By the late 1700s, English colonists of the New World were tiring of Britain’s policies. For decades, they’d suffered under heavy taxation and watched their wealth shipped back across the Atlantic. And more than anything, they wanted local government that represented their people and their struggle – but King George III had no intentions of loosening his grip willingly. Instead, the colonists, the Patriots, would have to take freedom through bloodshed. What do you really know about the heroes of the American Revolutionary War?
Everyone knows about George Washington, the commander of the Continental Army and the nation’s first president. But do you really understand what the man’s battlefield performance was like? Do you know how he leveraged his strengths against the enemy’s weaknesses?
The Founding Fathers included other major Revolutionary figures, too. That includes Benjamin Franklin and James Madison, just to name a few. They created the Declaration of Independence, formed the army, built alliances and ultimately defeated the British.
Are you fit for the cause or would you rather remain under the thumb of the empire forever? Take this heroes of the Revolution quiz now!
He's often called the "Father of the Country" for his Revolutionary War heroics. Who is he?
George Washington wasn't just a war general. He was a political force which drew the British into a reckoning. He is the "Father" of the United States.
She was intelligent and shrewd. What role did Abigail Adams play in the war?
As the wife of John Adams, Abigail had access to the political system. And with her avid letter writing and intelligence, she helped formulate many of her husband's motives and ideals.
He was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. Who was he?
Thomas Jefferson, by his own account, was a terrible public speaker. But his eloquence with a pen made him the Declaration's primary author, and he (rather politely) told the British that the Americans would really like their independence, if that was OK with you.
His words became a rallying cry. What did Nathan Hale say just before he died?
Hale was a spy who wound up captured by the redcoats. Just before he was hanged, he reportedly showed no fear and said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Crispus Attucks is often called the first Patriot to die in the war. Who was he?
Crispus Attucks escaped slavery and wound up in Boston … and was killed at the Boston Massacre during a demonstration against the British.
He wasn't a Patriot, but he was a hero. Who was Marquis de Lafayette?
Marquis de Lafayette was a French general who became a trusted ally of George Washington. His reliability on the battlefield, and his help in convincing the French to join the fight, were invaluable.
She was a traitor to the British. How did Esther de Berdt act during the war?
Esther de Berdt was born in Britain but fully engaged in the Revolution. She became a secretary to George Washington and helped to generate all sorts of aid for the fighting men.
He was a man of arms. For what deed is Ethan Allen most famous?
In upstate New York, the British held Fort Ticonderoga. Ethan Allen led the Patriots who captured this outpost, helping the locals gain better control of the northern theater.
It was a critical job at an imporant moment. Who was president of the Continental Congress during the war?
John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence. He was also the president of the Continental Congress, offering important guidance to the army's fight against the redcoats.
Which hero was famous for the words, "“Give me liberty or give me death"?
Patrick Henry, from the start, was an outspoken political supporter of the Patriot cause. When he said, "“Give me liberty or give me death,” he echoed the sentiments of many Americans who were tired of British oppression.
He was a Founding Father and elected as the country's fourth president. Who was he?
James Madison is frequently hailed as the Father of the Constitution. He remained so popular for so long after the war that he eventually became the fourth president.
He was a daring fighter who became George Washington's most trusted artillery man. Who was he?
As a young man in Boston, he took part in street fights. As an officer, he took the fight to the British, particularly through artillery and logistics. The man? Henry Knox.
During a naval battle, a British captain told John Paul Jones to surrender. How did Jones respond?
At the Battle of Flamborough Head, a British commander told Jones to give up. Jones refused, supposedly saying, "I have not yet begun to fight!"
He took over the family brewery and failed, and then became a politician. Who was he?
Samuel Adams' first attempts at the brewing business were anything but successful. So instead, he became a Patriot politician, a job that better suited his skill set.
He made a vital stand at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Who was he?
At the Battle of Bunker Hill, John Stark led his men to seal a gap in the Patriot's lines … and it worked. They still lost the battle, but thanks to Stark's courage, his men inflicted terrible British casualties.
Nathanael Greene proved to be a capable military commander. Why was he overlooked earlier in life?
Greene was asthmatic and had a noticeable limp, so no one thought he'd amount to much in war. But his diligence in planning and strategy made him indispensable to General Washington.
