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THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: AN OVERVIEW

Surrounded by angry colonists, the British cleared out of Boston and sailed to New York City, where they had a lot more support. George Washington tried to defend New York but was quickly pushed out, almost losing his army and his life in the fallback. As winter closed off the ability of the armies to maneuver, Washington struck back against detachments of the British army in New Jersey after famously rowing across the ice-clogged Delaware River at night on December 26, 1776.

Meanwhile, the British planned to cut troublesome New England off from the rest of the colonies by marching an army down from Canada through New York, a strategy that didn't work. In the important Battle of Saratoga (1777), a patriot army forced the British to surrender in northern New York. That victory gave the French the incentive to enter the war on the side of the patriots. French help was a significant factor in the war, because the French had the weapons, navy, and well-trained regular army that the patriots desperately needed. After their loss at Saratoga, the British offered the Americans home rule within the British empire, but it was way too late for that.

Example

Question: What was the most important outcome of the Battle of Saratoga?

Answer: The win by the patriots in the Battle of Saratoga gave the French the belief that the colonialists might succeed if the French entered the war to help the rebels.

Valley Forge and help from France

Another British army managed to take Philadelphia, forcing the members of the Continental Congress to run for their lives. Washington's army stayed gamely nearby, freezing through a terrible winter at its Valley Forge camp. With the French threatening them, the British moved back to the safety of New York City, fighting a hot battle with Washington along the way. For the next three years, Washington stayed close to New York, tying down the British troops there. The French landed a powerful army of 6,000 soldiers to help the patriots.

Obviously, the British couldn't win the war by sitting around New York. Because New England hadn't worked for the British, and the Middle states had proven tough, the British decided to try the South, where a large Loyalist population promised a better welcome.

 
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