The purpose of this interdisciplinary writing test is to determine how well you can write to persuade others to think as you do about an issue. In this test, you will read a few short articles about an important historical issue, take a position on the issue, and write a first draft of a persuasive letter. You must support your position with information from each of the source materials. Your response will be read and scored by trained readers.
About This Test
In this interdisciplinary writing test, you will think about and take a position on an important historical issue: which side, Loyalist or Patriot, would you choose to fight for during the American Revolution. While you are working on this test, you will use skills and knowledge you learned in classes and life experiences.
During the Revolutionary Period (1763-1783), American colonists were divided over the issue of whether to remain part of the British Empire or to fight for their independence. At the onset of the Revolution in 1775, Americans were split into two major groups: Loyalists, who supported King George III and wanted to remain part of Great Britain, and Patriots, who supported breaking away from Britain and forming an independent country. In addition, a significant number of Americans did not take a side and remained neutral. This was a difficult decision for American colonists since their choice of sides would directly impact the fate of their government and lives.
You will read a few short articles from the Loyalist and Patriot perspectives. Take a position on the issue and write a persuasive editorial for your local newspaper urging others to take your position. In your editorial, you must argue why one side, Loyalist or Patriot, is the best decision. Your letter should include information from each of the source materials. Below are the steps you will follow:
1. Read the source materials.
Before taking a position on the issue, it is important that you read all the source materials from the Loyalist and Patriot perspectives. As you read the source materials, you may underline information, highlight and write notes on the articles themselves.
2. Think and plan before you write.
Ask yourself these questions:
• To what degree have I thought my position through?
• What is the basis of my position?
3. Prepare to write your letter.
You have been given two organizers which you may find useful as you consider the various arguments for and against the Loyalist and Patriot causes. You may use the organizer that best suits your position. In addition, scratch paper has been included for any additional notes or outlining you may wish to do in preparing to write your letter. You are not required to complete these pages, and they will not be scored.
4. Write your letter in the answer booklet.
Write an editorial for your local newspaper supporting either the Loyalist or Patriot perspective. You must include information from each source. You may include information from your general knowledge background, if you believe it will strengthen your position. Write your response in your answer booklet. Only what is written in the answer booklet will be scored. Four pages have been provided for your response.
Your score will be based on the following criteria:
1. Position—Did you take a clear position on the issue? Did you address your audience?
2. Comprehensiveness—Did you use information from most of the four sources
that are provided?
3. Support—Did you support your position with accurate and relevant information from the source materials?
4. Organization—Did you organize your ideas in a logical and effective manner so that your audience will understand and follow your thinking?
5. Clarity and Fluency—Did you express your ideas clearly and fluently using your own words?
You may re-read or refer to the source materials at any time during the test. You may also highlight or make notes on the sources if this is helpful to you.
Know your purpose for writing and remember to:
READ, THINK, PLAN, WRITE
Preparing To Write Your Letter
Arguments SUPPORTING the Loyalist perspective.
Based on your reading of the source materials, list below the most important arguments, or points of view, presented to support the Loyalist perspective in the American Revolution. Also list the evidence or claims which support each argument.
Arguments supporting the Loyalist perspective.
Supporting Evidence or Claims
This page will not be scored.
Preparing To Write Your Letter
Arguments SUPPORTING the Patriot perspective.
Based on your reading of the source materials, list below the most important arguments, or points of view, presented to support the Patriot perspective in the American Revolution. Also list the evidence or claims which support each argument.
Arguments supporting the Patriot perspective.
Supporting Evidence or Claims
This page will not be scored.
The Loyalist Argument (circa 1775) (modified) The American “patriots” are nothing but spoiled children. England, the mother country, has for years dealt with the American colonists as a fair and loving parent. England provides protection of the American colonists from its enemies (France/Spain/Native-Americans) by its large navy and the stationing of over 10,000 troops in America. England also helps America economically by protecting American goods and supplies from foreign competition. Lastly, American colonists are British citizens and are treated as Englishman with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.
It was not so long ago (1754-63) that England and her colonies were fighting a life and death struggle against France. This war was particularly terrible here in the North American colonies. France and many Native Americans attacked and killed thousands of English settlers living on the frontiers of our colonies. William Pitt, the Prime Minister of England, determined that this world war must first be won in America, where it began. Pitt sent tens of thousands of British troops to the colonies and paid for the raising of colonial militia units as well. In three years, Pitt’s efforts freed the colonies of French interference and helped greatly to end the Indian threat.
England needed to pay its debts from this war and asked the American colonists to pay their “fair share” for their own protection. A series of taxes (Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, Tea Act) proposed by Britain on the colonists asked for a small amount of money to pay for British troops stationed in the colonies to help protect the colonists from attack. Considering that American colonists paid less than 5% of what English citizens paid in taxes, the leaders in Britain thought they were being fair. How did the colonists respond to their responsibilities as English citizens? The colonists disobeyed these laws and refused to pay their fair share of taxes. They attacked royal tax collectors, boycotted British goods and even threw tea into Boston harbor. This poor behavior was led by rabble-rousers like Sam Adams and John Hancock.
