Antagonism toward British rule crystallized in response to unpopular trade and agricultural policies. Imported British goods undercut the local economy because they were cheaper than locally produced products. This price competition put many small urban artisans out of work. At the same time, new factories were being built to process raw materials. Work in these new factories eventually expanded to a small-scale industrial economy of more than 30, workers by Jobs in the factories were often unsafe, unclean and failed to offer meaningful pay.
The National Party helped to organize trade unions and consumer associations from among these low paid workers. The new unions were diverse, including cigarette makers, cotton spinners, as well as warehouse and railroad workers, and waged limited strikes for better pay and safety. New organizational structures like unions played an essential role in the uprising to come. During World War I, the British conscripted hundreds of thousands of Egyptian peasants into a campaign to seize Syria and Palestine from the Ottoman Empire and forced many into work for the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.
The wholly unwelcome presence of foreign troops was an additional factor straining relations. The tension between Egyptians and the British flashed in highly symbolic and charged clashes, such as in an incident in Dinshawi where a fight between villagers and British officers turned deadly and resulted in a spat of retaliatory executions.
By the time the British government unilaterally declared Egypt a protectorate in November , a desire for independence had already become fixed among Egyptian students, intellectuals, political parties, and segments of the working class. However, wartime conditions, such as martial law, restrictions on cotton planting, and inflation, were also significant immediate grievances that helped to fuel the revolution. Unemployment, inflation, and failed attempts by the British to squelch dissent after the war all helped to galvanize national support for independence. Nationalists in September attempted to put together a delegation to the upcoming Paris Peace Conference to advocate Egyptian independence.
All demands were refused. Some of these petitions were confiscated and British officials refused to meet with nationalists. Known in Egypt as The Delegation Wafd , Zaghlul and other opposition leaders continued working for independence until they were finally arrested in March Within a day of their arrest they were exiled to the British-controlled island of Malta. This attempt by the British to silence dissent by deporting opposition leaders immediately triggered an unprecedented popular uprising that led to limited independence within the next three years.
The uprising was notable in that members from all religions and classes of Egyptian society were moved to action. Within weeks of the arrest of The Delegation, isolated student demonstrations turned into strikes by transportation workers and professionals, which then quickly became a national general strike that dragged the economic and political affairs of Egypt to a standstill.
Courtrooms were empty of lawyers. Railroad tracks and telegraph lines used by British interests were sabotaged at strategic locations. Protest demonstrations broke out throughout the country, sometimes accompanied by small-scale violence in the form of rioting such as in Cairo, the city of Tanta, and in Asyut Province.
The other 12 colonies watched the Boston proceedings with great interest. Perhaps their fears about British tyranny were true. Moderates found it difficult to argue that the Crown was not interested in stripping away American civil liberties by having a standing army stationed in Boston. Throughout the occupation, sentiment shifted further and further away from the London government.
On March 5, , the inevitable happened. A mob of about 60 angry townspeople descended upon the guard at the Customs House. When reinforcements were called, the crowd became more unruly, hurling rocks and snowballs at the guard and reinforcements. Imperial bullets took the lives of five men, including Crispus Attucks, a former slave. Others were injured. This party in proceeding from Exchange lane into King street, must pass the sentry posted at the westerly corner of the Custom House, which butts on that lane and fronts on that street.
This is needful to be mentioned, as near that spot and in that street the bloody tragedy was acted, and the street actors in it were stationed: their station being but a few feet from the front side of the said Custom House. The outrageous behavior and the threats of the said party occasioned the ringing of the meeting-house bell near the head of King street, which bell ringing quick, as for fire, it presently brought out a number of inhabitants, who being soon sensible of the occasion of it, were naturally led to King street, where the said party had made a stop but a little while before, and where their stopping had drawn together a number of boys, round the sentry at the Custom House.
From hence two persons thereupon proceeded immediately to the main-guard, which was posted opposite to the State House, at a small distance, near the head of the said street. The officer on guard was Capt. Preston, who with seven or eight soldiers, with fire-arms and charged bayonets, issued from the guardhouse, and in great haste posted himself and his soldiers in front of the Custom House, near the corner aforesaid.
