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
  • Civic virtue--  the idea that democracy depended on the unselfish commitment of each citizen to the public good; habits of personal living that are claimed to be important for the success of the community.

  • 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

  • Salutary neglect—non- enforcement of a lawn or government policy which benefits citizens who can break the law without consequence

  • Writs of assistance—blank search warrants allowing British officers to search homes & businesses

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.

  • French & Indian War

  • Albany Plan of Union—Join or Die Cartoon(Benjamin Franklin); connect to principle of federalism—rejected because colonies did not want to give up power to a central government

  • Economic influences

    • Desire to control Ohio Valley to profit from fur trade caused conflict between British & French settlers & governments

    • Britain practiced salutary neglect toward the colonies prior to 1763

    • Debt due to the war (role of William Pitt)

    • Strict enforcement of taxes following the war—no more salutary neglect

  • Role of George Washington (leadership qualities)

  • Treaty of Paris 1763—know map before & after the war

  • Impact of war on western settlement—Pontiac’s Rebellion & Proclamation of 1763

  • Proclamation of 1763--Parliament forbade colonial settlement beyond the Appalachian Mountains, causing frustration & anger for colonists desiring to move west. Some colonists had already purchased land and had to leave, returning east of the Appalachian Mountains.

  • American Revolution

    • Stamp Act

    • Townshend Acts

    • Boston Massacre

    • Boston Tea Party

    • Intolerable/Coercive Acts

    • Battles of Lexington and Concord, Saratoga and Yorktown

    • Declaration of independence

    • Articles of confederation

    • Treaty of Paris of 1783

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; sequence in relation to other events

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

  • 1776 – adoption of the Declaration of Independence

8.4 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.

  • Mercantilism – system by which a nation increases its wealth and power by obtaining from its colonies wealth--gold, silver, and other raw materials. It encourages 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 (a “market” for goods). Mercantilism includes the theory that a colony exists for the economic benefit of the mother country. This kept colonies from freely trading in world markets & led to economic frustration.

  • 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

  • Quartering Act—colonial assemblies have to pay to house & supply British troops in the colonies

  • 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)

  • Lack of representation in Parliament – since the formation of the colonies, the colonists had set up their own legislative assemblies which had taxed & made rules for the colony; 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”; James Otis made the famous statement “no taxation without representation.”

  • 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). Colonial boycotts upset British merchants who demand the repeal of the act.

  • Townshend Acts—taxes in glass, paper, paint, lead & tea which are enforced with writs of assistance (blank search warrants); eventually leads to the 4th amendment

  • Boston Massacre—violence erupts between dockworkers & soldiers resulting in the deaths of 5 colonists

  • 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, cancelled government assemblies, troops quartered in private homes (leads to 3rd amendment) and British officials accused of crimes sent to England or Canada for trial (connects to 5th amendment); colonists reacted by boycotting British goods and First Continental Congress convenes (September 1774). Other colonies provide assistance to Boston therefore uniting the colonies in their desire for independence.

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 he and others were considering a declaration of independence, Abigail reminded him to “Remember the ladies”, who would not hold themselves bound by laws in which they had no voice

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

  • Wentworth Cheswell – African American Patriot; he was a messenger for the Committee of Safety & warned 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; formed the committees of correspondence; British attempt to capture him leads in part to Battle of Lexington & Concord

  • Paul Revere—member of the Sons of Liberty; created a popular but biased engraving of the Boston Massacre; issued warning to other colonists in relation to Battle of Lexington & Concord.

  • Mercy Otis Warren – wife of a Massachusetts Patriot; anonymously wrote several propaganda pieces (plays, poems, & essays) supporting the Patriot cause and making fun of the British

  • James Armisteadslave 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 from British attack

  • Crispus Attucks – an African American 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; King during French & Indian War & Revolutionary War

  • 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;” also said “if this be treason, make the most of it;” 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.

  • John Hancock—first signer of the Declaration of Independence; president of 2nd Continental Congress

  • 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; also provided financial support to patriots

  • Thomas Paine – propagandist and journalist; wrote pamphlet “Common Sense” persuading Americans to join the Patriot cause; later wrote “The American Crisis” to encouraged soldiers to continue fighting during hard times

  • 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 –adopted by the Second Continental Congress; was a 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; colonists were governed under this document during the Revolution and for the first years thereafter

  • Battles of Lexington and Concord – 1st battles of the war; (“The shot heard ‘round the world”); occurred in Massachusetts, not far from Boston; British attempted to arrest Sam Adams & John Hancock for treason and to seize weapons and ammunition stored by the minutemen; connects to concept of 2nd amendment

  • 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; one fourth of the men died

  • 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. (Florida is returned to Spanish rule.)

