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The American Revolution
Transcript of The American Revolution
The Road To War
Colonists Speak Out
The Year is 1773. It's late at night, and you should be asleep. You hear your father leave the house and quietly close the door. Tonight, he is going to a meeting with Samuel Adams. Your father said they plan to teach the British a lesson.
You're worried that your father may be hurt, but he has promised to be careful. Still, you like wide awake until you hear him come home again.
Social Studies Class
Vol XCIII, No. 311
You are There p. 294
The Colonies Unite - Fighting For Control
Articles of Confederation
Forming a New Government
It's bright and sunny at Fort Necessity, but the Pennsylvania woods around you look dark and dangerous. Any minute now, your small fort may be attacked. You're scared, but you will fight to keep France from getting control of this land.
There is a shout as one of the other soldiers in your group runs into sight. He is out of breath and looks shocked. "It's the French!" he yells. "We're surrounded!"
The American Revolution
Freedom was so important to the colonists that they were willing to suffer terrible hardships and years of war to win it.
Turn to page 280-281 (use the timeline)
How many years after the passage of the Stamp Act did the Boston Massacre take place?
When did the Treaty of Paris officially end the Revolutionary War?
How many years after a treaty ended the Revolutionary War did the French Revolution begin?
Why might Crispus Attucks be considered a symbol of freedom?
Why might historians today study the history books that Warren wrote?
What role did Washington play during the Revolutionary War?
Why do you think some American Indians sided with the British during the Revolutionary War?
What is one important way that Jefferson contributed to the struggle for American Freedom?
What other roles do you think women played in the war?
How do you think events of the Revolutionary Era shaped these people's ideas about freedom?
Examine the map of Colonial America
How would you describe the location of the 13 colonies in relation to the surrounding geography?
How would that location have been an advantage before the Revolutionary War? Why would it be a disadvantage once the war began
Paul Revere's Ride
Along what river do you think Paul
Revere waited "on the opposite
What signal does Revere see in the tower, and what does it mean?
What do you think Longfellow meant by his line "The fate of a nation was riding that night"?
Where did the fighting that Longfellow describes in the poem take place?
What do you think might have happened if Revere and others had not made these "midnight rides"?
Look at the map on page 295 - who claimed the land around Fort Necessity?
Spain, France, and Britain (England) were trying to keep control of their lands in North America.
Spain claimed mostly the southwestern lands and Florida
France claimed lands to the north and in the middle of what is now the United States.
Britain - most of the land it claimed was along the Atlantic coast.
The Ohio Valley
Both Britain and France claimed the Ohio Valley.
Ohio Valley - stretches along the Ohio River from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River.
British saw this as an area for trade and growth.
French - it connected their lands in New France and Louisiana.
1750 - France sent soldiers to the Ohio Valley to drive out the British and they built forts near the eastern end of the valley.
The British saw this as an act of war and decided to fight back.
What caused the British and the French to compete for the Ohio Valley?
The French and Indian War Begins
This war began in North American around 1754 and later spread to Europe.
Alliances and Fighting
By the mid 1700's both France and Britain d formed alliances with many of the Native American tribes in the Ohio Valley (alliance - formal agreement among groups or individuals)
Once fighting began - the French and the British ask their allies for help
June 1754 - colonial leaders met at Albany, New York, to talk about how to deal with the French forces.
7 colonies sent delegates, or representatives, including Benjamin Franklin
Franklin said that the colonies should unite to fight the French. This became known as the Albany Plan of Union and was NOT approved.
The colonies were not yet willing to fight as one country.
A month earlier the British governor of Virginia sent 150 soldiers to take the Ohio Valley from the French.
George Washington (only 21 years old) led the Virginians.
On their way to a French fort, the Virginians fought some French soldiers. Afterward the French quickly built Fort Necessity
July 3, 1754 - French and the Native American allied attacked. The Virginians were outnumbered and gave up - This battle ended up being the beginning of the French and Indian War.
What became known as the Albany Plan?
What risks or benefits might there be for Native American groups who formed alliances with the French or British?
The War Expands
Colonists knew they needed help if they wanted to win the war.