These “patriots”complain that mercantilism only benefits England while strangling the American economy. As the mother country, England deserves to use her colonies to her benefit. However colonists benefited from the mercantilist system as well. Tobacco growers from the southern colonies were granted a monopoly for tobacco use in all English colonies since the 1600s, creating large farms and plantations in the south. As a matter of fact, England did not even bother to enforce many of these laws (salutary neglect). Lastly, American colonists are wealthier on average than Englishmen living in England. If this system is so bad, then why are Americans prospering?
Finally these “patriots” claim that they have fewer rights than an Englishman. They say that that all Englishman have God-given rights, including a jury trial, no taxation without representation, and holding meetings to discuss problems. They claim that England has taken these rights away without reason. However, with rights come responsibilities as well. The colonists have not lived up to their responsibilities as English citizens. They have refused the lawful orders of Parliament and the King. They have attacked British troops during the alleged “Boston Massacre” and they, masquerading as Indians, destroyed tons of tea. In English law, criminals forfeit their rights and are punished.
England is tired of the bad manners and disobedience of its American colonies. We, loyalists, do not believe for a minute that the “patriots” represent the true feelings of the majority of American colonists who want to remain loyal to the King. We, loyalists, realize that our mother country, England, is a reasonable parent who only wants the best for her children and, like any parent, will scold or punish when their children behave inappropriately. We, Americans, must obey the laws passed in England and pay our fair share of taxes in order for our rights and privileges to be restored.
Declaration Of Dependence (modified)
Have you ever wondered why the Colonies declared war against Great Britain? The answer is not simple, but the colonists were not justified in beginning a rebellion against England. “American” colonists were English citizens and therefore subject to all English laws. The colonists only obeyed the laws that made them happy and disobeyed the other laws that limited their freedom. The colonists had no problems with England and English laws when they were at war with France and the Indians. Once the war ended and the French and Indians were defeated, the colonists began to question English laws.
America was founded on the theory of mercantilism, which means that the colonies established by England should only serve to benefit England. The Colonies were property of the British Empire. Britain spent a lot of money on the colonies and the colonists were defended by the British in the French and Indian War. The British spent a lot of money and soldiers to protect them, which severely hurt the British economy after the war. When the British looked to the colonies for financial help the colonies ignored them. Britain wanted to impose some taxes on American colonists. These new taxes England proposed were low as compared to what Englishmen in England were paying. For example, the Tea Tax called for the colonies to pay about three pence a pound on tea, but in Britain, Englishmen were paying almost twice that. The colonists revolted against all new taxes imposed by Britain. The colonists went so far as to destroy private property by dumping tea into Boston Harbor.
England treated the colonists fairly. Colonists had their own colonial assemblies and could pass laws. Colonists did not have direct representation in Parliament, in England, but the laws passed by Parliament took into account the needs of Englishmen residing in all of England’s overseas colonies. The colonists cried, “No taxation without representation” when they refused to follow the laws of England and pay their fair share of taxes. The violent reactions of the colonists toward England over the Stamp Act and the Tea Act demonstrated that it was the colonists who were unfair and unreasonable.
Britain never did any outrageous acts in their situation unlike the colonies did to Great Britain. The book Loyalist Propaganda pointed out that,
The rebels have hitherto been infamous for their wanton cruelties. Their brutal treatment of Gov. Franklin, and many other persons of distinction whom I could mention,-hanging men for acting according to the dictates of conscience - whipping men almost to death because they will not take arms - publicly whip(ping) even women, whose husbands would not join the militia - their confiscation's, fines, and imprisonment's; these things which they daily and indubitably practice, very ill agree with the character of humanity do so lavishly bestowed upon them.
This passage states that the rebel colonists, not England, are the ones violating innocent people’s rights. Colonists who wish to remain loyal to England are subject to beatings, imprisonment and even death at the hands of these so-called “patriots.”
The rebel colonists did not have a fair reason to declare their independence from England. So we loyal colonists, or loyalists, make our own declaration:
When in the course of human events our neighbors and former friends take arms against their mother country, England, who has taken care of them and protected them for their entire lives, and when these rebels refuse to follow the lawful orders of her majesty, King George III and Parliament, then we, the loyal colonists of America, will fight to remain part of England and bring all traitors to justice.
