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If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution (If You)

What I Learned Section 1 -- Answer the Following Questions:
1. At the time of the American Revolution there were thirteen American Colonies. Name them.

New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Before the American Revolution, the thirteen American colonies were part of the British Empire ruled by King George III. They were located on the east coast of North America, along the Atlantic Ocean. At the time, there were about two and a half million people living in the colonies. Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia were the three largest cities.

Did you know the colonies were divided into three regions called New England, Middle Colonies, and the South? New England was made up of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The Middle Colonies included New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The South consisted of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

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2. What happened on April 19, 1775?
The American Revolution began when the British army and Colonial militia fought at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.

When the American colonies were first established, they were under British rule. In the beginning, the colonies enjoyed the protection of the British.

Then, during the mid-1700's, the British controlled the colonists' trade, told them where to settle, and forced them to house British soldiers. The British Parliament, which made the rules, passed laws which taxed the American colonies. These laws included the Sugar Act in 1764, the Stamp Act in 1765, and the Tea Act in 1773. In addition, the colonists had no voice in the Parliament, and they began to demand "No taxation with representation."

The American colonies began to protest the British rule. On December 16, 1773, the colonists took matters into their own hands. A group of Patriots (colonists in favor of independence) disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians, boarded a ship in the Boston Harbor, and dumped 342 crates of tea overboard. This is known as the Boston Tea Party.

In September, 1774, delegates met in Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia to discuss the options of the colonies. This became known as the First Continental Congress, and it was the informal government of the colonies.

The American Revolution was also known as the War of Independence and the Revolutionary War. Did you know it was also known as a "civil" war? A civil war is a war fought between people of the same country. This was a war fought between people of the same country because the American colonies were under British rule and many of the colonists were from Britain.

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3. True or False: The American Revolution was fought mainly between the American colonies and Britain.
True. The American Revolution began on April 19, 1775, when the American militia and the British army met at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. The American colonies formed local militia units and the Continental Army. In Massachusetts, the members of the militia were known as "minutemen" because they were ready to fight in a minutes notice. Did you know most of the Patriot soldiers came from Massachusetts and Connecticut?

About five thousand African-Americans and some Native American tribes fought for the colonies. Boys could join the Continental Army at age sixteen. Younger boys played the drum, bugle, or fife for the army. Women and girls cooked, cleaned, and cared for the wounded. Some women carried pitchers of water to cool down the cannons and for the men to drink. They were called "Molly Pitchers."

In 1778, France joined the American colonies and sent money, troops, and a navy. In 1779, Spain and Holland helped the colonies by supplying money to the Patriots.

The British soldiers were called Redcoats or "Lobsterbacks" because their uniforms were red. Other groups fighting for the British were Iroquois and Seneca Native Americans, slaves who were promised freedom in exchange for their help, and German soldiers called Hessians. The British were also aided by Loyalist units made up of colonists who remained loyal to the king. These units were called the Loyal Greens, the King's American Regiment, the Queen's Loyal Rangers, and the Royal American Regiment.

Some people remained neutral during the war, including the Quakers and Mennonites. Other people changed sides during the war.

Most of the fighting occurred in small engagements, rather than big battles. All of the battles took place within two hundred miles of the Atlantic Ocean, and one-third of the battles were fought in New York State. For the most part, the armies did not fight during the winter.

In 1782, George Washington gave the "Badge of Military Merit" to Continental Army soldiers who demonstrated outstanding behavior. Today, it is known as the Purple Heart and is given to all soldiers wounded in battle.

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4. Did children attend school during the American Revolution?
Yes. In the northern colonies, boys and girls learned to read and write at a "dame school" from the ages of six to eight. A dame school was taught by a woman who lived in the neighborhood. For the next three or four years, children (mostly boys) continued in a common school. If a boy wanted to attend college, he would first attend Latin school. Both common school and Latin school were taught by a schoolmaster. Some girls, boys who helped on the family farm, and African-American children did not go to school at all.

Some people thought girls did not need to learn how to read and write because there was not much work for women outside of the home. Girls needed to learn to cook, sew, spin, take care of the house, and raise children. Other people thought girls should learn, and they provided their daughters with an education. Girls were either taught at home or at the schoolhouse in the early morning (6:00 - 7:30 a.m.) or in the late afternoon (4:30 - 6:00 p.m.).

