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Term Paper on the American Revolution

Term Paper Contents:

  1. Term Paper on the Introduction to American Revolution
  2. Term Paper on the Brief Background to the American Revolution
  3. Term Paper on the Causes of American Revolution
  4. Term Paper on the Boston Tea Party of America
  5. Term Paper on Declaring Independence in America
  6. Term Paper on the Saratoga
  7. Term Paper on Stalemate in the North, Battle in the South
  8. Term Paper on the End of American Revolution
  9. Term Paper on the American Constitutions
  10. Term Paper on the Significance of the American Revolution

Term Paper # 1. Introduction to American Revolution:


The American Revolution (1775-1783) is also known as the American Revolutionary War and the U.S. War of Independence. The conflict arose from growing tensions between residents of Great Britain’s 13 North American colonies and the colonial government, which represented the British crown.

Skirmishes between British troops and colonial militiamen in Lexington and Concord in April 1775 kicked off the armed conflict and by the following summer the rebels were waging a full-scale war for their independence. France entered the American Revolution on the side of the colonists in 1778, turning what had essentially been a civil war into an international conflict.

After French assistance helped the Continental Army force the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1779, the Americans had effectively won their independence, though fighting would not formally end until 1783.

American Revolution dealt a deathblow to the divine right of monarchy and aristocratic privileges. The American Revolution carried the aspirations of common people to their logical conclusions. It exalted the parliamentary government, and much more pointedly it invoked the doctrine of popular sovereignty and national self-determination.


Term Paper # 2. Brief Background to the American Revolution:

In all there were 13th English colonies from Maine in the North of Georgia in the South. Between the periods from 1713 to 1763, the population of these colonies quadrupled but the area increased as large as three times because of the march of the colonies towards the West.

Between 1713 and 1763, numerous English, Scot, German and French immigrants settled in the colonies of America. It was the significant period of commercialism. The prices of all the American products like-wood, leather, tobacco, sugar, copper and fish increased rapidly in England and Europe, which made the Americans richer although the trade policies of England put obstacles.

The continuous prosperity that lasted for 50 years enhanced the status of Americans in the world. A voyage to England became a common thing now. Books were imported on large scale from overseas countries and a lot of journals and magazines were also published in America. The Americans became fond of journalism.


Some journals like the Gazette, The New York Reporter became popular in Europe and their demand increased there. Buildings built in Boston and Annapolis was more beautiful than those in England. Many famous universities like-Princeton, Yale, Dart-Mouth, Brown etc. had already been established before the revolution. The important American cities of the Revolution period were; Boston, New York, James Town, Charles Town, Savannah and Philadelphia. They played a key role in the Revolution.

In the colonies, landless peasants, people seeking religious freedom, traders and profiteers had settled there. The bulk of the population consisted of independent farmers. Infant industries had developed in such products as wool, flax, and leather. In the north there were fishing and shipbuilding.

In the south, large plantations like feudal manors had grown up where tobacco and cotton were grown with slave labour brought from Africa. Each colony had a local assembly elected by qualified voters. These assemblies enacted laws concerning local matter, and levied taxes.

However, they were under the rule of the mother country. By the 18th century, the colonists found the laws, which the English government imposed upon them more and more objectionable. The idea of being an independent nation grew and developed into the Revolutionary War in which the colonies gained their independence.

Term Paper # 3. Causes of American Revolution:

The major causes of the war of American Independence have been summarized below:

i. Colonial Policy of England:

The colonial policy of England in economic matters was the primary cause of resentment in the American colonies. England’s policies did not encourage the American colonies to develop an economy of their own. The English Parliament had forbidden them to use non-British ships in their trade.

Certain products, such as tobacco, cotton and sugar, could be exported only to England. Heavy duties were imposed on the import of goods in the colonies from other places. The colonies were also forbidden to start certain industries, for example, iron works and textiles. They were forced to import these goods from England. Thus, in every possible way, the growth of industry and trade in the colonies was impeded.

