A New Nation

A New Nation

Freedom and Justice for All 

Enduring Understandings 

In this unit, students will review the events that led to the colonies declaring their independence and the formation of a new form of government of the people and by the people.   

Essential Questions 

  • How do historians gain insight into past events, and how do they tell the story today?  
  • How did a ragtag volunteer army defeat a global superpower? 
  • Was the Revolutionary War really revolutionary?

Learning Activities

  • Review the political landscape of Revolutionary period.  





Objective 1:  Review concepts of primary and secondary sources, and explore the questions historians seek to answer in order to interpret the significance of events.  

Objective 2:  Analyze the following events which led to the American Revolution:  Tea Act, Stamp Act, Boston Massacre, Intolerable Acts, Declaration of Independence.  

  • Explain how the chart visually represents analysis of the American Revolution with a metaphor.  

  • Explain how the Seven Years War led to the Stamp Act.  

  • Explain how and why the British impose the Townshend Act.   

  • Analyze the of painting of the Boston Massacre for its reliability in representing the event, and as a piece of political propaganda.  Use Thing Link infographic or the article and animated painting from the Gilder Lehrman Foundation to check observations.  

  • Compare various viewpoints by analyzing primary source recollections of the Boston Massacre and stage a mock trial of Captain Thomas Preston.   Chapter 9:  Boston Massacre     Primary Source Activity 


  • Compare the British and American perspectives of the Boston Tea Party and write a persuasive essay on which is more justified.

  Chapter 10:  Boston Tea Party and Intolerable Acts.    Eyewitness Account by George Hewes      The Tea Act     Images


Objective 3:  Describe the impact of the following key individuals on the Revolutionary War:  Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, King George III

  • Identify some famous people who belonged to the Sons of Liberty, and explain why they were so effective.

“Punch, Wine, Pipes and Tobacco…”

John Adams attended a Sons of Liberty Meeting in 1766 where all members of the Loyal Nine were present along with Patriot Henry Wells. Adams offers us a rare glimpse into these gatherings: “Jany. 15, 1766 – I spent the evening with the Sons of Liberty at their own appointment, in Hanover Square, near the ‘Tree of Liberty.’ It is a counting-room in Chase and Speakman’s distillery. A very small room it is. There were present Jon Avery a distiller, of liberal education, John Smith the brazier, Thomas Crafts the painter, Benjamin Edesthe printer, Stephen Cleverly brazier, Thomas Chase distiller, Joseph Field master of a vessel, Henry Bass, Geo. Trott jeweler, and Henry Wells. I was very cordially and respectfully treated by all present. We had punch, wine, pipes and tobacco, biscuit and cheese, etc. they chose a committee to make preparation for a grand rejoicing upon the arrival of the news of the repeal of the stamp act.”

from The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum website

Video Biographies:  Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Joseph Warren, John Hancock, Patrick Henry 

Print Biographies:  Important People of the American Revolution

Secondary Source:  Terms of Estrangement article   

Literature Connection:  The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Objective 5:  Describe the significance of key events in the Revolutionary War: major battles (e.g. Lexington, Saratoga, Trenton), aid from France, surrender at Yorktown 

The Shot Heard Round the World 

The First Continental Congress and the Road to War 

First Continental Congress:  5:00- 12:00, Common Sense:  39:00- 43:00, The Declaration of Independence 44:00-  53:00  

Liberty Part Two Viewing Guide

The Declaration of Independence: The best breakup letter of all time! 

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Jigsaw Activity:  Students will read the Declaration of Independence in 4 sections and summarize the meaning.  

Resources:  The Declaration of Independence  and  Analysis Organizer 

Major Battles of The Revolutionary War 

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Revolutionary War Battles Assignment

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