Social Studies - 2018-19

VUS.4c - The American Revolution

The student will apply social science skills to understand the issues and events leading to and during the Revolutionary Period by

c) explaining how conflicting loyalties created political differences among the colonists concerning separation from Great Britain;

Adopted: 2015


Unit Themes

Unit Essential Questions


How do systems, ideas, or beliefs change over time?

Constitutional Principles 

How does the US Constitution shape our lives as Americans?  


How does democracy shape the American experience?


The ideas of the Enlightenment and the perceived unfairness of British policies by some Americans provoked debate and resistance by the American colonists.


The road to revolution: Changes in British policy led to the American Revolution 

 Taxation policy: Parliament enacted several revenue-raising taxes to pay for the costs incurred from the French and Indian War and for British troops to protect the colonists throughout the 1760s and 1770s, including the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and the Townshend Acts. These acts were protested by some colonists through boycotts, intimidation, and violence. 

 Civil liberties: Some American colonists believed their civil liberties as Englishmen were violated by the British government through its use of writs of assistance and the Quartering Act. 

 Military maneuvers: Some American colonists believed the employment of the Quartering Act, martial law, and the closing of Boston Harbor were clear violations of their rights.

The beginning of the American Revolution Resistance to British rule in the colonies mounted, leading to war: 

 The Boston Massacre took place when British troops fired on anti-British demonstrators. 

 The Boston Tea Party, led by the Sons of Liberty, occurred. 

 The First Continental Congress was called, to which all of the colonies except Georgia sent representatives—the first time most of the colonies had acted together. 

 War began when the Minutemen in Massachusetts fought a brief skirmish with British troops at Lexington and Concord. 

 The Second Continental Congress was called, to which all colonies eventually sent representatives. 

 Members of the Continental Congress selected George Washington as commander in chief of the Continental Army and debated the issue of independence.

Differences among the colonists

The colonists were divided into three main groups during the Revolution: 

 Patriots

o Believed in complete independence from Britain

o Inspired by the ideas of Locke and Paine and the words of Virginian Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty, or give me death!”)

o Provided the troops for the American Army, led by Virginian George Washington 

 Loyalists (Tories)

o Remained loyal to Britain because of cultural and economic ties

o Believed that taxation of the colonies was justified to pay for British troops to protect European settlers from American Indian attacks 

 Neutrals

o The many colonists who tried to stay as uninvolved in the war as possible


Terms & EventsPeople



Natural Rights

Social Contract

Ordered Liberty


Common Sense

Declaration of Independence



French and Indian War

Stamp Act

Boston Tea Party

First Continental Congress

Boston Massacre

American Revolution

Treaty of Alliance with France

Battle of Yorktown

John Locke

Thomas Paine

Thomas Jefferson


Patrick Henry

George Washington

Proclamation of 1763

Lexington and Concord



Loyalists (Tories)


Ben Franklin

Updated: May 18, 2018