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


  • “All men are created equal”—establishes a guiding principle of American political philosophy although it will take centuries for people of all races, ethnic groups, & genders to be included

  • Government’s duty is to protect people’s unalienable rights

  • Governments get their power from its citizens (popular sovereignty)

  • Governments which fail to protect citizens’ rights can be replaced

  • Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson although four others were on the committee

  • Incorporates the Enlightenment thinker, John Locke’s ideas of natural rights

  • 27 colonial grievances listed against King George III which connect to ideas in the Constitution & Bill of Rights

  • Helped justify the Revolutionary War creating greater unity among colonists & leading to foreign assistance

  • Served as a model for other emerging nations

8.15C Identify colonial grievances listed in the 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

Colonists can be tried in England or other distant places

8.19 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 – rights endowed at birth by “Creator” that may not be taken away or violated by the government fundamental rights or natural rights guaranteed to people naturally instead of by the law. Original idea by John Locke

  • Examples in the Declaration of Independence- Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

8.20 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

  • Although the state of Texas says that the Boston Tea Party is an example of civil disobedience, not all historians agree (which ironically corresponds to TEK, 8.21)

20B—Evaluate the contributions of the Founding Fathers as models of civic virtue

  • The Founding Fathers practiced civic virtue by sacrificing their personal goals for the good of the country

  • When they ended the Declaration with the lines “we pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” for some it was literal. Several donated their personal fortunes to pay for the Revolutionary War.

8.21 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.

8.22 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; known for his quote “I have not yet begun to fight!”

8.26 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/ is an example of bias and propaganda

    • 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

    • Washington & Lafayette at Valley Forge

  • Music – “Yankee Doodle”

8.10 Geography. The student understands the location and characteristics of places and regions of the United States past and present.

8.10A Locate key places and regions of importance in the 18th century.

  • Boston-Lexington-Concord

  • Saratoga

  • Valley Forge

  • Philadelphia

  • Yorktown

10C-Analyze the effects of physical and human geographic factors on major historical and contemporary events in the United States

  • Knowledge of the landscape gave Patriots an advantage over the British & contributed to victory

  • Washington used the geography of Yorktown (peninsula) to trap “Cornwallis & secure an American victory

(23E) Identify the political, social and economic contributions of women to American Society

  • Daughters of Liberty—organized boycotts of British goods

  • Abigail Adams – Wife of John Adams; advocated for women’s rights (“remember the ladies”) see Ch. 1 p. 9

  • Mercy Otis Warren—leader of the Daughters of Liberty; wrote pamphlets & poems urging separation & created anti British plays

  • Phyllis Wheatley—teenage African American slave who wrote poems celebrating the patriot cause

  • Mary Ludwig Hayes McCauley—carried water to soldiers on battlefield; took part in combat; known as Molly Pitcher

  • Deborah Sampson—disguised herself as a man & fought in the Revolutionary War


(29D) Identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference which influenced the participants

  • Bostonians Paying the Excise Man (cartoon p. 184)—British point of view

  • Revere’s engraving of the Boston Massacre. image at- http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2008661777/ is an example of bias and propaganda

  • Midnight Ride of Paul Revere—poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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

(29A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about the United States;

Ex: Seal used in Stamp Act (p. 165) & Liberty Bell (p.195); Excerpts from Common Sense & The Crisis;

Declaration of Independence (excerpts from & painting of)

(29B) analyze information by sequencing Ex: Sequence Causes of the Revolution

(29B) analyze information by identifying cause-and-effect relationships Ex: British Rules & Colonial Reactions

(29B) analyze information by finding the main idea, summarizing Ex: Excerpts from Thomas Paine’s writings

(29B) analyze information by making generalizations and predictions Ex: Reasons for the Boston Tea Party & consequences

(29C) organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps

Ex: Join or Die Cartoon, Timeline of 1763-1776 (p.160), Engraving of Bloody Massacre on King Street,

Reports from Battles of Lexington & Concord from both viewpoints

(29E) support a point of view on a social studies issue or event What Do You Think: Should the Colonies Declare Independence?

(29F) identify bias in written, oral, and visual material;

Bloody Massacre on King Street

Bostonians Pay the Excise Man & Poster (p.184)

(29G) evaluate the validity of a source based on language, corroboration with other sources, and information about the author

Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

British & Patriot news reports on Lexington

Secondary sources on Battle of Lexington

(30A)use social studies terminology correctly

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