African Americans and Women in the Revolutionary War Step One Pick one of the following people to research

Download 55.49 Kb.
Size55.49 Kb.
Name ____________________________________________ Date _________________________

African Americans and Women in the Revolutionary War

Step One

Pick one of the following people to research: Martha Washington, Crispus Attucks, Peter Salem, Abigail Adams, or Molly Pitcher.

I am choosing to research _________________________________________________________.

Step Two

You are going to argue that the person you chose played a pivotal (crucial, important) role in the outcome of the Revolutionary War.

You will:

  1. Create a rough (not finalized) thesis statement

  2. Use notecards to research (with sources cited)

  3. Create a planning web to organize research

  4. Revise thesis statement (still not finalized)

  5. Create an outline: list topic sentences and supporting details (back up thesis statement)

  6. Create a conclusion that summarizes each supporting paragraph and restates the thesis

  7. Finalize thesis

Step Three

You will write a rough draft of your essay, using the outline that was created. You will have five paragraphs: an introduction, three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each paragraph should be 5-7 sentences, and sources are cited.

Step Four

You will read over your essay and edit it. Then, you will have a peer edit your essay. After that, you will have a second peer edit your essay. Finally, you will have your teacher edit your essay. AND THEN you will edit your essay again.

Step Five

You will type your essay. You will use Times New Roman font, 12 point, double-spaced. You will use MLA formatting. You will include a Works Cited that matches what is referenced in your paper.

Name __________________________________________ Date _____________________

Planning Web

Name___________________________________________ Date ____________________________

Thesis Statement Worksheet

What is your topic? _____________________________________________________________________

What background information does the reader need to know before you state your thesis? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What is your working thesis statement (a.k.a. not finalized thesis)? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Test your thesis statement. Does your thesis statement:

  1. Make a claim that a reader can agree or disagree with?

  2. Reflect knowledge of the source material?

  3. Pick an idea that can be defended in the space allowed?

What evidence, examples, or arguments will you use to support your working thesis? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Once you’ve written a draft, rewrite your thesis statement to improve it: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Name _______________________________________________ Date _____________________

Essay Plan – Outline

Introductory Paragraph (Please be sure to highlight or underline your rough thesis): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Three Arguments (and supportive sub-points):

  1. Topic: _________________________________________________________________________

Topic Sentence: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Supportive Details: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Topic: _________________________________________________________________________

Topic Sentence: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Supportive Details: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Topic: _________________________________________________________________________

Topic Sentence: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Supportive Details: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Three arguments summarized: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Re-state thesis: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Name ________________________________________________ Date _____________________

Rough Draft


Name _______________________________________ Date ______________________

Martha Washington: Starter Notes

With her extremely large inheritance of land from the Custis estate and the vast farming enterprise at Mount Vernon, Martha Washington spent considerable time directing the large staff of slaves and servants. While George Washington oversaw all financial transactions related to the plantation, Martha Washington was responsible for the not insubstantial process of harvesting, preparing, and preserving herbs, vegetables, fruits, meats, and dairy for medicines, household products and foods needed for those who lived at Mount Vernon, relatives, slaves and servants - as well as long-staying visitors.

During the American Revolution, Martha Washington assumed a prominent role as caretaker for her husband, appointed the General of the American Army by the Continental Congress, and his troops (winter 1775, Cambridge, Massachusetts; spring 1776, New York; spring 1777, Morristown, New Jersey; winter 1778, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania). She lent her name to support a formal effort to enlist women of the colonies to volunteer on behalf of the Continental Army. It involved her writing to the wives of all the colonial governors and asking them to encourage the women of their colonies to make not only financial contributions but to sew and gather necessary supplies for the Continental Army.

During the famously bitter winter spent at Valley Forge, Martha Washington permanently endeared herself to the soldiers. Often starving for want of food, their feet freezing in the snow and their outer garments too thin to withstand the cold, she made the rounds of visiting them, providing as much food as she could have donated, sewing socks and other outer garments and prevailing on local women to also do so, she also nursed those who were ill or dying. Her commitment to the welfare of the American Revolutionary War veterans would remain lifelong. In appreciation, American servicemen addressed her as "Lady Washington."


Name ___________________________________________________ Date _____________________

Crispus Attucks: Starter Notes

In 1770, 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. Although Attucks was credited as the leader and instigator of the event, debate raged for over as century as to whether he was a hero and a patriot, or a rabble-rousing villain.

