This lesson includes an introduction to the independence debate in the form of a mock newspaper article from the Pennsylvania Chronicle outlining the necessary background information including the Stamp Act Congress, creation of the Committees of Correspondence, and the convening of the First Continental Congress.
Students are tasked with identifying the major arguments for and against independence and should prepare for a classroom debate by examining both sides (though the teacher will assign them the "for" or "against" position).
Included are excerpts from Common Sense, Patrick Henry's "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" speech, Chalmer's "Plain Truth", and John Dickinson's speech against independence. Other sources can be used as desired.
Allowing students to collaborate on arguments will encourage deeper analysis of the documents.
Facilitate a class debate, as if your students ARE the delegates to the Second Continental Congress, after they've been given time to prepare (depending on the length of your class periods either assign the reading/prep as homework, or give them half of a 90 minute class period to prepare, and debate with the remaining time).