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Patriot Success In Revolutionary War Jpme Essay

1339 words - 6 pages

Was Patriot success in achieving independence due more to the strategic skill of George Washington or to the operational and strategic mistakes of the British?

While there are numerous contributing factors to America’s success in achieving independence, the most critical factor can be attributed to the series of British mistakes throughout the conflict. Prior to the onset of the Revolutionary War, the British government faced serious challenges, both politically and fiscally. The conclusion of the French and Indian War coupled with the fighting in Europe, India and the West Indies, left Britain with considerable debt and with few to little allies. The British government saw America as a way to generate revenue in order to assist in its recovery efforts. The fiscal stress in a post-war economy as well as various internal struggles with foreign policy, bureaucratic processes and growing concern amongst its citizens regarding the war set the stage which ultimately ended in America defeating what was the most powerful military in the world. The key areas that enabled the Americans to win the war were the British governments failure to understand the true nature of the war, the failure to maximize sea power and the failure to recognize the true center of gravity.
The first issue was the British government failed to understand the true nature of the war and struggled with how to sufficiently deal with the uprising in America. They failed to diplomatically settle the dispute prior to the Declaration of Independence being written and signed. “The Americans are devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to British ideas, and on British principles” (Genest lecture, 19:14). The King and Prime Minister, both great believers in preserving the British imperial interests, believed a British operation of “brute force” would force allegiance and submission (Carpenter lecture, 30:15). The British assumed this show of force would demolish motivation and compel the Americans to cooperate. The British didn’t understand that the American complaints centered on theories of “constitution, economic independence and religious concepts” (Carpenter lecture, 52:11). Once the war began, the British failed to provide a cohesive and unified strategic vision for the dispute with America. The organizational structure and political system was not particularly efficient in decision-making or policy establishment. Decision-making was lengthy and critical information and strategic decisions were done independently and often in a dispersed manner. In addition, the British military “never had one great director to oversee the strategic direction of the war effort” (Carpenter lecture, 31:30). There were often personality clashes between military commanders, heads of state and other influential roles, which further complicated the situation. These internal conflicts and issues led to poor command and control and ineffective strategic leadership, which lacked...

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