Five men were killed in the incident known as the Boston Massacre. Among them was Crispus Attucks, a former slave. Captain Preston and four of his men were cleared of all charges in the trial that followed. Two others were convicted of manslaughter, but were sentenced to a mere branding of the thumb. The lawyer who represented the British soldiers was none other than patriot John Adams. All the Townshend duties were repealed save one, the tax on tea. It proved to another error in judgment on the part of the British. The Massachusetts legislature was reconvened.
Despite calls by some to continue the tea boycott until all taxes were repealed, most American colonists resumed importation. The events in Boston from through were not soon forgotten. Legal squabbles were one thing, but bloodshed was another.
What was the lesson? Americans learned that the British would use force when necessary to keep the Americans obedient. When our alarmed imagination presented to our view our houses wrapt in flames, our children subjected to the barbarous caprice of the raging soldiery; our beauteous virgins exposed to all the insolence of unbridled passion; our virtuous wives, endeared to us by every tender tie, falling a sacrifice to worse than brutal violence, and perhaps, like the famed Lucretia, distracted with anguish and despair, ending their wretched lives by their own fair hands….
The Gaspee was burned by colonists angry about taxes and British harassment of their ships. The partial repeal of the Townshend Acts did not bring the same reaction in the American colonies as the repeal of the Stamp Act. Too much had already happened.
Not only had the Crown attempted to tax the colonies on several occasions, but two taxes were still being collected — one on sugar and one on tea. Military occupation and bloodshed, whether intentional or not, cannot be forgotten easily. Although importation had largely been resumed, the problems of customs officers continued. One ill-fated customs ship, the Gaspee , was burnt to ashes by angry Rhode Islanders when the unfortunate vessel ran aground.
Tensions mounted on both sides. It would take time for wounds to heal. But Parliament would not give that time. Angry Bostonians rebelled against British taxation and dumped chests of tea into Boston Harbor. The British East India Company was on the brink of financial collapse. Lord North hatched a scheme to deal simultaneously with the ailing corporation and the problem of taxing the colonies. A tax on tea would be maintained, but the company would actually be able to sell its tea for a price that was lower than before.
As such the British East India Company could lower its prices. The British East India Company began with a royal charter from Queen Elizabeth in and developed into an economic powerhouse. When the company faced financial ruin during the s, the British government stepped in with the Tea Act to help the struggling company. The colonists, Lord North hoped, would be happy to receive cheaper tea and willing to pay the tax. This would have the dual result of saving the tea company and securing compliance from Americans on the tax issue. It was a brilliant plan. There was, of course, one major flaw in his thinking.
The colonists saw through this thinly veiled plot to encourage tax payment. Furthermore, they wondered how long the monopoly would keep prices low. Activists were busy again, advocating boycott. Many went further. British ships carrying the controversial cargo were met with threats of violence in virtually all colonial ports.
This was usually sufficient to convince the ships to turn around. In Annapolis, citizens burned a ship and the tea it carried. Governor Thomas Hutchinson allowed three ships carrying tea to enter Boston Harbor. Before the tax could be collected, Bostonians took action. On a cold December night, radical townspeople stormed the ships and tossed chests of tea into the water. Disguised as Native Americans, the offenders could not be identified.
We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water. In about three hours from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ship, while those in the other ships were disposing of the tea in the same way, at the same time.
We were surrounded by British armed ships, but no attempt was made to resist us. The damage in modern American dollars exceeded three quarters of a million dollars. Not a single British East India Company chest of tea bound for the 13 colonies reached its destination. Not a single American colonist had a cup of that tea.
Parliament was utterly fed up with colonial antics. The British could tolerate strongly worded letters or trade boycotts. They could put up with defiant legislatures and harassed customs officials to an extent. But they saw the destruction of chests of tea belonging to the British East India Company as wanton destruction of property by Boston thugs who did not even have the courage to admit responsibility. Boston Harbor was closed to trade until the owners of the tea were compensated.
