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How phyisics changed history part three: the american revolution.

Ben Shelton


the war of american independence was a revolution in more ways than one. In addition to all the wonderfull things like Individual rights, self reliance, independce, democracy, and freedom, the war for independence broght about an incredible change in the nature of war. The patriots where up against the most heavially armed machine of brute force in the worold, the brittish empire. thier navy and army so far surpassed the rest of the worold, they could hold thier own against an alliance of three european countries. To defeat this mass of oppressive force, the patriots would need corage, tenacity, and an entirely new way of wageing war. There was one peice of brilliantly engineered technology that changed the course of the war: the rifle. Up untill then guns had had a smoth inside barrel, causeing the bullet to fly somewhat innaccurately. This changed with the invention of the rifle. This allowed for putting groves on the inside of the barrell, giveing a fired projectile a spin. This is where the phyiscs comes in. Because the bullet is spining, the force is going in a circuliar direction towards a central axis, makeing it highly unlikely to veer off corase. the same pricipal applies for speed. because bullets spin, they cut throgh air resistance and fight gravity better than a musket ball would, enableing them to travell farther as well as striaghter. When the colinists got thier hands on these, the battles started fareing better. At the battle of Saratoga, which many consider America's greatest victory and the turning point of the war, an Irish American named Timothy Murphy shot brittish general Simon Fraser with one of the new rifles at an incredible distance (for the time) of 300 yards, iciteing the brittish to retreat. This new technology, along with the American tactic of acctually takeing cover behind trees instead of standing in an open feild, enabled a small and heroic group of patriots to hold thier own against the worold's mightiest empire. Everytime an American practices his rights, he or she can thank phyisics.


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