Parliament (lawmaking branch of the British government) sent an army to help fight the French and their Native American allies.
General Edward Braddock led the British
Early Defeats for Britain
April 1755 - Braddock and more than 1,800 troops marched to attack the French at Fort Duquesne
Braddock brought George Washington along as an adviser.
Washington described the soldiers in their bright, colorful uniforms - British red and colonial blue - marching through the deep green forest.
British soldiers had been trained to fight in open fields and they were surprised to see that the French fought like their Native American allies (from behind trees and large rocks) - this made the British soldiers easy targets.
The early battles didn't go well for the British and Braddock was killed in the fighting. Washington wrote home "I had four bullets through my coat and two horses shot under me, and yet escaped unhurt."
Britain Wins Control
Britain sent more troops and supplies to the colonies, and the war slowly turned in its favor.
British soldiers captured Fort Duquesne and several other French forts.
They also defeated the French at Quebec and Montreal.
1756 - French and the British started fighting battles in Europe, too.
Spain joined France in the fight against Britain.
British had a stronger navy and defeated the Spanish in 1762.
To make up Spain's losses, France gave Spain most of Louisiana.
The Treaty of Paris
1763 - French and Indian War ended.
Treaty of Paris gave Britain most of Canada, all French lands east of the Mississippi River, and Spanish Florida.
France lost nearly all of its lands in North America.
Why did the war turn in Britain's favor?
In which two British colonial regions did most of the fighting take place - the New England, Middle, or Southern colonies?
Use map on p. 297 -
At which French fort in present day Pennsylvania was a major battle fought?
What was the effect of the Treaty of Paris?
The end of the French and Indian War did not end Britain's troubles in its colonies.
Because the lands between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River were now under British control and many colonists wanted to settle there.
These lands were already home to many Native American groups and they were determined to keep the new settlers out of their lands.
1763 - Ottawa chief named Pontiac united groups along the Mississippi River.
Together they captured some of the British Forts and attacked the colonists' settlements around those forts.
Why do you think the colonists wanted to settle the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains?
The Proclamation of 1763
Britain's King George III tried to end the fighting
1763 - made a proclamation (public announcement) that said that all lands west of the Appalachian Mountains belonged to Native Americans. White settlers in those lands were told to leave.
Most colonists ignored the proclamation because they believed they had fought the war to keep the French from blocking their settlement of the western frontier.
They did NOT like the British government telling them to stay out of those lands and as a result - fighting continued between the Native Americans and the settlers.
Paying For the War
Colonists were also angry about the new taxes passed by Parliament.
When the war ended British leaders looked at their budget (plan for spending money) and realized that Britain needed more money to pay off the cost of the war.
1764 - Parliament passed the Sugar Act to raise money for Britain.
taxed sugar and molasses brought into the colonies from the West Indies.
The sugar act most hurt whipping businesses in the new England Colonies.
many merchants objected to the tax - but the British government kept taxing the sugar. Soon they would pass more taxes.
Why did Parliament pass new taxes for the colonies?
1. How did the French and Indian War change relations between the colonists and Britain?
2. Use the term alliance in a sentence about the French and Indian War.
3. Why do you think French soldiers chose to fight in the same way as their Native American allies?
Map Skills page 300-301
Compare Historical Maps
Write the answers to the practice questions in your notebook.
- Label it p. 300 practice questions
What caused the expenses that Benjamin Franklin is talking about?
The Stamp Act
1765 - Parliament approved another tax law (The Stamp Act) - it put a tax on many paper items in the colonies.
newspapers, legal documents, and even playing cards had a special stamp on them to show that the tax had been paid.
No Taxation Without Representation
British leaders felt the tax was fair (they were getting the money)
Many colonists were angry because they felt that Britain could/should not tax them because they had no representation in Parliament (no one was speaking or acting for them)
Mercy Otis Warren (Massachusetts writer) disagreed with the new tax and she began writing plays that accused British leaders of being Greedy.
In Virginia, Patrick Henry told other members of the House of Burgesses that Parliament did not represent the colonies.
