American Revolutionary Timeline, 1774-1784

Revolution Timeline–Created by Brad Birzer


Pretty obvious!

I’ve created the following–for what it’s worth–from a variety of sources beginning from own college days when I had the privilege of studying the American Revolution with the profoundly wonderful Gregory Dowd (a man of equal parts brilliance, scholarship, and personality).  And, I’ve added to it as I’ve had the privilege to teach founding at Hillsdale College and at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Feel free to use it (students, teachers, interested parties).  If you see errors in it, please let me know!


  • Parliament passes the five “intolerable acts”
  • Late May: Maryland meeting in Annapolis passes resolves in support of Boston
  • September 5-October 26: First Continental Congress (CC) meets
  • September 17: Suffolk Resolves tempers but passes by CC
  • October 14: CC passes “Declaration of Rights and Resolves”
  • October 24: CC forms Continental Association (nonimportation, nonconsumption, nonexportation)
  • October 25: CC petitions King for protection against Parliament
  • October 26: Congress adjourns permanently–if King answers petition
  • December: John Adams writes as “Novanglus”




  • February 9: Parliament declares Massachusetts in a “state of rebellion”
  • March 22: Parliament rejects Burke’s plan of reconciliation
  • April 19: Battles of Lexington and Concord
  • May 10: American militias take Ft. Ticonderoga and Crown Point
  • May 10: Second Continental Congress (SCC) meets; declares united colonies on defensive
  • May 26: SCC again claims defensive
  • May 29: SCC invites Canadian provinces to join America
  • May 31: Mecklenburg County, NC, declares itself independent from UK
  • June 15: SCC forms Continental Army; names Washington as commander
  • June 17: Brits “win” the Battle of Bunker Hill
  • July 6: SCC passes “Olive Branch Petition” for King; passes Dickinson’s Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms”
  • August 2: SCC adjourns
  • August 23: King rejects “Olive Branch Petition”; proclaims Americans as traitors to empire; colonists must either “submit or triumph.”
  • September 12: SCC meets; Georgia finally sends delegates; all 13 represented
  • November 16: Burke again calls for reconciliation
  • November 29: SCC forms secret committee to treat with other nations
  • December 6: SCC declares complete independence from Parliament; claims loyalty to King
  • December 22: Parliament declares all N.A. Colonies beyond protection of empire; prohibits all trade with colonies




  • January: colonial governments begin to debate independence
  • January: Crown hires 20,000 mercenaries from German states
  • January 10: publication of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
  • March-April: Carroll publishes “CX” articles, calling for full independence and a new, three-branch republican government and constitution to be written ASAP
  • March-June: First American diplomatic mission (Carroll, Carroll, Franklin, and Chase) fails to form alliance with Canada
  • March 5: Americans besiege Boston
  • April 6: SCC declares complete free trade with world (except Britain) and suspends slave trade
  • May 2: French begin lending money to Americans
  • May 10: SCC, under John Adam’s insistence, encourage colonies to write new constitutions
  • May-July: several large colonies begin to declare independence, call on SCC to do the same
  • June 10: SCC creates committee (Jefferson) to write Declaration of Independence
  • June 12: SCC appoints Dickinson to write Articles of Confederation
  • June 24: SCC calls for confiscation of Loyalist property
  • June 28: South Carolinians resist British attempt to take Charlestown
  • July 2: SCC declares full independence as “United Colonies”
  • July 4: SCC adopts Declaration of Independence
  • August 2: SCC signs Declaration of Independence
  • August 27: Washington defeated at Battle of Long Island
  • September 9: SCC replaces “United Colonies” with “United States” in DOI
  • September 15: British take NYC
  • November: Burke and Rockingham openly and formally secede from Parliament
  • December 26: Washington defeats British at Trenton, NJ; takes 1,000 German POWs




