Youth During The American Revolution

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Youth During the American RevolutionOverviewIn this series of activities, students will explore the experiences of children and teenagers during the AmericanRevolution. Through an examination of primary sources such as newspaper articles, broadsides, diaries, letters,and poetry, students will discover how children, who lived during the Revolutionary War period, processed,witnessed, and even participated in the political events that established the new nation. Teachers can pickfrom the activities included, choosing to implement one, several, or all based on each classrooms timelimitations and instructional goals. Activities include: Warm Up: Children & the Revolutionary War (this activity can be completed as a warm up to anycombination of the activities included below) .page 2 Child Protesters and First Casualty of the American Revolutionary War: Crispus Attucks or ChristopherSeider? .pages 3-4 Children as Soldiers and Spies: Andrew Jackson & Emily Geiger .pages 5-6 Child Witnesses to the War: Anna Green Winslow (Diarist) & Phillis Wheatley (Enslaved Child Poet) .pages 7-9Grades8 Essential Questions What were children’s experiences during the American Revolution? How did youth express their political opinions and voices during this period? How did young people contribute to the American Revolution? Who was Christopher Seider? Why is he an important figure in the American Revolution? Who was Anna Green Winslow? How did her writing reflect the divide between Loyalists and Patriots? Who was Phillis Wheatley? How did her writing reflect the time period?Materials Accompanying Power Point, available in the Database of K-12 Resourceso To view this PDF as a projectable presentation, save the file, click “View” in the top menu bar ofthe file, and select “Full Screen Mode”o To request an editable PPT version of this presentation, send a request to [email protected] Boston Non-Importation Agreement handout, attached “First Martyr”: The Shooting of Christopher Seider,” attached and available on pages 5-6 here “The Remains of young Snider, the unfortunate Boy who was barbarously Murdered the 22d of Februarylast,” attached and available here “A Monumental inscription on the fifth of March: Together with a few lines on the enlargement ofEbenezer Richardson, convicted of murder,”attached and available here Podcast on Andrew Jackson volunteering to serve in the army as a ner-of-war/ 3:25 video on “Camp Followers: Wives, Children and Sweethearts of Soldiers” dTy4ZS9BNUE Anna Green Winslow diary entries and editor’s notes (handout attached) Phillis Wheatley’s “To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty,” (handout attached) Phillis Wheatley’s “On the Death of Mr. Snider Murder’d by Richardson” (handout attached) Phillis Wheatley’s “To His Excellency, George Washington” (handout attached)1

DurationVaries depending which activities teachers choose to implementActivites ProceduresWarm Up: Children and the Revolutionary War1. As a warm-up, tell students that we’re going to explore what life was like for children who lived during theRevolutionary War period. Begin by projecting slide 2 (an image of children from the period) and askstudents to discuss briefly in partners: Describe what you see in the picture. Point out details.o Who is in the picture?o Where are they?o What objects do you notice?o What are the people doing? Imagine what life was like for children during the American Revolutionary War period. Do you thinkchildren were aware of the political turmoil that characterized life in the budding nation? Why or whynot? How do you think children and teens responded or reacted to the charged political events of the day?2. After giving students a few minutes to discuss these questions with their partners, debrief as a class thenlet students they are going to further consider this issue in a “physical” discussion. Let them know that youwill read a statement and that they will express whether they agree, disagree or are undecided by movingto a particular side of the room (or the middle for those who are unsure.) Review expectations forrespectful movement and discussion, then read the statement:“Children played important roles in the American Revolution.”3. Once students have picked a side, depending on the size, have students bunch up into further groups of 45 if needed. Each group should pick a scribe/recorder and a spokesperson. Agree Groups: Instruct students who agree to brainstorm examples of how children and teens mayhave participated in, supported, or opposed the revolutionary war. The scribe should write the group’sthoughts on chart paper. Disagree Groups: Instruct students who believe children played little to no role, to outline theirreasons. It may help to ask them, “What factors or circumstances may have prevented children fromplaying an active role?” The scribe should write the group’s thoughts on chart paper. Undecided Groups: For those in the middle, ask them to brainstorm answers to these questions: Whymight children have been effective or ineffective participants, supporters, and/or opponents? Whatcould have been the advantages and disadvantages to young people’s participation/action? The scribeshould write the group’s thoughts on chart paper.4. After around 5 minutes of group brainstorming, move to the presentation stage. Re-read the statement:“Children played important roles in the American Revolution.” Give each spokesperson time to presenttheir group’s ideas/reasons. Start with the Agree Groups, move to the Disagree Groups, and end withthose Undecided. As groups on the same side share, if time is tight teachers can ask that the nextpresenting group only share ideas not yet presented.2