Only food and firewood were permitted into the port. Town meetings were banned, and the authority of the royal governor was increased. To add insult to injury, General Gage, the British commander of North American forces, was appointed governor of Massachusetts. British troops and officials would now be tried outside Massachusetts for crimes of murder. Greater freedom was granted to British officers who wished to house their soldiers in private dwellings. This Town has received the Copy of an Act of the British Parliament, wherein it appears that we have been tried and condemned, and are to be punished, by the shutting up of the harbor and other marks of revenge, until we shall disgrace ourselves by servilely yielding up, in effect, the just and righteous claims of America….
The people receive this cruel edict with abhorrence and indignation. They consider themselves as suffering the stroke ministerial…I hope they will sustain the blow with a becoming fortitude, and that the cursed design of intimidating and subduing the spirits of all America, will, by the joint efforts of all, be frustrated. Colonists sometimes took out their anger over unfair taxes on the tax collector, as depicted in this drawing from Parliament seemed to have a penchant for bad timing in these years. An appointed council, rather than an elected body, would make the major decisions for the colony.
The boundary of Quebec was extended into the Ohio Valley. In the wake of the passage of the Quebec Act, rage spread through the 13 colonies. With this one act, the British Crown granted land to the French in Quebec that was clearly desired by the American colonists. The extension of tolerance to Catholics was viewed as a hostile act by predominantly Protestant America.
Democracy took another blow with the establishment of direct rule in Quebec. Although the British made no connection between the Coercive Acts and the Quebec Act, they were seen on the American mainland as malicious deed and collectively called the Intolerable Acts. Throughout the colonies, the message was clear: what could happen in Massachusetts could happen anywhere.
The British had gone too far. Supplies were sent to the beleaguered colony from the other twelve. For the first time since the Stamp Act Crisis, an intercolonial conference was called. It was under these tense circumstances that the First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia on September 5, Not all of those pictured were present at the reporting of the Declaration on June 28, nor were they all at its adoption on July 4, The unanimous Declaration of Independence was a curious outcome.
Remember the failed Albany Plan of Union in In , it was difficult to get the original thirteen to agree on the time of day. We have examined the events and people that propelled the colonies to revolt. A careful examination of the stages of unity is in order. Two earlier intercolonial conferences had occurred, each building important keystones of colonial unity.
The Stamp Act Congress and the First Continental Congress brought the delegates from differing colonies to agreement on a message to send to the king. Each successive Congress brought greater participation. Each time the representatives met, they were more accustomed to compromise. As times grew more desperate, the people at home became more and more willing to trust their national leaders. Organizations were also formed to meet intercolonial objectives. The Association actively promoted nonimportation beyond Massachusetts.
The Sons and Daughters of Liberty proved to be the most effective. The Sons of Liberty represented the radical wing of patriots through the years of crisis. They would not hesitate to scare a customs official out of town or tar and feather an enemy. Although strongest in Boston, the Sons of Liberty were active in many port cities, reaching as far South as Charleston.
Do not push such unlimited power in the hands of husbands. The Daughters of Liberty performed an equally important function. If nonimportation were to succeed, women must be involved. The Daughters of Liberty ensured that women did not purchase British goods. In addition, if British cloth was not imported, more homespun cloth must be made. The Daughters of Liberty advanced this cause most effectively. No unity could be reached without communication. Great literature was produced throughout these critical years. Samuel Adams organized the first committee of correspondence to circulate the important arguments of the day.
Even the Declaration of Independence served not only to send a message to King George, but to convince many American colonists of the glory of their cause. The colonists were not merely griping about the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act. They intended to place actions behind their words. One thing was clear — no colony acting alone could effectively convey a message to the king and Parliament. The appeals to Parliament by the individual legislatures had been ignored. It was James Otis who suggested an intercolonial conference to agree on a united course of action. The Congress seemed at first to be an abject failure.
