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Teaching Guide

Teaching the American Revolution

You say you want a revolution?

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Without the American Revolution, there wouldn't be the United States of America. So, yeah, this is kind of a critical part of history to understand. The Revolution was a time of great danger and great opportunity, and our teaching guide is a great opportunity to explore this world-changing event.

In this guide you will find

  • activities analyzing British policies and key figures of the era.
  • more historical resources than you can point a musket at: the Constitution, bios of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, details on the French & Indian War, and more.
  • current events exploring the modern tea-party movement and its relationship to Revolution.

When you're on the front lines of a revolution, we're happy to be your second-in-command.

What's Inside Shmoop's History Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring history to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 3-5 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

Objective: As one would expect, things were a bit chaotic in the years leading up to the American Revolution. So much so, that Thomas Hutchinson, the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, said:

"It is time this anarchy were restrained and corrected by some authority or other."
– Royal Governor of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson, 1773

In this exercise, your students will analyze Hutchinson's words in light of the atmosphere of the time and try to determine what his statement reveals about his assessment of both British policy and American behavior. They'll do a little background research for context and then write an analytical essay.

Length of Lesson: One class period + a writing assignment

Materials Needed:

Step One: Have your students do a bit of research to give them context for the quote. They can review the events leading up to Governor Hutchinson's reaction to the East India Tea crisis here.

Step Two: Share the quote below with your students.

In 1773, the royal governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, offered the following response to the growing crisis over implementation of the Tea Act: "It is time this anarchy were restrained and corrected by some authority or other."

Step Three: Give your students this prompt and let them get started on their essays. They can finish them up for homework.

In a well organized essay, discuss what the statement reveals about Hutchinson's assessment of both British policy and American behavior. In doing so, you might want to think about the following questions:

  • What words are particularly revealing in Hutchinson's statement?
  • Why did he feel that it was up to him to take action?

Don't forget to give them a due date and any necessary formatting guidelines.

Instructions for Your Students

As you might expect, things were a bit chaotic in the years leading up to the American Revolution. So much so, that in 1773 Thomas Hutchinson, the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, said:

"It is time this anarchy were restrained and corrected by some authority or other."

But what, exactly, did he mean? 

In this exercise, you'll analyze Hutchinson's words in light of the atmosphere of the time and write an analytical essay discussing just what his words reveal about his views.

Step One: First things first. (It is Step One, after all.) Do a bit of research so you'll understand the context for Hutchinson's words. You can review the events leading up to the governor's reaction to the East India Tea crisis here.

Step Two: Take another look at the quote with your classmates. Hey, look! Here it is. How convenient.

In 1773, the royal governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, offered the following response to the growing crisis over implementation of the Tea Act: "It is time this anarchy were restrained and corrected by some authority or other."

Step Three: Essay time. Check out the prompt below and then go ahead and get started on your essay. You can finish it up for homework. 

In a well organized essay, discuss what the statement reveals about Hutchinson's assessment of both British policy and American behavior. In doing so, you might want to think about the following questions:

  • What words are particularly revealing in Hutchinson's statement?
  • Why did he feel that it was up to him to take action?

Listen up for a due date and any necessary formatting guidelines. You don't want your essay to be late. Or sloppy. (And neither do we.)

WANT MORE HELP TEACHING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION?

Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary & Analysis    Timeline    Battles    People    Facts    Photos    Best of the Web    Citations    
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