Was the American Revolution justified? Thesis Writing Activity

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Was the American Revolution justified?

Thesis Writing Activity
In class we have both discussed reasons why rebellious American colonists felt the need to revolt against Great Britain, as well as why British people and loyal American colonists felt that the revolution was a bad idea. We will now begin work on formulating arguments around this historical debate using 4 primary source documents:

  • Patrick Henry’s Speech: “Give me Liberty or Give me Death”

  • Thomas Paine’s Pamphlet: Common Sense

  • Loyalist Essay: “Plain Truth”

  • Loyalist Song: “The Rebels”

(two of these documents make arguments supporting the revolution, and two of the documents make arguments against the revolution)
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THESIS: is the main argument or main idea of a piece of history writing – it is what you want the reader of your paper to believe.
EVIDENCE: is what you use to support your argument. These are the facts, examples, ideas, and “proof” you can come up with to back your argument. However, it is important to note that evidence requires analysis – which is the explanation of HOW your facts, examples, and ideas support your argument.

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In this assignment you will come up with a thesis about the topic “WAS THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION JUSTIFIED?” Also, you will come up with the evidence that supports your thesis. You should come up with 3 main pieces of evidence to support your argument using the documents provided. Finally, you will write a paragraph of analysis for each of your pieces of evidence – in other words, a paragraph about why that piece of evidence proves the American Revolution was justified; also you should include where your evidence can be found in the documents.
Format Thesis:

Your thesis may look like this:

  • The decision by American colonists to revolt was ____________ (justified, or not justified) because _______________, _______________, and ______________.

Rubric: The entire assignment will be worth 32 points – 8 points for each of the main aspects of the paper.

  • Thesis: Worth 4 points. Your thesis will be one sentence, and should fit the format provided. Fill in the blanks with your argument (whether the revolution was justified or not), and your 3 pieces of evidence. Each blank space worth 1 point.

  • Evidence Paragraphs: Each evidence paragraph worth 4 points. You should have 3 evidence paragraphs – one for each of your reasons listed in the thesis. In each paragraph you should:

    • Explain in more detail your reasoning for whether the Revolution was justified or not.

    • Then you need to connect your reasoning to the primary sources provided. Use evidence from the primary sources (that evidence can be a quote or paraphrase) to support your point..

    • Analyze/Explain how your piece of evidence proves your argument. This analysis should be at least 3 sentences long in each evidence paragraph.

  • The assignment should be typed.


The decision by American colonists to revolt was justified because they were unfairly taxed by England, America would never have reached its full political and economic potential while connected to England, and they rightly believed they were fighting for the concept of freedom.

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