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«Educational materials developed through the Baltimore County History Labs Program, a partnership between Baltimore County Public Schools and the UMBC ...»

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Educational materials developed through the Baltimore County History Labs Program, a partnership between Baltimore County Public Schools and the UMBC Center for History Education.

Raphael, Ray. A People’s History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence. A New Press People’s History, ed. Howard Zinn. New York: New Press, 2001.

Vocabulary Primary Sources – Artifacts, documents, recordings, or other sources of information that were created at the time under study; they serve as an original source of information about the topic.

Secondary Sources – Interpretations and analysis of primary sources; they are one step removed from the original event.

Monarchy – A government in which the power is held by the king or queen.

Succession – The process where one relative replaces another for the throne.

Constitution – The fundamental policies on which a state is governed.

Democracy – A government where the power is held by the people.

Treaty – An agreement between nations.

Alliance – A formal friendship, usually united by a treaty.

Ally – A formal friend, usually united by a treaty.

Traitor – One who goes against his/her government.

Conducting the History Lab Overarching Question: Should the colonists have revolted against Great Britain?

Students will examine primary sources, including letters, pamphlets, paintings, political cartoons, agreements, speeches, treaties, and proclamations, to analyze the varying perspectives of white men, white women, African Americans, and Native Americans. They will synthesize this historical evidence in order to make reasoned arguments to answer the overarching question.

The lessons in this History Lab contain primary source documents that will guide students in answering the overarching question. To help students make the connection between daily instruction and the big picture, each day begins by asking re-stating the overarching question. Teachers should create an interactive bulletin board on which students can record the differing perspectives from each lesson that helps them to answer the overarching question.

Differentiated resources are included to provide content support for students of varying reading and writing levels.

Day One: White Male Perspectives – Common Sense Students will analyze a primary source document, Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, in order to classify

and evaluate the Patriot viewpoint of the American Revolution. They will discuss the focus question:

What was the white male perspective?

Educational materials developed through the Baltimore County History Labs Program, a partnership between Baltimore County Public Schools and the UMBC Center for History Education.


 RS#29 Revolution History Lab PowerPoint 1 (Optional PowerPoint presentations have been included as a resource for each day’s lesson.)  Bulletin board with overarching question posted  RS #01 “The Battle of Bunker Hill,” painting by John Trumbull (one color image to display to the class)  RS#02 Selection from Common Sense for teacher use (Complete transcripts of the documents in this History Lab are included for teachers or for use with high-ability readers.)  RS#03 Selected Paragraphs from Common Sense  RS#04 Strategies Historians Use to Analyze Historical Documents (also to display in room)  RS#05/#05MAssessment - Evaluating Thomas Paine  RS#06 Historical Thumb Response Document (to be cut apart and positioned up, down, or sideways)

For Students:

 Notebook, folder, or piece of construction paper, folded in half, in which to keep all History Lab papers. Students will need to refer back to work from previous lessons to complete the final assessment. Students should label with their name and the overarching question, “Should the colonists have revolted against Great Britain?” Motivation - Initiate the History Lab: Tell students that historians discover information about the past by analyzing different documents. Show students what you mean by introducing and analyzing “The Battle of Bunker Hill/The Death of General Warren” painting, by John Trumbull. This will help to access prior knowledge and set the context for the History Lab.

Cover the caption. Reveal the information as students respond.

What do students know about analyzing a historical document or work of art? Are they asking questions

similar to the ones below? If not, elicit these responses:

 Who painted this? John Trumbull  Who was this painted for? The public  Who is in the painting? The students should see Patriots and British soldiers in different uniforms  What does this painting show? The painting shows what happened during the Battle of Bunker Hill.

 Where does the scene in this painting take place? On a battlefield on Breed’s Hill (The Battle was misnamed for the nearby Bunker Hill.)  When was this painting created? March 1786  When does the scene take place? June 1775  Why did the painter choose to paint this scene? He wanted to illustrate a moment in history when the British had finally taken the hill and General Warren was killed.

 How did the painter create this painting? It was idealized and inaccurate but students will soon learn that Trumbull was actually there. He painted it eleven years after the battle though.

 What is the main action in the foreground? General Warren had been shot in the head by a musket ball and laid dying. Another soldier held him to prevent a British soldier from stabbing him with his bayonet.

 Why do you think this section was highlighted? Trumbull was saying that Warren’s death was an important part of the Battle of Bunker Hill. This showed a Patriot dying for the cause of Educational materials developed through the Baltimore County History Labs Program, a partnership between Baltimore County Public Schools and the UMBC Center for History Education.

Liberty. (This could lead to a discussion of whether or not the students would fight and possibly die for their liberty.)  What else and who else do you see in the background? General Putnam was ordering the retreat of his men. Major Pitcairn can be seen behind Colonel Small. Pitcairn, of the British marines, was mortally wounded, and had fallen into the arms of a soldier. Under the heel of Colonel Small laid the dead body of Colonel Abercrombie. General Howe, who commanded the British troops, and General Clinton can be seen behind the principal group.

 What perspective does this represent? Although this shows the Americans in defeat, the scene favorably highlights the colonists.

Provide more information about John Trumbull to further prove that he was a Patriot.

 He lived from June 6, 1756 to November 10, 1843.

 He was an American artist during the period of the American Revolutionary War.