In the northern colonies, children learned to read from the New England Primer. This book used a rhyme for each letter of the alphabet. As the war continued, the rhymes were changed to reflect the new Patriot spirit. Also, the pictures of King George III were replaced by pictures of George Washington and other Patriot leaders.

The middle and southern colonies did not have as many schools as the northern colonies, and there was little chance for formal schooling. Wealthy families had private tutors to teach the children at home.

Before the American Revolution, the colonies had nine colleges. Eight were located in the North, and one was located in the South. However, these colleges were closed during the war and used for hospitals, soldiers' housing, and horse stables.

There were few schools in the colonies for children from Loyalist families. Most of them were in the South. School lasted eight hours a day, six days a week. Some children were taught at home by a tutor, parent, or older brother. They learned to speak French, dance, and play a musical instrument. Some poor southern children were taught outdoors in a "field school."

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5. Name ONE of the methods used to spread the news during the American Revolution.
Messengers, Newspapers, Town Criers, Pamphlets and Books, or Broadsides.

Messengers: Before television, radio, telephone, and telegraph, the news was spread from town to town by messenger. Each colony set up a "committee of correspondence" to deliver the news by a rider on horseback. During the American Revolution, "committees of safety" were formed to protect the riders from British attack or capture. Children were sometimes used as messengers. Did you know John Quincy Adams was a messenger when he was nine years old? He took messages from his mother, Abigail, to his father, John. John Adams became the second U.S. President, and John Quincy Adams became the sixth U.S. President.

Newspapers: Most newspapers were printed weekly. They consisted of 4 pages, with three columns on each page. Two of the Patriot-view newspapers were the Boston Gazette and the South Carolina Gazette. A popular Loyalist newspaper was the Royal Gazette from New York.

Town Crier: A town crier would spread news orally. This method became less used as more people began to read.

Pamphlets and Books: Pamphlets and books also spread news. For example, people began to think about freedom and independence when they read Thomas Paine's 47-page Common Sense in 1776.

Broadsides: Broadsides were posters nailed to trees, poles, and buildings. They were used to recruit men for the army and for public announcements.

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6. What happened on October 19, 1781?
The British Army surrendered to the Continental Army in Yorktown, Virginia.

For over six years, the British and the American colonies had been fighting a war. The fighting stopped at 2:00 p.m. on October 19, 1781, when General Charles Cornwallis surrendered the British army to General George Washington in Yorktown, Virginia.

The colonies learned of the surrender by messengers, newspapers, and broadsides. The news reached Philadelphia on October 22, and Boston on October 27.

Although the fighting was over in 1781, it took two more years for the final peace agreement to be signed. In September, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, and the American Revolution was officially ended.

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What I Learned Section 2 -- Define the following words:
Stamp Act: British law passed in 1765, requiring the American colonists to pay extra money for a special stamp on all printed products, including newspapers, land deeds, card games, dice games, and graduation diplomas.

Boston Tea Party: On December 16, 1773, American Patriots dressed as Mohawk Indians and dumped 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbor to protest the British tax on tea.

Continental Congress: Federal legislature of the American colonies. The First Continental Congress first met in Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia in September, 1774, and the Second Continental Congress first met in Philadelphia in May, 1775.

Declaration of Independence: A document signed by the Second Continental Congress in 1776, which listed twenty-seven ways King George III had hurt the colonies; Thomas Jefferson was the primary author.

Common Sense: A 47-page pamphlet written by Thomas Paine which sent the idea of freedom throughout the American colonies when it was published in January, 1776; the last page states, "THE FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA."

E Pluribus Unum: A Latin phrase meaning "one out of many."

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Bonus Questions (Answer 1 of the Following Questions for Your FREE Bookmark):
a. Who were the Patriots?
People who wanted the American colonies to be independent from British rule. They were also known as "Americans," "Rebels," Liberty Boys," "Sons of Liberty," "Daughters of Liberty," "Colonials," and "Whigs."

About one-third of the colonists were Patriots. At first, the Patriots just wanted the British to remove the taxes. Then, the word "liberty" spread through the colonies, and the Patriots wanted to be independent from British rule.

