The war for American independence from Great Britain

Reference

American Revolutionary War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), also known as the American War for Independence, was the military side of the American Revolution. It was a war fought primarily between Great Britain and the nascent 'United States of America', insofar as that yet existed. The war began largely as a colonial revolt against the economic policies of the British Empire (and, with American-British loyalists vs American-British revolters, could even be seen as a civil war, as Richard Holmes (military historian) has suggested) but eventually widened far beyond British North America, with France, Spain, and the Netherlands entering the war against Great Britain. Additionally, many Native Americans fought on both sides of the conflict. ..."

Events of Interest

19 Apr 1775, Battle of Concord

Articles

Independence Day Propaganda, by Anthony Gregory, 4 Jul 2011
Argues that the American Revolution, albeit of a libertarian flavor, had several unsavory shortcomings
"There is a heroic side to the American Revolution, and surely no U.S. war since has been nearly as just in its cause. But the political shenanigans that led to war, the war itself, and its aftermath all deserve more criticism. Sadly enough, those who support the federal government's domestic ambitions and foreign occupations while waving the flag on Independence Day are only as hypocritical as the colonists who tarred and feathered their antiwar countrymen in the name of liberty, the soldiers who invaded Canada in the name of anti-imperialism, the rebels who destroyed privately owned tea in the name of property rights, the Founders who waged a war against tyranny only to create a regime as formidable as King George's ..."
The Revolutionary War and the Destruction of the Continental, by Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Mises Daily, 11 Oct 2006
"... the continental currency lost so much of its value that it became common to describe something as worthless by saying it was 'not worth a Continental.' Financing for the American War for Independence included loans and subsidies from the French government as well as the modest sums Congress received as a result of its requisitions upon the states. But paper money played a central role in Revolutionary War finance."
America's Two Just Wars: 1775 and 1861, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Costs of War, May 1994
Based on a talk given at the Mises Institute's Costs of War conference, published in The Costs of War: America's Pyrrhic Victories, John V. Denson (editor)
"The American revolutionaries, in separating themselves from Great Britain and forming their new nation, adopted the Lockean doctrine. ... the Americans cast their lot, permanently, with a contractual theory or justification for government. ... These 13 separate republics, in order to wage their common war against the British Empire, each sent representatives to the Continental Congress, and then later formed a Confederation, again with severely limited central powers, to help fight the British."
Give Me Liberty, by Rose Wilder Lane, 1936
Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
"For two hundred and fifty years, Europe colonizes this continent. ... Along the Atlantic coast, between wilderness and sea, are scattered little English colonies. Not all the colonies rebel against England. Canada remains loyal to the King, and among the others only Virginia and Massachusetts have any real heart for the fight. The war drags along, a little frontier war fought with valor by a few rebels and neglected by England, whose vital interests are elsewhere. An excursion of French gunboats helps decide the issue."
How Nationalism and Socialism Arose from the French Revolution, by Dan Sanchez, 12 Apr 2017
Examines how three crucial ideas (liberalism, nationalism and socialism) emerged around the same time (18th and 19th century) and how they depended on the rise of the modern people's state
"By the Enlightenment decades of the 1760s and 70s, the Lockean ideals of individual liberty and the people's state had crossed the Atlantic to the American colonies, where they became the creed of the founding generation. ... King George had broken the terms and conditions of the social contract. So the American people no longer had any obligation to keep him on as their security provider. He was fired, and the Declaration of Independence was his pink slip. George didn't take his firing well, so it took the Revolutionary War to escort him off the premises."
Libertarians of Will, Intellect, and Action, by Murray N. Rothbard, 1977
Keynote address to the Libertarian Party Convention
"... the American Revolution did not end in 1776; in fact, the Revolution began a year before the official Bicentennial, in 1775, and it ended eight grueling years later, in 1783. ... The American revolutionaries set themselves a goal: to transform reality so as to bring the rhetoric of the Declaration into living practice. The American Revolution was the process of struggle by which the revolutionaries pursued their goal and achieved their victory."
Module 3: Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence
Third module of the Cato Home Study Course, includes link to listen or download audio program (two parts, 1:18:20 and 1:13:52), questions and suggested readings
