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American Revolution

The American Revolution took place between 1775 and 1783.

The revolutionary era began in 1763, when the military threat to the colonies from France ended. Adopting the view that the colonies should pay a substantial portion of the costs of defending them, Britain imposed a series of taxes that proved highly unpopular and that, by virtue of a lack of elected representation in the governing British Parliament, many colonists considered to be illegal. After protests in Boston the British sent combat troops. The Americans mobilized their militia, and fighting broke out in 1775. Loyalists composed about 15-20 percent of the population. Throughout the war the Patriots generally controlled 80-90 percent of the territory, as the British could only hold a few coastal cities. In 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies voted unanimously to adopt a Declaration of Independence, by which they established the United States of America.

Forming an alliance with France in 1778, the Americans somewhat leveled the playing field. Two main British armies were captured at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781, leading to peace with the Treaty of Paris in 1783, with the recognition of the United States as an independent nation bounded by British Canada on the north, Spanish Florida on the south, and the Mississippi River on the west.

The documents in this category generally span the period of the American Revolution.