Your students step into the buckled shoes of Delegates at the Second Continental Congress! It is Summer of 1775. The Shot has been heard 'round the world. Henry Knox is pulling cannon towards Boston from recent victory at Fort Ticonderoga. Militiamen have put up a valiant fight at Breed's Hill against the Crown's superior forces. In Philadelphia, the Massachusetts delegates press hard for united action to defend the Colonies. However, many of the men at Independence Hall are still proud subjects of the British Empire. They seek reconciliation in the most peaceful way. . . .
In this lesson, students closely-read two documents send from Congress in July 1775. They seem contradictory. Even more, they are written by the same author! Students will evaluate the decision-making in Congress to seek peaceful reconciliation with Great Britain, while also preparing for an inevitable war.
They will read abridged versions of the Olive Branch Petition and the Declaration . . . Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms completing an extensive reading guide as they go, activating prior knowledge, evaluating argumentation, and interpreting meaning behind 18th century primary sources.
Following this close-read, students can turn what they learned into an essay. There are two options for essay writing available. Practice DBQ writing skills with an explanatory essay format, asking students to discuss the debate between war and peace; or challenge your students to develop an argument over the topic with the argumentative prompt. Each prompt includes editable directions, essay outlines, and grading rubrics.
In this engaging, critical-thinking lesson, you get:
- A to introduce students to the context and to the assignment. Slides include to help guide you along, along with external links to videos and extensions.
- A Guided Reading packet including both primary sources - Olive Branch Petition and the Declaration . . . Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms
- A to the primary sources!
- Two DBQ essay prompts - one explanatory and one argumentative - with essay outlines that break down the task paragraph by paragraph and for each. These are in Google Doc format so you can edit it specifically to your class needs!
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Looking for more lessons and activities on the American Revolution? Check out these resources from Teachers of Liberty: