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Unit 5 Plan: New Hampshire and the American Revolution

Unit Summary

In the “New Hampshire and the American Revolution” unit, students and educators explore the history of the struggle for freedom from Great Britain as it affected New Hampshire. While it is true there were no Revolutionary War battles fought on New Hampshire soil, the people of the state were deeply committed to the fight for independence. The unit focuses on the issues behind the struggle for freedom, addressing the local reasons for supporting independence and how people in New Hampshire participated in the war. Focusing on primary sources and objects from the time period as well as the various perspectives of the people in the state, the unit provides a unique lens on the American Revolution as seen from New Hampshire.

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The Big Picture

The American Revolution began as a political protest against British rule, but Americans eventually rebelled against Britain altogether, prompting a war between the two sides. New Hampshire, like the other 12 American colonies, moved toward independence gradually but participated fully in the war to establish America as its own country. There are several important points to bear in mind when tracing New Hampshire’s journey from loyal colony to independent state:

  • In need of more revenue to support its expanding empire, the British government began to play a more active role in governing its American colonies in the early 1760s, which included a more aggressive program of colonial taxation.

  • Americans protested increased British involvement through nonviolent means (petitions, boycotts), although these protests sometimes got out of control and became violent (riots, burning effigies). Throughout the late 1760s and early 1770s, the British government waffled between attempting to appease the colonists and trying to enforce its edicts with more strenuous measures. Many of these conflicts between the British and the Americans were centered in Boston.

  • In New Hampshire, tension with British rule manifested itself in three areas: increased support for the patriot movement in Boston; dissatisfaction with the Wentworth family, which had dominated New Hampshire politics for generations and was closely associated with British rule; and frustration with the British government’s monopoly on white pine trees in New Hampshire, which were used to support the British navy.

  • In the early months of the revolution, New Hampshire patriots seized Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth Harbor from the British, forced royalist Governor John Wentworth to flee the colony, and wrote the first state constitution, thereby declaring New Hampshire’s independence from Great Britain six months before the Declaration of Independence.

  • Although no battles were fought in New Hampshire, soldiers from the state participated in nearly every major action of the conflict, most notably the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Battle of Bennington. In both engagements, New Hampshire troops were led by the state’s most well-known revolutionary military leader, John Stark. Also during the revolution, New Hampshire solidified its position as one of the premier shipbuilding centers in America.

  • Not everyone in New Hampshire supported the patriot cause. Approximately one-third of the population were loyalists and one-third were neutral in the conflict. The American Revolution was also an opportunity for marginalized groups like New Hampshire’s small slave population to petition for their freedom, although their arguments fell on deaf ears at the state legislature.


The defining event in American history, the American Revolution, can be divided into two distinct periods:

1) The years leading up to the war (1763 to 1776), when increasing political tension between the British Crown and the American people sparked a series of events that eventually convinced the colonists to declare their independence from Great Britain, causing a political revolution.

2) The years of the war itself (1775 to 1783), when American and British military forces fought one another for control of the continent. This period is generally known as the American Revolutionary War, or a military revolution.


The end of the French and Indian War in 1763 saw a major shift in the relationship between Britain and its American colonies. The war had been expensive, and the British Crown found itself deeply in debt at the war’s end, even though Britain won the conflict. British officials decided that the American colonists should contribute more toward the war’s expenses and help pay for any additional expenses involved in colonial defense going forward.

Britain’s victory in the war also removed or decreased two major threats to the American colonies. As part of the peace negotiations, France had given up its claim to Canada, which meant that a hostile European power no longer dominated a large portion of the North American continent (Spain’s holdings in the southeast, mainly Florida, were small). In addition, during the 17th and 18th centuries the French had consistently been allies of the Native Americans in the northeast and encouraged the Native Americans to challenge American settlement in the 13 colonies. Without the French to support them after 1763 Native Americans adopted a more conciliatory attitude, particularly in New England and New York. With colonists firmly in control of the eastern seaboard at the war’s end, the presence of the British Army in America no longer seemed as important to maintaining peace and safety on the continent.