In the first place, only nine of the colonies sent delegates. The Congress became quickly divided between radicals and moderates. The moderates would hold sway at this time. Only an extreme few believed in stronger measures against Britain than articulating the principle of no taxation without representation. This became the spirit of the Stamp Act Resolves.
Only the issue of taxation was disputed. Colonial and personal differences already began to surface. A representative from New Jersey stormed out during the proceedings. In the end, however, the spirit of the Congress prevailed. Every colonial legislature except one approved the Stamp Act Resolves. In the end, the widespread boycotts enacted by individual colonists surely did more to secure the repeal of the Stamp Act than did the Congress itself.
But the gesture was significant. For the first time, against all odds, respected delegates from differing colonies sat with each other and engaged in spirited debate. They discovered that in many ways they had more in common than they originally had thought. This is a tentative but essential step toward the unity that would be necessary to declare boldly their independence from mother England. They were the ones who were not afraid. They knew instinctively that talk and politics alone would not bring an end to British tyranny. They were willing to resort to extralegal means if necessary to end this series of injustices.
They were American patriots — northern and southern, young and old, male and female. They were the Sons and Daughters of Liberty. Like other secret clubs at the time, the Sons of Liberty had many rituals. They had secret code words, medals, and symbols. Originally formed in response to the Stamp Act, their activities were far more than ceremonial.
It was the Sons of Liberty who ransacked houses of British officials. Threats and intimidation were their weapons against tax collectors, causing many to flee town. Offenders might be covered in warm tar and blanketed in a coat of feathers. Another important function of the Sons of Liberty was correspondence. These clubs could be found up and down the colonial seaboard. Often they coordinated their activities. Like the public Congresses that would be convened, this private band of societies provided an intercolonial network that would help forge unity.
It should come as no surprise that the members of the Sons of Liberty and the delegates to the various Congresses were at times one and the same. The Daughters of Liberty performed equally important functions. Once nonimportation became the decided course of action, there was a natural textile shortage. Mass spinning bees were organized in various colonial cities to make homespun substitutes.
Since women often purchased consumer goods for the home, the Daughters of Liberty became instrumental in upholding the boycott, particularly where tea was concerned. The most zealous Daughters of Liberty refused to accept gentleman callers for themselves or their daughters who were not sympathetic to the patriot cause.
Of course, the winners write the history books. Had the American Revolution failed, the Sons and Daughters of Liberty would no doubt be regarded as a band of thugs, or at the very least, outspoken troublemakers. History will be on their sides, however. These individuals risked their lives and reputations to fight against tyranny. In the end, they are remembered as heroes. Volumes and volumes of written work was emerging in the American colonies on the subject of British policies. Apart from major documents and publications, much writing had been produced as letters, pamphlets, and newspaper editorials.
The arguments set forth in this way were at times very convincing. American patriots of the s did not have modern means of communication at their disposal. To spread the power of the written word from town to town and colony to colony, Committees of Correspondence were established. The first such committee was organized by none other than Samuel Adams. Working with rural patriots, Adams enabled the entire Massachusetts citizenry to have access to patriot text. In fact, Adams knew that the residents of the seacoast towns were more informed of each crisis than those of the interior.
The spread of these committees across urban centers happened quickly. Adams and others urged the establishment of correspondence committees in rural inland towns as well. The Committees of Correspondence were bold enough to use the British postal service as the means of communication. For the most part, the pen was their weapon of choice, but revolutionary sentiment did at times take other forms.
For example the Committee of Correspondence in Boston gave its blessing on the raiding of the Dartmouth and the destruction of its cargo that became known as the Boston Tea Party. As the revolution drew nearer, the committees became the spine of colonial interaction. Before the Tea crisis had passed, each colony had a central committee designed to coordinate discussion with the other twelve colonies.
Successful national organization must begin locally. Congresses and national coordinated actions do not materialize out of thin air. Without the work of thousands of local patriots — north and south, urban and rural — there can be no unified result. The Committees of Correspondence became the building blocks on which national unity could begin to build its foundation. What do you do if you fail as a storekeeper and farmer?
