The fighting in the American Revolution began on April 19, 1775, at the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. The adoption of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776 may have justified the fighting, but it did not guarantee a military victory in the war. The colonies seemed to be facing an impossible situation. Great Britain had a population four times the size of the United States. It had one of the best armies in the world, and it was supplemented by hundreds of Hessians, hired mercenaries from central Europe. And Britain had the best navy in the world, which should have enabled it to blockade American ports and shut the United States off from contact with the rest of the world. In the eyes of many people, the chances for the colonials to win their independence seemed very slim.
But the colonials were optimistic and believed they could, and would, win. And, ultimately, they were right. Great Britain seemed to have the necessary pieces to win but could not put them all together for victory. Conducting a war across a 3,000-mile ocean was almost impossible. Coordinating supplies and battle plans was a nightmare when it took six to eight weeks for ships to travel from Europe to America. Also, the colonies had no center to conquer. One major city after another fell to the British, and the war continued.
Because of all these problems, the war dragged on and on. The fighting lasted more than six years, and it finally ended when the British grew too weary to continue. Because of the length of the war, one of the major concerns for both sides was keeping up morale, both of the military men and the general civilian population. Hence, newspapers carried numerous pieces that sought to boost the morale of one side while assuring their readers that the “enemy” was ready to give up.