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The American War of Independence - Essay Example

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The American War of Independence was concluded not because of the readiness, the might or magnificence of the military forces but because the 'inferior' party outmaneuvered the 'superior party. This paper answers the questions 'why' and 'how' and compares and contrasts the tactics used by each party and comments whether these are effective or not and if not, tries to identify the causes of its failure.
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The American War of Independence
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Download file to see previous pages But by whatever stroke of fate, the colonials completely trounced the mighty forces of Great Britain. The rout was so unexpected that the historian John Ferling quoted George Washington as saying that the "American victory was a little short of a standing miracle".1 Ferling went on to say that the skirmishes and battles "often hinged on intangibles such as leadership under fire, heroism, good fortune, blunders, tenacity and surprise".2 The British forces all throughout the war played the aggressor , employing time-tested strategies and tactics that it had used before against the French, Spanish and Irish foes. The colonials, meanwhile, a complete tyro in any warfare, were always on the defensive employing tactics that were best suited for the occasion.
"often dismissed by the British as ragtag"4 were surviving on a measly budget accorded them by the Continental Congress. Thus, in some skirmishes, they were on the brink of starvation, sometimes attired in tattered clothes and shoes and sometimes in decrepit condition. The triumvirate of King George III, Secretary of State George Germain and Prime Minister Lord North formed the nucleus which decided what tactics Britain should implement in the war in the New World. This nucleus ,based in London, 3000 miles away from the arena of war, was responsible for the coordination, the logistics and the communication needed to win a war. Meanwhile, the Continental Congress, composed of delegates from all the colonies and based in Philadelphia, was the brain and the nerve center , the controller and the coordinator of the colonial forces.
With the riches coming from its colonies in the West Indies, Canada, America, Gibraltar and India, there was no doubt that Britain entered this war financially prepared. The Congress, on the other hand, aware that any victory would hinge on how well-oiled the war machinery would be, desperately sought finances both from abroad and from the home front. It used the strategy of diplomacy and psychology on England's long-standing enemies, France and Spain, stoked the latter's hatred and resentment and came out extracting some financial support as well as munitions from both. Since that was not enough, it used 4 tactics to raise money locally i.e. loans from "well-to-do merchants and planters"; "forced loans ... from farmers who were given certificates of indebtedness"; by levying money or goods "apportioned among the various states"; and by "issuance of paper money, the famous Continental currency".5
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