 His Declaration of Independence was used on the reverse of the two-dollar bill.

 He was a soldier in the American Revolutionary War (sketched plans of British works and witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill).

 He was appointed second personal aide to General George Washington.

Discuss what students already know about the Battle of Bunker Hill and Revolutionary War era.

 Does this painting depict this event accurately? No  Is there any other information we can glean from this picture that we did not already know?

Although the painting was imprecise, it did show the British charging up a hill and attacking the colonists from below. It also depicted the key players in the event, including the deaths of General Warren, Major Pitcairn, and Colonel Abercrombie. The British lost quite a few troops that day. Even though they won the battle, they were disappointed by the losses they suffered.

Before Reading - Frame the History Lab: Reveal the overarching question, “Should the colonists have revolted against Great Britain?” Facilitate the students’ framing of focus questions that will lead them to addressing the overarching question. Record and post students’ questions.

If necessary, lead students to important questions that they have not considered, including:

 Whose perspective did John Trumbull represent?

 Are there other perspectives to consider?

 Who else was living in the colonies at that time?

 What was the white female perspective?

 What was the white male perspective?

 What was the African perspective?

 What was the Native American perspective?

 What was the Patriot perspective?

 What was the Loyalist perspective?

 What was the neutral perspective?

Identify sources of information that would provide answers to focus questions, such as the Internet, textbooks, library, experts, newspapers, paintings, diaries, letters, film, music, poetry.

Educational materials developed through the Baltimore County History Labs Program, a partnership between Baltimore County Public Schools and the UMBC Center for History Education.

Differentiate and define primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are artifacts, documents, recordings, or other sources of information that were created at the time. They serve as original sources of information about the topic. Secondary sources provide interpretation and analysis of primary sources. Secondary sources are one step removed from the original event or “horse’s mouth.” They are created by people who did not witness the event.

During Reading - Model the historical process by doing a close reading:

Use a focus question to model the process of analyzing historical sources: What was the white male perspective?

Introduce Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.

Explain to students that you will show them how a historian thinks when he or she is looking at a historical document and that they will have a chance to do this. Remind students to think about what you are doing as a historian that will help them analyze the document so that they can answer the question: What is the white male perspective?

Model thinking aloud:

When historians look at historical documents, the first thing they think is what kind of document is this?

I see that we have something that looks like a book – it is actually a pamphlet.

A historian looks at the words on the front cover. I see the word “America,” so I am thinking it has to do with our country. When I look closer, it says, “addressed to the inhabitants of America,” so the author is writing this to everyone in America.

I notice the title, Common Sense. I know that Common Sense is an important text that greatly influenced people’s opinions during the Revolutionary period. I even notice the date on the bottom that says, “1776.” I also notice an image with the words “Thomas Paine” underneath. I know this is the author of this text.

Now that I have examined the front cover, it is time to look inside. As we are reading as historians, we want to think about what the text is trying to tell us. Specifically, we are trying to discover the white male perspective and how it contributes to whether the colonists should have revolted against Great Britain.

Let’s read the first paragraph. When I read, I can tell already that Thomas Paine does not like kings. I know this because it says, “there was no kings, the consequence of which there was no wars.” So, I can infer Paine thinks that when there are kings, there is also war. A historian is going to question Paine’s opinion. Does he present any facts to support his statements? Paine mentions Holland as a country that doesn’t have a king and has had peace for nearly 100 years. Could we find information to support this statement?

Let’s read paragraph two. Paine is using really strong language here. He says that kings are created by the devil. I get the feeling that Paine would not follow a king, because he says that kings were created by people who don’t believe in God. He even calls kings “worms.” I am wondering why Paine hates kings and monarchies so much. Let’s keep reading.

Educational materials developed through the Baltimore County History Labs Program, a partnership between Baltimore County Public Schools and the UMBC Center for History Education.

Let’s read paragraphs three and four. Well, that answers our question! Paine says a monarchy is evil because kings and queens inherit the throne at any age—so you could have a really young king or a really old king. Then the public becomes prey to villainous people in the king’s court who will try to take advantage of the king’s age. Paine doesn’t seem to have faith in the process of a monarchy. He believes they just result in blood.

Let’s read the next paragraph. “MONSTERS!” Look at the word choice again. I can tell Paine is ashamed of his country, because he is using a metaphor to compare Britain to beasts eating their children, bloodthirsty people making war on their families, and monsters. Therefore, if Britain is the parent country, then the colonies are the children. Paine is trying to paint a visual image of the relationship between Britain and the colonies — it is not a very healthy one!

Let’s read the last paragraph. Paine does not think that the colonies need to be dependent on Britain anymore. He believes “a government of our own is our natural right.”

After Reading - Continue to model aloud:

So, what is “common sense” to Thomas Paine? It is common sense that the colonies should rule themselves. It does not make sense for the colonies to be ruled by a king.

Based on Paine’s text, what is his perspective on whether the colonies should revolt against Great Britain? Paine thinks the colonists should revolt, because he believes the colonies should rule themselves instead of being ruled by a king. He finds fault with monarchies and thinks that kings cause war and the worship of false idols. Also, old and young kings can be manipulated by evil people who will destroy the country. Basically, monarchies go against God and cause bloodshed and it is only natural that the colonies have the right to their own government.

Co-create an anchor chart with students, entitled Strategies Historians Use to Analyze Historical Documents.

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