The French and Indian War (1754–63) comprised the North American theater of the worldwide Seven Years' War of 1754–63. It pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, with both sides supported by military units from their parent countries of Great Britain and France, as well as by American Indian allies. At the start of the war, the French North American colonies had a population of roughly 60,000 settlers, compared with 2 million in the British North American colonies.The outnumbered French particularly depended on the Indians. The European nations declared war on one another in 1756 following months of localized conflict, escalating the war from a regional affair into an intercontinental conflict. The name French and Indian War is used mainly in the United States. It refers to the two main enemies of the British colonists: the royal French forces and the various Indian forces allied with them. British and other European historians use the term the Seven Years' War, as do English-speaking Canadians. French Canadians call it La guerre de la Conquête (the War of the Conquest or (rarely) the Fourth Intercolonial War Fighting took place primarily along the frontiers between New France and the British colonies, from Virginia in the south to Newfoundland in the north. It began with a dispute over control of the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers called the Forks of the Ohio, and the site of the French Fort Duquesne within present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The dispute erupted into violence in the Battle of Jumonville Glen in May 1754, during which Virginia militiamen under the command of 22-year-old George Washington ambushed a French patrol. In 1755, six colonial governors in North America met with General Edward Braddock, the newly arrived British Army commander, and planned a four-way attack on the French. None succeeded, and the main effort by Braddock proved a disaster; he lost the Battle of the Monongahela on July 9, 1755 and died a few days later. British operations failed in the frontier areas of Pennsylvania and New York during 1755-57 due to a combination of poor management, internal divisions, effective Canadian scouts, French regular forces, and Indian warrior allies. In 1755, the British captured Fort Beauséjour on the border separating Nova Scotia from Acadia, and they ordered the expulsion of the Acadians (1755–64) soon afterwards. Orders for the deportation were given by William Shirley, Commander-in-Chief, North America, without direction from Great Britain. The Acadians were expelled, both those captured in arms and those who had sworn the loyalty oath to His Britannic Majesty. Indians likewise were driven off the land to make way for settlers from New England. The British colonial government fell in the region of modern Nova Scotia after several disastrous campaigns in 1757, including a failed expedition against Louisbourg and the Siege of Fort William Henry; this last was followed by Indians torturing and massacring their British victims. William Pitt came to power and significantly increased British military resources in the colonies at a time when France was unwilling to risk large convoys to aid the limited forces that they had in New France, preferring to concentrate their forces against Prussia and its allies in the European theater of the war. Between 1758 and 1760, the British military launched a campaign to capture the Colony of Canada. They succeeded in capturing territory in surrounding colonies and ultimately the city of Quebec (1759). The British later lost the Battle of Sainte-Foy west of Quebec (1760), but the French ceded Canada in accordance with the Treaty of Paris (1763). The outcome was one of the most significant developments in a century of Anglo-French conflict. France ceded to Great Britain its territory east of the Mississippi. It ceded French Louisiana west of the Mississippi River (including New Orleans) to its ally Spain in compensation for Spain's loss to Britain of Florida. (Spain had ceded Florida to Britain in exchange for the return of Havana, Cuba.) France's colonial presence north of the Caribbean was reduced to the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, confirming Great Britain's position as the dominant colonial power in eastern North America.
