Why did the colonies win in the American Revolution?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are many reasons why the colonies were able to defeat Great Britain.  Let us look at three of the most important:

  • Help from France.  It is almost inconceivable that the Americans could have won without help from Britain’s rival superpower.  French money, ground forces, and naval forces all played huge roles in the colonists’ victory.
  • Better motivation.  The colonists had much more at stake in the war than did the British.  This was true both for those fighting and for their political leadership.
  • An easier path to victory.  For the British to win, they would have needed to change the minds of the colonists and make them happy to be British.  This is hard to accomplish militarily.  By contrast, the colonists only had to keep from losing long enough for Britain to tire of the war.
pholland14's profile pic

pholland14 | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

The colonies' chances of winning the Revolution improved greatly after the Battle of Saratoga when France joined the war.  Soon after France, Spain and the Netherlands joined the war on the American side.  Britain had to defend all of its colonial holdings and this led to less troops being sent to the Americas.  The British people and Parliament also lost interest as the war dragged on, while the British army angered many colonists.  The Americans were simply more motivated to fight.  The Americans also had advantages in terms of supply lines and communications, as British supplies had to come to America via a long Atlantic crossing.  

It was also easier for the colonists to win, as they had to outlast the British army, whereas the British had to destroy the American army and American resistance.  The American seat of government was constantly on the move and George Washington's best asset as a general was his unwillingness to put his army in a position where it could be surrounded and destroyed.  The British were also never able to understand the American concept of using guerrillas and regular army soldiers, especially in the Southern theater which ultimately decided the war in favor of the Americans.   

hgcai3456's profile pic

hgcai3456 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

First of all, the colonists in the 13 British colonies had a home field advantage. Second many of those leaders like George Washington fought with the British in the French and Indian War. As a result, these leaders were familar with the tactics of the British Military. Third, all thirteen colonies had a common goal of freedom from tyranny and independence from the British Empire. 

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