Crucial juncture americans who supported resistance

This preview shows page 28 - 30 out of 36 pages.

crucial juncture, Americans who supported resistance to British rule commanded the allegiance — or at least the acquiescence — of the majority of white Americans.Loyalist AmericansPrinted Page 154[Notes/Highlighting]Armed Resistance BeginsWhen the Continental Congress had met in September 1774, Massachusetts was already defying British authority. In August, 150 delegates to an extralegal Middlesex County Congress had urged Patriots to close the existing royal courts and to transfer their political allegiance to the popularly elected House of Representatives. Subsequently, armed crowds harassed Loyalists and ensured Patriot rule in most of New England.General Thomas Gage, now the military governor of Massachusetts, tried desperately tomaintain imperial power. In September 1774, he ordered British troops in Boston to seize Patriot armories in nearby Charlestown and Cambridge. Following that raid, 20,000militiamen mobilized to safeguard other Massachusetts military depots. The Concord town meeting raised a defensive force, the famous Minutemen, to “Stand at a minutes warning in Case of alarm.” Increasingly, Gage’s authority was limited to Boston, where itrested on the bayonets of his 3,500 troops. Meanwhile, the Patriot-controlled Massachusetts assembly met in nearby Salem in open defiance of Parliament,collecting taxes, bolstering the militia, and assuming the responsibilities of government.
In London, the colonial secretary, Lord Dartmouth, proclaimed Massachusetts to be in “open rebellion” and ordered Gage to march against the “rude rabble.” On the night of April 18, 1775, Gage dispatched seven hundred soldiers to capture colonial leaders and supplies at Concord. Paul Revere and a series of other riders warned Patriots in many towns; at dawn, militiamen confronted the British regulars first at Lexington and then at Concord. Those first skirmishes took a handful of lives, but as the British retreated to Boston, militia from neighboring towns repeatedly ambushed them. By the end of the day, 73 British soldiers were dead, 174 wounded, and 26 missing.British fire had killed 49 Massachusetts militiamen and wounded 39. Too much blood had been spilled to allow another compromise. Twelve years of economic and constitutional conflict had ended in civil violence.Armed Resistance BeginsPrinted Page 155[Notes/Highlighting]The Second Continental Congress Organizes for WarA month later, in May 1775, Patriot leaders gathered in Philadelphia for the Second Continental Congress. As the Congress opened, 3,000 British troops attacked American fortifications on Breed’s Hill and Bunker Hill overlooking Boston. After three assaults and1,000 casualties, they finally dislodged the Patriot militia. Inspired by his countrymen’s valor, John Adams exhorted the Congress to rise to the “defense of American liberty” bycreating a continental army. He nominated George Washington to lead it. After bitter debate, the Congress approved the proposals, but, Adams lamented, only “by bare majorities.”Congress versusKing GeorgeDespite the bloodshed in Massachusetts, a majority in the Congress still hoped for

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture