The American Revolutionary War In APA format Essay

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According to Carp, historians consider that the American Revolutionary War, except for the Vietnam War,  was the longest war Americans ever fought and considered a complex event in that it contained many different wars. It was, first, a war for national independence where colonies have successfully rebelled against an imperial power.

As a result, the American Revolution became an inspiration to other colonial peoples in the nineteenth century. This was especially true for Spanish-American liberators like Simon Bolivar who, looked to the example of the American Revolution.

Second, the American Revolutionary War was a civil war. Rather than a country united against the British, Americans were divided over whether the colonies should leave the British empire. We now know that in every part of the United States, but especially in the South after 1778 (when the British transferred its military operations to that region), Americans fought Americans. Sometimes, American family members fought each other, as fathers sided with the British and sons with the Americans (or vice versa).

Third, the American Revolution was also a world war. With the American victory at Saratoga in 1778, France entered the war on the American side. The French wanted to avenge its defeat in 1763 at the hands of the British in the Seven Years’ War. It had been secretly supplying the Americans with military supplies since 1775 awaiting an opportunity to side openly with the revolting Americans and by 1780, both Holland and Spain joined the French and Americans.

With their seafaring fleets, America’s European allies attacked British possessions in the West Indies, Africa, and India, thus spreading the war over the face of the globe.

Historians also stress the importance of the direct assistance that the European allies gave to the Americans in their victory over the British. It is probably not going too far to say that America owes its independence to foreign intervention and aid, especially from France.

The French Alliance changed the face of the war for the British; the American war for independence was now in essence a world war. The French monarchy sent arms, clothing, and ammunition to America; it also sent soldiers and the French Navy. Most importantly, the French kept the United States government solvent by lending it the money to keep the Revolution alive. The magnitude of French support of the American Revolution can be glimpsed at the battle of Yorktown.

There, the majority of George Washington’s 15,000 man Continental Army were French soldiers. Washington’s men were clothed by the French, the rifles they used were French, and French gold paid their wages. Nor must we forget that it was the French Navy that trapped Cornwallis’s soldiers at Yorktown by preventing English ships sent from New York from rescuing the British army.

Finally, the American Revolution was a war of ideas. Following ideas and values embedded in the Declaration of Independence, Americans went to war to defend the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that all men were created equal.

Underlying this theory of natural rights was the contract theory of government that postulated that government was a voluntary agreement between a ruler and the people and that when the ruler violated that contract the people had the right of revolution. To launch a revolution, and fight a war for political principles was a new development in the world. The American Revolution’s emphasis on self-rule and the right of revolution was a standing challenge to the existing European order that would not go unnoticed.


Carp, E. W. (2000). The Wars of the American Revolution. The American Revolution:

Discussions of our Revolutionary Origins. Retrieved August 24, 2007 from


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