Those that supported Parliament's actions shouted 'treason! treason!' and by accusing Henry of treason they were saying he was guilty of working against his own government.
October 1765 - Representatives from 9 colonies met in New York City in what became known as the Stamp Act Congress.
(congress - formal meeting of representatives)
The colonial leaders spoke out against the Stamp Act and soon people began to repeat "No taxation without representation."
Why were colonists angry about the Stamp Act?
Look at the Stamp Act cartoon on page 303
What does this drawing tell you about how some colonists felt about the Stamp Act.
Colonists Work Together
Many colonists tried to force Britain to take back the Stamp Act.
Some wrote letters to Parliament
Some chose not to buy taxed goods
Others began to boycott (refuse to buy) all British goods.
The Sons and Daughters of Liberty
The Sons and Daughters of Liberty began working against the Stamp Act soon after the Stamp Act passed. To most colonists 'liberty' meant freedom to make their own laws.
The Sons of Liberty captured several British workers who tried to pass the tax. They covered them with sticky tar and dumped feathers on them.
They also chased tax collectors out of their towns.
Women also took action and formed their own group, known as the Daughters of Liberty.
They spun thread and wove their own cloth instead of buying British cloth. This cloth was so popular that women in Providence, Rhode Island, chose a large place in which to make it - the city courthouse!
The Stamp Act is Repealed
1776 - so many colonists opposed the Stamp Act that Parliament voted to repeal (take back) the act.
The very next day they passed the Declaratory Act.
It said that Britain had the full power to make laws for the people of America in all cases.
This worried many colonists.
Why was a boycott a good form of protest against tax laws?
Committees of Correspondence
The repeal of the Stamp Act showed that the colonists could work together, but they needed better ways to share information.
News traveled slowly because letters we mostly delivered by riders on horseback.
It could take many days for people to find out about events in other colonies.
The Committees of Correspondence was formed to spread information quickly.
Members wrote letters to one another and they told about what was happening in their town or colony.
Samuel Adams - organized the first Committee of Correspondence in Boston in 1764.
He had spoken out many times against British imperial policies (laws and orders issued by the king and the British Parliament).
The next year, colonists in New York formed another committee.
Committees of Correspondence Continued.....
Colonists spoke about the need for a Committee of Correspondence in EVERY colony - Virginia formed a committee in 1773.
Members of the Virginia committee wrote that all colonists should be 'much disturbed by various rumors and reports of proceedings tending to deprive them of their...rights.'
Committee members then ask other colonies to start their own Committees of Correspondence.
Members wrote letters to other cities and towns.
They ask other colonies to protest (work against) British policies.
Why were the Committees of Correspondence formed?
How do you think the Committees of Correspondence helped unite the 13 colonies?
Use the timeline on page 304-305.....
1. About how long did it take mail to go from Boston to New York City?
2. About how long did it take mail to go from Boston to Williamsburg?
Read Children in History on page 306
What would you have done to support the colonial boycott? Explain to a neighbor.
The Townshend Acts
1767 - Parliament passed several NEW tax laws called the Townshend Acts
Taxed imports such as glass, tea, paing, and paper, that were brought into the colonies.
Also set up a new group of tax collectors.
Even though Parliament had repealed the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts showed that parliament believed it still had the right to make laws for the colonists.
Once again, many colonists joined together in boycotting British goods.
Daughters of Liberty ask people to stop drinking British tea, and merchants in Boston would not import taxed goods.
Some colonists would not paint their homes because they didn't want to pay a tax on paint.
Townshend Act didn't last very long....
Sales of British goods in the colonies went down and tax officers collected little money
1770 Parliament repealed all of the Townshend acts except the tax on tea - but many colonists still wouldn't buy British tea.
As the number of people taking part in protests grew, Parliament sent more soldiers to the colonies.
By 1770 - about 9,000 soldiers were in the colonies and about 4,000 of them were stationed in the city of Boston.
What were some of the effects of the Townshend Acts?
The Boston Massacre
Having British soldiers in their towns angered many colonists.
They made fun of the soldiers bright red uniforms by calling them 'lobsters' and 'redcoats'.