British Governance in America

In what ways did the British Crown begin to treat the American colonies differently after 1763?

Since the earliest English settlements, the Crown had exercised little oversight in its expanding American empire. Each colony developed with only cursory interference from British officials. In some cases, colonial governors even ignored British laws they thought too difficult or unpopular to enforce without the British government even noticing. This hands-off approach to governing has been called “salutary neglect.”

The French and Indian War, however, made British officials realize just how much opportunity and wealth existed in America. After 1763, the Crown determined that Britain should benefit financially from a better, more mindful system of governance in the colonies and enacted a series of administrative reforms.

Chief among them was tighter enforcement of the Navigation Acts, which were customs regulations (e.g., rules and procedures that taxed items Americans imported from overseas). Due to lax customs enforcement in the past, many Americans had become used to smuggling goods, which were brought into the country illegally and without any taxes. When, in the mid-1760s, the Crown’s customs officers became more aggressive about enforcing existing tax regulations, Americans found it increasingly difficult to continue smuggling the goods they needed. Even though the British government had actually lowered taxes in some cases, the fact of having to pay custom duties at all meant Americans had to pay more for everyday items.

The American Response

How did Americans respond to this change?

Many Americans began to push back against British oversight, particularly in cities, where a large percentage of colonial leaders were merchants and were feeling the results of increased customs enforcement. The people of New England proved especially hostile to British interference, and nowhere was this hostility toward the Crown more pronounced than in Boston. Throughout the 1760s and early 1770s, Boston was at the center of most of the major disagreements between the British government and the American colonists, although people in the other New England colonies also voiced their unhappiness with the Crown. In New Hampshire most protests against the British government were held in Portsmouth. Well known for its smuggling in the 18th century, Portsmouth’s merchants were hard hit by the custom duties and loudly denounced the Crown’s efforts to enforce the Navigation Acts more stringently.

Tensions in America erupted over the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765. The act was similar to one already in place in Britain and required a stamp to be affixed—for a fee—to nearly every kind of paper, from legal documents and newspapers to playing cards. After the British Parliament ignored colonial petitions against the act and decided to go ahead with it anyway, the colonists took action and rioted in most of the major cities in America. Portsmouth, for example, had a series of riots beginning in mid-September 1765. In early 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, but events associated with the unfortunate legislation had established a pattern that would be repeated over the next decade. Ultimately the British Crown became convinced that its authority was being undermined in America, while the Americans became concerned that their rights as Englishmen were being ignored by a seemingly unresponsive government. The colonists, after all, did not have representatives in Parliament and instead relied on colonial officials to represent their views to the British government or wrote petitions to the British Parliament themselves. When their views were ignored by both Parliament and the Crown, colonists adopted the slogan, “no taxation without representation.”

Political Tension in New Hampshire

How was this tension between Britain and America evident in New Hampshire?

Americans were increasingly alarmed by what they saw as signs of British aggression across the continent. Compounding their fears were local tensions with the Crown that were specific to each colony. In New Hampshire, these tensions were focused in three areas:

1) New Hampshire’s proximity to Boston pulled the colony into Boston’s ongoing disagreements with the Crown. The merchants who lived in New Hampshire’s seacoast communities had numerous ties to their counterparts in Newburyport, Salem, and Boston. In the western part of the state, the settlers who had been pouring into the Merrimack River Valley since the 1740s originally came from Massachusetts, and many maintained extensive ties with the communities they had left behind. Just like today, New Hampshire was in essence part of the greater Boston area, and thus its people felt an inevitable sympathy for Boston’s ongoing disputes with the Crown.

2) The extended Wentworth family, which had been the dominant political force in New Hampshire since the 1730s, was undisputedly associated with the Crown. Those who did not ally themselves to the Wentworths found themselves shut out of the colony’s political hierarchy. The growing political tension between Britain and America offered opportunities to men outside of the Wentworths’ circle that had previously been denied them. Governor John Wentworth found himself increasingly stuck between his superiors in London and a growing patriot movement in New Hampshire that had had enough of the Wentworth family and its allies.

