Lexington And Concord: 3 Ways These Battles Impacted History

Event DateApril 19th, 1775
Further ReadingThe 3 Major Consequences Of The Boston Massacre and The 7 Most Influential Founding Fathers Of The U.S

From 1770 up to 1775 the British colonies in North America were priming for open rebellion against the British Empire. In the early fall of 1775 the Revolutionary War would start with the battles of Lexington and Concord. These battles impacted history in 3 major ways.

The battles of Lexington and Concord impacted history in 3 distinct ways. First, Lexington and Concord showed that the British colonists could successfully defeat the British Empire. Second, Lexington and Concord demonstrated how weak British military intelligence was in the colonies. Third, Lexington and Concord showed how easily the colonists could mobilize a sizable force of militia.

It is important to note that these ‘battles’ were not major engagements. In reality, the battles of Lexington and Concord were a series of engagements over several hours. However, at the end of these engagements history would be forever altered.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 ways the battles of Lexington and Concord impacted history.

Lexington And Concord Demonstrated That The British Colonists Could Successfully Defeat The British Army

One of the main ways in which the battles of Lexington and Concord impacted history was by demonstrating to the colonists that they could defeat the British Army.

Up until these two battles the patriot colonists who wanted to achieve independence had a hard time believing that they could stand up to the military might of the British Empire. This was because at this point in time the British Empire had the strongest standing military in the world. Not only were the British soldiers professionally trained they were also well-equipped with the latest weapons. The British army at this point in time was considered the best in the world.

The colonists on the other hand had a series of militias that were armed with old rifles. Some of these colonists had experienced combat in the French and Indian war nearly 10 years before. Besides that however, it would be hard to argue that the colonial militias were similar in experience or equipment to the British Army. This would be similar to a large group of farmers standing up to a professional army today.

However, one of the major ways in which the battles of Lexington and Concord impacted history was by demonstrating that in spite of the lack of training and equipment the colonial militias could defeat the British army in open conflict. This was because the British army was also filled with inexperienced young soldiers and junior officers in Boston. On top of this British military tactics at this point in time revolved around open-field combat which was ill-suited for the forests of North America.

The best example of how the British colonial militias could beat the British Army came from an engagement between a British unit and a colonial unit at the North Bridge in Concord. Both the colonists and the British army at this bridge had their ranks filled with young soldiers and officers. When the fighting began the British units were out-positioned and quickly fell into a retreat. While this was not a major victory for the colonists it demonstrated that the British army was filled with these inexperienced troops and could easily be forced into a retreat.

The battles of Lexington and concord were small; they were more skirmishes instead of battles. However, it was a huge morale boost for the colonial militia. Word got out and throughout the day more colonists would join the militia and harass the British on their way back to Boston. By the end of the day Lexington and Concord demonstrated that the colonial militias could defeat the British in a guerrilla war. This was one of the major impacts of the battles of Lexington and Concord.

As such one of the main ways in which the battles of Lexington and Concord influenced history was by demonstrating that the colonial militias could defeat the British in open combat.

Lexington and Concord Impacted History By Demonstrating How Weak British Military Intelligence Was In The Colonies

One of the main ways in which the battles of Lexington and Concord impacted history was by demonstrating how weak British military intelligence was in the colonies.

In reality the British succeeded in their mission to destroy the colonial militia’s arms and equipment in Concord and Lexington. However, the military intelligence provided to British Commander Thomas Gage indicated that there was a significant amount of munitions. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. On top of this Gage received a report from a British spy within the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts that a Rebel Army was in the process of forming. This also was a false claim.

British Commander Thomas Gage was put in a difficult spot. If he failed to act upon this intelligence he would risk allowing the colonists to arm themselves with seized British arms. Gage feared that this would lead to further problems. If the British in Boston had access to a better intelligence network then they would have known that while the rebel colonial patriots were stockpiling arms and munitions it was not enough to spark worry. In the end, it was one cannon and musket shot. Further, there was no major indication of Massachusetts attempting to field a rebel army at this point.

However, the major problem with British military intelligence came from junior officers intermingling with colonists. Several of the junior officers were known to frequent bars and local spots where they would talk about their orders and actions. Because of this word got out that the British were going to march upon Concord and Lexington, which gave time for the colonial militias to organize a small defense.

Simply put, one of the major ways in which the Battles of Lexington and Concord impacted history was by demonstrating how bad British intelligence gathering was. Not only were the British unaware of the true actions of the colonists but they also could not prevent their own intelligence from being discovered.

Lexington and Concord Demonstrated How Easily Colonial Forces Could Mobilize A Sizable Force Of Militia

The final way in which the battles of Lexington and Concord impacted history was by demonstrating how easily the colonists could mobilize a large militia.

Initially there were only around 700 militia members in the early morning of April 19th. However by the end of the day there were thousands of colonial militia members skirmishing with the British as they retreated back to the city of Boston.

When the British finally finished their retreat back to Boston they believed that there would be no sizable group of militants. After securing the city the British army would return to their beds and get ready for the next day. The officers of the British colonial army in Boston had believed that the militia of Massachusets was disorganized and would dissipate by the next morning; they were wrong.

When the British woke up in the morning they discovered around 15,000 colonial militia members laying siege to the city of Boston. This astonished the British command within the city. Overnight the colonial militia had swelled as people from around Boston came to aid the militia of Lexington and Concord. The swelling of this militia was caused by several months of preparation on behalf of the militia commanders. At this moment the city of Boston was under siege and would become the first battleground of the American Revolutionary War.

This was a major event in the colonies. Within a couple of days, nearly everybody in the cities of the colonies would begin to question their own loyalties to the crown. This would lead to a large divide across the colonial population of those loyal to the English crown and those who wished to have independence and form their own nation. When the news reached George Washington in Virginia Washington wrote that now the colonists must decide if they will fight or surrender to British opposition.

However, the battles of Lexington and Concord impacted history by demonstrating that the colonial militias could rapidly mobilize a sizable force nearly overnight. This was the major success of the battle and demonstrated that colonial militias could form and become large enough to stand up the British army.

Conclusion

There you have it; an entire article going over the 3 ways the battles of Lexington and Concord impacted the development of History.

Lexington and Concord remain fascinating subjects of research. In many ways the battles themselves were just small-scale skirmishes where both sides claimed victory. However, by the end of the day it became clear that Lexington and Concord would go down in history as a pivotal moment where the British Colonists would fight for their independence from the British Crown.

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Sincerely,

Nick