"The American Revolution is all too often confused with the War for Independence. As John Adams noted in a letter of 1815 to Thomas Jefferson, 'What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the Revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington. The records of thirteen legislatures, the pamphlets, newspapers in all the colonies, ought to be consulted during that period to ascertain the steps by which the public opinion was enlightened and informed concerning the authority of Parliament over the colonies.'"
The Ethics of Voting: Part Two [PDF], by George H. Smith, The Voluntaryist, Dec 1982
An analysis of the State as an institution ("method of pursuing a social activity")
"Two consequences of the American Revolution are important here: first, debts incurred during the war convinced many of the need for a centralized government with taxing power; second, with the British eliminated, there was no effective brake on the formation of a national State. The major competitor had been kicked out, and the field was clear for those who desired a State, provided it was not the British State."
Related Topics: The State, Politicians
The Failed Attempt to Leash the Dogs of War, by Bart Frazier, Future of Freedom, Dec 2006
Discusses provisions of the Constitution that were meant to prevent the United States from having a large, permanent military and becoming involved in warfare at the will of a single person
"The men who drafted the Constitution knew war well. For one thing, they had just recently engaged in warfare themselves. Fighting the American Revolution against their own government over the course of eight years had a direct impact on many of them. Of course George Washington had led the American forces against the British, and many of the constitutional delegates had lost friends and property throughout the course of war."
The man who financed the American Revolution, by Jim Powell
"... price controls discouraged sellers from making goods available, and the result was chronic shortages. Hence, the misery of Washington's 12,000 soldiers at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania where, during the winter of 1777, they huddled in the cold without enough food, shoes or blankets as well as forage for horses."
Related Topic: Robert Morris
The Philosophy of Paine, by Thomas A. Edison, The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison, 7 Jun 1925
Edison laments the lack of interest in Paine's writings, outlines his life, discusses the main writings and encourages others to read him
"In 'Common Sense' Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable. Washington recognized the difference, and in his calm way said that matters never could be the same again. ... It is probable that we should have had the Revolution without Tom Paine. Certainly it could not be forestalled, once he had spoken."
The Rocky Road of American Taxation, by Charles W. Adams, Mises Daily, 15 Apr 2006
Adapted from the author's For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
"In the end the Americans revolted when Parliament adopted the kind of taxation the colonists said they were willing to pay. You could justifiably say that the American Revolution occurred, not because we objected to taxes without representation, but because we objected to taxes, period. And the American attitude didn't change much after the war."
The Scoundrel Robert Morris, by Douglas E. French, The Free Market, Feb 1995
"Robert Morris became the Superintendent of Finance during the last years of the war. Throughout the war, the government issued notes to pay for supplies. ... Morris, attempting to marshall support for federal taxes, used his position to stir up both the army (by not paying it), and public creditors (by ceasing all interest payments)."
Related Topic: Robert Morris
Thomas Paine-Passionate Pamphleteer for Liberty: A Singleminded Private Individual Aroused Millions to Throw Off Their Oppressors, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jan 1996
Biographical essay, highlighting Paine's writings in Common Sense, American Crisis, Rights of Man and Age of Reason
"When Independence brought war, Paine enlisted ... and by year-end 1776 he was with General George Washington. The untrained, poorly paid Americans, typically serving for a year, were routed by well-trained British soldiers and ruthless Hessian mercenaries. Paine wondered how he could boost morale. By evening campfire he began writing a new pamphlet. ... his manuscript ... [was published] as an eight-page essay, American Crisis. On Christmas Day 1776, George Washington read it to his soldiers."
Tom Paine's Revolution, by J. Brian Phillips, The Freeman, Apr 1989
Relates how Paine's Common Sense pamphlet managed to change public opinion during the American Revolution and hopes this may prove instructive for the modern freedom movement when dealing with the many who favor continuation of the status quo
"Even after the Revolutionary War had begun, most ... Americans still considered themselves to be loyal British subjects, and were willing to continue to do so, if only the King would correct his most grievous transgressions. In early 1776—more than eight months after the Battle of Lexington—colonists suddenly began to support the idea of American independence. This dramatic change can be largely attributed to the work of one man: Thomas Paine."
Related Topic: Thomas Paine

Videos

HOWARD ZINN: "Holy Wars", by Howard Zinn, Democracy Now!, 11 Nov 2009
Talk given at Boston University, discussing the American "Holy Wars": the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and World War II