3) New Hampshire’s major export during the colonial era was the massive white pine trees, which the British navy used as ships’ masts. The trees were harvested throughout the colony, which is why so many communities today have a Mast Road or Mast Street. New Hampshire supplied more than 4,500 white pine trees during the colonial era, and the Crown claimed ownership of white pines even if they were on private land, which sparked much resentment among the colonists. It was a grievance that many colonists found intolerable, as these valuable and useful commodities were taken from their land without their consent. With most of New Hampshire unsettled before the 1760s, there were only minor conflicts between colonists and Crown officials over mast trees in this early period, especially as Crown officials tended to quietly ignore the law and let colonists use their trees without interference. But by the mid-1760s, much of New Hampshire was in the process of being settled, meaning more of the white pine trees were on private land, prompting more conflicts between colonists and Crown officials.

How did New Hampshire come to claim its independence from Great Britain?

Throughout the tumultuous events in Boston during the 1760s (the Stamp Act riots, the landing of British troops, and the Boston Massacre), the Wentworth faction managed to keep New Hampshire out of most of the disagreements with the Crown. For example, New Hampshire did not send delegates to the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 (a colonial representative body formed to protest the Stamp Act), nor did New Hampshire merchants join in the nonimportation agreements formed in other major American cities to protest the Townshend Act in the late 1760s.

But with each new conflict between the British Crown and the Americans, more and more people from New Hampshire became sympathetic to the patriot cause, and the Wentworth faction began to lose its hold on the government. By the early 1770s, New Hampshire’s colonial legislature had become overtly hostile to the Wentworth faction. The growth of communities in the Merrimack Valley, where the Wentworths held little sway, further decreased the faction’s power, and the colony began to see an increase in public disaffection with Crown authority. During the Stamp Act crisis, patriot supporters throughout America began organizing themselves into groups called the Sons of Liberty. Many towns throughout New Hampshire had their own chapters, which corresponded with one another and kept a vigilant eye on Crown officials in the colony.

Inevitably, there were more conflicts between the people and the Crown. One such was in 1772, when a number of farmers were caught with white pine trees at a sawmill in Goffstown and fined accordingly. Some of the farmers refused to pay and forced the royal officials to flee in the middle of the night from the inn they were staying at in nearby Weare. The episode became known as the Pine Tree Riot.

Shortly thereafter, the New Hampshire legislature formed a committee of correspondence, against the wishes of Governor John Wentworth, to maintain regular communication with the other colonies, a clear sign of increased coordination between the colonies. After the Crown closed the port of Boston in early 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party, patriot supporters in New Hampshire sent food and supplies to their counterparts in Massachusetts.

Then in December 1774 British authority and American resistance came close to violence in New Hampshire. Patriot leaders in Boston dispatched Paul Revere to Portsmouth with a message that two British ships were bound for Castle William and Mary, the fort that defended Portsmouth Harbor. The British aim was to re-enforce the small garrison of just five men and secure a large stash of gunpowder. This was Revere’s first midnight ride to warn patriot leaders, taken four months before Lexington and Concord.

In response to Revere’s warning, a crowd of 400 New Hampshire patriots stormed the fort, captured the garrison, and moved the gunpowder to a safe location before the British ships arrived. Wentworth was unable to stop the patriot uprising: local political leaders and the Portsmouth militia ignored his pleas and refused to intervene with the patriots’ assault on the fort. In fact, the crew of Wentworth’s personal boat even refused to row him out to the fort. When the British ships arrived, they seized the fort, but all the military stores had already been safely removed by the patriots. (The gunpowder was later used at the Battle of Bunker Hill.) In the end, no shots were fired at the capture of Fort William and Mary, and no one was injured, but the episode marked the beginning of the end of royal government in New Hampshire.

