Why Liberty Matters: The American Revolution

Why Liberty Matters: The American Revolution

Liberty: Let’s look at how important liberty was to the Patriots.

Activity Time

For this activity, you will need a group of friends.

  • Grab an even amount and split up into two teams. You are going to play the game, Red Rover. If you do not know how to play, the rules will be placed below.
    Red Rover is a team game, so you will need at least three people on each team to play. The more people you can get to join your game of Red Rover, the more fun you will have.
  • Pick a captain for each team. The team captains can then flip a coin to determine who gets the first pick.
  • Divide the players into two equal teams. The captains can take turns picking players until everyone has a team.
  • Have each team stand in a straight line, holding hands. The teams will face each other, standing between six and ten yards apart. The further apart the teams are, the more distance players have to pick up speed before they reach the other team’s line. It’s a good idea to keep the distance between teams smaller for younger children to lower the chance of injuries.
  • Call a player over. The team that goes first decides who to “call over” from the other team. Once the team has decided, they sing, “Red Rover, Red Rover, will (name) come over!”
  • The player who was called runs across the space between teams and tries to break through the arms of two players.
  • If the player doesn’t get through the line, they join the opposing team. However, if they break through, they go back to their own team. They can take one of the players whose arms they broke through with them.
  • Continue playing until one team is down to one person.

As we learned from Liberty, the Hessians were German troops hired by the British to help them fight during the American Revolution. On the night George Washington and his Army crossed the Delaware River to make the surprise attack, the Hessian army was unprepared (You running through your friend’s hands unexpectedly trying to get through). Washington and his army captured around 1,000 Hessian soldiers. The captured soldiers were brought to Philadelphia to work as farmhands (breaking through your friend’s hands and taking them back to your team). There were many times that the Continental army tried to recruit the Hessian soldiers by offering them land to switch sides. The Germans were treated well during their time in Pennsylvania and eventually decided to become permanent settlers in America.

Communities from Europe and Africa moved to the original 13 colonies and created new communities there. Some of these people were there for religious reasons, others for financial and business reasons, and sadly, some were even there against their will.

As the colonies grew, Britain began to tax the colonists to obtain more money. The colonists needed faith in a new system of government. Let’s look at some of these taxes and the impact they had on the colonists’ faith.

From 1754-1763, England was involved in the French and Indian War, or what was known in Europe as the Seven Years’ War. This war was expensive, and England was in debt (or owed a lot of money) to other countries. As a result, King George III, the King of England, thought the colonists should help to pay off some of his debts. He began to add high taxes to the products the colonists were buying. Many taxes were placed on the colonists. One specific tax, the Stamp Act of 1765, taxed printed paper. This tax meant the purchase price for playing cards, newspapers, and written documents went up.

If you were a colonist, how would this tax impact you?

What items that you regularly buy today would be taxed under the Stamp Act of 1765?

While the colonists had set up representative governments in America, there was no one representing them in Britain. Because of this, there was no way to let King George III know how frustrated the colonists were. As a result, the colonists created the slogan “No taxation without representation,” which meant that England did not have the right to tax the colonies if the colonists had no say in what laws were being handed down from the King of England. King George III removed the tax in 1766 due to the outcry from colonists, but the experience unified the colonists around a similar cause. King George III did not want the colonists to think they had won, so one year later, he imposed the Townshend Act of 1767. This act taxed even more items, such as paint, paper, glass, lead, and tea.

If you were a colonist, how would this tax impact you?

What items that you usually buy today would be taxed under the Townshend Act of 1767?

The Boston Tea Party made the king even angrier. As punishment for the colonists, less than one year later, King George III imposed the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts.

These laws included ways to force the colonists to pay for the tea they had dumped into Boston Harbor. Furthermore, the king ordered Boston Harbor to be closed, and the colonists were now required to provide housing for the Redcoats.

How would you feel if you were forced to allow people you did not know to live in your house?

Do you think King George III’s new acts and taxes changed the colonists’ minds in their fight against him? Why or why not?

The colonists knew they had to continue to unite and fight back in order to preserve the freedoms and way of life they loved. In 1774, the colonists created the First Continental Congress. The First Continental Congress was a meeting of representatives from every colony except Georgia. They met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to discuss their next steps against England.