Road to Independence

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Every year, people in America celebrate their Independence Day. Do you know when it is?

When do the Americans celebrate their indepedence? (!2nd June) (4th July) (!15th September) (!the 2nd Friday in November)

Great! On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed. But what happened between the colonization of America and their independence from Great Britain? Follow our road to independence to find out!


Lernpfad

Before you start this learning path, you should know about the settlement of America. If you need some revision, click here.

In this learning path, you will learn

  • about the main events leading up to the American Independence
  • about the Declaration of Independence


If there are any unknown words, use online dictionaries such as dict.cc
Note: This learning path is designed to use it in class. If you're doing it at home, just work through it and skip the partner tasks.




Steps on the Road to Independence


To get a first overview of the topic, watch either the video below or use this interactive map.

Aufgabe
Pay attention to the events named in the video or the events you can find in the map

oder: "A Brief History of America's Independence: Part I"



<popup name="Task"> Tick the correct boxes!

Which events were named in the video or in the map?

Battle of Lexington
Thanksgiving
Discovery of America
Stamp Act
Boston Tea Party
Battle of the Little Bighorn
French-Indian War
Founding the First Colony

</popup>
Very good! Now, having a rough idea, you will go into more detail concerning the events. Vorlage:ZUM-Wiki

French-Indian War
Conference between the French and Indian Leaders Around a Ceremonial Fire by Émile Louis Vernier

Research about the French and Indian War. In the end, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who fought against whom in the French and Indian War?
  • Why did the war happen in the first place?
  • What was the result of the war?
  • What was its meaning for the American independence?
  • Who was an important figure in this war?

Use the following sources to gain information. You can choose if you want to work on your listening skills by choosing the audio file or the video or if you want to work on your reading skills. Of course, you are allowed to use any other sources as well.

Now, you can choose if you want to take a quiz or do the cloze text.

Quiz Cloze text

Who fought against whom in the French-Indian War? (!French vs. Indians)(!Indians vs. British + French)(British + Indian tribes vs. French + Indian tribes)(!Spanish + Indian tribes vs. French)

Why did the war happen in the first place? (!The Indians wanted their land back.)(!The British raised taxes on the Indians.)(!The Spanish left America and France and Britain fought about the "new" land.)(The French expanded South and the British expanded West.)

What was the result of the war? (The British won and gained a significant part of North America's territory.) (!The French won and gained a significant part of North America's territory.) (!The Indians won and gained a significant part of North America's territory.) (!Nobody won and the territory was divided equally.)

What was its meaning for the American Independence? (!King George III and the British were defeated, so they left America and the colonies became independent.) (!The Indians declared their independence from the colonies.)(King George III had to pay the war debts, raised taxes on the colonies to get the money and the wish for independence grew.)

Who was an important figure in this war? (!Thomas Jefferson) (George Washington) (!Queen Elizabeth I.) (!Louis XIV.)



Stamp Act

Research about the Stamp Act. In the end, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Why did the Stamp Act happen?
  • What was the Stamp Act?
  • What was the colonists' reaction?
  • What was its meaning for the American Independence?

Use the following sources to gain information. You can choose if you want to work on your listening skills by choosing the audio file or the video or if you want to work on your reading skills. Of course, you are allowed to use any other sources as well.

Boston Tea Party

Research about the Boston Tea Party. In the end, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Why did the Boston Tea Party happen?
  • What happened?
  • What was its meaning for the American Independence?

Use the following sources to gain information. Of course, you can use other sources as well.

  • the text below

<popup name="Text">The Boston Tea Party occurred on December 16, 1773. It was one of the key events leading up to the American Revolution.

Was it a big, fun party with tea?
Not really. There was tea involved, but nobody was drinking it. The Boston Tea Party was a protest by a group of American Colonists, called “Sons of Liberty” against the British government. They staged the protest by boarding three trade ships in Boston Harbor and throwing the ships' cargo of tea overboard into the ocean. They threw 342 chests of tea into the water. Some of the colonists were disguised as Mohawk Indians, but the costumes didn't fool anyone. The British knew who had destroyed the tea.

Why did they do it?
At first, throwing tea into the ocean dressed as Mohawks might seem a bit silly, but the colonists had their reasons. Tea was a favorite drink among the British and the colonies. With the Townshend Acts (1767), the colonies had to pay a tax for tea which they didn't like. Tea also was a major source of income to the East India Trading company. This was a British company and with the Tea Act (1773) the East India Trading company could sell tea to America duty-free, so it was much cheaper than tea from other companies. This created a monopoly. The tax on tea together with this British interference of the American economy made the colonists angry. They asked that the tea be returned to England. When it wasn't, they decided to protest Britain's unfair taxes by throwing the tea into the ocean.

Was it planned?
It's unclear to historians if the protest was planned. There had been a big town meeting earlier that day led by Samuel Adams to discuss the tea taxes and how to fight them. However, no one is quite sure if Samuel Adams planned the destruction of the tea or if a bunch of people just got mad and went and did it unplanned. Samuel Adams did later say that it was the act of people defending their rights and not the act of an angry mob.

It was just tea, what's the big deal?
It actually was a lot of tea. The 342 containers totaled 90,000 pounds of tea! In today's money that would be around a million dollars in tea.

How did the British react?
They responded with the "Intolerable Acts". They led for example to the closure of Boston port so it was closed for any trade.

adopted from "Boston Tea Party" </popup>