As the Revolution grew, people quickly chose sides. Those on the side of the British, often called Loyalists or Tories, chose to stand behind King George III of England. Those who sided with the Colonies, usually referred to as Patriots, chose to stand with George Washington, who had been selected as the leader of the American Continental Army. So it was quite literally George vs. George! But the people in charge of the revolution, members of the Continental Congress, realized that they needed something to keep the morale of the people up. One way that they decided to do that was by having a new flag made, and American flag! According to the story, George Washington talked to a lady named Betsy Ross. Betsy was a seamstress, which means that she made clothes, and George asked her if she would make a flag for the colonies. And she did! It had 13 red and white stripes; white meant purity and red meant bravery. It also had 13 white stars on a blue square; the blue symbolized justice. And there were 13 to represent each of the 13 colonies! Below, you can color a picture of Betsy making the flag, or if you click here, you can make your own flag!
Betsy completed the flag in June of 1776, just in time for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence! If you remember our lesson on Thomas Jefferson, you will remember that he was the one who wrote the declaration, which was approved on July 4, 1776. But there were 56 people who signed it, which was basically an explanation as to why they were willing to go to war. One person in particular, John Hancock, was known for signing the Declaration. Not only did he sign it first, but he also had the largest signature on the document! Popular legend says that he signed it big so that King George could read it without his glasses and would know that John was part of the Revolution. Nowadays, sometimes the term John Hancock is even used to talk about your signature! Below, you can fill out some information on John, or perhaps you would like to write a Newspaper article about him and what it meant to have the Declaration of Independence!
There were many people involved in the Revolutionary War. Many of the people who helped America win the war became known as the Founding Fathers because of how much they did to help. Samuel Adams founded the Sons of Liberty. Ben Franklin asked the French to help the colonists (and drew a famous political cartoon!). Lafayette offered military advantages. Patrick Henry gave rousing speeches. Nathaniel Hale kept vital American secrets. There were so many people that helped the colonies to win the war! Do you think you can match some of those people below?
Another really important person was John Adams. Although John Adams was never quite as popular as some of the other Founding Fathers, he was just as much of a patriot. Indeed, Adams had a very impressive political career! He was a lawyer, a delegate to the First and the Second Continental Congress, a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, and an ambassador. He also served as George Washington’s Vice President before becoming the second President of the United States himself. His presidency had its ups and downs: he successfully kept the United States out of war with France, but he also passed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts.
John Adams made choices that were not always easy, but which he believed were right. For example, he was willing to legally represent the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre, because he believed in justice. He was also different from many of the other early American presidents, because Adams did not own slaves.
Adams’ true pride and joy was his family and farm in Massachusetts. He and his wife, Abigail, wrote a lot of letters to one another that were full of humor and love. One of Adams’ sons, John Quincy, became a successful ambassador and the sixth President of the United States. John Adams is often overlooked because he lacked George Washington’s stature, or Thomas Jefferson’s charisma. But Adams’ contributions, however quiet, helped guide the United States from a collection of British colonies to an independent republic. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the independence they both helped to achieve. Now that you can see why he was such an important part of the Revolution, can you solve the puzzle below? You can also color a picture of the second President of the United States that he helped to create!
Now that you know a lot of the people involved in the war, some of the battles of the war, why it was fought, and who won, do you think you could write about the American Revolution? This war was one of the most important times in American history, and it completely altered the path that America took in the world. It’s up to you to make sure that people know about it! So write something, and send it in to me! That way I can share it with the world!
I think we all deserve a reward for gaining lots of knowledge, don’t you? Well, why don’t you grab mom or dad and click here! There, you will find a recipe for some Revolutionary War cookies!
I hope you enjoyed learning about the Revolutionary War! Today’s lesson was helped out a lot by my good friend Cat, an avid John Adams scholar and American historian. Thanks, Cat! I hope you will all come back tomorrow so we can learn some more!