The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) with the assistance of France, winning independence from Great Britain and establishing the United States of America.
The American colonials proclaimed "no taxation without representation" starting with the Stamp Act Congress in 1765. They had no representatives in the British Parliament and so rejected Parliament's authority to tax them. Protests steadily escalated to the Boston Massacre in 1770 and the burning of the Gaspee in Rhode Island in 1772, followed by the Boston Tea Party in December 1773. The British responded by closing Boston Harbor and enacting a series of punitive laws which effectively rescinded Massachusetts Bay Colony's rights of self-government. The other colonies rallied behind Massachusetts, and a group of American Patriot leaders set up their own government in late 1774 at the Continental Congress to coordinate their resistance of Britain; other colonists retained their allegiance to the Crown and were known as Loyalists or Tories.
Tensions erupted into battle between Patriot militia and British regulars when King George's forces attempted to destroy American military supplies at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. The conflict quickly escalated into war, during which the Patriots (and later their French allies) fought the British and Loyalists in the Revolutionary War. Each colony formed a Provincial Congress which assumed power from the former colonial governments, suppressed Loyalism, and recruited a Continental Army led by General George Washington. The Continental Congress declared King George a tyrant who trampled the colonists' rights as Englishmen, and they declared the colonies free and independent states on July 2, 1776. The Patriot leadership professed the political philosophies of liberalism and republicanism to reject monarchy and aristocracy, and they proclaimed that all men are created equal.
The Patriots unsuccessfully attempted to invade Quebec during the winter of 1775–76. The newly created Continental Army forced the British military out of Boston in March 1776, but the British captured New York City and its strategic harbor that summer, which they held for the duration of the war. The Royal Navy blockaded ports and captured other cities for brief periods, but they failed to destroy Washington's forces. The Continental Army captured a British army at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777, and France then entered the war as an ally of the United States. Britain then refocused its war to make France the main enemy. Britain also attempted to hold the Southern states with the anticipated aid of Loyalists, and the war moved south. Charles Cornwallis captured an army at Charleston, South Carolina in early 1780, but he failed to enlist enough volunteers from Loyalist civilians to take effective control of the territory. Finally, a combined American and French force captured a second British army at Yorktown in the fall of 1781, effectively ending the war. The Treaty of Paris was signed September 3, 1783, formally ending the conflict and confirming the new nation's complete separation from the British Empire. The United States took possession of nearly all the territory east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes, with the British retaining control of Canada, and Spain taking Florida.
Among the significant results of the Revolution were American independence and friendly economic trade with Britain. The Americans adopted the United States Constitution, establishing a strong national government which included an elected executive, a national judiciary, and an elected bicameral Congress representing states in the Senate and the population in the House of Representatives. Around 60,000 Loyalists migrated to other British territories, particularly to British North America (Canada), but the great majority remained in the United States.