The War about America's Independence began in 1775 and, before its conclusion, had cost three times more lives than World War II.

          Except in spirit, the Americans were badly prepared to battle the British. With few provisions and little training, the ragtag American troops fought for their cause; but they were continually overpowered. The turning point in the war came in 1777 when American soldiers, helped secretly by France, defeated the British Army at Saratoga, New York. After that victory, France and America signed treaties of alliance; and France provided the Americans with troops and warships.
          In 1781 in Yorktown, Virginia, American and French troops were able to surround the British and force their surrender. The war continued for two more years and was officially ended with the Treaty of Paris.  England recognized American independence.
         France had worked against the British to help America during the Revolutionary War; but when America through John Jay made a commercial agreement (Jay's Treaty) with the British in 1794, the new French government said it violated France's 1778 treaties with the United States.

         In retaliation, they (the French) increased their seizures of American ships that were trading with the British and refused to receive a new United States minister who came to Paris.

         President John Adams believed we needed to step up our defense.  Then in April of 1798 he informed Congress of the "X Y Z Affair," in which three French agents demanded $250,000 in return for their good will with the United States. Outraged by this bribe and affront to national honor, Congress authorized the President to acquire, arm, and man no more than twelve vessels of up to twenty-two guns each. This newly created Navy captured about 80 French ships, but the French continued their assault on American ships. 

        Though many Americans were still enraged and ready to declare war, John Adams sent another peace team back to Paris in 1800.  We avoided the war for a time, Adams lost re-election, and the Federalist party was finished.   



Chronology of Events

Bold Hearts

April 5, 1764  Britain's Sugar Act raises levies on colonial commerce.


March 22, 1765  Britain passes Stamp Act and Quartering Act. 

October 7, 1765  Stamp Act Congress approved Declaration of Rights and Grievances by John Dickinson (picture at left) "the penman of the Revolution" arguing that colonial taxation is to come from their own assemblies, not the British.  

     The Sons of Liberty took their name from a debate on the Stamp Act in Parliament in 1765.  Charles Townshend, speaking in support of the Stamp Act, spoke contemptuously of the American colonists as being "children planted by our care, nourished up by our indulgence... and protected by our arms."  Then Isaac Barre, a Member of Parliament, described the Americans as "the Sons of Liberty" who would resist the new tax.  In the autumn, those who resisted the Stamp Act became synonymous with the Sons of Liberty.

March 18, 1766  Stamp Act is repealed.

June 29, 1767  Townshend Acts impose new taxes on colonies.

February 11, 1768  Sam Adams (pictured right) calls for colonial unity in Circular Letter.  Britain sends troops to enforce order in Boston.

March 5, 1770  The Boston Massacre. Five colonists killed.

December 16, 1773  The Boston Tea Party

March 5, 1774  Anniversary of 1770 Boston Massacre.  John Hancock delivers Memorial.

September 5, 1774  The First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia.

March 23, 1775  Patrick Henry at the Virginia Assembly gives stirring speech:

    No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

    Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

    I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne.   In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

    They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

    It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Patrick Henry ... at Richmond, March 23rd, 1775. Lithograph by Currier & Ives, 1876.   Reproduction number: LC-USZC2-2452 (color film copy slide)

Note:  Many believe the speech filled the Virginia House of Burgesses with passion to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War.  The gathering reportedly jumped up shouting, "To Arms! To Arms!'   Washington said the Reverend Samuel Davies set the ripples in motion that led to Patrick Henry's ability to express a heartfelt speech.


    In March 1775, The Second Virginia Convention convened at St. John's Church in Richmond to consider oppression by the Crown. 

    Americans were loyal to their English roots and felt they owed allegiance to the British monarch.  Yet they knew there were certain fundamental rights no government should try to take away, and they couldn't help but have developed a true distaste for tyranny.  War, however, seemed drastic.

    Patrick Henry, a Calvinist born poor and without literary learning, had a clear vision.  He believed that a king who would not listen to his people asking for fair laws was not a father to his people but "a tyrant who forfeits the allegiance of his subjects."  He spoke with fire amidst those loyal to the Crown and to those uncertain of confrontation with the powerful British.


       His words electrified the future founders of genius, courage, and goodness of spirit.