Become a lawyer! By the time he became a member of the First Continental Congress, Henry was known as a great orator. Americans were fed up. The printing presses at the Committees of Correspondence were churning out volumes. There was agreement that this new quandary warranted another intercolonial meeting.
It was nearly ten years since the Stamp Act Congress had assembled. It was time once again for intercolonial action. This time participation was better. Only Georgia withheld a delegation. The representatives from each colony were often selected by almost arbitrary means, as the election of such representatives was illegal. Still, the natural leaders of the colonies managed to be selected. First and most obvious, complete nonimportation was resumed. The Congress set up an organization called the Association to ensure compliance in the colonies. A declaration of colonial rights was drafted and sent to London.
A plan introduced by Joseph Galloway of Pennsylvania proposed an imperial union with Britain. Under this program, all acts of Parliament would have to be approved by an American assembly to take effect. Such an arrangement, if accepted by London, might have postponed revolution. But the delegations voted against it — by one vote. One decision by the Congress often overlooked in importance is its decision to reconvene in May if their grievances were not addressed. This is a major step in creating an ongoing intercolonial decision making body, unprecedented in colonial history.
When Parliament chose to ignore the Congress, they did indeed reconvene that next May, but by this time boycotts were no longer a major issue. Unfortunately, the Second Continental Congress would be grappling with choices caused by the spilling of blood at Lexington and Concord the previous month. This rough draft of the Declaration of Independence was handwritten by Thomas Jefferson. Times had taken a sharp turn for the worse.
Lexington and Concord had changed everything. When the Redcoats fired into the Boston crowd in , the benefit of the doubt was granted. Now the professional imperial army was attempting to arrest patriot leaders, and minutemen had been killed in their defense. The questions were different this time. First and foremost, how would the colonist meet the military threat of the British.
It was agreed that a Continental Army would be created. The Congress commissioned George Washington of Virginia to be the supreme commander, who chose to serve without pay. How would supplies be paid for? The Congress authorized the printing of money. Before the leaves had turned, Congress had even appointed a standing committee to conduct relations with foreign governments, should the need ever arise to ask for help. No longer was the Congress dealing with mere grievances.
It was a full-fledged governing body. Still, in May of the majority of delegates were not seeking independence from Britain. Only radicals like John Adams were of this mindset. The American delegates pleaded with George III to attempt peaceful resolution and declared their loyalty to the Crown.
The King refused to receive this petition and instead declared the colonies to be in a state of rebellion in August. Insult turned to injury when George ordered the hiring of Hessian mercenaries to bring the colonists under control. Americans now felt less and less like their English brethren. How could their fellow citizens order a band of ruthless, foreign goons?
The moderate voice in the Continental Congress was dealt a serious blow. As the seasons changed and hostilities continued, cries for independence grew stronger. The men in Philadelphia were now wanted for treason. They continued to govern and hope against hope that all would end well. For them, the summer of brought the point of no return — a formal declaration of independence.
Americans could not break their ties with Britain easily. Despite all the recent hardships, the majority of colonists since birth were reared to believe that England was to be loved and its monarch revered. Fear was another factor. Any student of history was familiar with the harsh manner the British employed on Irish rebels. A revolution could bring mob rule, and no one, not even the potential mob, wanted that. Furthermore, despite taxes, times were good. Arguments can be made that average American was more prosperous than the average Briton.
Yet there were the terrible injustices the colonists could not forget. Americans were divided against themselves. Arguments for independence were growing.
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Thomas Paine would provide the extra push. Common Sense was an instant best-seller. Published in January in Philadelphia, nearly , copies were in circulation by April. He argued for two main points: 1 independence from England and 2 the creation of a democratic republic. Paine avoided flowery prose. He wrote in the language of the people, often quoting the Bible in his arguments. Most people in America had a working knowledge of the Bible, so his arguments rang true. Paine was not religious, but he knew his readers were. Beside attacks on George III, he called for the establishment of a republic.