The English also angered the colonists by issuing a proclamation to prevent them from moving west into now lands. English aristocrats had bought lands in America and got rent from the farmers. They wanted to keep the colonists as renters.

As a result of continuous wars in Europe, the English government was burdened with debt. It needed money. In 1765, the English Parliament passed the Stamp Act which imposed stamp taxes on all business transactions in the American colonies. Revenue stamps upto 20 shillings were to be affixed to legal documents and other papers.

This Act aroused violent resentment among all sections of the colonists and led them to boycott English goods. There were uprisings in many towns and tax collectors were killed. The colonists claimed that, since English Parliament had no representatives from the colonies, it had no right to levy taxes on them. The revenue from these taxes, they said, was used not in the interests of the colonies but of English.

ii. Inspired by the Ideas of Philosophers:

The American revolutionaries were also inspired by the ideas of the English philosophers of the 17th century. These philosophers—Locke, Harrington, Milton believed that men had certain fundamental rights which no government had the right to infringe. American thinkers, especially Thomas Jefferson, were also inspired by what French philosophers were saying and writing at that time.

Jefferson asserted the colonists right to rebellion, and encouraged their increasing desire for independence. Thomas Paine, who detested the inequalities of English society, and had come to America, forcefully expressed support for independence. In a pamphlet entitled Common Sense, he wrote, ‘It was repugnant to reason to suppose that this continent can long remain subject to any external power … there is something absurd in supposing a Continent to be perpetually governed by an island’.

iii. Calling Together of Representatives:

The leaders in the Massachusetts colony called together representatives from their colonies to consider their common problems. They agreed and declared that the English Parliament had no right to levy taxes on them. ‘No taxation without representation’ was the slogan they adopted.

And they threatened to stop the import of British goods. The threat led the English to repeal the Stamp Act, but Parliament still insisted that it had the right to levy taxes. Then Parliament imposed a tax on consumer goods coming into the colonies, such as paper, glass, tea and paint.

Again the colonies objected saying that only their own assemblies had the right to raise money through taxes. In protest the colonies cut down the English withdrew the plan, leaving only the tax on tea to assert their right to levy taxes.

Term Paper # 4. The Boston Tea Party of America:

The representatives of the 13 American colonies then met as a group in what is called the First Continental Congress at Philadelphia in 1774. This Congress appealed to the English King to remove restrictions on industries and trade and not to impose any taxes without their consent.

The King declared their action a mutiny and ordered troops to be sent to suppress it. The colonies then planned for military defence with local troops or militia. In 1775, the first battle of the revolution was fought when a thousand soldiers met the colonial militia in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The tax on tea led to trouble. In 1773, several colonies refused to unload the tea coming in English ships. In Boston, when the governor ordered a ship to be unloaded, a group of citizens, dressed as American Indians, boarded the ship and dumped the crates of tea into the water. This incident is known as ‘the Boston Tea Party’. The English government then closed the port of Boston to all trade and precipitated the uprising of the colonies.

Term Paper # 5. Declaring Independence in America (1775-1776):

When the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia, delegates-including new additions Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson voted to form a Continental Army, with Washington as its commander in chief. On June 17, in the Revolution’s first major battle, colonial forces inflicted heavy casualties on the British regiment of General William Howe at Breed’s Hill in Boston.

The engagement (known as the Battle of Bunker Hill) ended in British victory, but lent encouragement to the revolutionary cause. Throughout that fall and winter, Washington’s forces struggled to keep the British contained in Boston, but artillery captured at Fort Ticonderoga in New York helped shift the balance of that struggle in late winter. The British evacuated the city in March 1776, with Howe and his men retreating to Canada to prepare a major invasion of New York.

By June 1776, with the Revolutionary War in full swing, a growing majority of the colonists had come to favor independence from Britain. On July 4, the Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence, drafted by a five-man committee including Franklin and John Adams but written mainly by Jefferson.

