Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.
Timeline of the Revolution
The Peace of Paris ends the French and Indian War; Britain gains an empire.
Parliament passes the The Sugar Act, which is an indirect tax on the colonists, in order to raise revenue.
Parliament passes the Stamp Act, which includes taxes on most forms of paper, including playing cards. It is the first direct tax on the colonists.
In the Virginia House of Burgesses, Patrick Henry, during his speech against the Stamp Act, reputedly answers a cry of
The Stamp Act Congress, meeting in New York with representatives from nine colonies, adopt the Declaration of Rights & Grievances.
The Stamp Act goes into effect in the British colonies and is met with fierce resistance.
King George III reluctantly agrees with Parliament and gives his assent to repeal the Stamp Act.
Parliament passes the Revenue Act, the first of the Townsend Acts, levying taxes on the American colonies.
British Regulars, under General Thomas Gage, arrive in Boston to maintain order.
British troops, taunted by a crowd, kill five colonists — the event is dubbed the Boston Massacre. Crispus Attucks, a slave, is the first one shot.
Following widespread boycotts in the colonies, most of the Townshend Revenue Act is repealed.
British Parliament passes the Tea Act; King George III gives his royal assent on 10 May.
Bostonians dressed as Mohawks dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor.
Parliament passes a second Quartering Act, one of the Intolerable Acts, which mandates that colonists must board English troops in their homes.
In response to the Intolerable Acts, representatives from twelve colonies assemble in Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress.
Paul Revere and William Dawes ride on separate routes from Boston to Lexington to warn that the British Regulars are coming.
The Battle of Lexington / Concord. The American Revolution begins after a shot is fired in Lexington Common.
The Second Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia.
The Battle of Bunker Hill gives the British a victory with so many troops killed or wounded, that it almost seems a defeat.
Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, is published.
Continental Congress resolves
Under cover of night and early morning fog, Continental troops avoid defeat on Long Island by escaping across the river to Manhattan.
Continental Congress adopts
Battle of Brandywine. Continental forces are defeated by the British, who then move towards undefended Philadelphia.
General Howe and the Regulars take Philadelphia, which will serve as their winter quarters.
France recognizes the independence of North American colonies, just days after King Louis XVI hears of British defeat at Saratoga.
General Washington settles his troops for the winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
The French-American Treaty of Alliance is signed in Paris, the first U.S. treaty, providing aid and support to the American cause.
Battle of Savannah. British begin their
Pennsylvania becomes the first U.S. state to abolish slavery — though for new-borns only.
Battle of Yorktown. 9,000 American forces and 7,000 French forces begin siege of Yorktown, Virginia.
British General Charles Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia. Though no one knows it yet, the Revolutionary War is effectively over.
Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. He tells congress in Annapolis:
Shays’ Rebellion. Daniel Shays, a veteran of the Revolution, leads debt-ridden farmers in Massachusetts in a rebellion — ironically it is a rebellion against taxes.
The Constitution is adopted when New Hampshire is the ninth state to ratify it.
Continental Congress votes to begin a new government on 4 March 1789.
The First Congress of the United States, comprising nine senators and 13 representatives, convenes and declares the Constitution to be in effect.
George Washington is inaugurated and becomes the first President of the United States.
Congress passes 12 constitutional amendments guaranteeing personal rights and proposes them to the states for ratification.