Even patriot leaders like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams condemned Paine as an extremist on the issue of a post-independence government. Still, Common Sense grew the patriot cause. It made no difference to the readers that Paine was a new arrival to America. Published anonymously, many readers attributed it to John Adams, who denied involvement.
In the end, his prose was common sense. Why should tiny England rule the vastness of a continent? How can colonists expect to gain foreign support while still professing loyalty to the British king? How much longer can Americans stand for the repeated abuses of the Crown?
All these questions led many readers to one answer as the summer of drew near. One of twenty-four surviving copies of the first printing of the Declaration of Independence done by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap in the evening of July 4, The moment had finally come. Far too much bad blood existed between the colonial leaders and the crown to consider a return to the past. More and more colonists felt deprived by the British not only of their money and their civil liberties, but their lives as well.
Bloodshed had begun over a year ago and there seemed little chance of a ceasefire. The radical wing of the Continental Congress was gaining strength with each passing day. It was time for a formal break with mother England. It was time to declare independence. A vote was set for early July. In the meantime it seemed appropriate that some sort of explanation was in order for such a bold act. A subcommittee of five, including Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson , was selected to choose the careful wording.
Such a document must be persuasive to a great many parties. Americans would read this and join the patriot cause. Sympathetic Britons would read this and urge royal restraint. Foreign powers would read this and aid the colonial militia. They might, that is, if the text were convincing. The five agreed that Jefferson was the most talented writer. They would advise on his prose. The declaration is divided into three main parts. The first was a simple statement of intent. All are contained in the first section that outlines the basic principles of the enlightened leaders. The next section is a list of grievances; that is, why the colonies deemed independence appropriate.
The concluding paragraph officially dissolves ties with Britain. It also shows modern readers the courage taken by each delegate who would sign. They were now officially guilty of treason and would hang in the gallows if taken before a royal court. Debate in the Congress followed.
Jefferson watched painfully as the other delegates tweaked his prose. Jefferson had wanted to include a passage blaming the king for the slave trade, for example, but the southern delegates insisted upon its removal. Finally on July 4, , the colonies approved the document. The vote was twelve to zero, with the New York delegation abstaining. As president of the Congress, John Hancock scrawled his famous signature across the bottom and history was made. If the American effort was successful, they would be hailed as heroes. If it failed, they would be hanged as traitors.
When the possibility of a clash with the British became real, New England farmers began to arm themselves and train for battle. This monument to the minutemen stands in Concord, Massachusetts. Americans faced seemingly impossible obstacles. When the guns fired at Lexington and Concord in , there was not yet even a Continental Army. Those battles were fought by local militias. Few Americans had any military experience, and there was no method of training, supplying, or paying an army.
Moreover, a majority of Americans opposed the war in Many historians believe only about a third of all Americans supported a war against the British at that time. The Battle of Bunker Hill was not a military victory for the colonial forces, but it served as an important morale booster. The colonists inflicted heavy casualties on the larger, more powerful British forces.
The early stages of war, in , can be best described as British military victories and American moral triumphs. The British routed the minutemen at Lexington, but the relentless colonists unleashed brutal sniper fire on the British returning to Boston from Concord. In June , the colonists failed to prevail at Bunker Hill, but inflicted heavy casualties on a vastly superior military force. A year later, in , while the British occupied New York, Washington led his army to two surprise victories at Trenton and Princeton that uplifted the morale of the patriots. Regardless, by the British occupied Philadelphia, the seat of the Continental Congress, and sent that body into hiding.
In fact, there was no Continental Navy to speak of at this time.
- Benjamin Talton – Temple University.
- Ci chiamavamo Rossi (Italian Edition).
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Meanwhile, the British began mounting a southward attack from Canada into upstate New York. This threatened to cut New England off from the rest of the Colonies. The Battle of Saratoga, in northern New York, served as a critical turning point. Washington, having lost Philadelphia, led his troops to Valley Forge to spend the winter.