Some of the soldiers became so angry that they destroyed colonial property.
Shots Are Fired
As anger grew between the colonists and soldiers - fights often broke out.
One of the worst fights took place in Boston on march 5, 1770, when a large crowd of angry colonists gathered near several British soldiers. The colonists shouted at the soldiers and threw rocks and snowballs at them.
When the crowd moved forward, they knocked down some of the soldiers and the soldiers opened fire.
3 colonists were killed on the spot and 2 others died later.
Among the dead was an African American sailor named Crispus Attucks (many people think of him as the first person killed in the fight for the colonies' freedom).
Other than the tax laws, what caused the colonists to be angry?
Paul Revere (a Boston silversmith) supported the colonists.
Make a picture of the shooting and titled it
The Bloody Massacre.
A massacre is the killing of many people who cannot defend themselves. They shooting soon became known as the Boston Massacre.
What was the cause of the Boston Massacre?
Why were colonists angered by Britain's new colonial tax laws?
Explain what representation has to do with taxation.
What made Boston a likely place for fighting to begin between colonists and British soldiers?
***Workbook p. 73 (grade)
1. Explain why the colonists refused to accept the new laws passed by Parliament.
2. Describe why fighting broke out at Lexington and Concord.
The Boston Tea Party
1775 - Parliament passed the Tea Act.
It gave Britain's East India Company a monopoly (complete control of a good or service) on tea
This included control over pricing and competition.
Only the East India Company was allowed to sell tea in the colonies.
A Boycott of Tea
The Tea Act meant that colonists had to buy their tea from the East India Company.
They could either pay the tax on tea OR not drink tea at all.
Many colonists decided to boycott tea.
Some even made a kind of tea from local sassafras tea.
Ships carrying thousands of pounds of tea set sail for the colonies.
Late November 1773 - 3 of the ships reached Boston.
Against the wishes of many colonists the Massachusetts governor let the ships dock.
Violence in Boston Harbor
Many people think Samuel Adams planned what happened next.
On the night of December 16, 1773, about 150 members of the Sons of Liberty dressed as members of the Mohawk tribe and marched down to Boston Harbor.
At the harbor, hundreds of people were gathered on the docks to watch.
When the Sons of Liberty arrived, they boarded the ships and broke open more than 300 chests of tea and threw it ALL overboard (no one got to drink THIS tea).
This protest became known as the Boston Tea Party
What caused colonists to take part in the Boston Tea Party?
The Coercive Acts
The Boston Tea Party angered (made mad) the British leaders.
March 1774 - Parliament passed a new set of laws to punish Massachusetts colonists.
Coercive Acts - because the coerced (forced) the colonists to follow laws they felt were unfair.
Punishing the Colonies
One laws closed the port of Boston until the colonists had paid for the destroyed tea.
To enforce this law, Parliament ordered the British navy to blockade Boston Harbor.
British warships stopped other ships from entering or leaving the harbor.
They also stopped the Massachusetts legislature from meeting.
This put the colony under the control of the British General Thomas Gage.
All town meetings had to be approved by him.
Britain also ordered the colonists to quarter British soldiers (give food and housing to the British soldiers)
Many colonists said the new laws were 'intolerable' (unacceptable)
As a result the Coercive Acts became known as the Intolerable Acts.
These laws united many colonists against Britain.
Not all British leaders agreed with these laws.
April 1774 - Edmund Burke said to Parliament, "You will force them to buy taxed goods? Has seven years' struggle yet been able to force them?"
Parliament did NOT listen to Burke's call for cooperation.
The First Continental Congress
Some people in Britain worried about the trouble in the colonies.
June 1774 - William Pitt (member of Parliament) ask British leaders to be patient.
He said "I would advise the noble lords in office to adopt (try) a more gentle mode (way) of governing America..."
A Meeting in Philadelphia
Many colonists were afraid the Britain might take stronger action against them.
September 1774 - colonial leaders met in Philadelphia.
This was the first meeting of its kind in North America and was later called the First Continental Congress.
Congress sent a signed request to the king which reminded the king of the colonists' basic rights as British citizens.
