Causes of the American Revolution Lesson Plans

The causes of and events leading up to the American Revolution are integral to understanding the revolution as whole, including how it happened, why it happened, and why events unfolded the way they did during the revolution itself. Many of the most crucial developments occurred between the development of the British colonies and the start of the Revolutionary War, and it's important for students to have a good grasp of this background before they dive into the events of the revolution.

Student Activities for Causes of the American Revolution

Essential Questions for the Events Leading to the American Revolution

  1. How did the colonies serve Great Britain economically? In terms of global power?
  2. How was the French and Indian War a turning point in British control over the North American colonies? Why was it such a crucial moment in developing ideas of independence for the colonists?
  3. What major events and actions further separated colonists from their British counterparts, and served as catalysts for their eventual fight for independence?
  4. How did the signing of the Declaration of Independence serve as the final and undisputed statement of independence of the American colonies from Great Britain?

Background of the American Revolution

The thirteen colonies included New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. While colonists did not find an abundance of gold, other raw materials like furs, lumber, tobacco, and iron, allowed them to establish permanent settlements. Most settlements began as economic ventures or places of religious tolerance before evolving into something greater.

The North American colonies primarily served distinct, but similar functions. Great Britain, a small island country, did not have access to all of the resources available in the colonies. The different economic activities of each colonial region were crucial to the success and wealth of the British Empire.

Other nations, primarily France, also vied for economic control of the region. By fighting the French and Indian War (1754-1763), Britain at last gained full, undisputed control of North America’s eastern coast. The consequent dealings of the British with the colonists and a growing desire for self-governance served as seeds of revolution.

The American colonists begin to mount organized resistance to the British Empire in response to high taxation, violence, and oppression. Through boycotts, protest, and pure will, the colonists eventually found themselves completely at odds with Britain, deciding that the only course of action to declare full independence from their mother country. With the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the American colonists readied to defend themselves and their ideas in a difficult fight for freedom.

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