The "shot heard round the world" fired at Lexington on April 19, 1775 began the war for American independence. It ended eight and a half years later September 3, 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.Sample some of the following activities to learn more about the American Revolution.
Places To Go People To See Things To Do Teacher Resources Bibliography
The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about the American Revolution.
Travel to the Boston of 1773. Britain had repealed the Townshend Acts but had kept the tax on tea. They did this partly to help the British East India Company and partly to show the American colonists that Britiain still had the right to tax them.
Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston. The Freedom Trail is a 3-mile walking tour that passes by 16 historically significant sites such as the Faneuil Hall, the Boston Massacre site, and the Paul Revere House.
Travel to Valley Forge. It was the main camp of the Continental Army and was located on the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia. This is part of the US History site that contains other sections about the American Revolution.
Visit Minute Man National Historic Park. The park commemorates where the opening battles of the American Revolution took place on April 19, 1775 along a 22 mile stretch of road that ran from Boston to Concord and encompassed Lexington Green and Concord's North Bridge.
Travel to Pennsylvania and visit Moland House Park which served as George Washington's headquarters for a time during the American Revolution.
Virtually visit the Paul Revere House in Boston, Massachusetts. This site has a great "Just for Kids" section. Paul Revere's father was also named Paul Revere--although his father's real name was Apollos Rivoire, and he was born in France and Americanized his name when he came to the colonies.
Virtually visit the battle site near Stillwater, New York where the American victory over the British in 1777 was one of the major turning points of the American Revolution. From this webpage, you can take a virtual tour of the area and learn about the decisive Saratoga strategic battle campaign.
Travel to the United States Military Academy--often called West Point. It is located in a beautiful area of upper state New York alongside the Hudson River. The United States Military Academy at West Point was eventually established on a site that was one of General Washington's war headquarters and where a fortress had been built.
Chat with Betsy Ross and find out if she really sewed the first flag of the new nation.
Get to knew the men who shaped our nation from the signers of the Declaration of Independence to the signers of the Articles of Confederation to the signers of the Constitution.
Meet British redcoats. British soldiers wore red and white uniforms with brass buttons and buckles.
Meet Chief Joseph Brant of the Mohawk. His real name was Thayendanegea. He served as a captain for the British troops during the American Revolution. After the war, he was rewarded for this loyalty to the British and was given a pension and a land grant in Ontario.
Meet Crispus Attucks. He was one of the individuals who was killed at the Boston Massacre in 1770.
Benedict Arnold was a general in the American Revolution and distinguished himself in several significant battles including the Battle of Saratoga.
Reacquaint yourself with Ethan Allen. He was the leader of the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont. He fought, not only for independence for the colonies from England, but also for the statehood of Vermont.
Make the royal acquaintance of George III of England. According to this site, "George III is widely remembered for two things: losing the American colonies and going mad."
England had difficulty in recruiting their own men to fight in America. So they paid soldiers from other countries to fight for them. Many of those soldiers were from areas in Germany called Hessen-Kassel and Hessen-Hanau. The men from this area were called Hessians, and this term eventually was used for all German soldiers.
Johann Kalb was German, but he was in the French army. Since only noblemen could become officers, he gave himself the name of Baron Jean de Kalb. In 1768, the French government sent him to America to spy on the colonists and find out their attitudes toward England.
Meet John Adams. He was the first vice-president and the 2nd president. He first became active in politics from his opposition to the Stamp Act.
Meet John Paul Jones, the commander of the ship, the Bon Homme Richard, which was involved in one of the major sea battles during the American Revolution. Learn about the circumstances under which he said to a British sea captain, "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight."
When Margaret Cochran Corbin soldier husband died in the attack on Fort Washington in November of 1776, she commanded his cannon until she was seriously wounded. In 1779, she was the first woman to be pensioned by the government as a disabled soldier.
Meet the Marquis de Lafayette. His given name was Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier. He was a great ally to the colonial troops during the war.
Meet Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley. She was also known as Molly Pitcher. She was married to an artilleryman in the war. During the battle of Monmouth in June of 1778, she carried pitchers of drinking water to her husband and other soldiers. When her husband collapsed, she continued firing his cannon.
Chat with Nathan Hale. He was a school teacher turned soldier and spy in the Revolutionary War. When caught behind enemy lines with sensitive information, he was hanged by the British without trial. Find out if he really said "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Meet the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence and find out what happened to them throughout the rest of their lives. Have students do further research and check the accuracy of these facts.
Meet Thomas Paine. He came to America in 1774 from England. He became involved in the conflicts between the colonies and England. He wrote and published the pamphlet Common Sense in January 1776 in which he argued that the American colonies should be given independence.
Find out about a submarine used in the American Revolution. It was called the Turtle and was developed by David Bushnell. It was was driven by hand-and foot-cranked propellers.
Find the details about how on September 9, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that changed the name of the nation from the United Colonies to the United States.
Locate rare historical maps of the American Revolution.
Find maps detailing the Battle of Saratoga, the seige of British forces at Yorktown, General Washington's battle engagements in 1776, and more.
Find detailed information from the prelude to the war for American independence beginning about 1763 to the aftermath of the war and the birth of the new nation.
Check out this companion website to the PBS series by the same name. It has a fun early American quiz that students can take. Select "Revolutionary Game" from the menu.
Most Americans think they know all about the Revolution simply because they are Americans. In fact, the real story is crammed with little known facts. Information has been drawn from multiple sources. The main source being information compiled by Mr. Thomas Fleming, a noted historian.
Read the full text of the Treaty of Paris which ended the American Revolution. It was signed in September 1783 and ratified on January 14, 1784.
Learn about some of the laws that the British passed that led to colonist dissatisfaction.
- 1733 Molasses
The British added a tax to every gallon of molasses imported into the colonies. This made the price of rum, which is made from molasses, increase. So some colonists began to import molasses illegally and secretly.
- 1764 Sugar
The British put a duty on foreign refined sugar imported by the colonists. The colonists were prohibited from importing French wine or foreign rum. It gave the British planters in the West Indies a monopoly in the American sugar market.
- 1765 Stamp
The British required that all legal papers such as newspapers, marriage licenses, diplomas, ships' papers, etc. be taxed. All these papers had to have a large blue seal or stamp on them as proof of payment. This caused colonists in New York City and Boston to riot and to threaten the stamp masters selling the stamps.
- 1767 Townshend
The British set taxes on the import of lead, glass, paints, paper, and tea. So the colonists boycotted all English manufactured products. This was a significant sacrifice for the colonists because they had not been allowed by England to produce their own goods. The British troops that were sent to enforce these laws and keep peace became involved with the Boston Massacre.
- 1773 Tea
The British placed an import tax on tea arriving in the colonies. It also gave the British East India Company a monopoly on tea sold to the colonies which was unfair to American merchants. The colonists imposed an embargo on tea taxed from England. The Boston Tea Party ensued.
Research some of the major battles of the American Revolution:
In April of 1775, 700 British soldiers headed from Boston to Lexington to seize colonial weapons and supplies. These approaching soldiers were the ones that Paul Revere and William Dawes rode through the countryside warning about. When the militiamen in Lexington heard that the British were coming, they gathered and waited for them.
After the skirmish at Lexington, the British continued on to nearby Concord on the same day, April 19, 1775, where they destroyed military supplies as they had been instructed. They were attacked by angry colonists and more than 70 British were killed as they retreated to Boston.
of Bunker Hill
One of the early battles of the American Revolution was fought here in June of 1775. The American militiamen, who had been laying siege to Boston, put cannons on Bunker and Breeds hills to try and drive the British out. The American attempt was unsuccessful.
Battle of Trenton
This is the famous battle where General Washington and his troops sneaked across the Delaware River in small boats during the night and defeated the British troops, most of whom were Hessians. Hessians were mercenary troops from Germany employed by the British. The battle took place in December of 1776.
- Battle of
The British had a plan to split the American colonies along the Hudson River in New York and block off New England from the rest of the colonies. Some British troops were to travel south from Canada and some were to travel north along the Hudson from New York City and try and capture Albany. However, the American troops defeated the British troops in a series of battles around Saratoga in October of 1777.
This was a major victory for General Washington at these battles in Yorktown, Virginia in September and October of 1781. The Americans were allied with French troops along with the Marquis de Lafayette, and British Lord Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781. As a result of this surrender, Great Britain soon asked for peace, ending the American Revolution.
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- Dolan, Edward F. The American Revolution: How We Fought the War of Independence. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press, c1995.
- Egger-Bovet, Howard. Book of the American Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown, c1994.
- Erdosh, George. Food and Recipes of the Revolutionary War. New York : PowerKids Press, 1997.
- Graham-Barber, Lynda. Doodle Dandy!: The Complete Book of Independence Day Words. New York: Bradbury Press; Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, c1992.
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- Hakim, Joy. From Colonies to Country. New York: Oxford University Press, c1999.
- Isaacs, Sally Senzell. America in the Time of George Washington: 1747 to 1803. Des Plaines, Ill.: Heinemann Library, c1998.
- Kallen, Stuart A. The Eoad to Freedom: 1750-1783. Edina, Minn.: Abdo & Daughters, c1990.
- Kent, Deborah. The American Revolution: "Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death". Hillside, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, c1994.
- Lukes, Bonnie L. The American Revolution. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, c1996.
- Marrin, Albert.The War for Independence: The Story of the American Revolution. New York: Atheneum, c1988.
- Marzollo, Jean. In 1776. New York: Scholastic, 1993.
- Moore, Kay. If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution. New York: Scholastic, c1997.
- Nardo, Don. The American Revolution. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven Press, c1998.
- Stein, R. Conrad. Valley Forge. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1994.
- Uschan, Michael V. America's Founders. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2000.
- Young, Robert The Real Patriots of the American Revolution. Parsippany, N.J.: Dillon Press, c1997.