   From a Baptist clergyman who was one of the auditory:   "Men leaned forward in their seats with their heads strained forward, their faces pale and their eyes glaring like the speaker's. His last exclamation 'Give me liberty or give me death' was like the shout of the leader which turns back the rout of battle! The old clergyman said, when Mr. Henry sat down, he (the auditor) felt sick with excitement. Every eye yet gazed entranced on Henry. It seemed as if a word from him would have led to any wild explosion of violence. Men looked beside themselves."  from Randall's "Life of Jefferson,"  

     President John Adams gives John Calvin much credit for helping America see the need for religious liberty and revolution.  (Adams, WORKS, VI:313).  Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion includes a justification for rebelling against tyrants by subordinates.  The justification he gives was at the root of the Dutch, English, and American Revolutions.  


Patrick Henry:  Revolutionary leader, statesman, and fine orator.  In 1775, Patrick Henry, a known believer in citizens' right to bear arms, urged his fellow Virginians to arm in self-defense.  He wanted to be ready for the British so he pushed the militia in being prepared.  He was called "a Quaker in religion but the very devil in politics."  Among other political involvements, Patrick Henry served three terms as governor of Virginia. 


  A little before his death, he remarked to a friend, who found him reading his Bible, "Here is a book worth more than all the other books which ever were printed; yet it is my misfortune never to have, till lately, found time to read it with proper attention and feeling."

   In his Will was written:  "I have now disposed of all my property to my family: there is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is, the Christian religion. If they had that and I had not given them one shilling, they would, be rich; and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor."


Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their number; and, indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian.  This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory, because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian.  

Patrick Henry to his daughter, 1796


    There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away.  There is a time to fight, and that time has now come.

 Peter Muhlenberg, from a Lutheran sermon read at Woodstock, Virginia, Jan, 1776

April 18, 1775  British soldiers are sent to Concord to destroy the colonists' weapons depot.  That night, Paul Revere sets out from Boston to warn colonists.  He reaches Lexington about midnight to warn Sam Adams and John Hancock who had been hiding out there.    

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year. 

from The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

April 19, 1775  The first battle of the American Revolution, Lexington and Concord.  It was the enemy that fired the first shot.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood; And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream, We place with joy a votive stone,
That memory may their deeds redeem, When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

O Thou who made those heroes dare To die, and leave their children free, --
Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raised to them and Thee.

--Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson--


From what has been said you may learn what encouragement you have to put your trust in God, and hope for his assistance in the present important conflict. He is the Lord of hosts, great in might, and strong in battle. Whoever hath his countenance and approbation, shall have the best at last. I do not mean to speak prophetically, but agreeably to the analogy of faith, and the principles of God's moral government. I leave this as a matter rather of conjecture than certainty, but observe, that if your conduct is prudent, you need not fear the multitude of opposing hosts.   

John Witherspoon, 1776

Nevertheless, to the persecution and tyranny of his cruel ministry we will not tamely submit — appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free....
Joseph Warren, American account of the Battle of Lexington, 1775

May 10, 1775  The Second Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia.  John Hancock elected as its president.

Ethan Allen captures Fort Ticonderoga "In the name of the great Jehovah, and the Continental Congress!"

June 15, 1775  The Continental Congress appoints George Washington (picture right) to be commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

June 17, 1775  The Battle of Bunker Hill

July 8, 1775  Olive Branch Petition is submitted to King George (see below)

January 9, 1776  Thomas Paine's influential pamphlet "Common Sense" is published.  It criticizes King George III and any allegiance to Monarchy, and it praises as good the sentiment for American independence.

We have it in our power to begin the world anew...America shall make a stand, not for herself alone, but for the world,  

Thomas Paine

March 17, 1776  George Washington defends Boston; British troops evacuate the city.

June 7, 1776  Richard Henry Lee, (picture left) Virginia, puts forth motion for independence in Congress:  "Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."

June 11, 1776  The Continental Congress appoints a committee to draft the Declaration. 

July 2, 1776  Congress adopts Lee's resolution for independence.

July 4, 1776  Congress approves the Declaration of Independence as drafted by Jefferson and amended by the Congress.

Benjamin Franklin was appointed part of a committee to draft a seal for the newly united states which would characterize the spirit of this new nation.  He proposed: "Moses lifting up his wand, and dividing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh in his chariot overwhelmed with the waters. This motto: 'Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."

August 22-27, 1776  Battle of Long Island.  British forces defeat the Continental Army

September 15, 1776  British forces occupy New York City

September 22, 1776  Nathan Hale is executed without trial by the British.

DECEMBER 11, 1776.