In the murder trial of the soldiers who fired the fatal shots, John Adams, serving as a lawyer for the crown, reviled the "mad behavior" of Attucks, "whose very looks was enough to terrify any person."

Twenty years earlier, an advertisement placed by William Brown in the Boston Gazette and Weekly Journal provided a more detailed description of Attucks, a runaway: "A Mulatto fellow, about 27 Years of Age, named Crispus, 6 feet 2 inches high, short cur'l hair, his knees nearer together than common."

Attucks father was said to be an African and his mother a Natick or Nantucket Indian; in colonial America, the offspring of black and Indian parents were considered black or mulatto. As a slave in Framingham, he had been known for his skill in buying and selling cattle.

Brown offered a reward for the man's return, and ended with the following admonition: "And all Matters of Vessels and others, are hereby cautioned against concealing or carrying off said Servant on Penalty of Law. " Despite Brown's warning, Attucks was carried off on a vessel many times over the next twenty years; he became a sailor, working on a whaling crew that sailed out of Boston harbor. At other times he worked as a ropemaker in Boston.

Attucks' occupation made him particularly vulnerable to the presence of the British. As a seaman, he felt the ever-present danger of impressment into the British navy. As a laborer, he felt the competition from British troops, who often took part-time jobs during their off-duty hours and worked for lower wages. A fight between Boston ropemakers and three British soldiers on Friday, March 2, 1770 set the stage for a later confrontation. That following Monday night, tensions escalated when a soldier entered a pub to look for work, and instead found a group of angry seamen that included Attucks.

That evening a group of about thirty, described by John Adams as "a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes and molattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish jack tarrs," began taunting the guard at the custom house with snowballs, sticks and insults. Seven other redcoats came to the lone soldier's rescue, and Attucks was one of five men killed when they opened fire.

Patriots, pamphleteers and propagandists immediately dubbed the event the "Boston Massacre," and its victims became instant martyrs and symbols of liberty. Despite laws and customs regulating the burial of blacks, Attucks was buried in the Park Street cemetery along with the other honored dead.

Adams, who became the second American president, defended the soldiers in court against the charge of murder. Building on eyewitness testimony that Attucks had struck the first blow, Adams described him as the self-appointed leader of "the dreadful carnage." In Adams' closing argument, Attucks became larger than life, with "hardiness enough to fall in upon them, and with one hand took hold of a bayonet, and with the other knocked the man down." The officer in charge and five of his men were acquitted, which further inflamed the public.

The citizens of Boston observed the anniversary of the Boston Massacre in each of the following years leading up to the war. In ceremonies designed to stir revolutionary fervor, they summoned the "discontented ghosts" of the victims."

A "Crispus Attucks Day" was inaugurated by black abolitionists in 1858, and in 1888, the Crispus Attucks Monument was erected on the Boston Common, despite the opposition of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the New England Historic Genealogical Society, which regarded Attucks as a villain.

The debate notwithstanding, Attucks, immortalized as "the first to defy, the first to die," has been lauded as a true martyr, "the first to pour out his blood as a precious libation on the altar of a people's rights."


Name _____________________________________________ Date _________________________

Peter Salem: Starter Notes

Salem, Peter (c. 1750-16 Aug. 1816), African American soldier in the American Revolution, was born a slave in Framingham, Massachusetts, his birth traditionally celebrated on 1 October in his hometown. The names and occupations of his parents are unknown. He was owned by the New England army captain Jeremiah Belknap, who is believed to have named him for his own earlier residence in Salem, Massachusetts. Belknap sold him to Major Lawson Buckminster around 1775. Although African Americans had not been legally eligible to serve in the military since 1656 for fear of slave insurrections, the Committee of Safety in Massachusetts allowed the recruitment of free blacks for the Framingham militia in May 1775. Major Buckminster freed Salem to enable him to enlist in Captain Simon Edgel's company, a special force prepared to serve at a minute's notice. As one of the few black "minutemen," Salem fought in the Battle of Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, the first confrontation of the American Revolutionary War, on 19 April 1775 and five days later enlisted in Colonel John Nixon's Fifth Massachusetts Regiment.

