Who fought in the American Revolution?

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samson98 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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The American War for Independence--often referred to as the American Revolution--was primarily fought between the British colonies in North America and their mother country, Great Britain. The thirteen American colonies, inspired by people such as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, declared independence from Great Britain in 1776 (although fighting had begun in 1775) for a variety of reasons, including lack of representation in Parliament, the desire for self-government, and the geographic distance between America and Britain.

Led by General George Washington, the Continental Army resisted the invasion of the British army. Though they won few battles, the resilience of the American army--along with the diplomatic skill of Benjamin Franklin--convinced France (a longtime enemy of Great Britain) to ally with the Americans. Thus the Revolutionary army was composed primarily of American colonists and French soldiers.

The British army was, of course, composed mostly of professional British soldiers. However, some American colonists--nicknamed Tories or King's Men--fought for Great Britain because they considered themselves English citizens and did not want to separate from their mother country. The British army also included Hessians, who were German soldiers hired by the British to augment their army in America.

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