It also said they had the right to life and liberty.
It also said they had the right to assemble, or gather together, and the right to a trial by jury.
Congress set May 10, 1775 as the deadline for Parliament to answer.
Congress then voted to stop most trade with Britain.
It also asked to colonies to form militias (armies of citizens)
What did the petition sent to King George III by the First Continental Congress ask for?
How did Britain's blockade affect the colonists of Massachusetts?
Do you think the Coercive Acts had teh effect that Parliament intended? Why or why not?
Turn to page 313 and look at the top of the page.....
Did the First Continental Congress meet before or after the Boston Tea Party?
Lexington and Concord
Colonists in Massachusetts quickly formed militia units. They were called the Minutemen because they were said to be ready to fight in a minutes notice.
British Take Action
April 1775 - General Gage heard that Samuel Adams and John Hancock were meeting in Lexington.
He also heard that the Minutemen had weapons in nearby Concord.
He sent over 700 British soldiers to Lexington and Concord and they planned to arrest the two leaders of the Sons of Liberty and to take the weapons.
British wanted their march to Lexington to be a secret.
Paul Revere ( member of the Sons of Liberty) found out about the plan and rode ahead to Lexington to warn Adams, Hancock, and the townspeople.
When the British arrived in Lexington, the Minutemen were waiting for them and the leader of the Minutemen shouted "Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have war, let it begin here."
We don't know which side fired first - but shots rang out.
8 Minutemen were killed and several others were wounded.
British then marched to Concord to find the weapons stored there - but they had already been moved.
Look at the map on page 314 - In which town did Revere's route begin?
A Revolution Begins
As the British returned to Boston - the Minutemen fired at them from nearby woods.
By the time the British arrived in Boston - 73 soldiers had been killed and 174 wounded.
Less than 100 colonists had been killed or wounded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (poet) called the first shot fired at Lexington "the shot heard 'round the world."
The fighting that day moved the colonies closer to becoming the United States of America - it was the beginning of a long war called the American Revolution (sudden, complete change of government)
What were the causes of the fighting at Lexington and Concord?
What did colonists do to protest British rule?
How did the Coercive Acts affect trade in Boston?
Write the summary on page 315 in your notebook.
Points of View
1. Who seemed to have the strongest feelings against British rule? What did he compare it to?
2. How were the points of view of Samuel Adams and Daniel Leonard different?
3. Why might leaders living in Britain have a point of view different from that of people living in the colonies?
4. How are the points of view of Samuel Adams and George Grenville different?
5. What do these quotes tell you about people's points of view about who should govern the colonies?
6. Why might people living in different places have different points of view about a topic?
You Are There
Today, the Second Continental Congress is meeting in Philadelphia. You and others are waiting for news about the meeting. Several men walk by , and a woman nearby grabs your shoulder. "Look! that's George Washington," she whispers. "Some people say he'll lead us against teh British."
You try to see what Washington looks like. You wonder what kind of person would lead the fight against the powerful British army.
The 2nd Continental Congress
News of the fighting at Lexington and Concord spread through the colonies.
Colonial leaders called for the 2nd Continental Congress to meet in Philadelphia in 1755. - The delegates met at the Pennsylvania State House.
They were divided (didn't agree) about what the colonies should do.
Some called for war against the British
Others like John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, tried to get the group to avoid fighting.
By June, Congress agreed that the colonies should prepare for war.
What actions do you think the British might take in response to the events at Lexington and Concord?
Preparing For War
The first step for Congress was to form an army (Continental Army)
Unlike the part-time militias that each of the 13 colonies already had - it was mostly made up of full-time soldiers.
was chosen as the army's commander in chief (leader)
John Adams - suggested Washington
he chose Washington partly because he had served in the French and Indian War.
He believed Washington both understood soldiers and knew how to fight a war.
Congress had to ask each colony to give money to pay for guns, food, and uniforms for the army.
They also printed their own paper money (Continental currency)
Congress paid the soldiers in bills called Continentals.
What caused Congress to form an army?
