The American Revolution began to form following the French and Indian War in 1763. It started in earnest at Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775, where the first shots were fired. The goal of the Revolution was first conceived by the Second Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, with the passing of the motion for independence. Independence was finally achieved when the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781 and was ratified by the Treaty of Paris of 1783. We Americans of the 21st century tend to take our freedom and constitutional protections for granted, but they were hard won, and the final result was never a foregone conclusion—it could have failed at any one of several points. The war was narrowly won, and had the founding fathers been made of different stuff, the country might not have survived, even under the new Constitution. When the election of 1800 showed that a democratic government could transfer political power peacefully, the goal of the revolution was secured. The United States surely would eventually have broken free of the British Empire, but the path might have been similar to that of Canada and the other colonies who achieved their independent status without fighting a revolutionary war. As it was, American independence was won with wisdom, blood and courage. In the end, it changed the entire world.
“The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” —John Adams to Abigail, July 3, 1776