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Chapter summary: This chapter concentrates on the events leading up to the American Revolution and on the war itself. Beginning with the 1765 rioting at the home of Massachusetts lieutenant governor Thomas Hutchinson by an angry mob in response to the Stamp Act, the chapter explains how a crisis in Anglo-American relations grew from taxation policies rooted in Britain’s need for increased revenue as a consequence of the Seven Years’ War. Believing that the Stamp Act was a direct infringement on their liberty, many colonists reacted with indignation and violence. The ensuing decade was fraught with similar calls for an end to the British “enslavement” of the colonists and the rise of opposition groups such as the Sons of Liberty. When war broke out in 1775, independence was not a clear goal of the Continental Congress. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, excerpted in “Voices of Freedom,” was crucial in educating the common people about their natural right to freedom and liberties that Britain denied. The Declaration of Independence, signed six months after the publication of Common Sense, forever changed the meaning of American freedom by proclaiming “unalienable rights” that no government could ever take away. The chapter concludes with an overview of the war. It gives attention to the role of free and enslaved blacks in the conflict as well as the arguments of Loyalists, which are highlighted in a “Voices of Freedom” piece by Jonathan Boucher, a minister in Virginia who opposed the Revolution. Major battles and strategies of the war are also discussed, especially the pivotal Battle of Saratoga, which convinced France to ally with the United States, and the Battle of Yorktown, where Lord Cornwallis’s surrender signaled the end for the British. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the 1783 Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain formally recognized American independence.
Read Samuel Adam’s “About the Boston Massacre.” Think about how he presents the events differently than what you see in the video. (PDF)
Note: You only need to read the first article, you don’t need to read “Common Sense”. SOURCE 3
Watch the following clip from John Adams. (Links to an external site.) Think about how the events here differ in perspective from what you read in Samuel Adam’s version. Why is that? What was Samuel Adams trying to get the readers to believe? This is not a great recording. If you have access to Amazon Prime, you can watch John Adams, Episode 1 through the 42 minute mark. Discussion Questions
How was propaganda about the Boston Massacre used to sway Colonists to the revolutionary cause? Provide examples from the readings and the video. How did the video provide a different perspective?
How did the actions of the British authorities help to unite the American colonists during the 1760s and 1770s? Give examples of specific actions. Discuss how the French and Indian War (7-years-war) led to many of the changes in the way that Britain was dealing with the Colonies. Give specific examples.
Make sure to provide in-text citations for your sources of information. Put answers in your own words.