In early , the French agreed to recognize American independence and formed a permanent alliance with the new nation. Military help and sizable stores of much-needed gunpowder soon arrived. The tide was beginning to turn. This painting by John Trumbull is 12 feet by 18 feet and hangs in the rotunda of the U.
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Capitol Building. The British grew increasingly frustrated. The loss at Saratoga was humiliating. As long as the American Continental Army and state militias remained in the field, the British had to keep on fighting.
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And no matter how much damage the British did to American cities or private property, the Americans refused to surrender. This was a new type of war. Having failed in the north, the British turned their attention to the south. They hoped to inspire Loyalist support among dissatisfied Americans — a hope that was never realized. Fighting continued. The threat of French naval participation kept the British uneasy. In October , the war virtually came to an end when General Cornwallis was surrounded and forced to surrender the British position at Yorktown, Virginia. Two years later, the Treaty of Paris made it official: America was independent.
Some soldiers refused to fight for more than eight hours a day, claiming the same rights as the workers. For the leaders of the Provisional Government, the preservation of the Russian state depended on the success of the military. Defeat by Germany could mean a return to the old order and restoration of the Romanov dynasty. Under pressure from the Allies, Russia launched a new offensive in mid-June For two days the Russians advanced, but on the third, they were pushed back by a German counteroffensive.
On July 4, throngs of soldiers, workers, and sailors from the Kronstadt naval base marched through the city in armed ranks. They massed in front of Bolshevik headquarters looking for instructions—but at this crucial moment, Lenin lost his nerve. He gave no call for an uprising. Police stormed the Bolshevik headquarters. Hundreds of Bolsheviks were arrested, and Lenin went into exile again, this time in Finland. He was the only politician with popular support yet also broadly acceptable to the military leaders and the bourgeoisie. Lvov resigned from office, and on July 8 Kerensky became prime minister.
Kerensky passed new restrictions on public gatherings, restored the death penalty at the front, and resolved to restore military discipline. Eventually he had Kornilov arrested. The program of the new coalition government was no longer bound by soviet principles. Kerensky agreed—but then had a change of heart. The Bolshevik leaders were released. Red Guards organized the defense of the factories. Kornilov was imprisoned with 30 other officers. Condemned on the right for betraying Kornilov, the prime minister was also widely suspected on the left of having colluded—initially, at least—with the general.
Many soldiers suspected their officers of having supported Kornilov, and there was a sharp deterioration in army discipline. In factories, such as this one in Petrograd, the Bolsheviks recruited workers for the Red Guards, a militia that would prove to be an important factor in the revolution and its aftermath. As a consequence, a process of radicalization swept the major industrial cities. The principal beneficiaries were the Bolsheviks, who won their first majorities in the soviets of Petrograd, Moscow, Riga, and Saratov in early September.
From Finland, Lenin urged the Bolsheviks to start an insurrection at once, before the Soviet Congress was due to convene on October These would include his left-wing rivals, the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries. Lenin saw an opportunity to seize power for himself and took it. He returned to Petrograd and convened a meeting of his party on October Lenin then forced through a decision by 10 votes to 2 to prepare an uprising. He believed only a small, well-armed, and well-organized force was needed. His vision won out in the Central Committee. With the Bolshevik conspiracy now public knowledge, the soviet leaders resolved to delay the Soviet Congress until October They needed more time to muster support from the provinces, a delay that fueled suspicions that the Congress would not meet at all.
Rumors of counterrevolution were strengthened when Kerensky foolishly announced his plans to transfer the bulk of the Petrograd garrison to the northern front. Disguised in a wig, Lenin left his hiding place and made his way to the Smolny Institute and ordered the uprising to begin. After a series of mishaps and delays, the legendary storming of the Winter Palace, seat of the Provisional Government, took place on the night of October Most of the Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary Party delegates walked out in protest—a grave mistake, as it gave the Bolsheviks a monopoly of the soviet.
Few thought the Bolsheviks could hold on for long. The party had a tenuous hold on the capital, where their seizure of power prompted the civil service, post and telegraph service, and banks to strike.