Wentworth and his allies had very little political power left by 1775. When he refused to convene the New Hampshire legislature, the patriots simply convened their own legislature, called the Provincial Congress, without the governor’s consent. The congress met in Exeter, as Portsmouth was considered too sympathetic to the Wentworths even at this late date. Exeter remained New Hampshire’s center of government throughout the revolution, and the Provincial Congress took over the governing of the colony, even before Wentworth and his family fled in June 1775 for the relative safety of Nova Scotia.

The Provincial Congress needed some sort of legal authority to govern, though, now that royal authority in the colony was at an end and the people were no longer subject to the Crown. After a series of sessions, the congress produced a written constitution for New Hampshire in January 1776 that laid out in just two pages a structure for New Hampshire’s government. Fearful of the power once wielded by the Wentworth faction, the delegates did not include an executive branch. All government at the state level came from the legislature. Although the state constitution did not specifically assert New Hampshire’s independence from Great Britain, its sovereignty was implicit. It was the first colony to make such a claim, even indirectly, and the first to adopt a written constitution.

Within weeks of the state constitution’s passage, New Hampshire’s delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia were urging their colleagues to do the same for all the colonies. When the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, three New Hampshirites signed the document: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, and Matthew Thornton. With the political revolution complete, New Hampshire—and the rest of the colonies—just had to win the war against Great Britain to secure their independence.

Fighting the British on the Field of Battle

What role did New Hampshire play in the Revolutionary War?

By the time the Continental Congress declared America’s independence from Great Britain in July 1776, the country had already been at war for well over a year.

New Hampshire was the only colony not to be attacked by the British or have a battle fought on its soil, although the threat of invasion was always hovering. That did not mean that New Hampshire men didn’t fight in the war, though. No official figures exist for the number of soldiers from New Hampshire, but historians estimate that 10,000–15,000 men from the state served with the Continental Army or the militia during the war. New Hampshire soldiers participated in every major battle of the conflict, serving up and down the eastern seaboard under New Hampshire leaders like John Sullivan and John Stark.

This high level of participation was most evident in the early days of the war, when the Americans openly challenged British authority in nearby Massachusetts. On April 19, 1775, word that fighting had broken out between colonists and the British Army spread quickly throughout New England even as the Battles of Lexington and Concord raged. Patriot riders traveled from town to town throughout the region, spreading the news that the British had opened fire on the colonists and the colonists were fighting back. As people gathered on town commons in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, men grabbed their weapons and set off on foot for Concord and Lexington to join the fight. Word of the battle reached the towns of southern New Hampshire on the afternoon of April 19, just hours after the British had fired on colonists in Massachusetts, and by the next day the news had reached virtually all of the settled areas of the colony. Over the next several days, more than 10,000 men from New Hampshire journeyed to Massachusetts. The battle was essentially over by the time they arrived, but many remained in the area, forming the basis of what became the American army.

Over the next two months, each New England colony reorganized its militia and sent soldiers to the outskirts of Boston. When the next conflict with the British Army occurred on June 17, 1775, it was in nearby Charlestown, Massachusetts, on a pair of hills known as Breed’s Hill and Bunker Hill. New Hampshire had nearly 1,000 men in the battle under the command of General John Stark. Not only did the New Hampshire troops hold a critical position in the American line but they also comprised about two-thirds of the total American force. As the British Army landed wave after wave of troops, Stark urged his men to hold their fire until the British were just 50 yards away. The Americans were too short on ammunition to waste it. The New Hampshire men eventually fell back after the third assault, mainly because they were out of bullets and gunpowder. A similar fate befell the rest of the American forces, but they inflicted such enormous losses on the British troops that one British general later stated that another such victory would cost them the war.

The other major battle of the war that saw a large concentration of New Hampshire soldiers was the Battle of Bennington in August 1777. That summer, the British had launched a major offensive campaign from Canada that skirted Lake Champlain and pushed down the Hudson River Valley. The British plan was to cut New England off from the rest of the colonies by marching from Canada through New York. As the British swept south, New Hampshire and Vermont troops amassed in the town of Bennington, Vermont. The main British force was further west, but the British Army sent a smaller force toward Bennington to gather supplies and food. Under Stark’s command, the Americans beat the British force decisively, capturing, killing, or wounding nearly the entire British contingent of close to 1,000 men. The American victory at Bennington weakened the larger British effort, contributing to the more significant British loss at the Battle of Saratoga two months later, which is widely considered the turning point of the war. Stark and his New Hampshire troops participated in that victory as well.

