Americans win the War of Independence

Before the primary photographs have been fired in the American War of Independence, very few people gave the Americans (also often recognized as the ‘colonists’ or ‘patriots’) an opportunity. Britain had a inhabitants of eleven million compared to the patriots 2.5 million of whom 20% have been slaves. Furthermore Britain had essentially the most highly effective navy in the world, an skilled and well-armed standing army of forty eight,000 men and the help of tens of thousands of loyalists and Indian tribes. Britain also held the financial benefit as they may rely on the earnings from the South Atlantic system and the commercial revolution.

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So initially of the warfare, an American victory seemed distinctly unlikely for American forces weak and British navy and naval energy monumental by comparability.[i]

Foreign aid obtained by the colonists was extraordinarily essential in their victory. In 1776 France prolonged a secret mortgage to the colonies and equipped them with gunpowder. These loans of gunpowder had been extraordinarily necessary in enabling the patriots to defeat Britain in the Battle of Saratoga.

In February 1778 France and America signed The Treaty of Alliance that said as soon as France entered the warfare against Britain, there would be no more treaties earlier than the colonists gained liberty, sovereignty and independence.[ii] The treaty also opened both nations ports to the others commerce and guaranteed French possessions within the New World. Therefore this alliance was crucial as it brought optimism and boosted the morale of the patriots. As one soldier from Pennsylvania said, “There has been a fantastic change in this state since the news from France”.

France gave cash, provides and within the last part of the war, military force. France supplied many of the muskets, bayonets and canons utilized by the colonists and with out French assist it is debatable if they could have won the war. For example on the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, 20 French struggle ships prevented Cornwallis’ escape and led to the surrender of the British pressure and the tip of the warfare.

Furthermore France’s participation in the struggle and Vergennes’ (French foreign minister) affect was a big think about persuading different nations to join the American war effort. In 1779 and 1780, each Spain and Holland respectively entered against Great Britain and shortly after Catherine of Russia organised the League of Armed Neutrality which when threatened by Britain in the early 1780’s, responded by deterring British trade.

So overseas help was a very important factor in America’s victory as it is possible that they did not have the power to defeat the British on their very own.

The logistics of the struggle was a second major purpose for the American’s victory. Britain encountered many logistical problems in the struggle which all contributed in some way to its defeat. Howe thought that driving the American military from the battlefield in any space would return that space to loyalty to the crown or a minimal of neutrality. However this was not the case. Britain was only able to control areas that the navy occupied so subsequently when the army moved it had to abandon the world it beforehand occupied. As a end result when a British drive was defeated its solely hope was to retreat to a fortified port and so if the navy was not there with its traditional overwhelming power, the military could be in deep trouble, as exemplified with the Battle of Yorktown.

Another logistical problem was that the British army couldn’t expect supplies from any space it did not occupy and likewise the areas Britain did occupy were too small to provision the British military.[iii] Therefore they had to be depending on provides from Britain but even this was often a serious drawback because the acquiring of these provides was held up administratively. The British Treasury and Admiralty did not co-operate with one another to make provisioning environment friendly or efficient. For example in 1776 Admiralty agents insisted that military suppliers be licensed and applications accompanied by precise cargo manifests. Therefore, as ships had been loaded at Cork and functions made in London, voyages could be delayed for weeks and generally months and consequently hampered the British struggle effort.

Britain also suffered a variety of transport issues that additional difficult proceedings. In October and November 1775, 36 supply ships loaded with lots of of tons of food and supplies left Britain to make sure the 11,000 troopers, sailors and marines in Boston would have a comfortable winter. However the ships witnessed a number of the worst storms of the century and plenty of sunk, were captured or fled in the direction of the West Indies. In the end solely thirteen supply ships reached Boston by which era many of the meals had gone unhealthy.[iv] So due to this fact transport issues are one other logistical drawback that contributed to Britain’s defeat.

Food that did reach America created one other downside for the British, as there have been no good means to store or distribute the food. Therefore the meals usually sat on the ships holding them up when they could have been used for battle or getting more supplies.

