In Freedom-4-Alls first installment of our blog series, which will eventually cover the American Constitution and how we got there, we led off with the events that got us to our much beloved 4th of July.
Even though the paperwork was ratified, and the announcement for the independence of the 13 colonies was made on July 4th, 1776, all was not peaceful at the time, because claiming something is often altogether different than actually owning it. In fact, the American Revolution for that independence (also called the United States War of Independence or American Revolutionary War) has historically been documented with Paul Revere's midnight ride on April 16th. And once the shot that was 'heard around the world' was fired, officially declared on April 19, 1775.
In the beginning, the colony's military actions were carried out by either what little national army they had, or localized militia forces. The rag-tag fighters often tried to band together but struggled for the first few years for a variety of reasons. Naturally, a poorly funded army due mainly to high inflation at the time (we will cover this deeper in our future Constitutional blogs). But there were also issues such as farmers needing to stay with their fields to provide for their families and the colony's inability to procure adequate gunpowder.
It is also worth mentioning that the colonized fighters were poorly equipped in other ways. Whereas the British enjoyed the luxury of full uniforms, such as thick warm coats, hats, and dry boots, the colonies' minutemen were often fighting the elements ill-equipped. Image sub-zero tempts in the winter and swamp-like mud in the spring, all with a minimum of protection. A few even fought without any footwear!
The British army however was thought to be at minimum twice as strong as our 13 colonies as the English Parliament pulled recruits from their slums and poor population to assist in the war. The British also purchased thousands of troops, about 2/3rds from Germany, to fortify their military.
Things improved for the colonies with France and Spain joining the colonies in 1788 and 1789 respectively.
Please keep in mind that the original 13 colonies were Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Bay Colony (which included Maine), New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Providence Plantations. And many don't know that fighting continued into Canada at times (Benedict Arnold's territory).
This was a lot of coastlines to protect for a militia that had no naval forces, to begin with. They did have many merchant ships used in trade and soon used some of those ships where they could, working to develop a navy as quickly as possible. But often times their ships were outnumbered by the British somewhere between 10-20:1 Most of the actual at-sea conflicts were handled by allies of the colonies.
If you spend some time digging around, you will soon discover that the American Revolution was a much harder battle than most have ever realized. Thankfully, beginning articles of peace were first signed on November 30, 1782, with the Peace of Paris Treaty (September 3, 1783) officially ending the American Revolution War.
At this point, the colonies were ready to begin putting together a unified way of government that all 13 colonies could agree on and work with.
The work had only begun.
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And in case you missed it, here is the link to Part 1. Independence Day