New Hampshire also made a substantial contribution to the war at sea. With its deep-water harbor, Portsmouth had long been one of the busiest shipbuilding centers in America. Portsmouth produced dozens of ships for privateering—the fleet of private ship owners who sailed as pseudo-official American ships raiding British merchant ships in the Atlantic during the war. The shipyards of Portsmouth also produced the first ship of the newly created Continental Navy, the Raleigh.

New Hampshire on the Home Front

How did the war impact the people of New Hampshire who didn’t fight in the military?

The most immediate impact of the American Revolution on the people living in the colony was a shift in government. When the governor fled and royal authority collapsed in the summer of 1775, New Hampshire’s Provincial Congress filled some of the void for governance. The congress established a Committee of Safety in 1775 to manage a broad range of war-related functions, from gathering supplies for the soldiers to ensuring that people supported the war effort in word and deed. Each town also created a committee of safety to work at the local level. These local committees of safety worked in conjunction with towns’ traditional governance structure (i.e., the Board of Selectmen). In fact, New Hampshire stayed true to form during the war years and relied heavily on the towns to conduct the business of the war.

And there was much business to be done. New Hampshire, like all the rebelling colonies, was required to supply men, munitions, food, and equipment for the soldiers. Such requirements placed considerable strain on the home front, particularly farmers. Fathers and sons might be serving in the military, while wives and daughters worked the land and tried to produce crops of wheat, barley, and corn from New Hampshire’s rocky, unproductive soil. Farming, which has never been an easy occupation in New Hampshire, proved more difficult than ever with so many of the men away serving in the military.

Support for American independence was not universal, although there seemed to have been more revolutionary fervor in New Hampshire than in some of the other colonies. Traditionally, historians estimate that roughly one-third of the American population actively supported independence from Great Britain, one-third actively opposed it, and the remaining one-third was more or less neutral on the issue. In New Hampshire it seems the percentage that was neutral or undecided was likely larger than one-third, while the number of loyalists seems to have been substantially less than one-third. Loyalist sentiment was concentrated along the seacoast, which was where the Wentworths had their power base, with a small group of loyalists in Cheshire County. The rest of New Hampshire was either neutral or, in the case of the Merrimack Valley, deeply committed to the revolutionary cause. Only a small percentage of loyalists felt compelled to leave New Hampshire. Most of them made their peace with the patriots and were allowed to remain as long as they kept their opinions to themselves, although there were occasional outbreaks of violence between loyalists and patriot mobs.

New Hampshire’s black communities generally supported the patriots. Many, whether free or enslaved, fought with the patriots, while others remained at home with their duties. But the patriots’ fight for freedom raised questions about blacks’ own status in America. Could colonial leaders argue against their own “enslavement” by the British while keeping black slaves themselves? Apparently they could because after the war, even in the northern states, slavery continued to exist well into the next century.

During the revolution, there were signs of discontent among New Hampshire’s black communities in the form of a petition from 20 Portsmouth enslaved people. There were very few people enslaved in the state, roughly 600 out of a total population of 75,000, but their status still represented a contradiction when Americans were in the midst of a war for freedom. In 1779, these 20 enslaved people presented their petition to the Provincial Congress. Ironically, one of the signatories to the petition was a man named Prince Whipple, whose owner William Whipple had been one of New Hampshire’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. The petition of the enslaved people, written by an enslaved man named Nero Brewster to mirror the Declaration of Independence, put forth a convincing philosophical argument against African slavery, but it fell on deaf ears. The Provincial Congress tabled it without taking any action. It was not until 2013 that New Hampshire finally acted on the petition and freed the enslaved people, posthumously, who had signed the petition. Although many state legislatures received petitions from enslaved people during the war, the petition produced by Nero Brewster was remarkably well written and well argued, illustrating his familiarity with 18th-century ideas regarding natural law and inalienable rights.