WHEREAS, the just War into which the United States of America have been forced by Great-Britain, is likely to be still continued by the same Violence and Injustice which have hitherto animated the Enemies of American freedom: And, whereas it becomes all public Bodies, as well as private Persons, to reverence the Providence of GOD, and look up to him as the supreme Disposer of all Events, and the Arbiter of the Fate of Nations: Therefore the CONGRESS hereby RESOLVE,

That it be recommended to all the States, as soon as possible to appoint a Day of solemn Fasting and Humiliation, to implore of Almighty GOD the Forgiveness of the many Sins prevailing among all Ranks, and to beg the Countenance and Assistance of his Providence in the Prosecution of this just and necessary War. The Congress do also in the most earnest manner recommend to all the Members of the United States, and particularly to the Officers civil and military under them, the Exercise of Repentance and Reformation; and further, do require of the said Officers of the military Department, the strict Observation of the Articles of War in general, and particularly that of said articles which forbids profane Swearing, and all other Immoralities; of which all such Officers are desired to take Notice. It is left to each State to issue Proclamations fixing the Day that appear most proper for their several Bounds.

Extract from the Minutes,

December 23, 1776  Thomas Paine's first of The Crisis papers is issued.  Following is one paragraph from first paper:

    I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretence as he.

December 25, 1776  Washington Crosses the Delaware  "Major James Wilkinson, who was on his way to join Washington, found his route easy to follow: 'There was a little snow on the ground, which was tinged here and there with blood from the feet of the men who wore broken shoes.'"    

There were three American military groups who tried to cross the Delaware that night, but two did not make it because the ice was too much for them. The one group that forged ahead to make it across was the one commanded by Washington.

December 26, 1776  Battle of Trenton, New Jersey

January 3, 1777  Battle of Princeton, New Jersey

September 19, 1777  The Continental Congress flees Philadelphia.  British troops occupy the city one week later.

October 7, 1777  Battle of Bemis Heights

October 17, 1777  Battle of Saratoga



Now here's a health to Herkimer
And our commander Gates!
To Freedom and to Washington
Whom every Tory hates.
Likewise unto our Congress -
God grant it long to reign-
Our country, rights and justice
Forever to maintain  

from The Battle of Saratoga
By Lesley Nelson

November 15, 1777  The Continental Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation.

December 21, 1777  George Washington's troops at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

February 6, 1778  Treaty of alliance and commerce with France is signed by Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee.

June 28, 1778  Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey

December 29, 1778  British forces occupy Savannah, Georgia.

May 12, 1780  British forces defeat American troops at Charleston, South Carolina.

October 19, 1781  British General Charles Cornwallis surrenders at the Battle of Yorktown.

Cornwallis is taken! Lieut. Col. Tighlman of Washington's staff announcing the surrender of Cornwallis, from the steps of the State House, (Idepedence Hall) at midnight, October 23rd, 1781. Lithograph by Currier & Ives, 1876.   Reproduction number: LC-USZC2-2131 (film copy slide)








September 3, 1783  Treaty of Paris is signed by John Adams (below right), Benjamin Franklin (left), and John Jay (above right), and officially ends the war.

  Paris Peace Treaty of 1783    Although Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown in the Fall of 1781 marked the end of the Revolutionary War, minor battles between the British and the colonists continued for another two years.  The Peace Treaty of 1783 formally ended the United States War for Independence.

        In addition to giving formal recognition to the U.S., the articles established U.S. boundaries, specified certain fishing rights, allowed creditors of each country to be paid by citizens of the other, restored the rights and property of Loyalists, opened up the Mississippi River to citizens of both nations, and provided for evacuation of all British forces. 

        The treaty began with the words, "In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity."



The citizens of America...are, from this period, to be considered as the actors on a most conspicuous theater, which seems to be peculiarly designated by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity.

George Washington


November 25,1783  British forces evacuate New York and Brooklyn, the last British troops to leave the colonies.

        Annis Stockton (Mrs. Richard Stockton) wrote the following for George Washington upon the announcement of peace in 1783:

With all thy country's blessings on thy head,
    And all the glory that encircles man,
Thy deathless fame to distant nations spread,
    And realms unblest by Freedom's genial plan;

Addressed by statesmen, legislators, kings,
    Revered by thousands as you pass along,
While every muse with ardour spreads her wings
    To our hero in immortal song;

Say, can a woman's voice an audience gain;
    And stop a moment thy triumphal car?
And wilt thou listen to a peaceful strain,
    Unskilled to paint the horrid wrack of war?

For what is glory--what are martial deeds--
    Unpurified at Virtue's awful shrine?

Full oft remorse a glorious day succeeds,
    The motive only stamps the deed divine.

But thy last legacy, renowned chief,
    Hath decked thy brow with honours more sublime,
Twined in thy wreath the Christian's firm belief,
    And nobly owned thy faith to future time.

May 25, 1787  The Constitutional Convention meets in Philadelphia

September 15, 1787  Constitution is adopted.

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.    

