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What is the significance of the battles at Lexington and Concord?

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fairy68 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 4, 2012 at 11:27 AM via web

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What is the significance of the battles at Lexington and Concord?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 4, 2012 at 11:34 AM (Answer #1)

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The significance of these battles is that they were the first battles of the Revolutionary War.

These battles happened in April of 1775.  They happened because the British commander in Boston had heard of supplies of powder and weapons being kept by Patriots in the towns of Lexington and Concord.  He ordered troops out to find and capture or destroy these stores since they could be used to rebel against the government.

The battles represented the first military actions between the colonists and the British Army.  This was a huge step up from the ways in which the colonists had previously been resisting the government.  Therefore, these battles are seen as the start of the American Revolution.

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Stephen Holliday | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted November 18, 2014 at 3:36 PM (Answer #2)

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Although the battles at Lexington and Concord in April, 1775, do not have great significance in a strict military sense, the battles are responsible for the "shot heard 'round the world," the beginning of the military violence between the American colonies and Great Britain.  Once the actual military conflict began, there were far fewer opportunities to settle the dispute with Great Britain through negotiations.

The battle at Lexington, which began between 5:30 and 8:00 a. m. on April 19, 1775, involved approximately 700 British troops and about 75 American colonists (militiamen).  There has never been definitive proof of which side fired the first shot, but the battle resulted in about eight Americans killed and one British soldier wounded.  The battle continued as the British troops moved on to Concord where they believed they would find a cache of ammunition to destroy.

At Concord, there was very little ammunition to destroy, but there were many more American colonials who were taking shots at the British.  A contingent of British soldiers holding Concord's North Bridge was surrounded by Americans, and they fired on the Americans to move them away from the bridge.  This is actually the "shot" that began the Revolution.  

As the British returned to Concord, they were reinforced by British troops from Boston, but they were also met by about 2,000 Americans.  The British returned to Boston but found themselves attacked by Americans the entire way back.  About 250 British casualties resulted from this running battle, and the Americans lost about 100 militiamen.

Even though the military significance of these battles is marginal, their real significance is that British and American troops finally began killing each other, bringing about a psychological and political shift in how the respective parties perceived each other.  The spilling of blood broke many of the ties that bound the two groups and created much more political resolve among the Americans to fight Great Britain rather than to negotiate.

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