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The American Revolutionary War

The American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) was fought between Great Britain and its thirteen colonies on the North American continent. It was a culmination of a political revolution in America that saw the British rule overthrown. By 1775, the revolutionaries had seized control of all the thirteen colonial governments, formed a continental army, as well as the second continental congress. A year later, the former colonial governments officially declared their independence from the British rule, forming the United States of America. This provoked a war as the United Kingdom of Great Britain fought to retain its control over the thirteen colonies. This paper examines the different factors that let the United States of America eventually win the war. The political ideology behind the war The war is considered to have been triggered by the “Age of Enlightenment”, popularly known as the “Age of Reason”. It marked a period in history when folks began asking questions and challenging long-standing traditions. For instance, people began questioning the authority of the king, asking why he was in the first place. The notion of the king representing God on Earth became untenable. Essentially, the church, as well as the king, was fast losing control over the flow of information in society. During this period, matters like natural law, natural rights, consent of the government as well as self-determination, had taken root in the society both in Europe and America. This ideological change is considered to have triggered the American Revolution and sustained the Revolutionary War. It created an intellectual environment that bolstered a new sense of social as well as political identity during the War. The fall of the British colony in North America On the outside, the British had overwhelming naval superiority over the revolutionaries. This enabled them to capture and occupy the coastal cities of North America. However, controlling most of the countryside remained largely elusive because of their relatively small army. It is important to note that over 90 percent of the American population lived in the countryside, thus limiting the British control even further. Later on, the course of the war would completely change with the entry of Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and the rest of Europe into the war. Most of them sided with Americans, giving the revolutionaries the much-needed impetus to emerge victoriously and to crown the United States as a sovereign area. The British had a fair share of their disadvantages that led to their imminent defeat. For instance, the distance was a significant challenge to the British troops, because of their movement as well as supplies dependent on the shipment across the Atlantic. Besides, they could not properly engage with the operations away from the port cities because they lacked a proper means of transport on the land. On the other side, Americans had an unlimited sources of local supplies and enough manpower that was more familiar with the American terrain. Unfortunately, the British army was controlled from London in England, thus orders took too long to reach the soldiers. Oftentimes, these orders reached the British generals months later when they were already out of date or when the military situation had completely changed. It was nearly impossible for the British generals to effectively stem the wave of rebellion in America. This was major because the colonies spread over a relatively large area and had no particular central or strategic place of living. It was unlike Europe where capturing a capital would essentially mean the end of the war. In America, even though the British captured important cities like Philadelphia and New York, the revolutionary war continued unabated. Given the small number of their soldiers, the British were not able to simultaneously control the vast geographical location. Oftentimes, capturing one area would mean losing control over another area. After France and Spain joined the war, the British manpower shortage became even more critical. The British troops were severely dispersed, thus giving a strategic advantage to the revolutionary troops. The other factor was the desperate attempt of the British to retain the allegiance of their long term loyalists. For instance, they could not recruit native Americans or slaves to boost their military numerical strength as things would alienate them from their loyalists. In addition, they could not apply harsh methods to suppress rebellion, similar to what they had used in Ireland and Scotland for the same reason. These factors played against British rule leading to its eventual downfall and the rise of the United States of America as an independent nation. Financial impacts of the war The war is estimated to have cost the countries involved about a total of 100 million. The heavy spending of the money resources nearly crushed the French economy although there were short expenses mostly for the British as they had minimal difficulty financing the war. For the entire period, their suppliers and soldiers were paid promptly and it made them able to hire German soldiers to bolster its numbers. The Kingdom of Great Britain had a good financial system that enabled them to collect enough taxes, get financiers from the London banks and landowners. On the other hand, the American states had huge trouble financing the war. By the time the war started in 1775, the colonies had barely enough to cover their current transactions. The situation got worse when Britain blocked every American port, cutting off all exports and imports. It goes without mentioning that the war was going to depend majorly on donations from the country’s citizens and voluntary support of militiamen. Americans did not have a good financial system for the better part of the war and thus could not raise enough taxes to fund it. In 1776, Congress made frantic efforts to raise money by seeking loans from wealthy merchants. However, most of the rich merchants supported Britain and offered very little help to America. Luckily, the French came in handy, supplying America with gunpowder and money in an attempt to weaken its arch-rival Great Britain. America eventually paid back some of these after the war to show their gratitude. America after the war The Revolutionary War finally came to the end in 1783 and what followed it was a period of prosperity in the United States. The greatest challenge was the financial one, as the national government lacked funds to pay off debts to private banks as well as European nations. The journey towards forming a “more perfect union” had begun in earnest. Given the fragile nature of forging a united federal government without stoking internal rebellions in the new nation, nationalists like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton did everything possible to hold the new nation together. The self-made federalists convinced the Congress to call for a new constitution adopted in the Philadelphia Convention. However, this was done with assurances that federal power would guarantee inalienable rights to form the basis for the revolution. Role of women The contribution of women to the Revolutionary War was clearly immense. Although the real revolutionary politics excluded women, their roles in domestic duties served to motivate the fighters in the face of adversities. For instance, women sabotaged the British by boycotting their goods as well as spying on their soldiers. They would follow American soldiers, cooking and washing for them and delivering secret messages that would enable them to counter the British soldiers. As men fought in the war, women turned to their farms and produced most of the foods that kept American soldiers going. They basically took care of their families, a responsibility that was historically preserved for men. The war actually marked the beginning of the emancipation of women. People began to see women as an integral part of the society that could not be ignored anymore. They had every right to enjoy the inalienable rights that America had been fighting for. Although progress would take several years to be fully accomplished, the arch of history was changed forever. In conclusion, victory in the American Revolutionary War was all but miraculous. With the odds so much in favor of Great Britain, it was almost impossible for America to win. For instance, the British had a well-organized army and an endless supply of food and weapons. On the other hand, Americans depended mainly on militiamen to boost their troops. At the outside, they were already entering a financial crisis. Thus, going to war was such a huge gamble that paid off in the long run. As a matter of fact, pundits attribute America’s victory to a stream of miscalculations by the British army and the assistance received from France and Spain. Nevertheless, America was eventually able to forge a united front after the war, forming a better union that would benefit all Americans.

Carol Bennett, is a part-time writer at and a teacher at pre-school. She has a dream to become a writer. And who knows maybe her first readers will be kids.