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«I. California Standards HISTORY-SOCIAL SCIENCE STANDARDS Content Standards 5.5 Students explain the causes of the American Revolution (1) Understand ...»

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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens



Grade 5

United States History and Geography

I. California Standards


Content Standards

5.5 Students explain the causes of the American Revolution

(1) Understand how political, religious, and economic ideas and interests brought about the Revolution (e.g., resistance to imperial policy, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, taxes on tea, Coercive Acts).

(2) Know the significance of the first and second Continental Congresses and of the Committees of Correspondence.

Analysis Skill Standards Chronological and Spatial Thinking (1) Students place key events and people of the historical era they are studying in a chronological sequence and within a spatial context; they interpret time lines.

(3) Students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying both similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same.

Historical Interpretation (1) Students summarize the key events of the years they are studying and explain the historical contexts of those events.

(3) Students identify and interpret the multiple causes and effects of historical events.

1 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Trouble in Boston Lesson Plan


Reading Comprehension

1.5 Understand and explain the figurative and metaphorical use of words in context.

2.3 Discern main ideas and concepts presented in texts, identifying and assessing evidence that supports those ideas.

2.4 Draw inferences, conclusions, or generalizations about text and support them with textual evidence and prior knowledge.


1.2 Create multiple-paragraph expository compositions.

2.4 Write persuasive letters or compositions.


2.2 Deliver informative presentations about an important idea, issue, or event.


Listening and Speaking (1) Listen attentively to more complex stories/information on new topics across content areas, and identify the main points and supporting details.

(3) Be understood when speaking, using consistent standard English grammatical forms, sounds, intonation, pitch and modulation.

(4) Actively participate and initiatemore extended social conversations with peers and adults on unfamiliar topics by asking and answering questions, restating and soliciting information.

(5) Recognize appropriate ways of speaking that vary based on purpose, audience, and subject matter.

(7) Use simple figurative language and idiomatic expressions to communicate ideas to a variety of audiences.

Reading Fluency (8) Read increasingly complex narrative and expository texts aloud with appropriate pacing, intonation and expression.

Reading Comprehension (1) Describe main ideas and supporting details of a text.

(2) Generate and respond to comprehension questions related to the text.

(3) Describe relationships between text and their experience.

(5) Use resources in the text (such as ideas, illustrations, titles, etc.) to draw conclusions and make inferences.

2 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Trouble in Boston Lesson Plan (6) Distinguish between explicit examples of fact, opinions, inference, and cause/ effect in texts.

(7) Identify some significant structural (organizational) patterns in text, such as sequence/chronological order, and cause/effect.

Reading and Listening (1) Identify and describe figurative language (e.g. similes, metaphors and personification).

(2) Distinguish between literary connotations and symbols from culture to culture.

(5) Recognize and describe themes stated directly in a text.

(6) Read and orally identify the speaker or narrator in a selection.

Writing (2) Arrange compositions according to simple organizational patterns.

(4) Use complex vocabulary and sentences appropriate for language arts and other content areas (e.g. math, science, social studies).

(5) Independently write a persuasive letter with relevant evidence.


Connections, Relationships, Applications

5.1 Use theatrical skills to dramatize events and concepts from other curriculum areas....


Visual Literacy

5.2 Identify and design icons, logos, and other graphic devices as symbols for ideas and information.

II. Teacher Background Information

P arliament tried again to tax the colonies. Charles Townshend, as Chancellor of the Exchequer or finance minister, called for a tax on goods imported by the colonies.

The Townshend Duties placed a tax on glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea. Money raised from these duties was to pay for the defense expenses and the cost of running colonial governments. The colonists saw little distinction between this new tax and the earlier Stamp Act and revived the non-importation agreements as a way of forcing repeal. Sam Adams, a leader of the Sons of Liberty in Boston, denounced the Townshend Acts arguing that they violated the principle of “no taxation without representation.” Colonists demonstrated in the streets of Boston to express their opposition to British policy. As a result Britain sent troops to Boston to maintain order.

In 1770 colonial protests convinced the British to repeal the Townshend Acts. Lord North, the new prime minister, feared that if all the taxes were removed it would be taken 3 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Trouble in Boston Lesson Plan as a sign of weakness. He therefore persuaded Parliament to repeal all the duties except for tea. In Massachusetts, as in the other colonies, people celebrated repeal but continued to boycott tea until that tax was also removed.

Since the French had been expelled from the North American continent, colonists voiced more and more resentment to the stationing of British troops in the colonies. This was especially the case in Boston. British soldiers were not paid well and many took parttime jobs in the city. Boston laborers felt that the soldiers were taking jobs away from them and often clashed with troops. A fight between a worker and a soldier on March 5, 1770 resulted in a small riot. Later that evening crowds gathered in the streets of Boston and began to throw rocks and snowballs at soldiers. A sentry outside the State House called for help. As Captain Preston positioned his men between the crowd and the State House an unidentified solider fired into the crowd. Three persons were killed and two more mortally wounded. The Sons of Liberty referred to the street fighting that evening as the Boston Massacre. A general riot was prevented when the governor yielded to the demands of Sam Adams and ordered the troops to leave mid-town Boston and sent them to an island in the harbor. Captain Preston and six of his men were arrested for murder and held for trial. The American patriot John Adams, Sam’s cousin, agreed to defend the soldiers and won the acquittal of Preston and four soldiers while two were found guilty of manslaughter and were punished by branding them on their thumb.

Tensions between soldiers and civilians in Boston eased somewhat after the trial.

