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Revolutionary War

The colonists and the British Parliament disagreed over how the colonies should be governed.

·      Parliament believed it had legal authority in the colonies, while the colonists believed their local assemblies had legal authority.

·      Parliament believed it had the right to tax the colonies, while the colonists believed they should not be taxed because they had no representation in Parliament.


The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, states that authority to govern belongs to the people rather than to kings and that all people are created equal and have rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Varied roles of whites, enslaved African Americans, free African Americans, and American Indians in the Revolutionary War era

·      Virginia patriots served in the Continental Army and fought for independence, leading to the British surrender at Yorktown.

·      Some Virginians were neutral and did not take sides, while other Virginians remained loyal to Great Britain.

·      Women took on more responsibilities to support the war effort.

·      Some enslaved African Americans fought for a better chance of freedom.

·      Some free African Americans fought for independence from Great Britain.

·      Many American Indians fought alongside the Virginia patriots, while others fought with the British.


Contributions of Virginians during the Revolutionary War era

·      George Washington provided military leadership by serving as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

·      Thomas Jefferson provided political leadership by expressing the reasons for colonial independence from Great Britain in the Declaration of Independence.

·      Patrick Henry inspired patriots from other colonies when he spoke out against taxation without representation by saying, “…give me liberty or give me death.”

James Lafayette, an enslaved African American from Virginia, served in the Continental Army and successfully requested his freedom after the war.

The Battle of Great Bridge was the first land battle of the American Revolution fought in Virginia. The American victory forced the British colonial governor to flee the City of Norfolk.


Jack Jouett rode on horseback through the backwoods of Virginia to Charlottesville to warn Thomas Jefferson, then the governor of Virginia, that the British were coming to arrest him and members of the General Assembly.


The American victory at Yorktown resulted in the surrender of the British army, which led to the end of the war.