The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence[ was a global war that began as a conflict between Great Britain and her Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America. After 1765, growing philosophical and political differences strained the relationship between Britain and its colonies. Following the Stamp Act, Patriot protests against taxation without representation escalated into boycotts, which culminated in the Sons of Liberty destroying a shipment of tea in Boston Harbor. Britain responded by closing Boston Harbor and passing a series of punitive measures against Massachusetts colony. Massachusetts colonists responded with the Suffolk Resolves, and they established a shadow government which wrested control of the countryside from the Crown. Twelve colonies formed a Continental Congress to coordinate their resistance, establishing committees and conventions that effectively seized power, British attempts to disarm the Massachusetts militia at Concord in April 1775 led to open combat. Militia forces then besieged Boston, forcing a British evacuation in March 1776, and Congress appointed George Washington to command the Continental Army. Concurrently, an American attempt to invade Quebec and raise rebellion against the British decisively failed. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted for independence, issuing its declaration on July 4. Sir William Howe launched a British counter-offensive, capturing New York City and leaving American morale at a low ebb. However, victories at Trenton and Princeton restored American confidence. In 1777, the British launched an invasion from Quebec under John Burgoyne, intending to isolate New England. Instead of assisting this effort, Howe took his army on a separate campaign against Philadelphia, and Burgoyne was decisively defeated at Saratoga in October 1777. Burgoyne's defeat had drastic consequences; France formally allied with the Americans and entered the war in 1778, and Spain joined the war the following year as an ally of France but not as an ally of the United States. In 1780, the Kingdom of Mysore attacked the British in India, and tensions between Britain and the Netherlands erupted into open war. In North America, the British mounted a "Southern strategy" led by Charles Cornwallis which hinged upon a Loyalist uprising, but too few came forward. Cornwallis suffered reversals at King's Mountain and Cowpens. He retreated to Yorktown, Virginia, intending an evacuation, but a decisive French naval victory deprived him of an escape. A Franco-American army led by the Comte de Rochambeau and Washington then besieged Cornwallis' army and, with no sign of relief, he surrendered. Whigs in Britain had long opposed the pro-war Tories in Parliament, and the surrender gave them the upper hand. In early 1782, Parliament voted to end all offensive operations in North America, but the war continued in Europe and India. Britain remained under siege in Gibraltar but scored a major victory over the French navy. On September 3, 1783, the belligerent parties signed the Treaty of Paris in which Britain agreed to recognize the sovereignty of the United States and formally end the war. French involvement had proven decisive but France made few gains and incurred crippling debts. Spain made some minor territorial gains but failed in its primary aim of recovering Gibraltar. The Dutch were defeated on all counts and were compelled to cede territory to Great Britain. In India, the war against Mysore and its allies concluded in 1784 without any territorial changes
The War of 1812 (1812–1815) was a conflict fought between the United States and the United Kingdom and their respective allies. Historians in Britain often see it as a minor theater of the Napoleonic Wars; however, in the United States and Canada, it is seen as a war in its own right. Since the outbreak of war with Napoleonic France, Britain had enforced a naval blockade to choke off neutral trade to France, which the United States contested as illegal under international law. In order to man the blockade, Britain forcibly impressed American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy. Well-publicized impressment actions, such as the Leander Affair, and the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, enraged the American public. The British were in turn outraged by the Little Belt Affair, which resulted in the deaths of 11 British sailors. Moreover, British political support for a Native American buffer state, which conducted raids on American settlers on the frontier, hindered American expansion. On June 18, 1812, President James Madison signed the American declaration of war into law. The British government felt it had done everything in its power to try to avert the war and was therefore dismayed by the American declaration. Senior figures such as Lord Liverpool and Lord Castlereagh believed it to have been an opportunistic ploy by President Madison to annex Canada while Britain was fighting a war with France. The view was shared in much of New England, whose leaders bitterly disputed the numbers of US sailors the War Hawks claimed had been impressed by the British. With the majority of its military deployed in Europe to fight Napoleon, the British adopted a defensive strategy, though the war's first engagement was an ill-fated assault on Sacket's Harbor, New York. American prosecution of the war effort suffered from its unpopularity, especially in New England, where it was derogatorily referred to as "Mr. Madison's War". American defeats at Detroit and Queenston thwarted attempts to seize Upper Canada, improving British morale. American attempts to invade Montreal also failed. In 1813, the Americans won control of Lake Erie and shattered Tecumseh's Confederacy, securing a primary war goal. At sea, the powerful Royal Navy blockaded the American coast, allowing them to strike American trade at will. In 1814, one of these raids burned the capital, Washington. The Americans subsequently repulsed British attempts to invade the north and mid-Atlantic states. At home, the British faced mounting opposition to wartime taxation, and demands to reopen trade with America. With the abdication of Napoleon, the maintenance of the blockade of France, as well as the issue of the impressment of American sailors, were nullified. Peace negotiations began in August 1814, and the Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24 later that year. However, news of the peace would not reach America for some time. Unaware that the treaty had been signed, British forces launched an invasion of Louisiana, which was decisively defeated in January 1815. The battle was seen to have restored American honor after a mediocre war effort, and led to the collapse of anti-war sentiment. News of the treaty arrived shortly thereafter, halting military operations. The treaty was unanimously ratified by the United States on February 17, 1815, ending the war with no boundary changes.
