7



1 Introduction

2 British Colonies in North America

3 War of Independence
3.1 Why did the colonies revolt?
3.2 Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
3.3 How could the colonies win the war?
3.4 Which kind of constitution did the colonies get after they had won the war of independence?
3.5 Results of the revolutionary war

4 Conclusion

5 References

1 Introduction

When we consider a definition of war, we will find: “War is an armed conflict between countries or groups that involves killing and destruction.”[1] Whether offensive or defensive, war is an organized conflict of power where political, industrial, ideological and military interests are pushed through. Pursuing such aims always involves an infringement in peoples´ safe living together, their stability and protection. History shows that wars have been held throughout mankind´s existence. A German quotation emphasises the above-mentioned thoughts: “Der Klang, der am nachhaltigsten durch die Geschichte der Menschheit hallt, ist der von Kriegstrommeln.”[2]

The American War of Independence is a historical example which shows two sides of war – you can loose or win it. On the one hand the revolution caused a loss of lives but on the other hand they rescued the basis for the formation of the United States of America. The British Empire lost 13 colonies, America won its independence.

Faced with all these impressions I will demonstrate how British colonies arose in North America and why they started revolting against Britain’s control. How could America win its independence? Which constitution did the United States of America get after the war? While analyzing the topic I will miss the course of the war. This paper concentrates on the questions why it happened and how it ended. I make use of secondary sources and pictures to prove, support und intensify my statement.

2 British Colonies in North America

English colonization along the Atlantic Coast started in the 17th century. Across the Atlantic came Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans, Scots, Irishmen, Dutchmen, Swedes, and many others who attempted to transplant their habits and traditions to the new world. They left their native countries to find a better life.

Travellers to North America came in small overcrowded ships. During their six- to twelve-week voyage, they subsisted on meagre rations. Many of the ships were lost in storms, many passengers died of disease, and infants rarely survived the journey. There was the danger to die but they came the long way in crowds – why? The most important motive which induced emigrants to leave their European homelands was the desire for greater economic opportunity. This urge was frequently reinforced by other significant considerations such as religious freedom, escape from political oppression or the lure of adventure.

Between 1620 and 1635 England had economic difficulties. Overflowing multitudes could not find work.

Even the best artisans could earn little more than a bare living. Bad crops added to the distress. In addition, England’s expanding oollen industry demanded an ever increasing supply of wool to keep the looms clacking, and sheep-raisers began to encroach on soil hitherto given over to tillage.[3]

To the immigrants the sight of the American shore brought almost inexpressible relief. The virgin forest with its profusion and variety of trees was like a treasure. Here was abundant fuel and lumber. Here was the raw material of houses and furniture, ships and potash, dyes and naval stores. As inviting as the climate were the native foods: crabs, cod, lobster and in the woods there were turkeys and deer. Wild fruits, berries and nuts grew everywhere. Soon the newcomers found that grain would grow and that transplanted fruit trees flourished. Furthermore sheep, goats, swine and cows throve in the new land.

Every argument has two sides. At the same time the colonists inhabited the Atlantic coast - natives were brutal forced back into the heart of the country. Especially the 13 colonies had political independence. Capitalistic development made progress.

Langsam hatte sich ein britisches Imperium gebildet, das Herzstück war der Handel. Ziel war nicht ein größtmöglicher Erwerb von überseeischen Territorien, die Absicht war, möglichst viele Handelsstützpunkte zu errichten.[4]

In all phases of colonial development the lack of controlling influence on the part of the English government was a striking feature. During their formative period the colonies were free to develop as their inclinations, force of circumstances dictated. The English government had taken no direct part in founding any of the several colonies. The fact that the King had transferred his immediate sovereignty over the new world settlements to stock companies and proprietors did not mean that the colonists in America would necessarily be free or partially free of outside control. It was expected that many companies would be resident in England. Inhabitants of America would have had no more voice in their government then if the King himself had retained absolute rule. In one way or another this exclusive rule from the outside was broken down. The first step in this direction was a decision on the part of the London (Virginia) Company to permit Virginia colonists representation in the government. From that time onward it was generally accepted that the colonists had a right to participate in their own government but the large degree of self-government which the colonies exercised did not go entirely unchallenged by British authorities. All New England colonies were brought under royal control with complete authority vested in an governor. The colonists strenuously objected to this turn of events. After the revolution of 1688 in England which resulted in the overthrow of James II they drove out the royal governors. Some colonies were able to re-establish on a permanent basis of an independent position. Others were soon brought back under royal authority.[5]


[1] Bertelsmann World English Dictionary (London, 1999), p. 2095.

[2] Arthur Koestler, in Dudenredaktion ed., Zitate und Aussprüche (Mannheim, 2002), Band 12, p. 775.

[3], August 31, 2004.

[4] Fröhlich, Michael. 2004. Geschichte Großbritanniens: Primus Verlag, p. 63.

[5] Diere, Horst. (1982). Geschichte in Übersichten, Berlin: Volk und Wissen Verlag, p. 199,200.

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The American Revolution or War of Independence (1775-1783) and its influence on the British Empire
University of Rostock
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American, Revolution, Independence, British, Empire
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Maria Brüggert (Author), 2004, The American Revolution or War of Independence (1775-1783) and its influence on the British Empire, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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