The nearly year-long Siege of Boston began on April 19, 1775, just after the battles at Lexington and Concord. Colonial militiamen surrounded Boston to prevent the British army’s movement, and conflicts ensued for eleven months until the British evacuation in March 1776.
The Sons of Liberty was a secret organization formed in opposition to the Stamp Act in the summer of 1765. Lead by Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and others, the Sons of Liberty coordinated colonial resistance to British tyranny using petitions, propaganda, and public assembly. First formed in Boston, local Sons of Liberty organizations were soon established throughout the colonies.
The Second Continental Congress was the body of colonial delegates that first met in May 1775, by arrangement of the First Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who had not taken part in the First Continental Congress, were among its members. During the American Revolution, the Second Continental Congress served as the provisional government of the colonies, issued the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and adopted the Articles of Confederation in 1777.
The First Continental Congress was the unified body of colonial delegates that met in September 1774 to determine the colonial response to Parliament’s passage of the Intolerable Acts (or Coercive Acts). All the colonies except Georgia were represented in the First Continental Congress. Fifty-six delegates met in Philadelphia. The meeting adopted the Suffolk Resolves, sent its “Declaration of Rights and Grievances” to King George III, and agreed to meet again in a Second Continental Congress in May 1775.
John Adams estimated that roughly a third of the American population supported the Revolution, a third remained loyal to the Crown, and a third was uncommitted. Recent research suggests that perhaps 20 percent of the population consisted of loyalists. Loyalists were especially strong in New Jersey and South Carolina. After the war, about 80,000 loyalists—including substantial numbers of former slaves—emigrated from the United States to other parts of the British Empire. Loyalists were disproportionately from the ranks of the influential,...
Gouverneur Morris (1752–1816) was a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Articles of the Confederation, and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. As a framer of the Constitution, Morris advocated the creation of an executive branch and an electoral college. After the founding, Morris served as a minister to France and, later, in the Senate.
Gilbert de Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834) was a French general and political leader. Born to a distinguished family, Lafayette entered the army at a young age. Enthusiastic over the news of the American Revolution, he defied France’s official neutrality and left his country to join George Washington’s army. When he arrived in Philadelphia in 1777, Congress appointed him a major general. He quickly became a close friend of Washington and shared the hardships of Valley Forge. After traveling to France in 1779 and 1780 to negotiate...