Article

The British Army and the War of Independence

Stephen R. Conway

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746705
Published online December 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199746705.013.0011

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The British Army and the War of Independence

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  • History
  • United States History
  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
  • Military History

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During the American Revolution, Britain relied primarily on its army to subdue the rebellious colonies. At its peak, the British army in North America had approximately 50,000 officers and men, constituting the largest expeditionary force sent overseas by any British governments. After nearly seven years of fighting, however, the British Parliament realized that military operations in the colonies would not crush the rebellion. The American Revolution has been linked to various myths, three of which relate to the British army and its role in the War of Independence. One myth is that the weaknesses of character and approach of the British army account for its loss in the war that it should have won. This chapter challenges the myths of the War of Independence and offers a different explanation for the failure of the British army to quash the American revolt.

Keywords: Britain; army; American Revolution; War of Independence; America; colonies

Article.  8877 words. 

Subjects: History ; United States History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) ; Military History

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