Logistical issues also hit the British military immediately as they might only function freely as lengthy as the supplies they might carry lasted. Therefore they had to transfer as soon as they ran out of provides, even if it was not militarily expedient. So as the army was all the time shifting it could not drive an American army to battle, which created a big benefit for the colonists as they may resolve when to battle.[v]

So total Britain needed to take care of many distribution and communication issues and regardless of having extra provides than the enemy, due to the above problems this proved to be no advantage.

A third major purpose for the patriot’s victory revolved across the navy technique of either side. On three notable events Britain made horrible errors in battle that contributed massively to their general defeat. At the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, Britain went against all accepted navy apply by attacking American forces on Breeds Hill, having to go up a steep and grassy hill in the open carrying sixty pound packs while the colonists had been beneath cover. Of three British attacks, the colonists won two and Britain suffered a 50% loss of soldiers and didn’t make one other offensive for fourteen months. On high of this, the battle significantly strengthened American morale and gave Washington over a 12 months to construct a military and put together for the following battle. [vi]

At the Battle of Long Island in 1776 Britain made a massive strategic error of not exploiting their success. The British army had marched surprising straight into the rear of the colonists and quickly forced a retreat. Britain had thousands of fresh troops obtainable and had the momentum but allowed the colonists to escape from Brooklyn to Manhattan by boat. Therefore Britain misplaced their greatest likelihood of destroying the Continental military, capturing Washington and profitable the warfare.[vii]

The last main military mistake by Britain was in 1777 when General Howe’s plan to attack Philadelphia instead of going to Albany to assist Burgoyne backfired when the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia. Therefore Burgoyne had to send additional supplies and troops to support Howe as an alternative of using them on his way to Albany. Howe underestimated the colonist’s capacity to evade the British and made a large mistake as a outcome of Burgoyne wanted these troops, supplies and Howe’s help at the Battle of Saratoga.

In complete contrast, the colonists displayed some wonderful tactics and techniques at important times that proved extraordinarily essential of their victory within the warfare. During the collective battles known as the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, at Fort Stanwix Britain have been at first in control. However the patriots sent Hon Yost Schuyler to the fort and he promoted a superstition that triggered the Indians to abandon the fort and in consequence caused the British to retreat to Oswego and abandon their siege. Therefore the great ways at Fort Stanwix proved vital because the British had been beforehand in a great place in the battle.

At Bennington, the patriots performed another nice trick sending males disguised as loyalists to mingle with British troops. They went to the rear of the British military and when the patriots attacked they turned in opposition to the British. So again the good techniques shown by the Americans offered an enormous victory and the British suffered huge casualties and lack of supplies that proved significant in the struggle.

A ultimate instance of the great tactics used by the patriots was at Freemans Farm, when American riflemen compelled a retreat in the first British assault after taking pictures from the tops of bushes after which in the second assault caused huge losses to Burgoynes military after being situated on a low hill.[viii] This battle carried extra significance because the victory introduced an American alliance with France, which as defined earlier than was essential within the end result of the war.

However, while discussing military strategy additionally it is necessary to acknowledge the role performed by the terrain as an element for America’s victory. Britain found it tough to deal with the many rivers and poor roads that they encountered and there were no large open fields where the cavalry could manoeuvre. It was uncommon to see Britain using entire regiments and disciplined fire throughout open ground. The territory thus prevented Britain from transferring quickly to surround rebels and from making essentially the most of their superior self-discipline in formal lines of battle. So therefore Americans benefited from their very own familiar terrain. As they did not have the fire self-discipline or military experience and skills to fight formal battles, it was suited to their guerrilla warfare type battle techniques.

Washington was additionally essential to the form and end result of the war. By 1777 Washington had fought Howe five occasions and misplaced every one, however Washington by no means misplaced his military.[ix] He was a big stabilising pressure and from his militia expertise, was glorious at managing an army and keeping it together. As a Southerner, Washington was also very important in bringing southern help right into a warfare that originally was being fought primarily by New Englanders.

