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, Sir, let it come!
Patrick Henry, the American orator and first governor of Virginia, expressed those thoughts to Virginia's legislature in March 1775. The thirteen British colonies in North America had finally had enough of one-sided British rule and were forming a consensus to do something about it. By 1774 the colonies had their own Provincial Congress. The Provincial Congress format was the first sign of self-governing states.
When the British discovered these state governing bodies, they sent armed troops to re-establish direct rule. The states united to defend their governing rights by sending representatives to the Second Continental Congress in 1775. The result of that meeting was the beginning of the American Revolutionary War of Independence, which lasted until the colonies claimed victory in October of 1781. The British formally abandoned any claims to the United States with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
The American Revolution was the result of several political, social and intellectual transformations as the colonies developed in a new environment. This new awareness is commonly called the American Enlightenment since it was based on the premise that republicanism rather than oligarchies is the best form of government. The difference in how power was distributed was the underlying ingredient that fueled the inevitable separation. Rather than a few people deciding how people should be governed, the people themselves should have a say in how government serves the people, which is the essence of liberalism or the unalienable rights of the individual.
One of the conflicts that instigated the American Revolution was the 1773 Boston Tea Party, but the New England Restraining Act, which was endorsed by King George III in 1775, was the first match that lit the united fire of rebellion.
The British tried to limit New England trading partners to Britain and the British West Indies, and New England ships were barred from fishing in the area known as North Atlantic Fisheries, and that rule had a major impact on the economy of New England. That Act was later extended to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and other states. Trade and fishing rights were severely limited in most of the colonies, which was unacceptable.
But, the real American revolutionary era began after the British enjoyed a series of victories at the end of the French and Indian War, which ended the French threat to the new colonies. Britain had the notion that the colonies owed them a debt of gratitude by keeping them in the Empire so they imposed a series of direct taxes and other senseless laws in order to demonstrate complete dominance.
The colonies had no legal representation at that time so many of the colonists believed that these ludicrous laws were illegitimate and a blatant violation of their rights as Englishmen. In 1772 the Committees of Correspondence were created by colonists, and those committees lead to the development of provincial congresses in most of the colonies.
Within two years these congresses effectively rejected Parliament and replaced the British ruling arm with the First Continental Congress in 1774. The British sent troops to dissolve these local governments and imposed direct British rule but the colonies mobilized their own militias and fighting broke out in 1775.
In 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence, which rejected British authority and the monarchy. That document established the inalienable rights of each individual.
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