The Battle of Bunker Hill
By the time George Washington was chosen to lead the new Continental Army - the first major battle of the Revolutionary War (Battle of Bunker Hill) had already been fought.
After sunset on June 16 - colonial commanders Israel Putnam and William Prescott arrived at Breed's Hill across the Charles River from Boston.
They ordered their soldiers to build 'earthworks' (walls made of earth and stone) - these would help the colonists defend themselves.
The next day - British general Gage learned of this and send General William Howe and 2,400 British soldiers to capture Breed's Hill.
When they drew close - the 1,600 colonists behind the earthworks started shooting. To save bullets Putnam yelled
"Don't fire until you see the white of their eyes."
Why do you think controlling high ground, such as Breed's Hill, is an advantage during battle?
How might the tactic of not firing until the colonists could "see the whites of their eyes" lead to higher British losses?
A Fierce Fight
Fighting on the hill was tougher than the British had expected.
twice they were forced back toward the river
In Boston - people watched the fighting from their roofs
They watched in horror as the nearby city of Charlestown was hit and set on fire by cannons shooting from British ships in the harbor.
On Breed's Hill - the colonists ran out of ammunition and the British made it over the earthworks and the colonists had to retreat.
By early evening, the British had captured Breed's Hill.
The Battle at Breed's Hill was wrongly named for nearby Bunker Hill.
The British won - but suffered many losses
More than 1,000 British soldiers had been killed or wounded.
About 350 colonists had been killed or wounded.
What caused the colonists to retreat from Breed's Hill?
Look at page 321 -
Why do you think the colonists chose to build earthworks on top of Breed's Hill?
Trying for Peace
Although colonists did NOT win the Battle of Bunker Hill - they had fought bravely and the British learned that fighting the colonists would not be as easy as they had thought.
July 5, 1775 - Congress sent another petition to King George III - this petition ask for peace and became known as the Olive Branch Petition. (an olive branch was an ancient symbol of peace)
By the time the petition reached London it could do little good. The Battle of Bunker Hill had further angered British leaders and King George III promised to do whatever was necessary to crush the colonists' rebellion.
Why did the British leaders ignore the Olive Branch Petition?
Your friend waves a pamphlet in your face. " This will change the course of history!: You notice that the short book's title is
. Your friend says, "In here are all the reasons we should be our own country."
The year is 1776, and battles between the colonists and British soldiers have already taken place. Your friend tells you, "
is going to make everyone want to be free of Britain."
Moving Toward Independence
More colonists were starting to think that their problems with Britain couldn't be settled.
One person who helped shape the colonists' ideas was Thomas Paine.
, which said the colonists should rule themselves.
Congress Debates Independence
From Georgia to New Hampshire, people talked about Paine's ideas and many began to call for independence (freedom to govern themselves)
Delegates in the 2nd Continental Congress began to talk about independence also.
John Adams of Massachusetts argued strongly for independence.
He said independence was the only way for the colonists to have liberty (freedom)
In time more and more of the delegates came to agree with Adam's point of view.
June 7, 1776 - Richard Henry Lee of Virginia slowly rose from his chair and the 2nd Continental Congress and told the other delegates that the 13 colonies no longer owed loyalty to the king (this was huge!).
He then called for a resolution (formal group settlement) of independence.
A Declaration is Written
Congress debated Lee's resolution.
also chose a committee to write a declaration (official statement) about independence to be sent to the king.
The committee ask Thomas Jefferson of Virginia to write the first draft.
He was a 33 year old lawyer who had studied government law. He used this knowledge to explain his ideas. There were other writers also -but Jefferson was the main author. They met for about 17 days and he wrote and rewrote the draft of the Declaration of Independence.
What were some of the reasons why many people in the colonies called for independence?
The Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson carefully planned teh Declaration of Independence.
In the preamble (first part) he told why it was needed.
He also explained why the colonies had the right to break away form Britain and form a new nation.
Rights and Grievances
The next part of the Declaration describe the colonists' main ideas about government.
It also states that ALL people have certain rights that government can't take away.
live, be free, and seek their own happiness
Thee words have become some of the most famous words in US history.
