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Chapter 2: The Imperial Crisis


James Otis challenges Writs of Assistance

  • George Grenville introduces revised Sugar Act
  • Currency Act prohibits colonists from issuing paper money
  • Massachusetts Great and General Court issues circular letter to other colonial assemblies calling for united response to Sugar Act
  • James Otis publishes The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved
  • Earl of Halifax issues circular letter to colonial officials soliciting information about a proposed stamp duty
  • Grenville meets with colonies' London representatives to discuss stamp duty
  • Stamp Act passed by Parliament
  • Patrick Henry attacks Stamp Act in Virginia House of Burgesses
  • Colonial newspapers print Virginia Resolves, only four of which were adopted by the assembly
  • Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, South Carolina, New York and New Jersey adopt resolutions and petitions protesting Stamp Act
  • Stamp Act Congress takes place in New York City
  • Effigies of Andrew Oliver and Lord Bute hanged from Liberty Tree in Boston
  • Merchants in New York City, Philadelphia and Boston sign non-importation agreements
  • American Mutiny Act (Quartering Act) passed by Parliament
  • New York assembly refuses to comply with Quartering Act


Parliament repeals the Stamp Act and adopts the Declaratory Act

Parliament passes New York Restraining Act in response to defiance of assembly


Parliament endorses plans for American Board of Customs Commissioners

Crowd in Norfolk, Virginia attack crew of Royal Navy vessel ashore in search of deserters

John Dickinson publishes Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania


Massachusetts Great and General Court urges other colonies to resist Townshend Acts

Riots take place in Boston when customs commissioners seize sloop Liberty on suspicion of carrying smuggled goods

Great and General Court rejects royal governor's instructions to recall circular letter and is dissolved


Organizations pledged to non-importation established in every colony but New Hampshire


Boston Massacre

Parliament repeals all duties except that on tea


Boston Town Meeting

Boston Town Meeting creates a committee of correspondence to communicate colonial grievances to all towns of Massachusetts, mainland colonies, West Indies and British Isles


Virginia House of Burgesses recommends establishment of committee of correspondence in every colony

Parliament passes Tea Act

Boston Tea Party

  • Parliament passes Coercive Act as a means of punishing and isolating Massachusetts
  • Parliament passes Quebec Act
  • Boston committee of correspondence drafts Solemn League and Covenant
  • First Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia
  • Congress agrees to Declaration of Rights and Grievances
  • Congress adopts Continental Association

Chapter 3: Revolution, 1775-1776


First Continental Congress

First Continental Congress invite Quebecois to join resistance and send representatives to Congress

New Hampshire militiamen storm Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth, seizing arms and munitions stored at fort

General Thomas Gage sends spies throughout eastern Massachusetts to assess strength of colonial resistance and determine where Whigs had stockpiled munitions

  • Parliament declares Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion
  • Parliamentary legislation prohibiting trade of Boston extended to New England, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina
  • Parliament attempts to improve relations with the American colonies by promising to levy only external taxes on the condition that colonists tax themselves and make provision for support of army and navy
  • Gage instructed to arrest leaders of Massachusetts Provincial Congress, disarm population and end rebellion in the colony
  • British troops arrive in Lexington and are met by seventy minutemen
  • British troops fight with militiamen at Concord
  • Green Mountain Boys seize Fort Ticonderoga
  • Second Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia
  • Congress renews invitation to Canada to join resistance
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  • Royal Navy vessels burn port in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense
  • North Carolina Provincial Assembly authorizes congressional delegation to vote in favor of independence if other colonies concur
  • Virginia Provincial Assembly instructs congressional delegates to propose independence
  • Richard Henry Lee introduces Virginia resolution to Congress
  • Assemblies in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Delaware instruct delegates to support independence
  • Radicals in New Jersey oust royal governor William Franklin and send new pro-independence delegation to Congress
  • Congress creates committee to draft declaration of independence
  • Congress votes in favor of independence and adopts a revised Declaration of Independence

Chapter 4: Winning Independence


Congress authorizes invasion of Canada

General George Washington orders artillery captured from Fort Ticonderoga transferred to Boston

Major-General Philip Schuyler's army captures Montreal

  • Continental Army driven from Canada
  • British army abandon Boston
  • British forces occupy Staten Island, New York
  • Battle of Long Island
  • British forces defeat Continental Army at White Plains and capture Forts Washington and Lee on Hudson River
  • Washington leads a surprise attack on Hessian garrison in Trenton, New Jersey and captures nearly 1000 Germans
  • Continental Army defeats British garrison at Princeton
  • British forces occupy Philadelphia
  • General William Howe defeats Continental Army at Battle of Germantown
  • General John Burgoyne surrenders to General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, New York

Treaty of alliance between France and United States signed

Lord George Germain orders General Henry Clinton to prepare for more limited campaign in a bid to concentrate forces against France

Washington confronts Clinton's troops near Monmouth Court House


Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell

Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell's forces capture Savannah and an inland garrison at Augusta