James Madison (1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia)

February 6, 1788  Massachusetts ratified the Constitution by a vote of 186 to 168.  To the ringing of bells and the booming of cannons, the delegates trooped out of Brattle Street Church.  Citizens soon thereafter sang their convention song to the tune of Yankee Doodle.

 The vention did in Boston meet,
 The State House could not hold 'em
 So then they went to Fed'ral Street,
 And there the truth was told 'em...

 And ev'ry morning went to prayer,
 And then began disputing,
 Till oppositions silenced were,
 By arguments refuting.
 Now politicians of all kinds,
 Who are not yet decided,
 May see how Yankees speak their minds,
 And yet are not divided.

 So here I end my Fed'ral song,
 Composed of thirteen verses;
 May agriculture flourish long
 And commerce fill our purses!

October 14,1789  George Washington decreed a Thanksgiving celebration to set aside Thursday, November 26 as "A Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer."

General Thanksgiving By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America


    WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houfes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requefted me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANkSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to eftablifh a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

    NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of thefe States to the fervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our fincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the fignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the courfe and conclufion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have fince enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eftablish Conftitutions of government for our fafety and happinefs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleffed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffufing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.

    And also, that we may then unite in moft humbly offering our prayers and fupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and befeech Him to pardon our national and other tranfgreffions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private ftations, to perform our feveral and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleffing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wife, juft, and conftitutional laws, difcreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all fovereigns and nations (especially fuch as have shewn kindnefs unto us); and to blefs them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increafe of fcience among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind fuch a degree of temporal profperity as he alone knows to be beft.

    GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand feven hundred and eighty-nine.

G. Washington

 The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

        God is our Creator.  He has created us with rights that some governments manage to violate, but no man can change or erase the essence of those rights being a part of us.  Our founding fathers understood that in writing the Bill of Rights.  The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights must be accepted on the whole as the foundation of our government.

   Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.

  Benjamin Franklin       

 The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. 

 Thomas Jefferson, ("The Rights of British America," 1774)


 From the day of the Declaration . . . They [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct. 

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State (Oration celebration July 4, 1821)

December 15, 1791  Bill of Rights is ratified The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. This photograph of the work is also in the public domain in the United States (see Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.). This is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art. The original image comprising the work of art itself is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

DAR Timeline Grand Old Flag Military Role of Religion Education States Represented Sources Consulted



 "This will of his Maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when He created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion, so, when he created man, and endued him with free-will to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that free-will is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws."  From Blackstone's Commentaries, which was America's law book during and after the American Revolution.  Phrases were taken directly from it in forming our laws and founding documents.  

There is but one law for all, namely that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity - the law of nature and of nations.  

Edmund Burke

It is not our military might or our higher standard of living that has most distinguished us from our adversaries.  It is our belief that the state is the servant of the citizen and not its master.

John F. Kennedy

Timeline of the American Revolution - DAR

        John Dickinson drafted the Olive Branch Petition in another attempt to humbly assert the rights of the colonists while maintaining their loyalty to the British crown.  King George proclaimed that the colonists had "proceeded to open and avowed rebellion."