The longest part of the Declaration lists grievances (complaints) against King George III and Parliament.
It also lists ways the colonists had tried to settle their differences with Britain peacefully.
The last part states that the colonies were free and independent states
What important ideas did Thomas Jefferson give in the Declaration of Independence?
Congress Approves the Declaration
When Jefferson was finished writing - he gave his draft to Congress.
On June 28, it was read aloud to the delegates.
They discussed it for several days and made edits.
July 2 - the delegates voted to approve Richard Henry Lee's resolution to cut ties with Britain.
The colonies now thought of themselves as independent states - they were free to make their own laws.
A Public Reading
July 4, 1776 - Congress voted to accept the Declaration's final wording.
4 days later - large crowds gathered outside the Pennsylvania State House (today called Independence Hall)
Bells rang out and Colonel John Nixon gave the 1st public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Members of the 2nd Continental Congress also listened as it was read.
News of the Declaration spread quickly across the former colonies.
Many people who supported the Declaration tore down pictures of statues of King George III.
They sang songs, rang bells, and fired cannons in celebration.
What do we do today to celebrate this day?
John Adams was so please when he heard of the celebrations that he wrote about it in a letter to Abigail Adams his wife - he said that Independence day should be celebrated "by succeeding generations.....from this time forward"
Do we celebrate it still?
A Dangerous Decision
August 2 - a copy of the Declaration was ready and signed by the members of the 2nd Continental Congress.
John Hancock was the first to sign (president of the Continental Congress)
He said he wrote his name large enough so that King George III could read it without his glasses. The way he signed it became so famous that the term
now means a "person's signature."
Signing the Declaration was dangerous
King George III had promised to do whatever was necessary to end the rebellion.
If the Americans lost the war then the King could accuse the signers of treason which was punishable by death!
Benjamin Franklin joked about this as they were signing the Declaration and said "We must all hang together or....we shall all hang separately." He knew the signers had to unite against the British.
The Declaration's Importance
When the Declaration as approved in 1776 - only white men who owned property could vote.
some people believed this was unfair.
Abigail Adams wrote in a letter to her husband that Congress should recognize women's rights. She wrote "In the new code of law which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies...."
It would take MANY years for women, African Americans, Native Americans, and other groups of Americans to fully share in the promise of the Declaration of Independence - but it inspired people around the world to work for freedom and equal rights.
How would the public learn of an important document today?
Why do you thin that Adams thought this day was so important?
Why were the delegates worried about signing the Declaration?
Why do you think that Abigail Adams thought women should be educated?
2nd Continental Congress set up another committee to plan how to unite the 13 STATES.
John Dickinson was chosen as the leader.
decided each state would govern itself - but all would work together on national issues.
First plan of government for the United States was called the Articles of Confederation. - it was a big change from being governed by a king.
The Articles of Confederation
Were approved by Congress in 1777 and later by the States.
each state elected representatives to serve in a national legislature called the Confederation Congress.
Each state (no matter the size) had one vote in Congress.
This congress made laws until 1789 for the new nation - it helped keep the states together during the Revolutionary War but the Articles had weaknesses that caused problems for the new government.
Why do you think the Articles of Confederation gave each state one vote in Congress?
Weaknesses of the Articles
Americans were fighting a war to win independence.
they feared that a strong national, or central, government might threaten their freedom - so the Articles of Confederation left most power with the states.
Before Congress could pass any law, representatives from at last 9 of the 13 states had to approve it - but the representatives rarely agreed.
No state wanted to be under control of another state - even if the representatives approved the law - Congress did NOT have the power to enforce it.
The Articles limited the powers of the National government in other was also.
Congress had the power to declare war, make treaties, and borrow money - but it could NOT control trade or collect taxes.
To cover expenses (debts) from the war - they could only as the states for money but NOT force them to pay.
The Articles made Congress depend on the states for the nation's defense - Congress could ASK for an army - but the states had to provide the soldiers.
Why were the new states afraid of a strong national government?
How did the 13 colonies cut their ties with Britain?
How do the ideas in the Declaration of Independence affect your life?
study guide p. 78-79