  • Major General Benjamin Lincoln surrenders at Charleston
  • General Horatio Gates' forces defeated at Camden, South Carolina
  • Rebel militia defeat large force of British regulars and militia at King's Mountain, South Carolina
  • General Nathanael Greene takes command of rebel operations in the south

Rebel forces defeat British Legion at Battle of Cowpens

General Charles Cornwallis withdraws troops to Yorktown

Continental and French troops undertake siege of Yorktown and force Cornwallis to surrender


Peace agreement

Parliament votes to discontinue offensive operations in America

British and Americans sign a provisional peace agreement


Peace of Paris

Chapter 5: The Confederation Era


Continental Congress

Continental Congress adopts a resolution calling on all colonies that did not have a permanent constitution based on popular sovereignty to adopt one

Congress creates a committee to prepare a plan to govern the former colonies after independence

New Hampshire, Virginia, South Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and North Carolina adopt new constitutions

Connecticut and Rhode Island amend charters as constitutions


Georgia and New York adopt new constitutions

North-eastern counties of New York break away to establish Vermont

Congress endorses the Articles of Confederation


Massachusetts voters reject proposed constitution


Massachusetts adopts new constitution


Articles of Confederation take effect after Maryland becomes final state to ratify the document

Continental currency collapses


Robert Morris

Robert Morris estimates national debt to be worth $27 million in specie


Veterans and local militia take up arms to close the county courts in western Massachusetts in protest at assembly's refusal to endorse paper money


Daniel Shays

Daniel Shays leads several hundred militiamen in an unsuccessful attempt to capture state armory at Springfield, Massachusetts

Chapter 6: Creating the Constitution


United States suspends payment of loans from France, Spain and Netherlands

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney proposes that Congress creates a committee to review national affairs and propose amendments to Articles of Confederation

Annapolis Convention meets to discuss commercial regulations


Constitutional Convention

Confederation Congress unanimously votes to submit Constitution to states for ratification

Federalist essays published in New York newspapers

Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey ratify the Constitution


Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia and New York ratify the Constitution

Constitution takes effect after New Hampshire becomes ninth state to ratify

North Carolina and Rhode Island reject the Constitution


First Federal Congress meets in New York City

North Carolina ratifies the Constitution

Judiciary Act adopted


Rhode Island ratifies the Constitution

Bill of Rights ratified

Chapter 7: The Federalist Era


Adam Smith

Adam Smith publishes The Wealth of Nations


Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson publishes Notes on the State of Virginia in French


George Washington

George Washington inaugurated as first president of the United States


Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton submits Report on Public Credit to Congress


Hamilton proposes creation of national bank and submits Report on Manufactures to Congress

Vermont admitted to Union

Congress adopts excise tax on whiskey


Kentucky admitted to Union

Philadelphia newspaper war breaks out between supporter of Hamilton and Jefferson

First expression of partisan bias at ballot box

Washington re-elected president


French ambassador Citizen Genet arrives in the United States

Washington issues a proclamation asserting America's neutrality in war between France and Britain

Britain adopts an edict authorizing its vessels to seize any neutral vessels carrying supplies to French islands


James Madison submits series of proposals to Congress calling for commercial retaliation against Britain

Whiskey Rebellion

  • Jay Treaty
  • Tennessee admitted to Union
  • Washington issues “Farewell Address”
  • John Adams elected president
  • French ambassador Citizen Adet publishes series of proclamations in American newspapers threatening hostile French reaction to Federalist victory

XYZ Affair

Congress adopts Alien and Sedition Acts

Legislatures of Kentucky and Virginia adopt sets of resolutions condemning Alien and Sedition Acts


Fries's Rebellion


Capital of the United States moves permanently to new site on the banks of Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland


Jefferson elected president

Chapter 8: An Empire of Liberty, 1801-1815


France cedes Louisiana Territory to Spain


Land Ordinance authored by Jefferson adopted, establishing a system for the settlement of the West and admission of new states


Northwest Land Ordinance succeeds 1784 Land Ordinance


Slave revolt on Saint-Domingue begins Haitian Revolution


Talleyrand convinces Spain to “retrocede” Louisiana Territory


Barbary Wars begin, lasting until 1805

Thomas Jefferson enters office as President


Napoleon sends expeditionary force to Saint-Domingue, which is defeated by combination of Haitian rebels and yellow fever outbreak


United States buys entire Louisiana Territory from France

France and Britain resume war


Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaims himself ruler of independent black republic of Haiti

Lewis and Clark expedition departs from St. Louis


Lewis and Clark expedition reaches Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River

British naval victory at Trafalgar effectively destroys French naval power


Chesapeake-Leopard Affair incites popular outrage and calls for war with Britain


Jefferson endorses Embargo Act


Congress repeals Embargo Act

James Madison takes office as President

Congress passes Non-Intercourse Act


Congress adopts Macon's Bill, Number 2, leading to resumption of nominally normal trade relations with France and renewal of non-intercourse with Britain


U.S.S. President kills 9 and wounds 23 sailors aboard H.M.S. Little Belt

William Henry Harrison attacks and destroys Prophetstown, signalling commencement of hostilities in War of 1812


June 1, Madison asks Congress to declare war on Britain, which Congress does on June 4

June 23, British Parliament suspends restrictions on American trade (not knowing of declaration of war)

British capture Detroit, defeat US forces in Battles of Queenstown Heights

U.S.S. Constitution defeats H.M.S. Guerriere

U.S.S. United States captures H.M.S. Macedonia


Battle of Lake Erie and Battle of the Thames

U.S.S. Constitution defeats H.M.S. Java


British forces capture and burn Washington, D.C.