Approved by the Continental Congress on July 5, 1775
To the King's Most Excellent Majesty. Most Gracious Sovereign,
        We your Majesty's faithful subjects of the colonies of New-hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode island and Providence plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, in behalf of ourselves and the inhabitants of these colonies, who have deputed us to represent them in general Congress, entreat your Majesty’s gracious attention to this our humble petition.
        The union between our Mother Country and these colonies, and the energy of mild and just government, produced benefits so remarkably important, and afforded such an assurance of their permanency and increase, that the wonder and envy of other Nations were excited, while they beheld Great Britain rising to a power the most extraordinary the world had ever known.
        Her rivals observing, that there was no probability of this happy connection being broken by civil dissentions, and apprehending its future effects, if left any longer undisturbed, resolved to prevent her receiving such continual and formidable accessions of wealth and strength, by checking the growth of these settlements from which they were to be derived.
        In the prosecution of this attempt events so unfavourable to the design took place, that every friend to the interests of Great Britain and these colonies entertained pleasing and reasonable expectations of seeing an additional force and extention immediately given to the operations of the union hitherto experienced, by an enlargement of the dominions of the Crown, and the removal of ancient and warlike enemies to a greater distance.
        At the conclusion therefore of the late war, the most glorious and advantageous that ever had been carried on by British arms, your loyal colonists having contributed to its success, by such repeated and strenuous exertions, as frequently procured them the distinguished approbation of your Majesty, of the late king, and of Parliament, doubted not but that they should be permitted with the rest of the empire, to share in the blessings of peace and the emoluments of victory and conquest. While these recent and honorable acknowledgments of their merits remained on record in the journals and acts of the august legislature the Parliament, undefaced by the imputation or even the suspicion of any offence, they were alarmed by a new system of Statutes and regulations adopted for the administration of the colonies, that filled their minds with the most painful fears and jealousies; and to their inexpressible astonishment perceived the dangers of a foreign quarrel quickly succeeded by domestic dangers, in their judgment of a more dreadful kind.
        Nor were their anxieties alleviated by any tendency in this system to promote the welfare of the Mother Country. For 'tho its effects were more immediately felt by them, yet its influence appeared to be injurious to the commerce and prosperity of Great Britain.
        We shall decline the ungrateful task of describing the irksome variety of artifices practised by many of your Majestys ministers, the delusive pretences, fruitless terrors, and unavailing severities, that have from time to time been dealt out by them, in their attempts to execute this impolitic plan, or of traceing thro' a series of years past the progress of the unhappy differences between Great Britain and these colonies which have flowed from this fatal source.
        Your Majestys ministers persevering in their measures and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defence, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affection of your still faithful colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us, only as parts of our distress.
        Knowing, to what violent resentments and incurable animosities, civil discords are apt to exasperate and inflame the contending parties, we think ourselves required by indispensable obligations to Almighty God, to your Majesty, to our fellow subjects, and to ourselves, immediately to use all the means in our power not incompatible with our safety, for stopping the further effusion of blood, and for averting the impending calamities that threaten the British Empire.
        Thus called upon to address your Majesty on affairs of such moment to America, and probably to all your dominions, we are earnestly desirous of performing this office with the utmost deference for your Majesty; and we therefore pray, that your royal magnanimity and benevolence may make the most favourable construction of our expressions on so uncommon an occasion. Could we represent in their full force the sentiments that agitate the minds of us your dutiful subjects, we are persuaded, your Majesty would ascribe any seeming deviation from reverence, and our language, and even in our conduct, not to any reprehensible intention but to the impossibility or reconciling the usual appearances of respect with a just attention to our own preservation against those artful and cruel enemies, who abuse your royal confidence and authority for the purpose of effecting our destruction.
        Attached to your Majestys person, family and government with all the devotion that principle and affection can inspire, connected with Great Britain by the strongest ties that can unite societies, and deploring every event that tends in any degree to weaken them, we solemnly assure your Majesty, that we not only most ardently desire the former harmony between her and these colonies may be restored but that a concord may be established between them upon so firm a basis, as to perpetuate its blessings uninterrupted by any future dissentions to succeeding generations in both countries, and to transmit your Majestys name to posterity adorned with that signal and lasting glory that has attended the memory of those illustrious personages, whose virtues and abilities have extricated states from dangerous convulsions, and by securing happiness to others, have erected the most noble and durable monuments to their own fame.
        We beg leave further to assure your Majesty that notwithstanding the sufferings of your loyal colonists during the course of the present controversy, our breasts retain too tender a regard for the kingdom from which we derive our origin to request such a reconciliation as might in any manner be inconsistent with her dignity or her welfare. These, related as we are to her, honor and duty, as well as inclination induce us to support and advance; and the apprehensions that now oppress our hearts with unspeakable grief, being once removed, your Majesty will find your faithful subjects on this continent ready and willing at all times, as they ever have been with their lives and fortunes to assert and maintain the rights and interests of your Majesty and of our Mother Country.
        We therefore beseech your Majesty, that your royal authority and influence may be graciously interposed to procure us relief from our afflicting fears and jealousies occasioned by the system before mentioned, and to settle peace through every part of your dominions, with all humility submitting to your Majesty's wise consideration, whether it may not be expedient for facilitating those important purposes, that your Majesty be pleased to direct some mode by which the united applications of your faithful colonists to the throne, in pursuance of their common councils, may be improved into a happy and permanent reconciliation; and that in the meantime measures be taken for preventing the further destruction of the lives of your Majesty's subjects; and that such statutes as more immediately distress any of your Majestys colonies be repealed: For by such arrangements as your Majesty's wisdom can form for collecting the united sense of your American people, we are convinced, your Majesty would receive such satisfactory proofs of the disposition of the colonists towards their sovereign and the parent state, that the wished for opportunity would soon be restored to them, of evincing the sincerity of their professions by every testimony of devotion becoming the most dutiful subjects and the most affectionate colonists.
        That your Majesty may enjoy a long and prosperous reign, and that your descendants may govern your dominions with honor to themselves and happiness to their subjects is our sincere and fervent prayer.