By war’s end, New Hampshire stood poised to enjoy a period of growth and prosperity. Although the state had participated fully in the American Revolution, it had not suffered as much as other states, either in the number of men lost or the amount of damage inflicted on its towns or cities. The state government was deeply in debt, though, just as all the other states were, and the lack of effective government at a national level would bring some uncertainty and instability in the 1780s. But New Hampshire’s population was growing at an almost unprecedented rate in these years, and the development of the state’s interior brought with it the promise of opportunity in the years to come.

Focus Questions for This Unit

Lessons in this unit are geared towards students answering the unit focus questions comprehensively through a variety of methods. This unit’s focus questions are:
  • 1
    Why did people in New Hampshire want to become independent from Great Britain?
  • 2
    How did different voices shape the American Revolution in New Hampshire?
  • 3
    How did the people of New Hampshire participate in the American Revolution?

Essential Questions for This Unit

Essential questions are designed to be answered repeatedly throughout the entire curriculum. This unit particularly addresses all four of the curriculum’s essential questions:
  • 1
    How has New Hampshire come to be the way it is?
  • 2
    How has New Hampshire been shaped by many voices?
  • 3
    How have New Hampshire’s people shaped its government?
  • 4
    How has New Hampshire impacted the nation?

In the “New Hampshire and the American Revolution” unit, three lessons examine the beginning of the revolution by looking at why it started and who declared independence. Two additional lessons focus on the perspectives of people in New Hampshire about the revolution and how they then participated in it. Finally, in the summative assessment lesson students use unit knowledge to construct in groups the front page of an 18th-century newspaper about the revolution.

Lesson Plan 1: Why Did We Have a Revolution?

Students define the word “revolution” using primary sources and an explainer video, then use non-fiction and mapping skills to decide how one of three events in New Hampshire meets their definition.

Lesson Plan 2: Revolutionary Taxes

Students participate in a classroom simulation about taxes before writing a dialogue explaining to the king why the colonists were so upset about taxes.

Lesson Plan 3: Who Declared Independence?

After comparing the words “petition” and “declaration,” students investigate groups in the colonies who worked for independence.

Lesson Plan 4: Divided New Hampshire

Students engage with varying perspectives about the revolution through journal entries and letters written by historic figures, then reflect personally about when they felt part of the majority or minority.

Lesson Plan 5: Who Took Part in the Revolution?

After practicing using evidence and reasoning to support claims, students move through stations to find evidence for their mind maps about how people in New Hampshire participated in the revolution.

Summative Assessment: Revolutionary News

Students look at the front pages of 18th-century newspapers and use unit knowledge in order to construct their own front pages of newspapers about the revolution.

Please note that a printable vocabulary list with definitions is accessible to students in the Learn It! section of this unit.

Vocabulary in This Unit


(noun) A document that explains a new rule or decision made by a government

American Revolution

(noun) From 1763 to 1783 when the 13 American colonies were increasingly unhappy with British control and then fought a war for their independence


(noun) The country, also known as England or Great Britain, that governed the original 13 colonies


(noun) A person living in an area governed by another, often distant, country


(noun) An area governed by another, often distant, country


(noun) A group of people who make decisions and plans about a specific topic or issue

committee of correspondence

(noun) During the American Revolution, a patriot group in each colony that exchanged letters with other colonies about what the British were doing

committee of safety

(noun) A group formed in each town during the American Revolution to organize the townspeople so they could support the war effort


(noun) To agree


(noun) The document that lays out the framework for how the federal government works; written in 1787 and ratified in 1789


(noun) A document laying out the rules for how a government will work

Continental Army

(noun) The army created by the Continental Congress to fight for the patriot cause during the American Revolution. It was made up of soldiers from all 13 colonies.

