BECK index

Volume 13: AMERICAN REVOLUTION 1744-1817

American Revolutions 1744-1817 has been published as a book .
For ordering information, please click here.


South America 1744-1817

Brazil under Portugal 1744-88
Brazil’s Rise to Power 1788-1817
Rio de la Plata 1744-1810
Argentine Revolution 1810-17
Chile 1744-1817
Peru 1744-1817
New Granada 1744-1814
Bolivar in Venezuela 1808-11
Bolivar in Venezuela 1812-13
Bolivar and Revolution 1814-17
Guiana 1744-1817

Mexico and the Caribbean 1744-1817

Mexico 1744-1809
Mexico’s Struggle for Independence 1810-17
North Mexico and Texas 1744-1817
California Missions 1768-1817
Central America 1744-1817
British and French West Indies 1744-1817
Cuba and Puerto Rico 1744-1817
Haiti’s Slave Revolution

English and French Conflict in America 1744-54

New France and New England 1744-54
New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania 1744-54
Franklin in Pennsylvania 1744-54
Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland 1744-54
Carolinas and Georgia 1744-54

English, French, and Indian Wars 1754-63

English-French War in America 1754-57
English Defeat of New France 1758-60
New York and New Jersey 1754-63
Pennsylvania and War 1754-63
Franklin and Pennsylvania 1757-64
Maryland and Virginia 1754-63
Carolinas and the Cherokees 1754-63
Georgia and the Creeks 1754-63
New England and British Canada 1760-63
Pontiac's Uprising of 1763

American Resistance to British Taxes 1763-75

Peace Treaty and Sugar Tax 1763-65
Stamp Act Crisis 1765-66
Townshend Acts 1767-70
Tea Tax Resistance 1770-74
Continental Congress 1774-75
Western Frontier 1763-75

American War of Independence

British War in Massachusetts 1775
Congress and the War 1775-76
Paine’s Common Sense
American Declaration of Independence
British War in America 1776
British War in America 1777
British War in America 1778-79
British War in America 1780-81
American Peacemaking 1782-83
Frontier during the Revolutionary War

Confederation and a Constitution 1784-89

United States Confederation 1784-85
United States Confederation in 1786
Shays’s Rebellion and Congress 1786-87
Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia
Ratification and the Federalists
Transition and the Bill of Rights
American Frontier 1784-89

Federalist United States 1789-1801

America’s New Government 1789-90
Washington and Hamilton’s Bank 1791-92
America and the French Revolution 1793-94
Whiskey Rebellion
Washington and Peace 1795-96
Adams and the Quasi-War 1797-98
Adams and the Election 1799-1801
American Frontier 1789-1801

Jeffersonian Democracy 1801-1809

Jefferson’s Revolution Begins 1801-02
America’s Naval War in North Africa
Louisiana Purchase and Exploration
Jefferson Administration 1803-05
Jefferson’s Second Term Begins 1805-06
Burr Conspiracy and Trial
Jefferson and the Embargo 1807-09

Madison and the War of 1812

Madison Administration 1809-10
Madison Administration 1811 to June 1812
American-British War 1812-13
American-British War 1814-15
Madison Administration 1815-1817

Canada under the British 1763-1817

British Canada during Revolution 1763-83
British North America 1783-1812
Canada in War and Peace 1812-17

Summary and Evaluation of American Revolutions 1744-1817

Latin America
English-French Conflict 1744-63

American Revolution 1763-1783
American Constitution and Federalists 1783-1801
Jefferson’s Republic and Madison’s War 1801-17