In Nixon's regiment Salem was assigned to the company of Captain Thomas Drury in the Battle of Bunker Hill, the first major battle of the war, on 17 June, during the British siege of Boston. It is for his service in this battle, actually fought at nearby Breed's Hill, that he has been chiefly known. It was long believed that Salem fired the shot that killed the British commander John Pitcairn; the author Samuel Swett, writing in 1818, reported, "Among the foremost of the [British] leaders was the gallant Maj. Pitcairn, who exultingly cried 'the day is ours,' when Salem, a black soldier, and a number of others, shot him through and he fell.. . . [A] contribution was made in the Army for Salem and he was presented to Washington as having slain Pitcairn" (p. 75). The artist John Trumbull's celebrated 1786 painting The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill shows a black soldier thought to be Salem, holding a flintlock musket as Pitcairn falls, and in 1968 that detail was reproduced in a U.S. postage stamp commemorating Trumbull and included in the Black Heritage Stamp Issues.

The identification of the black soldier in Trumbull's painting has since been widely disputed, and other African Americans in the colonial forces have been proposed as models for the figure. The historians Sidney and Emma Nogrady Kaplan suggest that Salem was assumed to be the soldier responsible for Pitcairn's death "probably because of a mistaken reading of John Trumbull's dramatic reconstruction," and note that "Trumbull witnessed the fireworks from Roxbury across the harbor and possibly met Salem, but in his picture, done in London eleven years later, he chose to show the presence of black patriot soldiers in the fray by depicting prominently a white officer from Connecticut with his black servant holding a musket" (p. 20). Whether or not Salem was the figure in Trumbull's painting or the soldier responsible for Pitcairn's death, however, his heroic participation in that battle was widely recognized, and the French Charleville musket that he is supposed to have used is exhibited in the museum at Bunker Hill.

On 12 November 1775 Major General George Washington issued an order forbidding African Americans, whether slaves or freemen, from serving in the armed forces, but when he was informed that on 7 November Lord Dunmore, the governor of Virginia, had freed all slaves willing to serve the British, the order was canceled. A new edict was issued on 30 December and approved by the Continental Congress on 16 January 1776, permitting the service of free African Americans, and Salem reenlisted in the Massachusetts regiment immediately. He served in several major engagements during the ensuing years, including such turning points in the war as the Battles of Saratoga, fought nine miles south of Saratoga, New York, on 19 September and 7 October 1777, and the Battle of Stony Point, a midnight assault on a British garrison about ten miles south of West Point on the Hudson River in New York, on 15-16 July 1779. He remained in the militia until the end of the Revolutionary War and was discharged from the service on 1 March 1780.

After leaving the militia Salem built a cabin near Leicester, Massachusetts. There he tried unsuccessfully to support himself as a vegetable gardener and finally resorted to earning a scanty living weaving and mending baskets and cane bottoms for chairs. He married Katy Benson in September 1783. No children are known to have been born of their union--he was listed in the Framingham census of 1790 as head in a household of two free people of color--and the marriage later dissolved. Salem was well liked in the community and was popular among the children, whom he used to regale with stories about the war, but he never prospered and was reduced in old age to seeking charity. The town government sent him back to Framingham in his last years, and he died in the poorhouse there. He was buried in the town cemetery, an unusual honor for a former slave. In 1882 Framingham established an annual Peter Salem Day celebration on 17 June and erected a monument at the Old Burying Ground reading, "Peter Salem / A Soldier of the Revolution / Concord / Bunker Hill / Saratoga / Died August 16, 1816." Later the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a stone on the land where Salem's cabin had stood, inscribed, "Here lived Peter Salem, a Negro soldier of the Revolution." Source:

Name ____________________________________________ Date ________________________

Abigail Adams: Starter Notes

When the British fired on Boston's harbor and left the continental army with nothing to defend themselves with, Abigail could see it from the window of her house. She could feel the vibrations from the cannons as she held her children close and hoped that what she told them was true—it would all be fine in the end.

Soon after the devastating event, a few officials from the army finally received what they had been requesting for so long: weapons. Unfortunately, although they received muskets, they were dismayed to discover they did not come with bullets or gun powder; they were still defenseless.

Abigail Adams came to the rescue. She went home immediately, gathered all the silver and steel in the house, melted it down, and, with the help of her children, made bullets for the army. After seeing the bravery of this young mother the army was heartened for the first time in a long while. This beautiful act of loyalty gave inspiration to some of the authorities in the army. They heroically took up arms, went to one of the British bases, and stole gun powder and three large cannons.

During the second Continental Congress, she wrote to John suggesting that the beginning of a new government was the perfect opportunity to begin pushing for women's rights being equal with men's. This didn't happen in her lifetime, but she is one of the earliest known women's rights activists.