Paul Revere drew a scene of the clash between the Boston crowd and soldiers. In Revere’s print British soldiers are shown firing at the raised sword command of Captain Preston at a group of unarmed civilians while the dead and wounded are pictured on the ground in pools of blood. Revere named his engraving “The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in...

Boston on March 5th 1770....” The engraving was sold in Boston and throughout the colonies. It is considered the most effective piece of propaganda in American history.

In May 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act. The law was designed to aid the British East India Company which was facing bankruptcy. The company, founded in 1690, had been very profitable and its stockholders, some of whom were members of Parliament, had grown rich. The company normally sold tea to English shopkeepers and, in turn some was then sold to wholesalers in the American colonies. The government taxed the tea in England and when shipped to the colonies added an additional three-penny tax. Now that the company was on the verge of collapse Parliament felt the need to take action to revive the company. The Tea Act of 1773 permitted the sale of tea directly to the colonies eliminating handling charges by English wholesalers. In addition the act repealed all taxes on tea with the exception of the small duty prescribed under the Townshend Act. Since the Tea Act actually lowered the price of tea, British authorities assumed that the colonists would not object to payment of the Townshend duty. The East India Company, heartened by the passage of the act, immediately shipped a half-million pounds of tea, about 1,700 chests of tea, to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

Colonial leaders resented the Tea Act as it had granted the East India Company a monopoly on tea sold in America. Colonial merchants who had operated an import business prior to the passage of the act would no longer be permitted to buy tea from 4 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Lesson Plan Trouble in Boston English wholesalers. Importers of other British goods also feared that Parliament might also pass laws granting monopolies to other companies and destroying their businesses.

American colonists had over the past few years since the French and Indian War grown to mistrust the British. Colonial leaders, believing that Parliament wanted to crush local selfgovernment in the colonies, used every means possible to arouse the public to take action.

In December an angry crowd in Charleston, South Carolina, protested the arrival of a tea ship. Although the tea was unloaded it was confined to a warehouse and remained there until after the colonies declared independence. At that time the tea was sold to raise money to fight against the British. In Philadelphia and New York tea ship crowds prohibited dockworkers to unload and forced the ships to return with their cargo.

The first tea ship to the colonies arrived in Boston on November 27, 1773. Two mass meetings, called by the Sons of Liberty, demanded that the ship return. The governor refused and the ship remained docked with its cargo. On December 16, 1773, Samuel Adams, a leader of the Boston Sons of Liberty, organized a group of men disguised as Mohawk Indians to board tea ships in the harbor. That night they dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston harbor. The British responded by closing the port of Boston (Boston Port Bill), requiring English officials accused of crimes to be returned to England for trial (Administration of Justice Act), changing the governing charter removing elected members of the Massachusetts legislature by replacing them with officers appointed by royal governor (Massachusetts Government Act), and ordering that soldiers in Massachusetts and all other colonies be provided with shelter in private homes (Quartering Act). These Coercive Acts were commonly called the Intolerable Acts by Bostonians.

Other colonies rallied to the aid of Boston. A Continental Congress called for Philadelphia convened in September 1774 and declared the Coercive Acts unconstitutional and advised colonists to arm and form militias to defend themselves. The Continental Congress agreed to reconvene the following year and take further action if the British did not back down. The British Parliament declared Massachusetts was in rebellion and in February 1775 landed a large force in the colony with orders to seize military supplies that were being stockpiled by the colonial militia of Minute Men. On April 19 British forces marched out of Boston for Lexington and Concord.

III. Materials Needed Student Handout 1: Causes of the American Revolution Time Line, 1766–1776.

Document 1: “Free America” Student Handout 2: “The Townshend Duties” Student Handout 3: Reader’s Theater on the Boston Massacre Student Handout 4: “The Boston Tea Party” Document 2: “The Rich Lady Over the Sea” Transparency Master 1: “The Bostonian’s Paying the Excise-Man, or Tarring & Feathering” Student Handout 5: “Cartoon Analysis Worksheet”

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2 Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division. The entire resolution is online at http:// memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/rbpebib:@field(NUMBER+@band(rbpe+03702400

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I. Make an overhead of Transparency Master 1 “The Bostonian’s Paying the Excise-Man, or Tarring & Feathering,” an English cartoon drawn in 1774.

Divide the students into groups and distribute copies of Student Handout 5, “Cartoon Analysis Worksheet.” [Note that the questions on the “Cartoon Analysis Worksheet” are specific to this cartoon. You can easily adapt the worksheet making for use with other cartoons.] Have students examine the cartoon and complete the “Cartoon Analysis Worksheet.” In a class discussion, go over the questions on the “Cartoon Analysis Worksheet.” Interpreting the Cartoon. Students should recognize that the colonists are forcing tea down the throat of the ‘Excise Man,’ the person assigned to collect the tea tax. Be sure that students understand the importance of symbols used in the cartoon. They should have noted the bucket of tar in the lower left and people throwing boxes off a ship in the background. Students should realize that this is a pictorial representation of the Boston Tea Party. Ask the class what message the British cartoonist is trying to get across by having a noose hanging from the ‘Liberty Tree.’ Briefly explain irony and how the cartoonist is mocking the colonists by having the ‘Liberty Tree’ as a gallows. Ask if there is any symbolism in posting the Stamp Act upside down. You may need to review the Stamp Act.

Posting the act upside down could refer to its repeal or that the colonists objected to paying the tax and tarred and feathered ‘stamp men’ who tried to collect the tax.

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