The Spanish–American War (Spanish: Guerra hispano-estadounidense or Guerra hispano-americana; Filipino: Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was a conflict fought between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of the USS Maine in Havana harbor in Cuba leading to United States intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. American acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions led to its involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately in the Philippine–American War Revolts had been occurring for some years in Cuba against Spanish rule. The U.S. later backed these revolts upon entering the Spanish–American War. There had been war scares before, as in the Virginius Affair in 1873, but in the late 1890s, U.S. public opinion was agitated by anti-Spanish propaganda led by newspaper publishers such as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst which used yellow journalism to call for war.The business community across the United States had just recovered from a deep depression, and feared that a war would reverse the gains. They lobbied vigorously against going to war. The United States Navy armored cruiser Maine had mysteriously sunk in Havana harbor; political pressures from the Democratic Party pushed the administration of Republican President William McKinley into a war that he had wished to avoid.Spain promised time and time again that it would reform, but never delivered. The United States sent an ultimatum to Spain demanding that it surrender control of Cuba. First Madrid declared war, and Washington then followed suit. The main issue was Cuban independence; the ten-week war was fought in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. U.S. naval power proved decisive, allowing expeditionary forces to disembark in Cuba against a Spanish garrison already facing nationwide Cuban insurgent attacks and further wasted by yellow fever.Numerically superior Cuban, Philippine, and U.S. forces obtained the surrender of Santiago de Cuba and Manila despite the good performance of some Spanish infantry units and fierce fighting for positions such as San Juan Hill. Madrid sued for peace with two obsolete Spanish squadrons sunk in Santiago de Cuba and Manila Bay and a third, more modern fleet recalled home to protect the Spanish coasts. The result was the 1898 Treaty of Paris, negotiated on terms favorable to the U.S. which allowed it temporary control of Cuba and ceded ownership of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine islands. The cession of the Philippines involved payment of $20 million ($575,760,000 today) to Spain by the U.S. to cover infrastructure owned by Spain. The defeat and collapse of the Spanish Empire was a profound shock to Spain's national psyche, and provoked a thorough philosophical and artistic revaluation of Spanish society known as the Generation of '98.The United States gained several island possessions spanning the globe and a rancorous new debate over the wisdom of expansionism.It was one of only five US wars (against a total of eleven sovereign states) to have been formally declared by Congress.
The American Civil War was fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865. After a long standing controversy over slavery and state's rights, war broke out in April 1861, when Confederates attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected. The nationalists of the Union proclaimed loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States of America advocating states’ rights to perpetual slavery and its expansion in the Americas. Among the 34 U.S. states in February 1861, seven Southern slave states individually declared their secession from the U.S. to form the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy grew to include eleven states; it claimed two more border states (Kentucky and Missouri), the Indian Territory, and the southern portions of the Union's western territories of Arizona and New Mexico, which was organized and incorporated into the Confederacy as Confederate Arizona. The Confederacy was never diplomatically recognized by the United States government, nor was it recognized by any foreign country (although Britain and France granted it belligerent status). The states that remained loyal, including the border states where slavery was legal, were known as the Union or the North. The North and South quickly raised volunteer and conscription armies that fought mostly in the South over four years. During this time, many innovations in warfare occurred, including the development and use of iron-clad ships, ultimately changing naval strategy around the world. The Union finally won the war when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the battle of Appomattox, which triggered a series of surrenders by Confederate generals throughout the southern states. Four years of intense combat left 620,000 to 750,000 soldiers dead, a higher number than the number of American military deaths in World War I and World War II combined, and much of the South's infrastructure was destroyed. The Confederacy collapsed, slavery was abolished, and 4 million slaves were freed. The Reconstruction Era (1863–1877) overlapped and followed the war, with the process of restoring national unity, strengthening the national government, and granting civil rights to freed slaves throughout the country. The Civil War is arguably the most studied and written about episode in American history.