The American Revolution, also known as the American Revolutionary War and the War of Independence, lasted from 1775 to 1783. It stemmed from growing tensions between England’s 13 North American colonies and the colonial government representing England, as well as cost sharing imposed on English colonies by successive governments in London for debts attributed to former wars (Foner, 2012). The “cost sharing” encompassed a variety of measures including taxation on goods produced in the colonies, efforts to stem widespread smuggling and “The Stamp Act” of 1765 requiring a stamp on all printed material. This act managed to insult every free colonist, but was particularly resented by those who wrote, published and read books and newspapers and followed political matters. Many colonial leaders saw the costs associated with “membership” in the English empire as a threat to freedom, as well as an effort to undermine the colonies’ liberty.
Many factors contributed to the length of the American Revolutionary War, including logistics and geography, tactical and strategic faux pas by the British and small victories by the Americans, and the intervention of the French and Spanish, who had their own interests in ensuring a British defeat in North America. After France and Spain joined the war, American popular support for the war remained high; this support may have been a contributing factor allowing the colonies to battle for as long as they did.
Logistics and Geography
Geography played a major role in the American Revolution, because the North American landscape was unusually harsh it gave the colonials an advantage and was a major factor to the outcome of the war. New England experienced cold winters; summer in the South was damp and soggy; and to the west, the frontier was almost impassable due to mud-covered roads and dense forests. Additionally, since colonial settlements were widespread over a large area of the U.S. territory the British were encumbered by the transport of troop and supplies to their forces and found it difficult to mount concentrated efforts. On the other hand, colonial troops were used to the environment and familiar with the terrain, allowing them to be more effective. Furthermore, the remoteness of the 13 colonies located across the Atlantic, placed a great strain in time and distance on England, which expended a great amount of time, energy and money ferrying soldiers, munitions and supplies across the ocean.
The American Revolution provided another reality and difference for the colonials; they were fighting for their homeland, whereas the British were fighting on foreign ground far away from their motherland. This overall contributed to staunch support for the war on the American side to the end and an ever crumbling of support for the war on the English side.
French and Spanish Interests
As cited by Foner (2012) several tactical shortfalls by the British led to the American forces achieving a strategic victory at...