On April 19, 1775, American militiamen gathered at the village center in Lexington to face the coming British soldiers. No one knows who fired the initial shot, but that first blaze of gunfire signaled the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Only a year after the first battle, the American colonies declared their independence from Britain. But the struggle for freedom would cost the lives of many men and women. From the first boycott of the Stamp Act to the final battle at Yorktown, the American Revolution shaped a new nation and introduced an era of democracy to the United States of America.