Continental Congress

(noun) A group of leaders from the original 13 colonies who met to decide how and when to declare and fight for the colonies’ independence from Britain and how to govern the colonies during the American Revolution


(noun) An official announcement, spoken or written

Declaration of Independence

(noun) The document that said the 13 colonies would be free of Great Britain's control; it was adopted in 1776


(verb) The act of labeling a human being as property and forcing them to work for nothing

historical perspective

(noun) Understanding that people’s actions and beliefs are shaped by the time period in which they live

home front

(noun) People and areas of a country at war who are not involved in the military but whose activities support the war effort


(noun) When a country, person, or other organization is not controlled or ruled by anything else


(noun) A group of people chosen or elected to make the laws for a colony or state


(noun) A person who believed the colonies should remain part of Britain and ruled by the British


(noun) An organized group of people who are prepared to fight in support of a regular army


(noun) The nickname given to members of the colonial militias


(noun) A person who believed the colonies should become a country separate from Britain


(noun) A formal written request made to an official person or group


(noun) A statement or action that expresses disapproval of something

Provincial Congress

(noun) A type of legislature or governing body created in some of the 13 colonies, including New Hampshire, by individuals who wanted to be independent from Britain


(noun) A fight to take away power from a government or ruler


(verb) To take back


(noun) The person selected by a group of people who will communicate their views and make laws for them


(noun) Actions taken with the goal of making major changes in a government

Revolutionary War

(noun) The war between the 13 American colonies and Great Britain when the colonies fought for and won their independence; the war lasted from 1775 to 1783


(noun) A violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd


(adjective) Obvious, not needing explanation


(noun) When human beings are treated as property and made to work for nothing


(noun) An amount of money, added to the regular cost of an item, that goes to the government


(noun) Oppressive control by a government


(adjective) Unable to be taken away from a person

American Revolution Podcast
Hosted by Michael Troy
For Educators. These half-hour podcast episodes explore the American Revolution in chronological order. Companion blog offers additional resources.
Liberty! The American Revolution
For Students and Educators. The home site of the PBS series “Liberty! The American Revolution.” Has a timeline, biographies, games for students, and lesson resources for teachers.
Portsmouth Alarm December 1774
By Terri A. DeMitchell
For Students. A historical novel that tells the story of the raid on Fort William and Mary. The author created three fictious boys, around 12 years of age, to participate in the true-life viewpoints and actions of the raid. It is well-researched and written; the reading level is middle school.
American Revolution Lesson Plans & Activities
By American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
For Educators. Extensive lesson plans with primary and secondary sources about the American Revolution.
“New Hampshire in the American Revolution”
By the Society of the Cincinnati
For Educators. Pamphlet of the Society of the Cincinnati of an exhibit titled “New Hampshire in the American Revolution.” Contains extensive historical notes.
Six Revolutionary War Battlefields in New England
By the New England Historical Society
For Students and Educators. Listing and information for six revolutionary war battle sites in New England.
The Journal of William Thomas Emerson, a Revolutionary War Patriot (Dear America/My Name is America)
By Barry Dennenberg
For Students. As tensions escalate in the period before the Revolutionary War, a boy surrounded by political rumblings and violence becomes a spy for the rebel colonists.
Johnny Tremain: A Novel for Old and Young
By Esther Forbes.
For Students. After injuring his hand, a silversmith’s apprentice in Boston becomes a messenger for the Sons of Liberty in the days before the American Revolution.
The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777 (Dear America)
By Kristiana Gregory
For Students. During the winter of 1777–78, 11-year-old Abigail Jane Stewart witnesses George Washington readying his young soldiers for battle on the frozen fields of Valley Forge.
Guns for General Washington: A Story of the American Revolution
By Seymour Reit
For Students. Frustrated with life under siege in George Washington’s army, 19-year-old Will Knox and his brother Colonel Henry Knox undertake the task of moving 183 cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston in the dead of winter.
Mr. Revere and I
By Robert Lawson
For Students. An account of Paul Revere’s famous ride to Concord and Lexington as told by his horse, Sherry. Full of wit and wisdom, this beloved classic presents an unforgettable view to the birth of a nation-straight from the horse's mouth!