Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Causes of the American Revolution

Last Thursday I recounted a pre-write strategy I used with students for an essay regarding the causes of the American Revolution. I asked, “Can you tell which of these brainstorm items are actual causes of the American Revolution and which items are reactions?”

If you guessed the causes were
*the French and Indian War and its effects
*taxes passed without representation and
*many of the colonies were ready for independence you were right.

Here are my thoughts:

1. Taxes…Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, and the Intolerable Acts…They were one of the main causes of the Revolution. Colonists were upset that the taxes were being imposed by Parliament even though the colonist had no representation in the British lawmaking body.

2. Boston Massacre-reaction mainly due to an increased number of Redcoats in Boston. The Redcoats were there because of unrest caused by taxes.

3. George Washington-neither a reaction nor a cause. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia requested Washington to visit a French fort in the Ohio River Valley and basically ask them to leave the area. They refused with gunfire and the French and Indian War was the result.

4. “No taxation without representation” ---this goes along number 1 above and translates to don’t pass tax laws unless colonists have some input.

5. French and Indian War-Yes, a war can cause a war. The colonies had had a rapid rise in population between 1730 and 1750. Many people were eyeing the Ohio River Valley as a place to settle, however, the French claimed it and began building forts in the area. The French never really settled the area in the same way the British colonies were settled, but had a profitably trade network with Native Americans.

6. Proclamation of 1763-After the French and Indian War the Native Americans weren’t too happy with the idea of having new British neighbors. They resisted any settlement. Pontiac’s Rebellion was one such uprising. King George III did not want to keep dealing with the Native American problem so he drew an imaginary line down the Appalachian Mountains. Colonist could settle on the eastern side of the mountains while the western side would be set aside for Native Americans. British colonists were livid. Why fight for something if they couldn’t live there?

7. Colonist ties to Britain were not that strong anymore. This was a cause. Colonies such as Massachusetts and Virginia had been around since the 1600s while the youngest colony, Georgia, was barely over forty years old in 1775. Colonists in the older colonies were a few generations away from their ancestor’s arrival. Generally, they had no ties to Britain. They were Americans. They argued they should make their own laws since each colony already had its own lawmaking body. This feeling gradually caught on in other colonies.

8. Parliament had a huge debt after the French and Indian War. This is a reaction or effect of the French and Indian War and is the reason why taxes were levied against the colonist. The debt was not only for the war in the colonies, but Britain also fought France in Europe during the same time period.

9. Colonist did not want war-----they wanted a peaceful solution. After Lexington and Concord and Bunker (Breed’s) Hill the Second Continental Congress sent King George a petition where they asked for a peaceful solution. It was called the Olive Branch petition. King George answered the petition by sending more Redcoats to the colonies.

10. Sons and Daughters of Liberty-The members of these groups formed in reaction to the tax laws in order to devise strategies to fight the tax laws. Over time there were groups in many of the colonies.

11. Boycotts, violence, and smuggling-These are all reactions to the tax laws

12. Boston Tea Party-a reaction to a tax on tea

13. Committees of Correspondence-groups that helped spread the word about what was going on in each colony

We worked through our brainstorm list on Friday and identified the three causes. We used a three column chart and went through the brainstorm list classifying each item under one of the causes. Students will use the three column chart to begin their body paragraphs soon. We also worked on an interesting way to hook our reader in the introduction. The assignment calls for students to use a question to introduce their papers.

Students will use most of our 90 minute Language Arts time to craft their body paragraphs tomorrow.


Melissa said...

Thank you so much for this post! I am a Junior in High School and chose the Events that led to the "American Revolution" for my topic in History class. This post helped me greatly to get on the right track!! Keep up the amazing work!!!

jaja said...

iam in middle school n i had a project to do.this helped me alot.thank u

Gaspare Armato said...

Excellent article...

Ciao from Toscany, Italy.

Anonymous said...

hi i am in elemntary school and this post helped my progect alot.

Anonymous said...

I am a middle school student and I have a social studies project that is 50 pages long. This blog post helped me out a ton. Thanks!