Fremantle, Arthur James Lyon

Arthur Lyon Fremantle, Civil War

Early Life Arthur Lyon Fremantle was a British citizen born on November 11, 1835. He was the son of Major General John Fremantle and Agnes Lyon. Like his father and grandfather before him, Fremantle graduated from Sandhurst, the initial training center for British army officers. In 1852, Fremantle began a long career in the British … Read more

Burnside, Ambrose Everett

Ambrose Burnside, Civil War General

Early Life Ambrose Everett Burnside was born on May 23, 1824, near Liberty, Indiana. He was the son of Quaker parents, Edghill Burnside and Pamela Brown Burnside. Burnside received an appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1843, and he graduated in 1847. Following graduation, Burnside served in Mexico toward the end of the … Read more

Meade, George Gordon

General George Meade, Portrait

Early Life George Gordon Meade was born on December 31, 1815, in Cadiz, Spain. Meade was the eighth of eleven children of Richard Worsam Meade and Margaret Coats Butler Meade. Meade’s father was a wealthy Philadelphia merchant who was serving as an agent for the U.S. Navy at the time of Meade’s birth. When Meade’s … Read more

Fredericksburg, Battle of – Summary

Battle of Fredericksburg, 1862, Civil War

Prelude Following the bloody Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862), Confederate General Robert E. Lee retreated into Virginia, ending his first invasion of the North. The commander of the Army of the Potomac, Major General George McClellan, chose not to pursue Lee’s retreating Army of Northern Virginia, prompting President Abraham Lincoln to issue an executive … Read more

Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Civil War General

Early Life Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was born on September 8, 1828, in Brewer, Maine. He was the first of five children of Joshua and Sarah (Brastow) Chamberlain. Chamberlain came from a distinguished military ancestry; his great-grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War; his grandfather fought in the War of 1812; and his father served in the … Read more

Armistead, Lewis Addison – Biography

General Lewis Armistead, Civil War

Early Life Lewis Addison Armistead was born on February 18, 1817, in New Bern, North Carolina. His parents were Walker Keith Armistead and Elizabeth Stanly Armistead. Armistead’s father and his father’s five brothers served in the War of 1812. His uncle, George, commanded Fort McHenry during the British attack that inspired The Star-Spangled Banner during … Read more

Pickett’s Charge, 1863

George Pickett, Confederate General

Pickett’s Charge History and Overview During the first two days of the Battle of Gettysburg — July 1 and 2, 1863 — Robert E. Lee and his Confederate forces tried unsuccessfully to flank each end of the Union line. Believing that Major General George Meade had weakened the middle of the federal line to defend … Read more

Olive Branch Petition, Summary

John Dickinson, Illustration

Summary of the Olive Branch Petition Drafted by Thomas Jefferson and edited by John Dickinson, the letter was approved by Congress on July 8, 1775. Despite the fact that English and American blood had already been shed at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, the letter was conciliatory in nature, assuring the King that American colonists … Read more

Suffolk Resolves, Summary

Joseph Warren

At the urging of King George III, the British Parliament enacted five laws in 1774, in response to colonial actions flaunting British authority, particularly the Boston Tea Party. The British referred to the legislation collectively as the Coercive Acts or the Restraining Acts. In the American Colonies, they were called the “Intolerable Acts.” In September … Read more


Pontiac, Illustration

Biography Pontiac was a chief of the Ottawa Indians who remains famous for his leadership role in Pontiac’s Rebellion (1763–1766). Pontiac subscribed to the religious beliefs of Neolin, a prophet among the Delaware Indians who encouraged his fellow Indians to forsake all English goods and customs. Along with other American Indian leaders, Pontiac urged tribes … Read more

Valley Forge, Winter at – Summary

Continental Army, March to Valley Forge

Summary The winter of 1777–1778 may have been the low point of the Revolutionary War for George Washington and the Continental Army. After the Battles of Brandywine (September 11, 1777) and Germantown (October 4, 1777), the British Army occupied the American capital, Philadelphia, Congress was on the run, and the Army was in shambles. On … Read more

Constitutional Convention of 1787, Summary

Constitutional Convention, Signing the Constitution, Christy

United States Constitutional Convention Summary By 1787, only four years after the official end of the Revolution, many Americans were convinced that the new nation could not survive under the weak central government established by the Articles of Confederation. Following two previous attempts to address growing concerns about the state of the nation (Mt.Vernon, 1785 … Read more

Paris, Treaty of (1783), Summary

Benjamin Franklin, Portrait, Duplessis

Summary of Treaty of Paris 1783 The 1783 Treaty of Paris was one of a series of treaties, collectively known as the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of Versailles of 1783, that established peace between Great Britain and the allied nations of France, Spain, and the Netherlands. The Treaty of Paris was negotiated as … Read more

XYZ Affair, Overview

John Adams, Portrait, Stuart

XYZ Affair Summary The XYZ Affair was a diplomatic scandal between France and the United States that happened when French officials tried to bribe American diplomats. When the plot was exposed, anti-French sentiment rose in America, and the slogan “Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute” became popular. Congress re-established the United States … Read more

Coercive Acts, Summary

King George III, Painting

Coercive Acts Summary The Coercive Acts were five laws governing the American Colonies and the Province of Quebec that were passed by Parliament in the Spring of 1774.  The first four laws punished the city of Boston and the colony of Massachusetts for their ongoing opposition to laws like the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and … Read more

Quartering Act of 1774, Summary

Thomas Gage, Portrait, Copley

The Quartering Act of 1774 was one of five laws enacted by the British Parliament in 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party. Collectively, the acts are known as the Coercive Acts or the Intolerable Acts. The Quartering Act of 1774, passed on June 2, 1774, was an extension of the Quartering Act of … Read more

Massachusetts Government Act of 1774, Summary and Text

Thomas Gage, Portrait, Copley

Summary of the Massachusetts Government Act The Massachusetts Government Act received Royal Assent on May 20, 1774, and went into effect on June 1, 1774. It revised the governing structure of Massachusetts, consolidating royal authority and severely limiting self-government within the colony. The Massachusetts Government Act and the other Coercive Acts — or Intolerable Acts … Read more

Quebec Act, Summary

King George III, Painting

Summary of the Quebec Act of 1774 The Quebec Act received Royal Assent on June 22, 1774. Although it was not one of the punitive acts passed in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, many colonists and historians consider it one of the Coercive Acts, which were called the Intolerable Acts in America. The official … Read more

Currency Act, Summary

King George III, Painting

Summary of the Currency Act Colonial America suffered from a lack of hard money due to the mercantile system. Under that economic, system colonies exported relatively cheap raw materials and imported relatively expensive manufactured goods. The system was good for merchants in the mother country, but bad for the colonies because it resulted in more … Read more

French and Indian War – Summary

King George III, Painting

French and Indian War Summary The French and Indian War was the North American portion of a worldwide contest for empire between Britain, France, Spain, and other European nations. In Europe, the conflict is known as the Sever Years’ War. Most of the fighting in North America took place in Canada and in the Ohio … Read more