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How Far Was American Victory In The War Of Independence Due To Poor Military Leadership?

1083 words - 5 pages

How far was American victory in the war of Independence due to poor military leadership? (24)

To the extent to which cause had the most significant effect on the outcome of the War of Independence is a perceptual view which has become very debatable topic, whereby historians have failed to conclude a main reason. However no doubt that in trigger cause and start of British downfall was because of foreign intervention. Although, the long-term problem of British strategic decisions + communication combined with weak general ship in the short-term played a vital role in the surrendering of initiative which lost the war.

Historian Jeremy Black has concluded that the military leadership ...view middle of the document...

Cornwallis had relied on Clinton keeping control of sea power. If the British lost sea power Cornwallis would fall like a rock.

However, historian Paul Langford disagrees and feels that it was foreign intervention which saw the removal of British sea power which was the crucial moment for Britain losing the war. “sea power was the decisive factor in the American War”. The trigger cause to downfall of sea power outside Yorktown was to prove decisive. The French by luck were able to take advantage of Clinton’s misfortunate situation as he returned to port in damaged vessels after a storm which could have re-supplied Cornwallis and kept him in the game. French general De Grasse to sail from the West Indies unimpeded into Chesapeake Bay and gain ultimate control of the bay, blockading it, therefore Cornwallis was trapped, surrounded within the peninsula.
In addition the introduction of foreign intervention saw Britain no longer fighting a war in America but all over the world. Britain now had to redeploy troops to defend the colonial empire, stretching from India to Africa. As a result the number of resources, troops and attention Britain could pay to war in America was minimal, as the army was becoming over-stretched in trying to defend all its colonial interests.
Ultimately, even though foreign intervention played the crucial role in the short-term, France wasn’t overly useful to America for large amounts of the war. The French actually provided little sufficient help in American the first few years. France didn’t donate many troops or weapons. Although a 5000 strong French army was in North America under Rochambeau which landed in Newport in July 1780, it remained inactive in garrisons for over a year, before used in action. France too was acting in its best interests in revenge; it had little interest in actually helping the Americans but inflicting an embarrassing defeat upon Britain.

Finally British governmental mistakes can be held responsible as a contributory long-term cause for the loss of the war in America. Middlekauff for example felt that the certain taxation policies such as the Stamp Act 1765 caused the colonists to become resentful of their despotic ministerial tyrants and therefore the...

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