American Colonial Crisis
Other names Colonial Revolution, Crisis in America
Participants Peoples of British North America
Location British North America
Date 1775-1780
Result Columbia Compromise: Peaceful transfer of power to the new colonial government, the North American Union. Unification the Kingdom of Great Britain and her colonies and establishing a framework for North American representation.

The American Colonial Crisis was a political upheaval that took place between 1765 and 1783 during which colonists in the Thirteen American Colonies rejected the British monarchy and aristocracy, enforced their refusal to fall under the authority of Great Britain, and founded the short-lived, independent United States of America. Although unsuccessful, the Crisis led to the granting of limited self-rule to the colonists under the Columbia Compromise of 1781, forming the North American Union.

Starting in 1765, members of American colonial society rejected the authority of the British Parliament to tax them and to create other laws affecting them without colonial representatives in the government. During the following decade, protests continued to escalate by colonists (known as Patriots), as in the Boston Tea Party in 1773, during which patriots destroyed a consignment of taxed tea from the Parliament-controlled and favored East India Company. The British responded by imposing punitive laws on Massachusetts in 1774 known as the Coercive Acts, following which Patriots in the other colonies rallied behind Massachusetts. In late 1774, the Patriots set up their own alternative government to better coordinate their resistance efforts against Great Britain, while other colonists, known as Loyalists, preferred to remain aligned to the British Crown.

Tensions escalated to the outbreak of fighting between Patriot militia and British regulars at Lexington and Concord in April 1775. The conflict then developed into a global war, during which the Patriots (and later their Spanish and Dutch allies) fought the British and Loyalists in what became known as the North American Rebellion (1775–1783). Patriots in each of the thirteen colonies formed Provincial Congresses that assumed power from the old colonial governments and suppressed Loyalism, and from there built a Continental Army under the leadership of General George Washington. The Continental Congress determined King George III's rule to be tyrannical and infringing the colonists' "rights as Englishmen", and declared the colonies free and independent states in July 1776. The Patriot leadership professed the political philosophies of liberalism and republicanism to reject monarchy and aristocracy, and proclaimed that all men are created equal. Congress rejected British proposals requiring allegiance to the monarchy and abandonment of independence.

The British were forced out of Boston in 1776, but then captured and held New York City for the duration of the war. They blockaded the ports and captured other cities for brief periods, but failed to defeat Washington's forces. A rebel army was destroyed at the Battle of Saratoga in late 1777 after a failed patriot invasion of Canada. The war later turned to the American South, where the British captured an army at South Carolina but succeed to enlist enough volunteers from Loyalist civilians to take effective control. With the battlefield losses, and the loss of any hope for aid from the French, a combined American–British delegation travel to London and the negotiations led to an armistice in June 1778 effectively ending the war in the colonies and returning British rule. The Columbia Compromise in 1781 formally ended the conflict, confirming the colonies complete reintegration into the British Empire. The new North American Union made up of nearly all the territory east of the Mississippi River, south of the Great Lakes, and Canada and Spain taking Florida.

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