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Revolutionary War Essay Intro

American Revolution Essays, Timelines & Images

Select essays, timelines and images from the list of colonial America and American Revolution-related topics below.

Events Leading to the American Revolution

  • The Road to Revolution – Explore how growing economic and political tensions between Great Britain and her American colonies led to war.
  • Road to Independence – Was every American in Favor of breaking it off with Britain? Absolutely not! Learn about the people and events that led the American colonies to fight for independence.

The American Revolution

  • Yorktown Chronicles – Explore the worlds of George Washington and Charles Cornwallis from their military beginnings through the American Revolution and its aftermath.
  • Life of a Private – During the American Revolution hardships were plentiful for Continental Army soldiers. Yet thousands of men joined. Find out why these men enlisted and learn how women and African-Americans supported the Continental Army too.
  • The_Battle_of_Great_Bridge – The first major Revolutionary War conflict in Virginia happened at Great Bridge, near Norfolk.  Find out why the American victory at Great Bridge was an important precursor to the official start of the war.
  • The French Alliance and the Winning of American Independence – Find out how alliance with the French enabled the Continental Army to prevail over the highly trained British army to win the war.
  • How the Allied Victory at Yorktown Won American Independence – The American victory at Yorktown quelled British Parliament’s desire to continue to war.  Discover how this victory led to British recognition of American independence.
  • The Role of the Militia During the Revolutionary War – Why were local groups of part-time citizen soldiers important during the American Revolution?  Explore the somewhat controversial role of the militia.
  • Tea Overboard – Was the Boston Tea Party the only rebellion of its kind?  Learn about a similar, though smaller, tea party in Yorktown, Virginia.
  • African Americans and the American Revolution – Discover the extensive role played by African Americans in the American Revolution.

After the War

  • Yorktown Chronicles – Explore the worlds of George Washington and Charles Cornwallis from their military beginnings through the American Revolution and its aftermath.

Colonial Life

  • Colonial Life – Discover what life was like for a typical family and enslaved people on a Revolutionary War era farm.


  • Yorktown Chronicles – Explore the worlds of George Washington and Charles Cornwallis from their military beginnings through the American Revolution and its aftermath.
  • People of the Revolution – Biographical essays about people who had to choose sides in the American Revolution.

A visit to The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is the perfect complement to the online resources found here. Be sure to explore our full range of hands-on history programs for groups, families and individuals and teachers.

The American Revolution freed colonists from British rule and offered the first blow in what historians have called “the age of democratic revolutions.” The American Revolution was a global event. Revolutions followed in France, then Haiti, and then South America. The American Revolution meanwhile wrought significant changes to the British Empire. Many British historians even use the Revolution as a dividing point between a “first British Empire” and a “second British Empire.” But at home, the Revolution created the United States of America.

Historians have long argued over the causes and character of the American Revolution. Was the Revolution caused by British imperial policy or by internal tensions within the colonies? Were colonists primarily motivated by ideals or by economic self-interest? Was the Revolution radical or conservative? But such questions are hardly limited to historians. From Abraham Lincoln quoting the Declaration of Independence in his “Gettysburg Address” to modern-day “Tea Party” members wearing knee breeches, the Revolution has remained at the center of American political culture. How one understands the Revolution often dictates how one defines what it means to be “American.”

The Revolution hardly ended all social and civic inequalities in the new nation, but the rhetoric of equality encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence has spanned American history. The rhetoric was used to highlight inequalities, eventually aiding the abolitionist movement of the early nineteenth century and the women’s rights movements of the 1840s and 1910s. And yet it was also used to justify secession and oppose civil rights movements. American revolutionaries broke new ground. They had to make it up as they went along. And in many ways, Americans have been doing the same ever since.

This chapter was edited by Michael Hattem, with content contributions by James Ambuske, Alexander Burns, Joshua Beatty, Christina Carrick, Christopher Consolino, Michael Hattem, Timothy C. Hemmis, Joseph Moore, Emily Romeo, and Christopher Sparshott.

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