Prospect Hill. Bunker's Hill.

Prospect Hill. Bunker`s Hill. Handbill


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    [ This description is from the project: Coming of the American Revolution ]

    This handbill, probably the only surviving copy, is an early example of American Revolutionary War propaganda, printed to encourage British soldiers to desert. It includes a satirical comparison of living conditions for soldiers on both sides of the lines as well as an appeal to British troops from an "old soldier" to refuse their orders to kill colonists, the "sons of Englishmen."

    "The Blood of your Fellow Subjects"

    In the spring of 1776, sentiment among the British towards the colonies' actions varies widely, with some members of Parliament still supporting colonial arguments. Even among the British regulars, there is some dissent. Anonymous authors are employed once more to bring their message through letter and broadside to British soldiers, encouraging them to desert to the American forces, camped just a mile away behind the fortifications on Prospect Hill in Cambridge, in full view of the British troops on Bunker's Hill.

    Questions to Consider

    1. What side does the "old soldier" support? Why is it important that it is an "old soldier" speaking?

    2. What is the connotation of 'Prospect Hill' as opposed to 'Bunker's Hill?' Do the names make a difference to your emotional reaction?

    3. What are the different ways of appealing to the English soldiers? Which do you find more effective? Why combine them?

    4. What examples from history does the "old soldier" use in his argument? What point is he trying to make?

    5. If you were to try to convince someone you knew not to join the Army, what arguments would you make?

    Further Exploration

    6. Find out the penalty for deserting the British Army in 1776. Given the temptations offered, would you take the chance and switch sides? Why or why not?