Battle of Baltimore

Hartford Convention of New England Federalists

December 24, Treaty of Ghent ends War of 1812


January 15, Battle of New Orleans

Chapter 9: Native Americans and the American Revolution


Neolin begins preaching message of spiritual and cultural reform and renewal among Indians


Pontiac's Uprising

George III issues proclamation to create new colonies and set aside Indian reserve in the west

Paxton Boys murder twenty Conestoga Indians


Virginians at Yellow Creek murder eight to ten Indians, triggering Dunmore's War


Cherokees ignore advice of Britain’s Southern Indian Superintendent and launch attacks along frontiers of Virginia and Carolinas

Shawnees and Delawares begin attacking American settlements in Kentucky


Northwest Indians, Delawares, Shawnees, Miamis, Chippewas, Ottawas and Potawatomis form Western Confederacy to resist American encroachments


United States win concessions of land from Iroquois, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Cherokees


Western Confederacy warriors under Little Turtle and Shawnee Blue attack American encampment in Ohio, killing 632 and injuring 264 men.


Anthony Wayne defeats Western Confederacy at Battle of Fallen Timbers

British agree to withdraw from western forts


Western tribes agree to Treaty of Greenville


Tenskwatawa successfully predicts total solar eclipse


Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa establish Prophetstown in central Indiana


William Henry Harrison attacks and destroys Prophetstown, signalling commencement of hostilities in War of 1812


Tecumseh killed at Battle of Thames after being abandoned by British forces


850 Red Sticks killed at Battle of Horseshoe Bend

Chapter 10: African Americans in the Age of Revolution


Pennsylvania Quaker Anthony Benezet publishes series of pamphlets exposing horrors of transatlantic slave trade


Massachusetts Great and General Court debates proposal to ban slave trade


Massachusetts Great and General Court adopts bill prohibiting slave trade, but Governor Thomas Hutchinson refuses to give his consent


Board of Trade overturns attempt by Pennsylvania assembly to increase duty on imported enslaved people as a means of banning the trade

New Jersey Quakers inundate assembly with petitions calling for abolition of slave trade and easing of restrictions on manumissions


Slave trade prohibited in Rhode Island and Connecticut

Group of Boston enslaved people apply to General Gage for their freedom in return for service in assisting the British


Congress bans all African-Americans from service in the Continental Army

Lord Dunmore promises freedom to any Virginia slave who flees a rebel master to serve the British


Washington bows to chronic manpower shortages and accepts African-American soldiers into Continental Army

Vermont prohibits the practice of slavery in its constitution


Benjamin Rush publishes pamphlet attacking slavery

Virginia prohibits participation in trans-Atlantic slave trade


General Sir Henry Clinton issues Philipsburg proclamation offering enslaved men and women the opportunity to serve the British

Black Carolina Corps formed


Pennsylvania adopts a law requiring gradual emancipation of enslaved persons when they became adults


Massachusetts courts begin process of ending slavery


Virginia Assembly adopts a law allowing slaveholders to free enslaved people in their wills


Maryland prohibits participation in trans-Atlantic slave trade


Connecticut and Rhode Island adopt gradual emancipation laws


Enslaved African majority attempt to seize their freedom in Saint-Domingue


Georgia prohibits participation in trans-Atlantic slave trade


New York legislature adopts gradual emancipation law


Gabriel’s Rebellion


New Jersey adopts gradual emancipation law

Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaims himself ruler of independent black republic of Haiti


Members of Black Carolina Corps and enslaved soldiers of other West Indian units given freedom by Parliament

Chapter 11: American Woman in the Age of Revolution


Appeals made to women to protest unjust taxes by refusing to consume items enumerated in Townshend Duties

Boston women pledge not to consume taxed items


Boston women declare their intention to abstain from tea in protest of Tea Act


Edenton Tea Party


Abigail Adams asks her husband to “Remember the Ladies” at the Continental Congress

New Jersey constitution defines voters not by gender but as “all free inhabitants” who could meet property and resident requirements

British pursue a policy of systematic rape in New Jersey


Deborah Sampson enlists in the Continental Army under the name of Robert Shurtliff


Deborah Sampson honourably discharged from the army


Mercy Otis Warren publishes Observations on the New Constitution and on the Federal and State Conventions


New Jersey legislature affirms the right of white women to vote


New Jersey constitution disenfranchises women


Pennsylvania adopts a law requiring gradual emancipation of enslaved persons when they became adults


Declaration of Sentiments adopted at Seneca Falls, New York