Timeline of the American Revolution

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Timeline of the American Revolutiontimeline of the political upheaval culminating in the 18th century in which Thirteen Colonies in North America joined together for independence from the British Empire, and after victory in the Revolutionary War combined to form the United States of America. The American Revolution includes political, social, and military aspects. The revolutionary era is generally considered to have begun with the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 and ended with the ratification of the United States Bill of Rights in 1791. The military phase of the revolution, the American Revolutionary War, lasted from 1775 to 1783.




  • The Lords of Trade issues quo warranto writs for the charters of several North American colonies, including Massachusetts (June 3)


  • Revocation of the Charter by Charles II. For technical reasons the Massachusetts writ is never served, and the agreement is formally vacated when the chancery court issues a scire facias writ formally annulling the charter. The proceedings are arranged so that the time for the colonial authorities to defend the charter expires before they even learn of the event (June 18)





Join, or Die woodcut by Benjamin Franklin, 1754


  • Albany Congress, the first time in the 18th century that American colonial representatives meet to discuss some manner of formal union (June 18–July 11)




Eastern North America in 1775, including the British Province of Quebec (pink), Indian Reserve (pink), and areas open to European-American settlement in the 13 Colonies along the Atlantic coast (red), plus the westward border established by the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and present–day state lines


  • The Sugar Act (April 5), intended to raise revenues, and the Currency Act (September 1), prohibiting the colonies from issuing paper money, are passed by Parliament. These Acts, coming during the economic slump that followed the French and Indian War, are resented by the colonists and lead to protest


  • Parliament enacts (March 22) the Stamp Act to impose control and help defray the cost of keeping troops in America to control the colonists, imposing a tax on many types of printed materials used in the colonies. Seen as a violation of rights, the Act sparks violent demonstrations in several Colonies. Virginia's House of Burgesses adopts (May 29) the Virginia Resolves claiming that, under British law, Virginians could be taxed only by an assembly to which they had elected representatives
  • Delegates from nine colonies attend the Stamp Act Congress which adopts (October 19) a Declaration of Rights and Grievances and petitions Parliament and the king to repeal the Act
  • Parliament enacts (March 24) the Quartering Act, requiring the Colonies to provide housing, food, and other provisions to British troops. The act is resisted or circumvented in most of the colonies. In 1767 and again in 1769, Parliament suspended the governor and legislature of New York for failure to comply


  • The British Parliament repeals the unpopular Stamp Act of the previous year, but, in the simultaneous Declaratory Act, asserts its "full power and authority to make laws and statutes ... to bind the colonies and people of America ... in all cases whatsoever" (March 18)
  • Liberty pole erected in New York City commons in celebration of the Stamp Act repeal (May 21). An intermittent skirmish with the British garrison over the removal of this and other poles, and their replacement by the Sons of Liberty, rages until the Province of New York is under the control of the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress in 1775


  • Parliament aims to assert its right to tax the American colonies after the failure of the Sugar Act and Stamp Act. The Townshend Acts, named for Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend, are passed by Parliament, placing duties on many items imported into America (June 29). The American colonists, who were denied any representation in Parliament, strongly condemned the Acts as an egregious abuse of power.


  • Britain's Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Hillsborough, orders colonial governors to stop their own assemblies from endorsing Adams' circular letter (April). Hillsborough also orders the governor of Massachusetts to dissolve the general court if the Massachusetts assembly does not revoke the letter. By month's end, the assemblies of New Hampshire, Connecticut and New Jersey have endorsed the letter
  • A British warship, HMS Romney, armed with 50 cannon sailed into Boston harbor after a call for help from custom commissioners who were constantly being harassed by Boston agitators (May). A customs official was later locked up in the cabin of Liberty, a sloop owned by John Hancock (June). Imported wine was unloaded illegally into Boston without payment of duties. Following this incident, customs officials seized Hancock's sloop. After threats of violence from Bostonians, the customs officials escaped to an island off Boston, then requested the intervention of British troops
  • The governor of Massachusetts dissolves the general court (July) after the legislature defies his order to revoke Adams' circular letter. In August, in Boston and New York, merchants agree to boycott most British goods until the Townshend Acts are repealed. In September, at a town meeting in Boston, residents are urged to arm themselves. Later in September, British warships sail into Boston Harbor, then two regiments of British infantry land in Boston and set up permanent residence to keep order




The Boston Massacre, an engraving by patriot Paul Revere






Battles of Lexington and Concord.


Declaration of Independence, 1819 painting by John Trumbull
Washington Crossing the Delaware, painting 1851 by Emanuel Leutze


Surrender of General Burgoyne, 1821 painting by John Trumbull





Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, 1820 painting by John Trumbull




Washington's Entry into New York by Currier & Ives (1857)





Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy (1940)







  • President Washington and Vice President Adams begin their second terms (March 4).


  • Jay's Treaty ratified in June toward resolving post Revolution tensions between the United States and Great Britain. First use of arbitration in modern diplomatic history for Canada–United States border disputes.



  • Adams becomes the second president, Jefferson becomes the second vice president (March 4).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Founders Online: The Final Hearing before the Privy Council Committee for Plant …".
  2. ^ Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, New Haven, Connecticut: Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School: Avalon Project, October 14, 1774, retrieved January 10, 2022
  3. ^ Continental Congress (October 20, 1774). "Continental Association (Articles of Association)". Founders Online (founders.archives.gov). National Archives. Retrieved January 10, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cullen, Joseph P. The concise illustrated history of the American Revolution (1972) for secondary schools online 136pp
  • Fremont-Barnes, Gregory, and Richard Alan Ryerson, eds. The Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War: A Political, Social, and Military History (5 vol. 2006)
  • George, Lynn. A Timeline of the American Revolution (2002) 24pp; for middle schools online
  • Morris, Richard B. Encyclopedia of American History (7th ed. 1996) online, detailed timeline

External links[edit]