Until the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763, colonists in British America obtained many benefits from the British imperial system at low costs. Indeed, until the early 1760s, the British mostly left their American colonies alone. The victory of the English in the Seven Years’ War (known in America as the French and Indian War) cost a lot: a great war debt influenced British policy in colonies over the next decade. The English reinforced tax laws, and placed troops in America. This situation led directly to conflict with colonists and , by the mid-1770s, relations between Americans and the British administration had become tense and hostile.
The so called American independence burst out in April 1775. General Thomas Gage, commander of British forces around Boston was cautious; he did not wish to provoke the Americans. In April, however, Gage received orders to arrest several patriot leaders near Lexington.
When the British arrived in Lexington, however, colonial militia were waiting for them. American opinion was split: some wanted to declare independence immediately; others hoped for a quick reconciliation.
In June 1775, the Continental Congress created, on paper, a Continental Army and appointed George Washington as Commander. Washington’s first task, when he arrived in Boston, was to create an army in fact.
During the first two years of the Revolutionary War, most of the fighting between the patriots and British took place in the north. At first, the British generally showed their superiority on the sea until France signed treaties of alliance and commerce with the United States.
Between 1778 and 1781, British military operations focused on the south because the British thought that a large percentage of Southerners could help them submit the other part ofthe new continent. The Americans and their French allies together defeated the British in Yorktown
The Americans and British signed the final treaty, known as the Peace of Paris, on September 10, 1783. The treaty was generally quite favourable to America in terms of national boundaries and other concessions.
Even so, British violations of the agreement would become an almost constant source of irritation between the two nations far into the future.