Why Americans Defeated British in Revolutionary War

During the American Revolutionary War, it was largely expected that the British would make use of their unequaled military might to crush the American Revolution. But this is not how things turned out to be. The Americans managed to defeat the British leading to the declaration of independence in 1776. Several reasons were responsible for the American Victory. What are these reasons that can be said to have been behind the victory of the Americans over the British?

The Americans defeated the British because of several reasons. These reasons include the formation of the continental army, the military support by the French to the Americans, the inability of the British to control the American inland where ninety-nine percent of the population lived, the Spanish factor that favored the Americans, military campaigns in Europe that strained British military resources, the formal combat with the French that led to French victory at Chesapeake, the small British land army, and the relatively high numbers of Americans who enlisted in the continental army or the revolutionary forces (Ketchum 1997, pp.45-47). Other factors that contributed to American victory include slave support that came in when General George Washington allowed the African Americans to join the war and the globalization of the war that saw the disruption of British operations in colonial India and other colonies. How did these factors influence the outcome?

General George Washington was given the mandate to form and direct the continental army. This ensured that the thirteen original colonies had an army to counter or attack British troops whenever it was necessary. The size of this force was also a big factor in that most young men, as well as old men, were willing to fight. This led to high numbers of soldiers joining the continental army compared to the numbers of troops in the British land army in the United States. Then there was the entry of African Americans into the war on both sides. But the African Americans who fought on the American side were more dedicated and did much more work since to them it meant freedom from slavery.

Apart from the above, the Spanish factor was another major contributor to American victory. It led to the expulsion of British troops from Florida. The Dutch also threatened to attack the British in Europe and India underwent a huge shake-up as a British colony. The strain on British military resources meant that fewer resources were available for use in the United States.

Another major contribution to the American victory over the British is the military support that the French extended to the Americans (Duffy 1987, pp.23-24). A long-running dispute between the French and the British led to the entry of the French into the struggle on the side of the Americans. The turning point in the French and British dimension in the fight came when the French engaged in direct combat with the Britons. This led to the victory of the French in such places as Chesapeake and this was a major psychological blow to the British troops. It is justifiable to say that the French played a defining role in the American struggle for independence.

In conclusion, the French military support and later its formal entry into the war, the European and global military campaigns against Britain that strained its resources, the African American input, the Chesapeake French victory, the Spanish factor, and the formation of a fairly large continental army played a major role in the American victory over the British.


Duffy, C., (1987).The Military Experience in the Age of Reason, 1715–1789, New York: Routledge.

Ketchum, R., (1997). Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War, New York: Henry Holt.

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