American Revolution the Colonial Forces Term Paper

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American Revolution

The Colonial forces were a rag-tag army combined with state militias, yet they were able to defeat the British armed forces, who were much better trained. However, the rebels were much more acquainted with the territory and also had the advantage of numbers, with most of the population in support as the colonists threw out the British officials and set up their own governments and controlling forces. The British were militarily superior, but this held them in good stead only on the seas, where they could use their superior naval capacity to capture and occupy coastal cities. Most of the population lived in the countryside further inland, and the British never managed to gain much ground in this area. Also, the British fought under strict rules and formations, while the reels did not. Also, the entry of the French into the war on the American side was decisive and undercut the superiority of the British military. The French were also helpful in bringing their naval power to bear against the British, helping to surround the British and leave them little out except to surrender.Download full
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TOPIC: Term Paper on American Revolution the Colonial Forces Were a Assignment

The first Treaty of Paris was in 1763. This was at the end of the Seven Years War and would see French power diminished greatly. The treaty transferred New France to the British Empire. When France later entered the Revolutionary War on the side of the rebels, some thought this was a matter of revenge for losing Canada to the British. The French helped the Americans win the war, but the cost was high and damaging to the French treasury. The second Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War in 1783. The treaty was also largely about territory and about dividing up North American that was then under the control of the Americans, the British, and the French. The dividing line in the north separated Canada from the United States and left Quebec to the French. The region of Nova Scotia was not so clearly defined and would not be for some time, after more tension between France and Britain. The change effected in the New World would have a major effect on France thereafter and would lead directly to the French Revolution in 1789.

3. The Articles of Confederation were adopted by the 13 states in 1781, under pressure of the war then being waged with England. There was no provision in the Articles for a truly sovereign national government, and instead the government consisted of a single-house congress with each state having one vote. Legislation could be passed by approval of a minimum of seven states. To wage war and pass certain other measures, the requirement was nine votes. All thirteen had to agree to any amendment of the Articles themselves. The Continental Congress was empowered to wage war, make treaties and alliances, decide disputes between the member states, negotiate loans, coin money, regulate weights and measures, manage Indian affairs, and operate a post office, among other functions. The Continental Congress did not have the power to levy taxes.

Indeed, the Continental Congress did not have the means to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, and the states had to negotiate separately on commercial matters. The states were therefore able to reject the imposition of duties and other commercial taxes and regulations by the Continental Congress, and the Continental Congress in any case lacked the power to enforce such rules. This was just another example of how difficult it was for any central government to operate with no means of raising revenue.

Bowen (1966) notes the problems involved in creating the Articles of Confederation and some of the failures of that document and the system it supported:

It had taken five years, beginning in 1776, to write the Articles, argue and vote on them in Congress. The Articles were in fact America's first constitution (Bowen, 1966, p. 8).

The voting pattern to achieve anything was complicated. To wage war and pass certain other measures, nine votes were needed. All thirteen had to agree to any amendment to the Articles themselves. The Continental Congress could wage war, make treaties and alliances, decide disputes between the member states, negotiate loans, coin money, regulate weights and measures, manage Indian affairs, and operate a post office, among other functions. The Continental Congress could not levy taxes. The Articles were part of an effort to balance the interest of the states against the need for a centralized government, but the difficulties encountered in administration suggested that the balance was off and that a stronger central government was likely needed.

On July 4, 1776, the colonies announced that they were free and independent states, and the effort to build a government began Morgan (1977) discusses this effort in terms of the theory underlying it and the men who brought these ideas to the table and sought to fit them into a practical. Morgan also discusses the beginning of the American nation in terms of nationalism and how it was fostered as well as embodied in the Constitution. The leaders in the colonies now had to consider ways not only of governing but of developing an American economy that would be viable and strong. This led to the Constitutional Convention, an effort to overcome the problems found with the Continental Congress and the governmental system that it represented, a system leaving the colonies essentially independent and preventing concerted and rapid action in the face of a crisis. Some wanted a thorough overhaul of the articles of Confederation, and in the end that is what they got. Morgan identified the war and the era following the war as part of "the search by Americans of the Revolutionary period for principles on which they could take a common stand" (Morgan, 1977, p. xi). The writing of the Constitution embodied those principles in a document and in a form of government and corrected the failures of the Articles of Confederation to do it.

The Federalists were largely aristocrats. Their opposition was made up of state-centered men with local interests and loyalties who wanted to protect their individual, local interests from any encroachment by the federal system they saw developing under the leadership of the Federalists. In the end, they both lost and won to a degree as the republican form of government was adopted. In the course of developing the Constitution, attempts were made to protect the interests of each group. Philosophically and practically, what the Federalists developed was a dual federalism in which sovereignty rested with the people, who delegated some of their sovereignty to the national government, some to the states, and retained some for themselves. Many said such a system could not work and that the balance of power could not be maintained. One of the primary arguments at the Convention was over how much power the states should have as compared to the federal government. One group feared that the Constitution would concentrate power in the national government at the expense of the states, and they wanted to modify and update the Articles of Confederation instead (McKenna, 1994, pp. 33-40).

The ratification of the Constitution was complicated by the differences between the Federalists and their opponents. There was an attempt to accommodate both sides with the creation of a republican form of government. A republic in strictest terms is a form of government in which the people exercise their power through elected representatives. The issue was the form of republic and the degree of centralization it would embody. The Federalist Papers were written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. They answered their critics and wrote about the different aspects of the government they envisioned, and they specifically answered those who said that the balance of power could not be maintained. The Federalists wrote about their concern over the way factions would develop that might divide the country and bring about an imbalance. Yet, they ended by noting that faction was unavoidable, and they proposed the system of checks and balances to reduce the power of faction. The concern over factions was related to a belief in the dark side of human nature. What the Federalists believed was that it was impossible to eliminate the cause of factions without also eliminating liberty, but it would be possible to control the effects. One way was to have a republic large enough to contain a wide variety of factions so that no single faction could gain control. In addition, as Madison wrote in the Federalist No. 51, checks and balances would be a way to control factions (McKenna, 1994, p. 37).

The American Revolution was a major challenge to the prevailing rule by monarchies, with inherited titles, a highly stratified social order, and a ruling elite that made decisions for the masses. The government formed in the American states drew on political philosophy from Europe but put that philosophy into practice as had not been done before. This constituted a change, though perhaps not as great a changes as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "American Revolution the Colonial Forces" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

American Revolution the Colonial Forces.  (2007, June 16).  Retrieved January 18, 2022, from

MLA Format

"American Revolution the Colonial Forces."  16 June 2007.  Web.  18 January 2022. <>.

Chicago Style

"American Revolution the Colonial Forces."  June 16, 2007.  Accessed January 18, 2022.