That same month, determined to crush the rebellion, the British government sent a large fleet, along with more than 34,000 troops to New York. In August, Howe’s Redcoats routed the Continental Army on Long Island; Washington was forced to evacuate his troops from New York City by September.

Pushed across the Delaware River, Washington fought back with a surprise attack in Trenton, New Jersey, on Christmas night and won another victory at Princeton to revive the rebels’ flagging hopes before making winter quarters at Morristown.

Term Paper # 6. Saratoga: Revolutionary War Turning Point (1777-1778):

British strategy in 1777 involved two main prongs of attack, aimed at separating New England (where the rebellion enjoyed the most popular support) from the other colonies. To that end, General John Burgoyne’s army aimed to march south from Canada toward a planned meeting with Howe’s forces on the Hudson River.

Burgoyne’s men dealt a devastating loss to the Americans in July by retaking Fort Ticonderoga, while Howe decided to move his troops southward from New York to confront Washington’s army near the Chesapeake Bay. The British defeated the Americans at Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania, on September 11 and entered Philadelphia on September 25. Washington rebounded to strike Germantown in early October before withdrawing to winter quarters near Valley Forge.

Howe’s move had left Burgoyne’s army exposed near Saratoga, New York, and the British suffered the consequences of this on September 19, when an American force under General Horatio Gates defeated them at Freeman’s Farm (known as the first Battle of Saratoga). After suffering another defeat on October 7 at Bemis Heights (the Second Battle of Saratoga), Burgoyne surrendered his remaining forces on October 17.

The American victory Saratoga would prove to be a turning point of the American Revolution, as it prompted France (which had been secretly aiding the rebels since 1776) to enter the war openly on the American side, though it would not formally declare war on Great Britain until June 1778. The American Revolution, which had begun as a civil conflict between Britain and its colonies, had become a world war.

Term Paper # 7. Stalemate in the North, Battle in the South (1778-1781):

During the long, hard winter at Valley Forge, Washington’s troops benefited from the training and discipline of the Prussian military officer Baron Friedrich von Steuben (sent by the French) and the leadership of the French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette. On June 28, 1778, as British forces under Sir Henry Clinton (who had replaced Howe as supreme commander) attempted to withdraw from Philadelphia to New York, Washington’s army attacked them near Monmouth, New Jersey.

The battle effectively ended in a draw, as the Americans held their ground, but Clinton was able to get his army and supplies safely to New York. On July 8, a French fleet commanded by the Comte d’Estaing arrived off the Atlantic coast, ready to do battle with the British. A joint attack on the British at Newport, Rhode Island, in late July failed, and for the most part the war settled into a stalemate phase in the North.

The Americans suffered a number of setbacks from 1779 to 1781, including the defection of General Benedict Arnold to the British and the first serious mutinies within the Continental Army. In the South, the British occupied Georgia by early 1779 and captured Charleston, South Carolina in May 1780.

British forces under Lord Charles Cornwallis then began an offensive in the region, crushing Gates’ American troops at Camden in mid-August, though the Americans scored a victory over Loyalist forces at King’s Mountain in early October.

Nathanael Green replaced Gates as the American commander in the South that December. Under Green’s command, General Daniel Morgan scored a victory against a British force led by Colonel Banastre Tarleton at Cowpens, South Carolina, on January 17, 1781.

Term Paper # 8. End of American Revolution (1781-1783):

By the fall of 1781, Greene’s American forces had managed to force Cornwallis and his men to withdraw to Virginia’s Yorktown peninsula, near where the York River empties into Chesapeake Bay. Supported by a French army commanded by General Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau, Washington moved against Yorktown with a total of around 14,000 soldiers, while a fleet of 36 French warships offshore prevented British reinforcement or evacuation.

Trapped and overpowered, Cornwallis was forced to surrender his entire army on October 19. Claiming illness, the British general sent his deputy, Charles O’Hara, to surrender; after O’Hara approached Rochambeau to surrender his sword (the Frenchman deferred to Washington), Washington gave the nod to his own deputy, Benjamin Lincoln, who accepted it.

