<Standard 3.4...............................................................................................................................Standard 3.6>

Explain important, economic, and military developments leading to and during the American Revolution.


Boston Tea Party Postage Stamp, 1973
Boston Tea Party Postage Stamp, 1973



See Grade 5.15 for more on the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and other developments leading to the American Revolution.

See US History I Part 5 for more on the American Revolutionary period.


Multimedia.pngThe Coming of the American Revolution from the Massachusetts Historical Society provides an interactive look at key developments leading to the American Revolution, including the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, the Sons of Liberty, the Townshend Acts, the Boston Massacre, the Committees of Correspondence, the Boston Tea Party, the Coercive Acts, the First Continental Congress, Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and Washington takes command of the Continental Army

Multimedia.pngClick here for the PBS site "Liberty!: The American Revolution". Includes timeline, info on the American and British troops, maps, life in the colonies, and what else was happening during the Revolutionary War.
Multimedia.pngClick here for a Google Map that shows the location of major battles and events.

game_icon.svg.pngClick here to play the "Road to Revolution" game also from PBS.
lessonplan.jpgClick here for a look at one class's projects on the Revolution
lessonplan.jpgClick here for a unit lesson plans on the Revolutionary War for elementary school students.


A. Growth of Cities and Towns in Massachusetts before the Revolution
  • The population in the colonies was growing rapidly
  • In 1700, the population in the colonies was 250,000
  • By 1760, the population was 1,500,000
  • In Massachusetts before the Revolution, the trend of political involvement was growing
  • Town meeting houses were common so citizens could share their concerns
  • It was in these town meeting houses that the citizens discussed the British and their actions leading up to the Revolution
  • The Sons of Liberty was formed out of these concerned citizens
  • The Sons of Liberty aimed to prevent British Laws, such as the Stamp Act become law

Multimedia.pngClick here for an interactive look at the growth of the colonies


Social Studies for Kids introduces kids to life in the first 13 colonies and the major cities of colonial Massachusetts.

Massachusetts_state_seal.pngSee A Brief History of Massachusetts for a early background on the early-goings of colonial Massachusetts.


Three cargoes of tea destroyed. Dec. 16. 1773
Three cargoes of tea destroyed. Dec. 16. 1773

B. Boston Tea Party

American colonists raided a ship, The Beaver, in the Boston Harbor. The colonists dumped the cargo of tea overboard in protest over the high taxes they were paying on tea In response to this raid, the British Parliament passed the Coercive Acts which precipitated the close of Boston commerce until Bostonians repaid the British East India Company for their lost product. The colonists of Massachusetts refused helping to bring on the Revolutionary War.

Multimedia.pngClick here for a Schoolhouse Rock song on the Boston Tea Party and Revolution
Multimedia.pngClick here for an interactive look at the Boston Tea Party
Multimedia.pngClick here for the Liberty's Kids episode "Boston Tea Party"

primary_sources.PNGClick here for a List of Participants in the Boston Tea Party.

The Boston Massacre: Fact, Fiction, or Bad Memory
lessonplan.jpgClick here for a lesson plan on reenacting the Boston Tea Party

C. The beginning of the Revolution at Lexington and Concord

The British in Concord, MA
The British in Concord, MA
The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first major battles, beginning with "the shot heard round the world."

This was the first battle in which the Americans had a chance to fight the British face to face. The battles took place on April 19, 1775. People tend to place this battles together because the villages of Lexington and Concord are so close to each other.

Both are still Massachusetts towns today, and under the National Parks system their battlefields are preserved.
  • At Lexington the militia was outnumbered and fell back.
  • At Concord with a number of reinforcements, the British were chased back into Boston beginning what would later be known as the "Siege of Boston"

The National Parks Service provides a booklet full of lesson plans and primary sources readings from Thomas Gage (commander of the British forces) all the way down to the inexperienced militiamen.
Multimedia.pngClick here for the Schoolhouse Rock song "The Shot Heard Round the World"
Multimedia.pngClick here for the Liberty's Kids episode "The Shot Heard Round the World"
lesson_plan_icon.jpgClick here for lesson plans and activities on Lexington and Concord.