A Loyalist's Declaration of Dependence
The Patriot Argument (circa 1775) (modified) We Americans are tired of being treated like ill-behaved children and now want our independence from England. We were English citizens and proved our loyalty to England during the French & Indian War. Tens of thousands of American colonists fought alongside British soldiers to defeat the French and their allies. How did the British reward our loyalty: by seizing all the French lands and refusing American colonists to move west in the Proclamation of 1763? After the war, England needed money to pay its debts and tried to impose unfair taxes, including the Stamp Act, Townshend Acts and Tea Act, on Americans. England had never directly taxed the colonies before because it was against British law since the American colonies were not represented in Parliament. Lastly, we are becoming nothing better than slaves in America as the British government continues to remove our natural rights as British citizens. We are forced to keep soldiers in our homes. If arrested we are transported to Canada and refused a jury trial. It is just common sense for American colonists to declare their independence from England.
During the French & Indian War, the French and their Indian allies killed thousands of American settlers on the frontiers. We, Americans, responded to this challenge by raising militia companies to defend our homes. These militia companies helped the British defeat the French and gain control of the Mississippi Valley. As soon as the war ended, Britain issued the Proclamation of 1763 forbidding settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains to protect our former enemies, the Native-Americans. Land we had earned through the loss of the blood of thousands of Americans was unrightfully denied to us.
England was in deep debt after the war and needed to repay that debt. Americans already supported England through the use of the mercantile system. England had never directly taxed the colonies because it would violate British law which stated that only persons represented in Parliament could be taxed. In 1765, the Stamp Act, a direct internal tax, was placed on American goods. Americans strongly objected to this tax because we were not represented in Parliament and therefore had no control or voice in these decisions. England never tried to understand our position but instead issued more taxes, including the Townshend and Tea Acts, without our consent.
The Tea Act pushed Americans to violence. We wanted to send a clear message to England that they were violating our rights as Englishman. Patriots in Boston decided to dump the hated tea into Boston harbor during the Boston Tea Party, to demonstrate our anger over British interference. England responded to this but not in the way it was hoped. England acted as if we had misbehaved or broken the law. They issued the Intolerable, or Coercive, Acts and took away some of our most basic rights. They closed the port of Boston, ended all meetings, quartered soldiers in people’s homes without permission, ended jury trials and had prisoners sent to Canada for trial. All Americans were horrified by the British actions and a Continental Congress was formed by great men like Samuel Adams and John Hancock to right these wrongs.
America is growing and will no longer be treated as some ill-mannered child. We want our rights and will declare independence from any government that does not guarantee those rights. We have proved ourselves worthy on the fields of battle and are not afraid of the British Army. We will pay taxes but to our own colonial governments to fight the tyranny of the British government.
The Declaration of Independence (modified)
In Congress, July 4, 1776, the unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America,
When it becomes necessary for colonists to end their connection to the mother country (Britain) and become a separate country, it is only proper that they explain why they want to leave.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are given certain rights by God, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We also believe that to secure these rights, governments should gain their powers from the people. Whenever any government tries to stop these rights, it is the people’s right to change or end the government and create a new one. History has shown that people should not change governments for simple or thoughtless reasons. But when a long train of abuses and corruption occur, it is the people’s right and duty to overthrow the government and provide for the people’s security. This is what has happened to the colonies, who have patiently suffered through British abuses. The history of the present King of Great Britain (King George III) is a history of repeated injuries and injustice, all hoping to create an absolute dictatorship over the colonies. To prove this, let the facts be shown to the world.
The King has stopped the colonial governments from passing laws without his permission;
The King has refused to allow new governments to be elected;
The King has put the colonial courts under his power;
The King has sent soldiers to harass our people and eat our food during times of peace;
The King allowed soldiers accused of crimes against the colonists to be tried in England, rather than by their colonial peers;
The King has cut off colonial trade with the rest of the world;
The King has taxed us without our consent;
The King has, in some cases, taken away the benefits of trial by a jury;
For sending us overseas to be tried for false crimes;
For suspending our colonial governments;
The King has taken our ships from the seas, attacked our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
The King is currently sending a large number of foreign mercenaries to attack the colonies.
The King has rallied the Native Americans to attack our colonies and frontier.
In every stage of these abuses of power we have asked the King for help and he has rejected them. These are truly the acts of a tyrant, who is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
We have warned the British from time to time of our concern over Parliament’s attempts to run the colonies. We have reminded the British why we left Britain in the first place. We have appealed to the British sense of justice and good will, and we have reminded them of our common background. The British too have been deaf to the voice of justice. We must break away from Britain and view them as friends if they allow us to leave and as enemies if they resist our departure.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, appealing to God and the authority of the American people, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are free and independent states; that they no longer owe any allegiance to the British King or Parliament; and as a free and independent country, we have full power to declare war, make treaties, trade with countries, and to do all the other acts and things which independent countries may do. In addition, we mutually pledge to help each other with our lives, fortunes and our sacred honor.
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Name _____________________ Teacher ___________________ Guidance Counselor ____________________ WRITE YOUR LETTER HERE: