Unit 2 – american revolution

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This unit bundles student expectations that address colonial discontent with British rule, declaring independence, and waging war against Britain in the American Revolution.
Prior to this unit, students learned about the colonization of America and the development of self-governance.
During this unit, students:

  • analyze the causes of the American Revolution and the steps taken by significant individuals to secure our independence through winning the war

  • evaluate the varying points of view of the colonists and the impact of acts of civil disobedience

  • learn about the foundations of American political philosophy and its origins by analyzing the Declaration of Independence

  • discover the impact of the significant events and the roles individuals played during the war


Key Academic Vocabulary Supporting Conceptual Development

  • Boycott – to refuse to have dealings with—to not buy goods or services—usually to express disapproval of certain conditions

  • Taxation – the action of taxing

  • Revolution – a fundamental change in political organization; the overthrow of a government

  • Independence – the quality of state of being independent

  • Grievances – formal complaints

  • Intolerable – impossible to tolerate or endure; unbearable; unsupportable

  • Proclamation – a public or official announcement dealing with matters of importance

  • Militia – a military force raised from the civilian population during times of emergency

  • Minutemen – citizens willing to be ready at a minute’s notice before and during the American Revolution

  • Petition – a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause

  • Unalienable Rights – rights endowed at birth by “Creator” that may not be taken away or violated by the gov’t such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness


8.1 History. The student understands traditional historical points of reference in U.S. history through 1877.

8.1A Identify the major eras and events in U.S. history through 1877, including colonization, revolution, drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

  • American Revolution

    • Acts

    • Boston Tea Party

    • Taxation without Representation

    • Unalienable rights

    • Battles of Lexington and Concord, Saratoga and Yorktown

    • Declaration of Independence

    • Articles of Confederation

8.1B Apply absolute and relative chronology through the sequencing of significant individuals, events, and time periods

  • Absolute chronology

    • Significant individuals, events and time periods listed in the Grade 8 TEKS

    • Absolute chronology – exact date

  • Relative chronology

    • Significant individuals, events, and time periods listed in the Grade 8 TEKS

    • Relative chronology – general time period or era

8.1C Explain the significance of the following dates: 1776, adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

  • 1776 – adoption of the Declaration of Independence


History. The student understands significant political and economic issues of the revolutionary era.

8.4A Analyze causes of the American Revolution, including the Proclamation of 1763, the Intolerable Acts, the Stamp Act, mercantilism, lack of representation in Parliament, and British economic policies following the French and Indian War.

  • Proclamation of 1763 – British Parliament law; colonists were forbidden to settle west of the Appalachian Mountains, Britain wanted a buffer zone between the colonists and the Native Americans (reduce threat of violence) but the colonists wanted to settle the fertile Ohio River Valley

  • Stamp Act – (passed in 1765); required that all legal documents (e.g., diplomas, contracts, wills, newspapers) have an official stamp showing that a tax had been paid; British used this to generate revenue to help cover the cost of the French and Indian War; colonists react by rioting and Stamp Act Congress convenes (October 1765)

  • Intolerable Acts – (passed in 1774, also known as the Coercive Acts); British reaction to the Boston Tea Party; closed the port of Boston until the tea was paid for, restructured Massachusetts government, troops quartered in Boston and British officials accused of crimes sent to England or Canada for trial; colonists reacted by boycotting British goods and First Continental Congress convenes (September 1774)

  • Mercantilism – system by which a nation increases its wealth and power by obtaining from its colonies wealth--gold, silver, and other raw materials. It includes a favorable balance of trade. The colonies become a source of raw materials for the mother country. The colonies also are expected to be the purchasers of manufactured goods from the mother country. (Mercantilism includes the theory that a colony exists for the economic benefit of the mother country.)

  • Lack of representation in Parliament – since the formation of the colonies, the colonists had set up their own legislative assemblies; colonists were unhappy about Britain’s insistence on the supremacy of Parliament (taxation); the debate turned into one regarding representation, the colonists did not have direct representation in Britain’s law-making body (Parliament); Britain argued that the colonies had “virtual representation”

  • British economic policies following the French and Indian War- to raise money to help pay off the debt incurred from the French and Indian War caused many colonists to resent British rule: (e.g., Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, Tea Act)

8.4B Explain the roles played by significant individuals during the American Revolution, including Abigail Adams, John Adams, Wentworth Cheswell, Samuel Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, James Armistead, Benjamin Franklin, Bernardo de Gálvez, Crispus Attucks, King George III, Haym Salomon, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, Thomas Paine, and George Washington.

  • Abigail Adams – wife of John Adams, served as his confidant and support while he served in the Continental Congress. When John and others were considering a declaration of independence, Abigail reminded him to take care of the women, who would not hold themselves bound by laws in which they had no voice (“Remember the ladies”).

  • John Adams – lawyer and politician; defended British soldiers after the Boston Massacre; a member of the Continental Congress (representing Massachusetts); strong supporter of independence

  • Wentworth Cheswell – African American Patriot; like Paul Revere he made an all-night ride back from Boston to warn his community of the impending British invasion; served in the army and fought at the Battle of Saratoga

  • Samuel Adams – played a role in many of the events which contributed to the Revolution including organized opposition to the Stamp Act, protests waged by the Sons of Liberty, and the Boston Massacre

  • Mercy Otis Warren – wife of a Massachusetts Patriot; anonymously wrote several propaganda pieces supporting the Patriot cause

  • James Armistead – slave in Virginia; Marquis de Lafayette recruited him as a spy for the Continental Army. Posing as a double agent, forager and servant at British headquarters, he moved freely between the lines with vital information on British troop movements for Lafayette; contributed to the American victory at Yorktown

  • Benjamin Franklin – a member of the committee which wrote the Declaration of Independence, but spent most of the period of the American Revolution in France. He represented the colonies as the American envoy starting in 1776 and remained until 1785. He negotiated the alliance with France and then the Treaty of Paris which ended the war.

  • Bernardo de Gálvez – Spanish nobleman who became governor of the province of Louisiana (January, 1777), protected American ships in the port of New Orleans and helped transport war supplies, and took up arms and fought to protect Louisiana

  • Crispus Attucks – a black man; became the first casualty of the American Revolution when he was shot and killed in what became known as the Boston Massacre

  • King George III – feared that the loss of one group of colonies would lead to the loss of others and the eventual decline of the empire. To prevent this, the Crown maintained an aggressive policy against colonial resistance. George III struggled to enforce royal authority throughout his reign.

  • Haym Salomon – a Polish-born Jewish immigrant to America who played an important role in financing the Revolution; arrested by the British as a spy; used by the British as an interpreter with their German troops; helped British prisoners escape and encouraged German soldiers to desert the British army; became a broker to the French consul and paymaster to French troops in America

  • Patrick Henry – a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses; spoke against the Stamp Act; famous quote “Give me liberty or give me death;” during the Revolution he served in the Continental Army

  • Thomas Jefferson – early and effective leader in the American Revolution. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and in 1776 he was a member of the committee which wrote the Declaration of Independence; chief writer of Declaration of Independence, which was approved by the delegates.

  • The Marquis de Lafayette – a French aristocrat who played a leading role in two revolutions in France and in the American Revolution. He respected the concepts of liberty and freedom and constitutional government. Between 1776 and 1779 he fought in the American Revolution, commanding forces as a major-general in the colonial army; important because France joined the Colonists against the British.

  • Thomas Paine – propagandist and journalist; wrote pamphlet “Common Sense” persuading Americans to join the Patriot cause

  • George Washington – a resident of Virginia, he was a surveyor, a planter, a soldier in the French and Indian War, a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and the chairman of the Constitutional Convention in 1787

8.4C Explain the issues surrounding important events of the American Revolution, including declaring independence writing the Articles of Confederation fighting the battles of Lexington, Concord, Saratoga, and Yorktown enduring the winter at Valley Forge signing the Treaty of Paris of 1783.

  • Declaring independence – reaction to King George III’s refusal to acknowledge the colonial requests/demands, “dissolve the political bands” with Britain, provided philosophy for the establishment of the new nation (“all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”), and listed grievances against the King of England

  • Writing the Articles of Confederation – occurred at the Second Continental Congress (1776), created a new form of government for the independent colonies, included one branch – a Congress including one representative from each of the former colonies

  • Battles of Lexington and Concord – 1st battles of the war; (“The shot heard ‘round the world”)

  • Battle of Saratoga – turning point of the war; France joined the colonists after this victory, tipping the scale

  • Battle of Yorktown – surrender of Cornwallis brought end of war

  • Enduring the winter at Valley Forge – after suffering several defeats, Washington took his army to Valley Forge for the winter of 1777. There the men were trained and became more of a professional army (rather than militias). The winter was harsh and men suffered from starvation and frostbite.

  • Signing the Treaty of Paris 1783 – independence recognized, boundaries extended to Canada in the North, the Mississippi River in the West, and Florida in the South


Government. The student understands the American beliefs and principles reflected in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and other important historic documents.

8.15C Identify colonial grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence.

Grievances in Declaration of Independence

Taxation without representation

King has absolute power

Colonists not allowed to speak out against the King

Quartering Act forced colonists to house troops

Allowed homes to be searched without warrants

No trial by jury of peers


Citizenship. The student understands the rights and responsibilities of citizens of the United States.

8.19A Define and give examples of unalienable rights.

  • Unalienable Rights – fundamental rights or natural rights guaranteed to people naturally instead of by the law. Examples in the Declaration of Independence- Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness


Citizenship. The student understands the importance of voluntary individual participation in the democratic process.

8.20C Analyze reasons for and the impact of selected examples of civil disobedience in U.S. history such as the Boston Tea Party.

  • Civil disobedience – the process of defying codes of conduct within a community or ignoring the policies and government of a state or nation when the civil laws are considered unjust. Examples of civil disobedience include nonviolent actions such as boycotts, protests and refusal to pay taxes.

  • Boston Tea Party – (1773) protest led by the Sons of Liberty in which they dumped the British tea into Boston Harbor to protest the Tea Act passed by Parliament, Tea Party was a reaction to taxation without representation


Citizenship. The student understands the importance of the expression of different points of view in a constitutional republic.

8.21A Identify different points of view of political parties and interest groups on important historical and contemporary issues.

  • American Revolution

    • Loyalists – These were colonists who remained loyal to the British monarchy and disagreed with the Declaration of Independence

    • Patriots – The colonists who favored separating from Britain and becoming their own independent nation).

    • Neutrals – There were those who remained neutral who chose not to take sides.


Citizenship. The student understands the importance of effective leadership in a constitutional republic.

8.22B Describe the contributions of significant political, social, and military leaders of the United States such as John Paul Jones, etc.

  • John Paul Jones – founder of U.S. Navy and led raids on British vessels during the American Revolution


Culture. The student understands the relationship between the arts and the times during which they were created.

8.26B Identify examples of American art, music, and literature that reflect society in different eras.

  • Art

    • Revere’s engraving of the Boston Massacre. image at- http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2008661777/

    • Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull (painting commissioned in 1817, but depicts the presentation of the Declaration of Independence to Congress in 1776)

    • Washington Crossing the Delaware

  • Music – “Yankee Doodle”

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