Though the movement for American independence effectively triumphed at Yorktown, contemporary observers did not see that as the decisive victory yet. British forces remained stationed around Charleston, and the powerful main army still resided in New York. Though neither side would take decisive action over the better part of the next two years, the British removal of their troops from Charleston and Savannah in late 1782 finally pointed to the end of the conflict.

British and American negotiators in Paris signed preliminary peace terms in Paris late that November, and on September 3, 1783, Great Britain formally recognized the independence of the United States in the Treaty of Paris. At the same time, Britain signed separate peace treaties with France and Spain (which had entered the conflict in 1779) bringing the American Revolution to a close after eight long years.

Term Paper # 9. The American Constitution:

After America achieved independence, with the settlement of Paris Pact, differences among the American states were sorted out. The newly drafted constitution containing four pages was signed by 55 persons on 17 September, 1787 and came into force on June 21, 1788. Democracy was established in America and the Federal system was adopted.

Under the Federal system, the separation of powers was maintained between the Federal and the State governments. The new constitution endowed the Americans with several rights. The significant rights were—the freedom of speech, press and religion and the right to get justice according to the law.

The new constitution guaranteed the security of life, property and freedom of every person except in the matters of judicial proceedings. According to the constitutional provisions a new government was formed in March 1789 and George Washington was elected the first President of America.

When the war of independence started, each of the 13 colonies was a separate state with its own army, boundaries, customs duties and finances. But they co-operated against a common enemy. In 1781, as states of the United States, they united through a plan for a national government.

A constitutional convention was called in Philadelphia to frame a new constitution, which came into effect in 1789. It established a republican form of government at a time when states in other parts of the world were governed by monarchies. The American Constitution set up a federal system under which powers were divided between a central or federal government and the state governments.

Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and his followers campaigned for the addition of a Bill of Rights to the federal constitution.

This was done through 10 amendments which guaranteed many rights to the American people. The most noted of these are freedom of speech, press and religion, and justice under law.

Though, the Constitution of 1787, which was produced by the Philadelphia Convention has been regarded as a series of compromises—between free and slave states, large and small states, between Federalists and Anti-Federalists-at one level it was a victory for a strong national government. The Anti-Federalists had an ambivalent attitude towards the idea of a national government, which led to the victory of the Federalist group.

The American Constitution was based on the doctrine of the separation of powers in order to prevent any one branch of government-the executive, legislature or judiciary-from becoming dominant. It also combined a federal principle -with equal representation to each state in Senate-with the principle of a national government and a democratically elected House of Representatives.

The Supreme Court was given the power to interpret the Constitution. In the 18th century, the Constitution established the basis for a strong national government, which proved capable of dealing with the problems of a rapidly modernizing society in the early 19th century.

As the United States developed into a market-oriented society, which was witnessing the emergence of an industrial civilization, the nationalist orientation and values of the federalists like Madison helped to create was the basis for the programme of national development by Alexander Hamilton in the 1790s.

Hamilton strongly believed in the need for ‘a common directing power’ and did not share the Jeffersonian Republican view that the least government was the best government. As Secretary of the Treasury in the 1790s he tried to create a great fiscal military state but the waves of the rising commercial capitalism were ultimately irresistible.

The Federalist position of disintegrated enlightened leadership proved difficult to maintain both because the majority of Federalists found it hard to live up to that ideal and because of the growth of a vibrant market oriented commercial economy in America by the early 19th century. In fact in America the assault on the aristocracy was so successful as an ideal that idleness became a disgrace and industry an honour.

The American Constitution was a definite improvement on the Articles of Confederation but in fact the Virginia Plan of the nationalists was an aristocratic remedy to the problems posed by an excess of democracy, which alarmed men like George Washington and James Madison. The Constitution of America actually represented a ‘middle ground’ between a national and a federal government.

