History Moment By William “Doc” Halliday

Opposites in the American Revolutionary War

assassinationThe War had been developing for quite some time. The colonists were not happy with many aspects of their lives under the British Crown. Just like today, many people were unhappy about taxation. In 1763 the Seven Year’s War, also known as the French and Indian War in North America ended, leaving Britain with debts to pay. During the 1760’s the British passed several taxes on the American Colonies in order to pay these debts. These taxes were unpopular and in 1768 British troops arrived in Boston because of political unrest there.

In 1770, the Boston Massacre occurred and three years later the Boston Tea Party took place. In 1775 the battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill were fought. In 1775 Nathan Hale joined the Connecticut militia and within months was promoted to First Lieutenant. Nathan Hale had been born in Connecticut. Benedict Arnold had also been born in Connecticut. When war broke out in 1775, he also joined the Colonial militia, and distinguished himself through acts of intelligence and bravery.

In 1776, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was published anonymously in Philadelphia. In the spring of 1776, the army moved to Manhattan Island to prevent the British from taking over New York City. In July of that same year, the Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence. In July the British won the Battle of Long Island. In September, General George Washington was desperate to determine the location of the imminent British invasion of Manhattan Island. Washington needed a spy behind enemy lines for that purpose, and Nathan Hale volunteered.

Benedict Arnold achieved several successes, including the capture of Fort Ticonderoga from the British. He was promoted to the rank of Major General. Despite Arnold’s successes, he was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress. Other officers claimed credit for some of his accomplishments. Adversaries in military and political circles brought charges of corruption and malfeasance, but he was acquitted in formal inquiries. Congress investigated his accounts and concluded that he was indebted to Congress.

Two hundred and forty-one years ago…

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