||Roots of Revolution: Philosophy, Religion &
In what ways did the Enlightenment, Great Awakening and English Constitutional tradition produce conditions favorable to the birth of a revolutionary spirit?
2. What was the Glorious Revolution? How did New Englanders’ respond to it?
3. What might account for the sudden hysteria about witches in Salem during the 1690’s? (Look at 90-95 if you want to look deeper into this question.)
4. How was British government structured? How did it attempt to represent each of British society’s major class interests?
5. How did the reality of British politics deviate from its theoretical
6. In what sense did the American colonists see their local governments as modeled on the British system? To what extent was that perception accurate?
7. Why might Cato’s Letters have been more popular in the American colonies than in Britain?
8. To what extent and in what ways was colonial government more
democratic than British government?
10. What factors led to the religious revival in the colonies between the 1730’s and 1760’s? Why would Americans of the time have been attracted to the preachings of Edwards and Whitefield? How did the Great Awakening become a widespread movement throughout the American colonies?
11. What was Edwards’ and Whitefield’s critique of the current state of Protestantism in the colonies? Why might Old Lights have found the religious revival threatening?
12. How were the religious practices of the revivalists different from those of mainline Protestants?
13. Other than its impact on colonial religion, what were some of the larger effects of the Great Awakening on colonial society?
|| Subjects or Citizens?
Divine, pages 132, and 133-142
What were the main sources of disagreement concerning the power of the British government in America and the rights of Americans as British citizens?
2. Why were Americans skeptical of British notions of parliamentary sovereignty? In what sense did Americans and the British disagree about the legitimacy of virtual representation in British government?
3. What did Trenchard and Gordon argue? How did Americans take inspiration from thinkers like Locke and Trenchard and Gordon in expressing their dissatisfaction with British treatment of the American colonies?
4. What practical impact did the imperial wars, and especially the Seven Years’ War, have on the economic and military concerns of Britain? How did Americans respond to these developments?
5. What was the Stamp Act? What forms of protest did Americans
use to oppose it?
7. In what ways did the Stamp Act transform a movement of discontented elite into a mass political movement?
8. Why did the British repeal the Stamp Act? Why did they issue the Declaratory Act?
9. What were the Townshend Acts? How did Americans respond?
10. How do the ideas of the colonists during the 17th and 18th centuries presage contemporary debates over the role of government?
||Trouble in Massachusetts
Divine, pages 142-143, and 146-150 (including Lexington and Concord)
How did the tension between Britain and her American colonies escalate into violent confrontation?
2. In what sense was Samuel Adams more revolutionary than his contemporaries?
3. How did colonists in Boston react to the Tea Act? Why?
4. What were the Coercive Acts? Why did colonists throughout America react so strongly to acts that primarily affected Boston?
5. What were some of the differences and disagreements among
the delegates at the Continental Congress? How did these divisions
impact the content and tone of the “Declaration and Resolves
of the First Continental Congress”?
||“‘Tis Time to Part”: Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”
Divine, pages 150-152
Begin a chart with two columns and list the ways in which the Revolution was radical and the ways in which it was conservative.
What transformed the colonial rebellion of the 1770’s into a war for independence?
2. Why, with American colonies already engaged in battle with Britain, didn’t the Second Continental Congress declare independence in 1775?
3. Why was Thomas Paine’s pamphlet so effective in rallying Americans towards the cause of independence from Britain? What were his arguments for separation from the mother country?
||Asserting the Inalienable Rights of Man: The Declaration of Independence
Divine, page 152 (on Declaration)
Is the Declaration of Independence a radical document?
2. Why was Jefferson’s paragraph on the slave trade omitted from the final draft of the Constitution?
||The War for Independence: A Revolution for Whom?
Divine, pages 152-63
Supplement: Martin, "Protest and Defiance in the Ranks"
Abigail Adams, "Remember the Ladies"
Prepare for Debate
Did the War for Independence constitute a revolution? In what sense? For whom?
2. What conditions and circumstances helped the Americans to neutralize many of Britain’s advantages? What similarities do you see between the Vietnam War and the Revolutionary War?
3. What role did the Continental Army and local militias play in the American war effort?
4. What role did African-Americans play in the war? What led some of them fight for the Americans? Why did some to fight for the British?
5. Why did the military situation look poor for the Americans in late 1776?
6. What led France to support the American cause? What impact did French support for the Americans have on the war?
7. Why did some Americans remain Loyalists? How did they view the Patriot cause? How were they treated by Patriots? By the British?
8. What were the main provisions of the Treaty of Paris of 1783?
||Debate - The American Revolution: Radical or Conservative?
The American Revolution was a conservative revolt, aimed at preserving the status quo, rather than expanding liberties in a radical way.
To prepare for the debate read the secondary sources provided (Wood, Rossiter, Jensen handouts), primary sources in your classroom copies of American Spirit, and all supplemental material. Be prepared with facts and quotations to support your argument.
In constructing your argument consider the following questions:
How do you define "radical" and "conservative"?
We will split into two teams, one defending(pro) and one refuting(con) the statement above. You may break up responsibilities in whatever way your group chooses. We will follow the debate format below (see standard debate form for suggestions - LINK).
pro - 5 minutes
pro rebuttal - 10 minutes
pro defense - 5 minutes
pro concluding remarks - 2 minutes
There is nothing more common than to confound the terms of American
Revolution with those of the late American War. The American War
is over, but this is far from being the case with the American Revolution.
On the contrary,, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed.