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Lessons

Lesson for Core Concept #3: The Emerging American Identity

Robert Baker, Needham High School, MA

People living in the thirteen colonies increasingly defined themselves as different from other British subjects as ideas of what it meant to be an American emerged over time.

Activity: Presentation and Analysis of Quotations

Procedure:

This is designed to be a one-period classroom activity. Individually, in pairs, or in small groups students can be assigned at least one historical quotation to analyze and present to the class. Print out each quotation on a separate page.

Suggested areas to address during student-led presentation:

  • Discuss the passage's historical context (see Document Analysis Worksheet)
  • Read the quotation to the class
  • How do the authors see themselves in regard to national identity? Do their sympathies lean more toward the British or American side? Back up your theory with evidence.

Documents

The Sugar Act

"We … declare our just expectations"
Boston, May 28. At a Meeting of the Freeholders ...
"Boston, May 28. At a Meeting of the Freeholders ..."
Article from page 2 of The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News-Letter, Number 3145, 31 May 1764.

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See column 2, paragraph 2: "But what still heightens our apprehensions is … the miserable state of tributary slaves."

The Stamp Act

A Call for a Unified Response
From the Providence Gazette Extraordinary. The following is said to be a copy of the Resolutions of the Congress held at New-York ...
"From the Providence Gazette Extraordinary. The following is said to be a copy of the Resolutions of the Congress held at New-York ..."
Article from page 3 of The Massachusetts Gazette, number 0, 20 March 1766

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See the first five resolves.

The Townshend Acts

Franklin, of Philadelphia
The Examination of Doctor Franklin, before an August Assembly, relating to the Repeal of the Stamp-Act, &c.
The Examination of Doctor Franklin, before an August Assembly, relating to the Repeal of the Stamp-Act, &c.

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See pages 5-6.

Non-Consumption and Non-importation

"Save your Money, and save your Country!"
Messi'rs Green & Russell. Please to insert the following, and you'll oblige one of your constant Readers.
"Messi'rs Green & Russell. Please to insert the following, and you'll oblige one of your constant Readers."
Article from page 2 of The Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser, Number 553, 16 November 1767

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The Formation of the Committees of Correspondence

"At a very full meeting..."
At a very full meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Cambridge ...
"At a very full meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Cambridge ..."
Article from page 2 of The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, Number 973, 29 November 1773

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Lexington and Concord

Bloody Butchery
A Bloody Butchery, by the British Troops; or the Runaway Fight of the Regulars
A Bloody Butchery, by the British Troops; or the Runaway Fight of the Regulars

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See "A Funeral Elegy to the Immortal Memory" at the bottom of the broadside.

Washington Takes Command of the Continental Army

"The General most earnestly requires"
Artemas Ward orderly book, 3-8 July 1775
Artemas Ward orderly book, 3-8 July 1775

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Declarations of Independence

"No Alternative Left"
Williamsburgh (Virginia) May 17 ...
"Williamsburgh (Virginia) May 17 ..."
Article from page 1 of The Boston-Gazette and Country Journal, Number 2001, 24 June 1776

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"The Path of Your Duty"
Instructions to the Representatives ...
"Instructions to the Representatives ..."
Article from page 2 of The Boston-Gazette and Country Journal, Number 1099, 10 June 1776

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