The American Revolutionary War lasted from 1775-1783. 6,800 Americans were killed in action during the American revolution. There were at least an additional 17,000 deaths that were the result of disease, including 8-12,000 who died while being prisoners of war.

The battles of Lexington and Concord were fought on April 19, 1775 in Massachusetts and kicked off the American Revolutionary War. A system of signals and word-of-mouth communication set up by the colonists was a warning system telling American volunteer militia man of the approach of the British troops. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride" tells how a lantern was displayed in the window of the Christ Church as a signal to Paul Revere and others that the British were coming.

The Articles of Confederation, formally named the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among all 13 original states in the United States of America that served as its first constitution. The Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781. The colonies resented the laws of the British Parliament so they set up a central government of their own. The only branch of government was a Congress with one house. Congress had power over military and foreign affairs but not over the affairs of each individual state. They could not enforce its powers or collect taxes. The articles were too weak to create a functioning central government so in 1787 the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia with Ben Franklin and George Washington present and in 1779 a new document went into effect called the Constitution.

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