However most significantly Washington’s ways on two notable occasions have been massive elements in the end result of the warfare. First in 1776 at the Battle of Long Island, while in serious trouble, Washington enabled an escape for the colonists from Brooklyn to Manhattan by boat. In doing this, Washington prevented Britain’s greatest probability of profitable the warfare.

Secondly in Virginia in October 1781, Washington was influential in main five thousand French and two thousand American troops throughout Pennsylvania into Virginia. Washington moved them so quick that Britain didn’t even know of the Yorktown attack until it was too late. This piece of army mastermind by Washington quickly led to a British surrender and subsequently signalled the tip of the war.

The fourth and possibly last main purpose for the American’s victory revolved around the contrasting motivation and passion of the 2 sides. The patriots were at all times prepared to continue preventing as a end result of they had a powerful desire to win their independence and liked their homeland. On the opposite hand British soldiers were not preventing for a cause that directly affected them as they were in a country almost three thousand miles from residence. Therefore because the struggle continued patriot fervour elevated whereas British morale went down.

In the colonies, the desire to fight the British was never in question. Before the outbreak of struggle Thomas Paine’s pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ was able to sway public sentiment in favour of full independence and in opposition to King George’s tyranny. During the revolution Paine continued to stir up enthusiasm and patriotism in America with ‘The Crisis’ with comments such as, “Tyranny, like hell, isn’t easily conquered; yet we now have this consolation with us, that the tougher the conflict the extra superb the triumph”.[x]

Therefore ‘The Crisis’ affected soldiers and civilians in all levels of society, growing morale, confidence and perception. Paine marched with troops, understood them and stored them preventing beneath horrible circumstances. Thus, Paine played an essential role within the patriot’s victory.

Propaganda also played an enormous position in influencing public opinion. Anti-British cartoons have been well-liked all through the colonies and influenced the common public. The inhumane treatment of American prisoners was a major subject of propaganda and there have been many newspapers detailing atrocities by the British; for instance, the reality that extra prisoners of warfare died than were killed in action. Therefore the use of propaganda was very influential and turned many loyalists in opposition to the British.

So overall in conclusion, I really have recognized four main explanation why the Americans received the War of Independence. Foreign aid from France was very important by way of their money, supplies and navy pressure. France also helped bring Spain and Holland into the warfare and without them the colonists would have discovered it difficult to win. Secondly, Britain suffered many logistical issues together with the acquiring and distributing of supplies and likewise communication problems. With regards to army technique, Britain made numerous strategic errors and struggled to come to terms with the troublesome terrain, whereas the colonists underneath the influential command of Washington made some glorious tactical decisions in battle. Finally the Americans displayed nice motivation and passion to safe victory and independence and by no means lost their want to fight. In distinction British troopers weren’t directly affected whatever the outcomes of war and this proved essential.


[i] Bonwick, Colin. The American Revolution (Macmillan, 1991) 86

[ii] Henretta, James. America: A Concise History (St. Martin’s, 1999) 147

[iii] Bowler, Arthur. Logistics and the Failure of the British Army in America: 1775-1783 (Princeton, 1975) 239

[iv] Perret, Geoffrey. A Country Made by War (Vintage Books, 1990) 20

[v] Heller, Charles. America’s First Battles: 1776-1965 (Lawrence, 1986) 24

[vi] Perret, 15

[vii] Heller, 31

[viii] Perret, 42

[ix] Leckie, Robert. The Wars of America (Harper & Row, 1981) 179

[x] Perret, 34


Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Harvard College, 1967

Bonwick, Colin. The American Revolution. Macmillan, 1991

Bowler, Arthur. Logistics and the Failure of the British Army in America: 1775-1783. Princeton, 1975

Conway, Stephen. The War of American Independence 1775-1783. Arnold, 1995

Heller, Charles. America’s First Battles 1776-1965. Lawrence, 1986

Henretta, James. America: A Concise History. St. Martin’s, 1999

Leckie, Robert. The Wars of America. Harper & Row, 1981

Perret, Geoffrey. A Country Made by War. Vintage Books, 1990

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