Child Protesters &First Casualty of the American Revolutionary War:Crispus Attucks or Christopher Seider?7. Next, tell students that today’s lessons will be about exploring people their very own age during theAmerican Revolution. Perhaps the lesson will change their stance on the role of young people, or perhapsit will reconfirm what they are already thinking. Transition by projecting slide 3 (an image of CrispusAttucks) and ask if any students can identify who is pictured. If no one responds correctly, let them know itis Crispus Attucks.8. Next, show slide 4 (an image of Paul Revere’s painting of the Boston Massacre) and ask students again tocomment on what they see. Have they seen this painting before? What do they think is taking place? Whodo they think is pictured? etc. Let students know that the man being killed in the image is Crispus Attucks,a formerly enslaved man of African and Native ancestry, and the first person killed in the Boston Massacre,which took place on March 5, 1770. While Attucks is often cited as being the first casualty of the AmericanRevolution, according to historical records, the first casualty may have actually been a young child namedChristopher Seider.9. Project slide 5 (an image of Christopher Seider’s murder), again asking for students to make observations.What do they see/first notice? What do they think is taking place/being pictured?10. Tell students that the image depicts the murder of 11-year-old Christopher Seider (sometimes misspelledas “Snider” in historical records), who was a servant and the son of poor German immigrants. Seider joineda group of teenage boys to protest a local shopkeeper, Theophilus Lillie, who had refused to stopimporting and selling British products. Explain to students that this protest took place after the Stamp Acthad been repealed in 1766, and after the Townshend Acts took effect in 1767. Remind students that theTownshend Acts were a group of laws that the British Parliament implemented which forced colonists topay duties (i.e. taxes) on British goods. These goods included commonly used items such paper, tea, paint,and glass. Many colonists saw the tax as a blatant act of political aggression on part of the British Crownand an injustice—a clear example of taxation without representation. As a result, tensions mounted,particularly in the Massachusetts colony. Colonists who identified as Patriots expressed their opposition tothe Townshend Acts by organizing protests and boycotts against local merchants (like Lillie) who continuedto sell British imports. Let students know that Seider’s death, then, is directly related to political turmoilfollowing the Boston Non-Importation Agreement of 1768, in which local merchants waged a publiccampaign to boycott British imports.Class Primary Source Evaluation & Discussion11. Project slide 6 (an image of the original Boston non-importation agreement). Distribute the attachedhandout of the full text transcription. Have a few students volunteer to read the agreement to the class,then discuss: What kinds of financial problems are the colonists experiencing? (little money, poor cod fishingindustry, heavy taxes, etc.) Who are “the subscribers?” (Boston merchants and traders) Why would they agree to boycott some imported items and not others (such as salt, coals, fish hooks,etc.)? In your opinion, would a partial boycott still be effective? (Answers will vary.) How would you have responded to this agreement? Do you think this agreement would havewidespread support? Why or why not? (Answers will vary.)12. Next, project slide 7, a broadside that identifies a merchant who violated the agreement. The notice alsourges the public to demonstrate their support by boycotting his shop. (Another version of the documentcan be accessed here: Discuss: What is the purpose of the broadside? Do you think this kind of “publicity” would help or hurt the Patriots’ cause? Why?3

How might shopkeepers and merchants react if they were identified in this kind of public notice?How would you respond if you saw the owners of your favorite shop on this list?13. Now that students have some context, return to Seider’s story. Tell students that on Feb. 22, 1770, Seiderjoined a protest outside Little’s shop. Ebenezer Richardson, a Loyalist and customs officer who was widelyknown be a British informant, tried to break up the crowd. He also attempted to remove an object (eithera sign or a wooden head with images of importers) that protesters had placed in front Lillie’s store; thepurpose of the object was to call out Lillie as an importer and shame the merchant, as well as thecustomers who continued to patronize his shop. When Richardson tried to squash the protest, the boysbegan to throw rocks at him. Richardson fled to his house, and the boys continued to throw rocks atRichardson and his home. Once inside, Richardson drew his gun, pointed it out of a window and fired intothe crowd of young protesters, wounding one young protester (Samuel Gore) and killing Seider. [Note:Historian Emmy E. Werner writes that Seider “would [then] be among he first casualties of the AmericanRevolution” (In Pursuit of Liberty: Coming of Age in the American Revolution 4).]14. Ask students, “How do you think colonists reacted to Seider’s death?” Elicit a few responses from students.Then tell students they will examine a few primary documents to gauge the public’s response to theincident.Partner Activity: “First Martyr”15. Distribute copies of the attached, “First Martyr: The Shooting of Christopher Seider.” The document isavailable on page 5 of this link and also attached. Tell students to read the document individually, thendiscuss: What kind of document is this? (an article published in The Boston Gazette) What is your firstimpression of the document/what do you first notice? What’s the tone of the article? Can you tell the writer’s political standpoint? Is the writer a Loyalist or aPatriot? What words or phrases point to the writer’s political affiliation or beliefs? (e.g. Articledescribes Lillie as an “IMPORTER,” underscoring his active opposition to the Boston Non-importationAgreement) In the first paragraph, how does the writer describe Seider’s death? (a “barbarous murder”) How does the writer describe Richardson? (as an “INFORMER”) What does the writer mean by saying Richardson was “a Person of a most abandon’d Character”? (Hehas no integrity. His character has left him.) How does the article describe Seider? (He is “ young Lad of about eleven Years “innocent Lad” and a“Victim to the Cruelty and Rage of Oppressors!”) What does the writer think will happen as a result of Seider’s death? (He suggests there will be furtherviolence, in retaliation for Seider’s murder: “Surely if Justice had not been driven from its Seat, speedyVengeance awaits his Murderers and their Accomplices For whoso sheddeth, or procureth theshedding of Man’s Blood, BY MAN SHALL HIS BLOOD E SHED .”) Based on this primary source, who does the writer expect will attend Seider’s funeral? (“the Friends ofLiberty”)16. Next, distribute the attached handout, an article published in The Boston Gazette, and the County Journal,Number 778, 5 March 1770. Discuss the accompanying questions and point out that more than 2000people attended Seider’s funeral, including an estimated 500 young people, who marched behind thecoffin. (Source)17. To close, ask students: Based on the article and the inscription published two years later, what effect didSeider’s death have on the Revolution?Optional Online Resource: This is a short (roughly 6-minute) video re-enactment of Christopher Seider’sdeath: SVAr3M9CVhY4

Children as Soldiers and Spies18. Let students know that while children like Christopher Seider participated in protests and boycotts, othersplayed active roles in different ways. Project slide 9 (an image of “The Brave Boy of Waxhaws”) and askstudents to again critically examine what they see. What do you see? Who is in the picture/who do you think these people are? Where do you think they are? What objects do you notice? Look at each person’s b