American Revolution Primary Documents & Persuasive Writing Unit

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American Revolution Persuasive Writing Unit: Editorial Supporting Either the Patriots or the Loyalists

In this integrated unit, students read excerpts from Patriot and Loyalist primary sources in order to understand the arguments on both sides. Students analyze these arguments in order to decide which has the most convincing argument. Students then write a persuasive editorial supporting the side they chose. A persuasive writing mini-lesson is included so that teachers can extended the writing if desired.

The unit can be used as a summative assessment for the early Revolutionary War period, as well as a persuasive writing piece.

This unit integrates studying about the American Revolution into a lesson on analyzing primary sources and persuasive writing. This unit can be easily differentiated to meet the needs of their students (suggestions are included in the lesson plans).

This is a complete unit that includes everything needed.


If needed, this unit begins with a mini-lesson on Close Reading. If students are familiar with the close reading technique, the lesson can be skipped.

Students analyze primary sources featuring arguments from both Patriots and Loyalists. 6 documents are included (3 from each side). Students summarize the arguments on a note sheet. The documents used are:

  • The Rights of the Colonists
  • Speech to the New Jersey Legislature
  • Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death
  • Common Sense
  • The True Interest of America Impartially Stated
  • A Loyalists' Rebuttal to the Declaration of Independence

Students then analyze the arguments and sort them into categories on an anchor chart. Each student decides whether the Patriots or Loyalists have the most convincing argument, then uses the graphic organizers to write an editorial (persuasive essay) persuading readers to support the chosen side.

Other resources are included: student project checklist and editorial rubric.


Everything needed to publish an editorial is included - just print and go! This resource includes:

  • Suggested Lesson Plans, including suggested ways to differentiate activities
  • Suggested Standards Covered
  • Anchor Chart (printable pieces) for Close Reading
  • Student Anchor Chart Page for Close Reading
  • Project Direction Page
  • 6 Primary Source Analysis Activities
  • Patriots vs. Loyalists Notes Page
  • Persuasive Language Mini-Lesson
  • Anchor Chart (printable pieces) for Persuasive Techniques
  • Student Anchor Chart Page for Persuasive Techniques
  • Preplanning Page
  • Argumentative Writing Organizer
  • Peer Editing Checklist
  • Student Final Project Checklist
  • Editorial Rubric

The length this lesson takes will depend upon how long students take to plan and write their essays, as well as if teachers have students go through the writing process or just draft essays. I estimate 1 - 2 weeks of 45 minute sessions. This unit would work best after students have learned about the Patriots and Loyalists in a social studies lesson.

Teachers should adapt this project as needed to fit their grade level and student ability-levels.


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Total Pages
52 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.


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