Patriots did not use, buy, or sell goods from Britain. They even stopped drinking tea. Rather, they drank coffee or "liberty tea." The Sons of Liberty wore a medal around their neck with a picture of a tree on it so they could be easily identified as a Patriot. Towns also had a "Liberty Tree" where Patriots gathered. Patriots often used the number 13 as a symbol of the thirteen colonies.

Patriots began celebrating the 4th of July as a holiday after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Towns participated in patriotic speeches, songs, dances, sporting events, bell ringing, bonfires, gun salutes, and fireworks.

Patriots shared food with the colonial militia and Continental Army. They did not eat lamb because sheep's wool was needed for uniforms. They donated lead tools to be melted down and molded into bullets.

Patriots flew the new national flag adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. It consisted of thirteen white stars on a field of blue and thirteen red and white stripes. Did you know the United States celebrates Flag Day on June 14 to honor the first official flag? Today, the flag of the United States consists of 50 stars (to represent the 50 states) and 13 red and white stripes (to represent the 13 original colonies).

After the American Revolution, the Patriots renamed streets, taverns, and places after Patriot leaders, rather than British people. Colleges reopened, and textbooks were printed in America. Many books and paintings focused on Patriotic themes.

In 1789, the Constitution of the United States was ratified. It was a new and revolutionary idea. The power to govern is derived from the people, rather than the states. Also, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

The Constitution established three branches of government, rather than a king. These three branches of government are the legislative branch (Congress), the executive branch (President), and the judicial branch (Supreme Court). Did you know George Washington was elected as the first President of the United States?

In 1782, the Great Seal of the United States was adopted with the motto "E Pluribus Unum" meaning "one out of many." The eagle was chosen as the national bird.

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b. Who were the Loyalists?
People who wanted to remain citizens of Britain.
They were also known as "Royalists," "Friends of the Government," "The King's Friends," and "Tories."

Loyalists remained loyal to Britain and King George III for different reasons:
1) they believed the king had the right to rule the colonies and his laws were fair;
2) they were afraid of British soldiers;
3) they had family in Britain and did not want to put them in danger; and
4) they felt a government run by rich Patriots would be worse.

About one-third of the colonists were Loyalists. Many of the people who recently arrived in America from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Germany were Loyalists. Many of the people living in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and the southern colonies were also Loyalists.

The life of the Loyalists changed after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Some Loyalists moved to Canada or England. Some stayed and kept quiet. Some had to pay heavy taxes on their property, and some could not buy or sell their land. They could not vote, hold public office, or be a lawyer or a teacher.

Loyalists did not take the patriotic oath. They celebrated the king's birthday on June 4 to show their support for Britain and sang "God Save the King." They also continued to drink tea.

Some Loyalists joined the British army and navy. Other Loyalists helped the British soldiers by telling them about roads, bridges, campsites, and food supplies.

The life of the Loyalists changed again after the end of the American Revolution in 1783. Many Loyalists moved to England, Canada, the West Indies, or British-held Florida. They were not repaid in full for their lost property.

Freedom was given to slaves who fought for the British. Most of the newly-freed slaves also moved. The Native Americans who fought for the British lost their villages, land, and former way of life.

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c. Define ONE of the following words or expressions:
"Put your John Hancock on paper:" It means to sign your name. It began because John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and he signed his name very large.

"Cowboy:" It was first used to describe pro-British outlaws. They distracted people with cowbells, robbed them or stole animals, and then sold these items to the British army.

"Skinners:" These were pro-Patriot outlaws who took all of a person's belongings and left them with only their bare skin.

"Big Wig:" It refers to a person who wore a large hairstyle as if to be showing off or making oneself look important. It was considered an insult.

"The Yankee's Return from Camp:" It was a song sung by the British to make fun of the colonists. However, it became a symbol of the United States. Today, this song is called "Yankee Doodle."

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d. Name ONE of the Patriots mentioned in this book and describe one of his or her accomplishments.
George Washington: He was a planter and soldier from Virginia. He became the leader of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States. He held the army together when the soldiers faced many problems, and he is called the "Father of Our Country."

Patrick Henry: He was from Virginia, and is called the "Son of Thunder" for his patriotic speeches. He is well known for having said, "Give me liberty or give me death."