James Madison had been seeking ‘the practicable sphere of a republic’, which would be able to avoid the tyranny of unrestrained majorities and excessive localism as well as the concentration of power in the hands of unresponsive rulers.

Thus the constitution marked the emergence of the United States of America as a nation in world history. It was the first written republican constitution ever framed in history, which is still in operation.

Term Paper # 10. Significance of the American Revolution:

The words of the Declaration of Independence regarding the equality of all men and the ‘inalienable rights’ of man electrified the atmosphere in America and outside. Lafayette, the French general who fought on the side of American revolutionaries, was soon to become a hero of the French Revolution.

Thomas Paine also participated in the French Revolution. By its example, the American Revolution inspired many revolutionaries in Europe later in the 19th century. It encouraged Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Central and South America to rebel and gain their independence.

The main achievement of the American Revolution was the establishment of a republic. This republic was, however, not truly democratic. The right to vote was limited. Negroes-most of them still slaves-American, Indians, and women had no vote.

The revolution gave a new turn to the political life of the United States of America as well as rejuvenated her social, religious and cultural organisations. The revolution gave the American public social organisation in which equality of human beings got priority over conventions, money and special rights.

Democracy was promoted by curtailing successfully the three main directions of prerogatives, that is, the abolition of conventional property right, confiscation of immerse properties of possessed by the Tories and dissolution of the centers of the Anglican Church wherever they existed. The Virginia Statue for religious freedom was adopted in 1786.

Under the provisions of this statue, no one could be forced to attend Church. Everyone was given complete freedom of worship and prayer. No religious qualifications were prescribed for the federal employees under the federal constitution. But certain religious restrictions still existed in the constitution of many states.

France, not in the commercial loss of Holland and the decline of British Empire; but its real importance lies in the successful completion of American Revolution. American Revolution occupies an important place among the remarkable events of the world history. Its importance can be assessed from various angles. It is a turning point in human advancement.

As a result of this revolution, there emerged not only a new nation in the new world nut also a new era began for the human race. The American Revolution was a harmonious blend of two revolutions. At first it was an ‘External Revolution’ in the sense that a revolt broke out in colonies against England as a result of economic conflict brewing among the colonies and England. Secondly, it was an ‘Internal Revolution’ which aimed at chalking out an outline of America’s future development after independence.

The American society realized the great importance of education after the revolution. At the end of the revolution, a great demand rose for public schools and the education of the common people. It was soon realized that educated voters were a must for democracy.

The economic outcome of the American Revolution was also important like its social and political consequences. The revolution removed all obstacles that came in the way of capitalist economy and encouraged its growth. The end of the old system and the rites and practices related with it, boosted the growth of capitalism in American colonies.

American agriculture was greatly influenced by the Revolution. Big landlords left colonies during the revolution and settled in Canada and other countries and their large estates were fragmented into small pieces and handed over to the people of lower and middle classes. Revolution boosted the development of agriculture.

The revolution influenced industries more than agriculture. Industries were benefited in two ways— first American industries got rid of the mercantilistic restriction imposed by England, secondly, the development of colonial industries was boosted as imports from England had stopped during the war.

The demand for indigenous cloth increased too much due to the suspension of the import of woolen cloth from England. Spinning and weaving became household industries at the national level in which women played an important role.

The American Revolution had two effects on American navigation—first; the ports of the colonies were opened for world trade. America exported this increased trade with France, Spain and Holland and tobacco and rice in payment for them. Secondly, the private navigation was promoted by the revolution. Private companies made a valuable contribution in that field.

The American Revolution influenced France too. After their return from America, the French officers wrote down their experiences. Lafayette infused the spirit of the American Revolution among the French public. Franklin enjoyed a significant prestige in the French society as a renowned writer and philosopher of America.

His writings greatly influenced the French philosophers. The American Revolution paved the way for the French Revolution and played a great role not less than that of Diedero, Voltaire and Rousseau. The key concepts of French Revolution— liberty, equality and fraternity are inferred from the American struggle.