He published "Common Sense," a screed against the British. Who was he?
Thomas Paine left behind a long history in England for America. Once there, he (anonymously) published "Common Sense," which rallied colonists to the cause of independence.
William Dawes is often overlooked. But his feats were comparable to what other famous man's?
Paul Revere wasn't the only man who rode off at night to warn the Patriots that the British were coming. So too did William Dawes, whose bravery matched that Revere's.
He was America's first secretary of foreign affairs and tried to convince Europe to join the revolution. Who was he?
John Jay pushed hard for a more powerful Constitution, in large part because he saw the need for more leverage in terms of foreign policy. Later, he became the young country's first Chief Justice.
He spent oodles of his own money to prop up the army and later founded the first bank. Who was he?
Robert Morris gave much of his money to help the failing Continental Army and later became a senator. He died nearly broke … in large part because he spent so much of his money on the rebel cause.
Which man is noted as the only person to sign the Association of 1774, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution?
Roger Sherman's name hasn't drawn the same accolades as the other Founding Fathers. But it should -- he was the only man to sign all four the most important founding documents of the country.
He was an important ambassador to France during the war. Who was he?
Benjamin Franklin was a true Renaissance man for his time, adept at many skills, including diplomacy. His efforts helped convince France to join the fight against the British.
He wrote against British oppression. Dr. Joseph Warren also raised the militia in which city?
Dr. Joseph Warren anonymously wrote editorials decrying British colonial policies. And when the time came to fight, he raised Boston's militia … and died at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
He was an aide to George Washington and helped run the army. Who was he?
Alexander Hamilton served as a senior aide to Washington during the war. After independence, he was put in charge of the Treasury Department.
Jeremiah O’Brien was responsible for which amazing feat?
His name is often forgotten, but Jeremiah O’Brien is a true hero of the war. He led dozens of men on a brazen attack against a British schooner … and captured it, marking the first Patriot naval victory.
She was a believer. What did Martha Washington do during each winter of the Revolution?
Each winter, when the rebels bedded down for the cold weather, Mrs. Washington would join her husband's camp. There, she buoyed his spirits and those of his troops.
He was a brilliant logistics operator. Who was nicknamed "Old Wagoner"?
Even as a boy he loved to fight. And when the Revolution came, that’s exactly what Daniel Morgan "Old Wagoner" did, leading numerous Patriot fights and becoming an expert at supply line processes, too.
Molly Pitcher is renowned for which act of bravery?
Pitcher's real name was Mary McCauly, and she earned fame during the Battle of Monmouth. She set aside her water-carrying duties and manned a cannon … something most women of the day simply did not do.
He caused a major turning point. How did Baron von Steuben affect the Patriots at Valley Forge?
Baron von Steuben was a Prussian veteran who joined with George Washington in his winter of despair at Valley Forge. Steuben helped train the Patriots to become a better fighting force … and the following spring, the British were in for a terrible surprise.
He was governor of Virginia and later became president. Who was he?
Jefferson was not only a skilled writer, he was a capable politician, too. He served as governor of Virginia, secretary of state, president, and in other capacities, too, during his long life.
George Washington was a true hero. What was his primary strength as battle commander?
Washington lost a lot of battles during the war. He was no battlefield genius. But his persistence made him the ultimate threat to the British … and in the end, he won.
His bravery made him seem a bit crazy. What was Anthony Wayne's nickname?
"Mad" Anthony Wayne spent his childhood arranging mock battles with other boys. In the war, he led a bayonet charge -- at night time -- and defeated a tough British fortification.
He was adamant. Which document did George Mason promote in the face of major political opposition?
Founding Father George Mason refused to sign the Constitution. Why? Because it didn't feature a specific bill of rights … a concession he later won after endless battles.
How was Benedict Arnold a hero during the war?
Not all Americans were heroes. Arnold used his political grievances as reasoning to (literally) sell his army to the British in exchange for cash. When discovered, he pretended that he was merely sworn to British allegiance the whole time … instead of admitting he was a traitor.
Not all of Nancy Hart's feats are verifiable. But she reportedly did what during the war?
As the legend goes, Nancy Hart was a Georgia native with a wild side. She spied for the Patriots by pretending to be a man, tricked the enemy at every turn and shot and killed multiple redcoats during the war.
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