  • January 3: Washington defeats British at the Battle of Princeton
  • January 16: Vermont secedes from NY
  • January 16: State of PA ends slavery; implements full universal white male suffrage
  • April 21: SCC declares full sovereignty of each individual state
  • July: Vermont declares all slavery illegal
  • July 23: Brits defeat Washington at Battle of the Brandywine
  • September 25: First attempt to take out Washington in SCC (Thomas Conway)
  • October 7: SCC declares each state to have one vote in SCC
  • October 17: Burgoyne surrenders to Horatio Gates at Saratoga
  • December 18: Washington retreats to Valley Forge; begins long winter there




  • February 6: France and U.S.A. begin to treat as friends; France recognizes American independence, breaks off relations with Britain
  • March 6: South Carolina re-denies Catholics right to vote or hold office
  • March 16: House of Commons repeals all laws against America should America sue for peace. North knows Britain can’t win; king refuses to back down.
  • April 22: SCC declares no treaty with Britain unless Britain recognizes full American independence
  • May 4: SCC formally ratifies treaty with France
  • May 10: Pitt the Elder dies
  • June: Though only 10 of the 13 states have ratified the Articles, SCC acts as though it is the de facto Constitution
  • July 3: Loyalist/Indian militias massacre frontier families in Wyoming Valley, PA
  • December: Jefferson’s bill for universal public schooling fails in Virginia




  • February 25: George Rogers Clarke captures Vincennes
  • May 10: British capture Norfolk, VA
  • June 21: Spain declares war on Britain; aids Americans indirectly
  • July 15: Americans take Stony Point, NY
  • September 13: President of SCC sends circular letter to each state, calling for a permanent nation rather than a mixing of autonomous states
  • September 23: John Paul Jones leads successful naval battle near coast of England




  • May 12: British capture Charleston
  • August 16: British defeat Americans at Camden, SC
  • September 6: SCC calls on all states to give up western claims to national domain
  • September 25: Benedict Arnold flees to Britain
  • October: Hartford Convention calling for the creation of a nation state; Hamilton and Morris author “Continentalist Letters”
  • October 7: Nathanael Greene victory over British at Kings Mountain, NC




  • January 2: SCC demands that Virginia give all her land to the U.S.
  • January 17: American victory at Cowpens, NC
  • February 12: Spanish forces capture British fort, St. Joseph, present-day Niles, Michigan
  • February 27: last of the states to ratify, Maryland ratifies the Articles
  • March 1: Articles of Confederation become U.S. Constitution
  • May 26: Congress forms first national bank
  • June 11: Congress forms a “Peace Commission” to treat with U.K.
  • October 18: Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown; when North hears the news—”Oh God, it’s all over.”




  • February 27: Parliament ends all offensive war in U.S.
  • March 20: North government collapses; Rockingham-Burke take charge
  • April 12: Parliament desires informal peace talks
  • April 19: Netherlands recognize America
  • June 11: Netherlands loans US $2,000,000.
  • June 20: U.S. adopts Great Seal
  • September: Rockingham dies; Lord Shelburne takes his place
  • November 29: U.S. and U.K. Ambassadors reach agreement, conditional upon France’s agreement




  • March 10: Newburgh discussion of coup
  • March 15: Washington’s Newburgh Address
  • April 11: Congress formally declares end of war with Britain
  • May 2: Washington offers “Sentiments of a Peace Establishment”
  • June 17-24: Soldiers besiege Congress, but all ends peaceably
  • September 23: Peace of Paris negotiations finalized
  • November 25: British evacuate NY
  • December 23: Washington resigns




  • January 14: Congress ratifies Treaty of Paris
  • November 14: First Episcopal Bishop, Samuel Seabury, named



British Prime Ministers/Governments

  • Thomas Pellam Holles, Duke of Newcastle March 1754-November 1756
  • Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire November 1756-July 1757
  • Thomas Pellam Holles, Duke of Newcastle July 1757-May 1762

(William Pitt, the Elder, as Secretary of State)

  • John Stuart, Earl of Bute May 1762-April 1763
  • George Greenville April 1763-July 1765
  • Lord Rockingham July 1765-July 1766
  • William Pitt, the Elder July 1766-October 1768
  • Augustus Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton October 1768-Jan. 1770
  • Frederick Lord North January 1770-March 1782
  • Lord Rockingham March -July 1782   



  • George II (1727-1760)
  • George III (1760-1820)

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