It is noteworthy that France, which was already facing an economic crises suffered heavy losses as a result of cooperating with America in the war of independence. These hardships made the French Revolution inevitable.

At the same time, the American Revolution infused a new vigour into the anti-colonial revolutionaries in entire Europe. Even in England, the Whigs openly supported the revolution and Horn Tooke persuaded the members of the British Parliament to extend support to the American Revolution for fear of losing their own freedom if Americans failed in their struggle. Getting inspiration from the American Revolution, the people of South America also gained success in redeeming themselves from the foreign rule of Spain and Portugal.

Ireland, which had been crushed for centuries, greeted the consequences of the American Revolution. At that time the Irish public was fighting against England to attain the economic and political independence. They wanted to put an end to the trade restrictions and build and independent parliament.

The specific demand of the American colonies that ‘we ourselves have the right to levy taxes’ greatly influenced the Irish public. The oppressed Irish public continued their struggle with more courage and zeal. Consequently, England conceded most of the demands of the Irish public.

The American Revolution struck a great blow to the absolute monarchy and aristocratic supremacy based on the doctrine of divine rights of the king. After the end of the war a strong demand for the curtailment of royal prerogatives rent the British Parliament. Consequently the powers of the king were restricted and the powers of the cabinet were revived.

The American Revolution further developed the principles enunciated during ‘The bloodless revolution’ of England. If the British Revolution gave the system of representative rule, the American Revolution gave birth to the democratic system that gave the public the right to vote for the first time.

American Revolution may be called the mother of federal government in modern age. Besides, the convention of written constitutions came into practice. An experiment was made for a federal government. American became the first country in the world to practise secularism. The American Revolution inflicted a defeat on imperialism for the first time and projected the concept of nationalism before the human society.

The American Revolution left an unfavourable effect on India. Circumstances in India caused a war between France and England when France entered the war of American independence. Seizing upon this good opportunity, the English officers crushed the power of France in India and paved the way for the expansion of imperialism. But it is true that the American Revolution ardently inspired the nationalists in India as well as other countries chained in slavery.

The significance of American Revolution is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence drafted before the revolution on 4 July 1776. The declaration of independence was not only the declaration of freedom of a nation but prepared ground for political philosophy and revolutionary ideas in the European history in 19th century.

Against the backdrop of this declaration, the foundation of French revolution was laid in 1789. Moreover, the nationalist movements which then started in several countries like Ireland, Finland, Italy, and Germany etc. bear the clear imprint of the Declaration. It was a maiden effort to put into practice the principle that—’In this world, everyone is completely free and equal and has a right to launch a struggle to secure his freedom and rights’.

Into existence and became the first country to drive out the hereditary monarchy and establish democracy. Whatever be the importance of the war of American Independence for England, it was a remarkable event in the history of the world.

A new era began in the New World and paved the way for a new epoch for the Old World. On the whole, it may be said that the war of American independence was an exemplary event in the world history. Through it the United States of America came.


The significance of American Revolution is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence drafted before the revolution on 4 July 1776. The declaration of independence was not only the declaration of freedom of a nation but prepared ground for political ‘philosophy and revolutionary ideas in the European history in 19th century.

Against the backdrop of this declaration, the foundation of French revolution was laid in 1789. Moreover the nationalist movements which then started in several countries like Ireland, Finland, Italy, and Germany etc. bear the clear imprint of the Declaration. It was a maiden effort to put into practice the principle that —’In this world, everyone is completely free and equal and has a right to launch a struggle to secure his freedom and rights’.

On the whole, it may be said that the war of American Independence was an exemplary event in the world history. Through it the United States of America came into existence and became the first country to drive out the hereditary monarchy and establish democracy.

Whatever be the importance of the war of American Independence for England, it was a remarkable event in the history of the world. A new era began in the New World and paved the way for a new epoch for the Old World.