D. The Battle of Bunker Hill
Salem Poor was an African American hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill
Salem Poor was an African American hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill

The Battle of Bunker Hill was another battle in Massachusetts, fought in the village of Charlestown on June 17, 1775.
  • The battle wasn't fought on Bunker Hill but on Breed's Hill which was a neighboring hill. The site were the battle took place had 3 hills.
  • The hills allowed for the Americans to take cover and surprise the British soldiers when they attacked.
  • While the British were able to hold the day, they experienced high causalities. For many colonists, the Battle of Bunker Hill showcased an army of country men and boys willing to stand up to the British crown.

Multimedia.pngClick here for a clip from a PBS documentary on the Battle of Bunker Hill and Breed's Hill.

Click here for an amazon link to "The Battle of Bunker Hill: An Interactive History Adventure" where you can chose what happens.
lesson_plan_icon.jpgClick here for a lesson plan from National Park Services on Bunker Hill

E. Revolutionary leaders such as John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere. (see also 5.18)


Painting of John Hancock by artist John Singleton Copley, 1765
Painting of John Hancock by artist John Singleton Copley, 1765
Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams


John Adams by Mather Brown, 1788, oil on canvas
John Adams by Mather Brown, 1788, oil on canvas

  • **Samuel Adams** was born in Boston in 1722. He was a voice who made people think about what was going on in the world around them and why the British had so much control over the colonies from far away. He voiced the opinion of “no taxation without representation,” which meant that the people wanted no new taxes unless they were represented in Parliament.

  • **John Adams** was born in 1735 and would later become the second President of the newly established United States. He served in the nation's highest office between 1797 and 1801, after his time as George Washington's Vice President. He was an ambassador to France and Holland for many years during the Revolution and was able to get some form of French support for the colonists. His son John Quincy Adams later became the sixth President of the United States.

  • Paul Revere was born in 1735 in Boston. He was a silversmith, engraver, and dentist. He disapproved of the British actions in Boston and joined the Freemasons and Sons of Liberty. He took part in the Boston Tea Party. He is mainly famous for his Midnight Ride. He rode his horse to Lexington to warn people of the British approaching. He also was a member of the Continental Army, where he made cannons and gunpowder.
    • Multimedia.pngClick here for the Liberty's Kids episode, "Midnight Ride"
    • Multimedia.pngClick here for a reading of the poem"The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Female_Rose.pngHere is a biography of John Adams' wifeAbigail. There are some useful lesson plans available here as well.

womens history.jpgClick here for a link to Abigail Adams's "Remember the Ladies" letter to John Adams (1776) from the Massachusetts Historical Society.



John Hancock is mainly known for his service as President of the Second Continental Congress and his signature on the Declaration of Independence. His signature was large and meant to be seen by all who read it. He was born in Boston in 1737 and was orphaned and adopted by a wealthy uncle. He would realize as a teen that politics were his strong point and he wanted to understand them more. As an adult became one of the richest merchants in the colony while still investing a great deal of his time in politics. Hancock was also the man who appointed George Washington to be Commander in Chief of the Army in 1775. After the Revolution, he served as Governor of Massachusetts until his death in 1793.
John_Hancock_Signature_DOI.PNG
John Hancock' Signature as seen on the Declaration of Independence

lessonplan.jpgClick here for a lesson plan that focuses on early American Leaders, such as Paul Revere, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.

external image Tweet-new.pngSign into Twitter to read a tweet a day from John Quincy Adams' diaries beginning in 1809 from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Female_Rose.pngClick here for a short biography of Deborah Sampson, a female revolutionary fighter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She served 17 months in the revolutionary army before being honorably discharged in 1781.

timeline2_rus.svg.pngClick here for a timeline of America from its founding through the Revolutionary War.

American African Participation in the Revolution

multicultural.pngClick on African Americans in the Revolutionary Period for information from the National Park Service about African Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War. Colonel Tye was a famous African American man who fought for the British.

external image Agregateur_Poietique.gifSee United States History I.4 and Grade 5.17 for information on African Americans during the Revolution.