She was a close friend to Thomas Jefferson and they corresponded regularly, though when he ran against John Adams for the post as President, they had a falling out and she stopped writing him for a while. She had difficulty, as First Lady, in keeping her opinions to herself. Being used to writing and saying exactly as she thought, she struggled with the composure and civility that were required in an important political position. She wrote, "I have been so used to freedom of sentiment that I know not how to place so many guards about me, as will be indispensable, to look at every word before I utter it, and to impose a silence upon myself, when I long to talk."

John Adams was a member of the Republican Party as was his close friend Thomas Jefferson. On meeting their opponent Alexander Hamilton, the leader of the Federalist Party, Abigail Adams announced that she had "just looked into the eyes of the devil himself." She felt he threatened her husband's political beliefs and so her strong opposition is, perhaps, forgivable.

Thomas Jefferson won the next election in 1801, John and Abigail Adams retired from the political world, although Abigail took a strong interest in her son John Quincy Adams' rise to the presidency. She died in October 1818, following her daughter Nabby who died of breast cancer just a few years before.


Name ______________________________________________ Date ____________________________

Molly Pitcher: Starter Notes

Molly Pitcher was a patriot who carried pitchers of water to soldiers and helped with cannon duty during the American Revolution's Battle of Monmouth.

Molly Pitcher was born Mary Ludwig circa October 13, 1754, near Trenton, New Jersey. During the American Revolutionary War's Battle of Monmouth, she carried pitchers of water to soldiers, thereby earning her nickname. After her husband collapsed during the battle, she took over the operation of his cannon. Honored in 1822 for her bravery, she died in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on January 22, 1832.

Mary Ludwig, who would go down in history as Molly Pitcher, was born circa October 13, 1754, near Trenton, New Jersey. In 1768, she moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she met William (also known as John) Hays, a local barber. They married on July 24, 1769.

During the American Revolutionary War, Hays enlisted as a gunner in the Continental Army. As it was common at the time for wives to be near their husbands in battle and help as needed, Pitcher followed Hays back to New Jersey during the war's Philadelphia Campaign (1777-78).

Hays fought in the Battle of Monmouth in Freehold, New Jersey, on June 28, 1778, a brutally hot day. His wife was present as well, and she made countless trips to a nearby spring to fill pitchers of cold water for soldiers to drink and to pour over their cannons to cool them down.

As legend has it, the soldiers nicknamed her Molly Pitcher for her tireless efforts. But the legend only began with her new name. According to accounts, Pitcher witnessed her husband collapse at his cannon, unable to continue with the fight. She immediately dropped her water pitcher and took his place at the cannon, manning the weapon throughout the remainder of the battle until the Colonists achieved victory. According to the National Archives, there was a documented witness to Pitcher's heroic acts, who reported a cannon shot passing through her legs on the battlefield, leaving her unscathed:

"While in the act of reaching a cartridge ... a cannon shot from the enemy passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat. ... She observed that it was lucky it did not pass a little higher... and continued her occupation."

With her actions on that day, Molly Pitcher became one of the most popular and enduring symbols of the women who contributed to the American Revolution.


Name ___________________________________________

Grading Rubric






Graphic Organizer

Graphic organizer or outline has been completed and shows clear, logical relationships between all topics and subtopics.

Graphic organizer or outline has been completed and shows clear, logical relationships between most topics and subtopics.

Graphic organizer or outline has been started and includes some topics and subtopics.

Graphic organizer or outline has not been attempted.

First Draft

Detailed draft is neatly presented and includes all required information.

Draft includes all required information and is legible.

Draft includes most required information and is legible.

Draft is missing required information and is difficult to read.

Paragraph Construction

All paragraphs include introductory sentence, explanations or details, and concluding sentence.

Most paragraphs include introductory sentence, explanations or details, and concluding sentence.

Paragraphs included related information but were typically not constructed well.

Paragraphing structure was not clear and sentences were not typically related within the paragraphs.

Quality of Information

Information clearly relates to the main topic. It includes several supporting details and/or examples.

Information clearly relates to the main topic. It provides 1-2 supporting details and/or examples.

Information clearly relates to the main topic. No details and/or examples are given.

Information has little or nothing to do with the main topic.


No grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors.

Almost no grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors

A few grammatical spelling, or punctuation errors.

Many grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors.


All sources (information and graphics) are accurately documented in the desired format.

All sources (information and graphics) are accurately documented, but a few are not in the desired format.

All sources (information and graphics) are accurately documented, but many are not in the desired format.

Some sources are not accurately documented.

Total: _______________ / 24 points x 2 = ____________/48 points

Download 55.49 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2023
send message

    Main page