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The Battles of Lexington and Concord in the spring of 1775 marked the beginning of open hostilities between the colonies and Britain. These battles were the culmination of difficulties between England and the American colonies.

The Colonists were fighting against the economic exploitation and political oppression of Parliament. The root cause of the revolution was the fact that Britain refused to believe that the colonies had outgrown, both economically and psychologically, their former status. For years, England was fighting France over control of Europe. Therefore, Parliament allowed the Colonists to govern themselves. With this policy of "hands off," the Colonists became accustomed to self-government.

When Parliament changed this policy after the French and Indian War, the Colonists saw the new policy as tyrannical and oppressive. It would all come to a head in 1775 when the British army attempted to confiscate the military stores hidden at Lexington and Concord.

Revolution Begins

The Battles of Lexington and Concord in the spring of 1775 marked the real beginning of the American Revolutionary war. The British army was on a mission to capture the military stores hidden in both towns. However, the British did not count on the Colonists' resistance. No one is sure who fired the first shot, but the British eventually retreated to Boston. As they retreated, the Colonists harassed them. The following excerpt is about the condition of the British and Colonials of that year.

"The British were to find that 1775 was to be a disastrous year. They did not appreciate the scale and difficulty of the military task facing them in America until too late, and they allowed the bulk of their forces to become bogged down in an exposed base while the British position collapsed throughout much of Northern America. By the end of the year, the British government faced the possibilities that it would lose Canada as well as the Thirteen Colonies....

For the Revolutionaries the year was marked by the successful hemming in of the British at Boston, a very creditable performance at the battle of nearby Bunker Hill, the creation of a national army, and the invasion of Canada. At the same time, major difficulties had been revealed in the new military force, while the invasion of Canada was not to be a triumph." (Author/preparer Brenda Kamphuis)

The colonists fought to gain freedom in the American Revolutionary war. The Delegates to the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence later that summer.

Websites About Lexington and Concord

The Battle of Lexington
This is  the article by Brenda Kamphius that discusses the opening battle of the American Revolution.

Battles of Lexington and Concord
Learn about these battles on the History Channel website.  It includes links to more information about the American Revolution.

Battles of Lexington and Concord (WPI)
At the Dept. of Military Science at WPI, you can read more about these battles.

Today in History April 19
The Library of Congress American Memory website has more information about this day in history.

Battle Road
This website is dedicated to the Battles of Lexington and Concord. It has information for visitors to the area and more.

Minute Man National Park
This is the website of the National Park Service that describes the park and give you all the information you need to visit the park.