Paul Revere: He was a Bostonian silversmith, leader of the Sons of Liberty, messenger, and secret agent for the Patriots. On April 18, 1775, Revere rode from Boston to Lexington to warn the countryside the British were coming. The next day, on April 19, the British army and Colonial militia began fighting which marked the start of the American Revolution.

John Adams: He was a delegate of the Continental Congress and a member of the committee that wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The four other members on this committee were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. Did you know John Adams was the second President of the United States?

Ben Franklin: He was a delegate of the Continental Congress and a member of the committee that wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The four other members on this committee were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. He is also called the "grandfather of American invention." He experimented with electricity, and he invented bifocals, the Pennsylvania Fireplace (or Franklin Stove), the lightning rod, and the odometer. Read about Ben Franklin.

Thomas Jefferson: He was a delegate of the Continental Congress and was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence which was written in 1776. Four other members served on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. They were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. Did you know Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States?

Marquis de Lafayette: He was a Frenchman who helped the Patriots. He brought a ship and money from France to the colonies, and he served as a soldier.

Nathan Hale: He was a school teacher who joined the army and volunteered to be a Patriot spy. After he was caught by the British, he reportedly said, "I regret I have but one life to lose for my country."

Crispus Attucks: He was an African-American who was killed during the Boston Massacre in 1770. After the Boston Massacre, many people joined the Patriots.

James Otis: A Boston lawyer who said the colonists should not pay taxes to Britain without a representative in Parliament. He stated, "Taxation without representation is tyranny!" This led to the saying, "No taxation without representation." His sister was Mercy Otis Warren.

Abigail Adams: She wrote letters to her husband, John Adams, while he was a member of the Continental Congress. She told him "not to forget the ladies" as the Congress wrote laws for the new government. She was also the second First Lady.

Mercy Otis Warren: She wrote plays making fun of the British and wrote three books describing the American Revolution. Her brother was James Otis.

Phillis Wheatley: She was an African who was brought to the American colonies as a slave. She wrote poetry, and one of her poems was about General George Washington. She also visited General Washington at his army headquarters. She is known as the first published African-American poet in America.

Deborah Sampson: She dressed in men's clothes and joined the Continental Army in 1782, as Robert Shurtleff. Her identity was discovered in 1783, and she was given an honorable discharge.

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e. Name ONE of the Loyalists mentioned in this book and describe one of his or her accomplishments.
William Franklin: He was the Royal Governor of New Jersey and head of the Board of American Loyalists. He warned people in New Jersey to not act against the king. Did you know he was the son of Patriot Benjamin Franklin?

John Singleton Copley: He painted portraits of Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. Did you know it was his father-in-law's tea that was destroyed during the Boston Tea Party?

Joseph Galloway: Although he was a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress, he became the leader of the Loyalists in Philadelphia. He then joined the British army and eventually left America in 1778.

Dr. Benjamin Church: Although he was thought to be a strong Patriot, he was really a Loyalist spy. He was captured trying to send a coded message to the British. He was imprisoned and sent to the West Indies.

Thomas Hutchinson: He was the governor of Massachusetts during the Boston Tea Party.

Flora MacDonald: She came to North Carolina from Scotland, and she tried to get soldiers to join the Royal American Regiment.

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f. Use five of the words in Section 2 in a sentence.
Answers will vary. Here are sample sentences from our young readers:
The colonists thought the Stamp Act was unfair because it taxed them when they bought a newspaper.

I visited the site of the Boston Tea Party last summer when my family and I took a trip to Boston, Massachusetts.

Ben Franklin was a delegate to the Continental Congress.

The 4th of July celebrates the Declaration of Independence.

My older sister is reading Common Sense in school.

E Pluribus Unum is on our money.

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g. Have a parent or friend give you a spelling test with EACH of the words in Section 2.

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More Valuable Information about the American Revolution:
IMA Hero™ American Revolution History
IMA Hero™ American Revolution Bookstore
IMA Hero™ American Revolution Links
IMA Hero™ Constitution of the United States Links
IMA Hero™ Declaration of Independence Links
IMA Hero™ Government & Washington, D.C. Links
American Revolution Website for the National Park Service
People of the Revolution (NPS)
Battlefields of the Revolution (NPS)
Places of the Revolution (NPS)
Links on the Revolution or Colonial America (NPS)
The Story of Molly Pitcher (Fort Sill, Oklahoma)

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