The American Revolution is the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen of Britain's colonies in North America at first rejected the governance of the Parliament of Great Britain, and later the British monarchy itself, to become the sovereign United States of America. In this period the colonies first rejected the authority of theParliament to govern them without representation, expelling all royal officials and setting up thirteen Provincial Congresses or equivalent to form individual self-governing states. Through representatives sent to the Second Continental Congress, they originally joined together to defend their respective self-governance and manage the armed conflict against the British known as the American RevolutionaryWar (1775-1783, also American War of Independence). Ultimately, the states collectively determined that the monarchy, by acts of tyranny, could no longer legitimately claim their allegiance. They then united to form one nation, breaking away from the British Empire in July 1776 when the Congress issued the Declaration of Independence rejecting the monarchy on behalf of the United States ofAmerica. The war ended with effective American victory in October 1781, followed by formal British abandonment of any claims to the United States with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
The American Revolution commenced a series of intellectual, political, and social shifts in early American society and government. The development of republicanism in the United States was particularly significant, includinginstallation of a representative government responsible to the will of the people, thus rejecting the prevalent plutocracies of the inherited aristocracies in Europe at the time. However, sharp political debates broke out over the level of democracy desirable in the new government, with a number of Founders fearing mob rule.
The basic issues of national governance were settled with the unanimousratification in 1788 of the Constitution of the United States (written in 1787), which replaced the relatively weak Articles of Confederation (ratified 1781) that framed the first attempt at a national government. In contrast to the loose confederation, the Constitution established a relatively powerful federated government. The United States Bill of Rights (1791), comprising the first 10constitutional amendments, quickly followed. It guaranteed many natural rights that were so influential in justifying the revolution, attempting to balance a strong national government with relatively broad personal liberties. The American shift to republicanism, and the gradually increasing democracy, caused an upheaval of the traditional social hierarchy, and created the ethic that has formed a core ofpolitical values in the US.
The revolutionary era began in 1763, when the French military threat to British North American colonies ended. Adopting the policy that the colonies should pay an increased proportion of the costs associated with keeping them in the Empire, Britain imposed a series of taxes followed by other laws intended to demonstrate British authority that provedextremely unpopular. Because the colonies lacked elected representation in the governing British Parliament many colonists considered the laws to be illegitimate and a violation of their rights as Englishmen. Additionally, British mercantilist policies benefiting the home country resulted in trade restrictions, which limited the growth of the American economy and artificially constrained colonialmerchants' earning potential. In 1772, groups began to create committees of correspondence, which would lead to their own Provincial Congress in most of the colonies. In the course of two years, the Provincial Congresses or their equivalents rejected the Parliament and effectively replaced the British ruling apparatus in the former colonies, culminating in 1774 with the coordinating First Continental...