Chronology of America to 1817
World Chronology



      By 1744 Europeans had been in the Americas for two and a half centuries, the Spaniards and Portuguese having arrived about a century before the English, French, and other Europeans. Europeans born in South America were called creoles and were treated as second-class citizens by the Spaniards and Portuguese who believed they should continue to rule their colonies. In Mexico the Franciscan brothers were given the opportunity to colonize California without so much military interference, and they established missions along the coast to evangelize and teach the natives.
      Latin America would suddenly begin to change radically in 1808 when Napoleon’s French armies moved into the Iberian peninsula to occupy Spain and Portugal and forced King Fernando VII to abdicate. Thus the French Revolution, which had been inspired by the American Revolution, would assist the revolutions that would occur in Latin America in the 19th century, especially in Haiti where a revolution by Africans succeeded. For a few years the creoles in most of the colonies used this opportunity to govern themselves without the interference of a King. Brazil was so large and developed so well economically that King Joao of Portugal even moved to Rio de Janeiro. When Fernando VII was restored in 1814, some of these colonies were brought back under control of the European monarchy for a time; but republicans led by Simon Bolivar and others would defeat the royalists and maintain their independence.
      The European conflict between England and France was already affecting the colonies in northern America in 1744 when King George’s war began. Although this war did not last long, the Seven Years War that actually was begun in the wilderness south of the Ohio River in 1754 by an attack led by young George Washington would be the first world war that was fought in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. The French in Canada were outnumbered, and the growing British empire managed to defeat the French on the American continent and take control of Canada.
      This huge war had cost the British much money, and they expected the American colonists to help pay off the debt with their taxes which they imposed on the colonies without consulting their local assemblies or by giving them representation in their Parliament. The British Americans understood their rights as British citizens and had been developing their local governments for genera-tions, and in every colony south of Canada they resisted paying these oppressive taxes to a mother country that was also exploiting them with commercial restrictions. The American Revolution began nonviolently for the most part as people gathered in town meetings and decided not to pay the taxes even if they had to stop purchasing British imports. The resistance to the Stamp Act of 1765 was so widespread and successful that the British repealed it the next year. Americans found that they could forego the luxury of tea to assert their right to govern themselves.
      Unfortunately King George III tried to impose his will on the colonies by using military force in Boston; but this only provoked more resistance and led to war on April 19, 1775 when the patriots refused to let the British take their weapons from Lexington and Concord. Some Virginians, though slave owners, were well educated as to their rights, and they provided leaders such as Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison who would guide the transformation to a republic without a monarch, though efforts by Jefferson could not persuade the southerners to give up their slaves.
      The proliferation of newspapers and pamphlets by James Otis, John Adams, Jefferson, and Thomas Paine during the war encouraged the struggle for freedom and republican institutions. The genius of Ben Franklin gained the alliance with France that helped the Americans overthrow their English overlords. Washington led a defensive war that eventually defeated the British from across the seas, and then he retired. For a few years the states experimented with a weak confederation and found that it did not work very well. So in 1787 delegates sent to Philadelphia debated and created a new constitution that established a stronger federal government and would include a Bill of Rights to protect their cherished liberties.
      Washington was overwhelmingly elected as the first President of the United States, and the Federalists led by Alexander Hamilton were influential as they consolidated the debts of the states and established a banking system. Washington wisely established a neutral foreign policy and retired after eight years to show that a republic could change its leadership by elections rather than by death. John Adams was able to prevent a war against France despite the efforts of Hamilton.
      The election of 1800 was a democratic revolution as Thomas Jefferson was elected President over Adams and began the Republican era. He too avoided war though the embargo caused economic hardships. James Madison had been the primary author of the Constitution, but he was unable to stop the popular feeling toward another war against England that broke out in 1812. Some Americans coveted Canada; but this was not to be. After both capitals had been burned, negotiations ended the war by a treaty that maintained the borders as they had been settled in the treaty of 1783. Canada would remain in the British empire as the English governed many French speakers there.
      This period of history offers many lessons for us today in a chaotic world that still suffers from the violence of wars and terrorism as separate nations and religious groups struggle for dominance. What the world needs now are nonviolent reforms and democratic processes on the international and world scale. The people of all  nations can unite to form a democratic government under a republican constitution that protects the human rights of all and settles serious conflicts by laws in courts of justice and by fair elections instead of by violence. Then the genocidal weapons that mankind has developed can be disarmed, and in peaceful ways humanity will be able to solve the ecological challenges that we face.

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