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Content Reading: The American Revolution Part 2
In preparing for conflict with Britain, the Colonies prepared “minutemen” to fight, which were groups who armed themselves and prepared for conflict at a “minute’s” notice. On April 18th, 1775, Paul Revere went from city to city warning that the British were coming to take the weapons the colonists had built up in Concord. This gave the colonists time to respond and hide the weapons from the British. 700 British troops killed eight colonists at Lexington, Massachusetts. The British did not realize how powerful the minutemen forces were that they were about to encounter. 3,000 minutemen confronted the British and slaughtered many of the troops. This was the initial segment of fighting in the American Revolution.
A colonist named Thomas Paine wrote a book called Common Sense and criticized the actions of King George the 3rd. The colonists were ready to unite as one country and break away from Britain due to the mistreatment that came from taxes, harsh laws, and other issues. In 1776, under the request of the Second Continental Congress, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.
In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson asserted that people were due the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He also claimed the Creator gave all people these rights. An important assertion in the document was this, “…all men are created equal.” On July 4th 1776, the Colonies officially declared independence from Britain and became the United States of America.
George Washington was appointed head of the Continental Army to lead the colonial resistance. British General Thomas Gage attacked the colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. The colonists lost 450 men and the British lost over 1000 men. The colonists eventually retreated, but proved they could put up a fight and would not be easily defeated.
America was divided into two groups. Loyalists were faithful to England. Patriots wanted independence. There were more Patriots than Loyalists. Sometimes, families were torn between which side to choose. For instance, Benjamin Franklin was a Patriot, but his son, William, was a Loyalist.