American Revolution Themes
One of the formative Themes of the Hudson River Valley was the American Revolution. Our American Revolution module contains :
- a Guidebook of American Revolutionary sites in the Hudson River Valley,
- a Timeline of major events in the War for Independence,
- a Calendar of events for its 225th Anniversary,
- Bibliographies of sources about the War,
- historic documents, books, articles, and videos,
- a variety of Lesson Plans developed in-house, as well as by Teaching American History Institute attendees,
- a page on Revolutionary Trails in the Valley,
- Henry Knox Cannon Trail,
- and our page on the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route & Campaign (the W3R).
As the center of the colonies at the time of the American Revolution, the Hudson River Valley provided a nexus for the conflict and hosted many key figures, battles, and political events throughout the eight years of war. The Sons of Liberty, as active in New York as they were in Massachusetts, printed broadsides, encouraged boycotts, rallied, rioted, and dumped British tea into the New York Harbor even as Patriots' housewives throughout the Valley threw their own "tea parties" at the expense of merchants and Loyalist neighbors.
The New York Provincial Congress established itself at the White Plains Courthouse in July 1776, creating the State of New York with its acceptance of the Declaration of Independence on July 9, 1776. New York adopted its Constitution in Kingston on April 20, 1777. Battles raged from Manhattan through the Mid-Hudson, including White Plains (1776), Forts Clinton and Montgomery (1777), Kingston (1777), and Stony Point (1779). In October 1777 Patriots watched helplessly as the British burned sites as far north as Clermont before turning back toward New York City. General Horatio Gates would right some of the wrongs when he accepted the surrender of General John Burgoyne's British army at Saratoga on October 17, 1777, marking the turning point in the war. Starting in January 1778 the Americans would follow up on this victory by turning their attention to building Fortress West Point with its famous chain across the Hudson.
In addition to the prominent roles played by the likes of New York's first Governor, George Clinton, unsung heroes of the Hudson Valley did their duty as well. Sybil Ludington, New York's own sixteen-year-old female Paul Revere, rode out of Carmel to raise the militia in defense of the burning Danbury, Connecticut. Chief Daniel Nimham of the Wappingers, a Native American member of the Sons of Liberty and a captain in the American militia lost his life in battle for the cause of liberty.
The American Revolution played out along the Hudson's banks -from the first riots protesting the British Quartering Act on Golden Hill in Lower Manhattan, to the chaining of the Hudson and Benedict Arnold's attempted betrayal of West Point in the Highlands, to the Battle of Saratoga along its northern shores where Arnold played the role not of traitor, but of hero. The Hudson River Valley and this site contain the essential aspects to the study of birth of our Nation.