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Ekstrom Library

Government Resources: History: American Revolution

The Continental Army (Center of Military History)

On 19 April 1775 local Massachusetts militiamen and regular British troops began the War of American Independence at Lexington and Concord. The New England colonists reacted to this news by raising four separate armies. Each jurisdiction formed its force according to its particular experience in earlier wars and its individual interpretation of European military developments over the previous century. The speed of the American response stemmed from a decade of tension and from the tentative preparations for possible armed conflict that the colonists had made during the preceding months. The concentration of four separate armed forces at Boston under loose Massachusetts hegemony as a de facto regional army paved the way for establishing a national Continental Army. The Continental Army by Robert K. Wright, Jr. Army Lineage Series.

Declaration of Independence

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.(NARA)

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