Curriculum

The passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 outraged American colonists and fueled discontent with British rule that led to the outbreak of the American Revolution. Why was a rather small tax so fiercely resented? In this lesson,  students engage in key aspects of historical thinking as they explore this question.
[Lesson Plan and Original Documents updated on 9/29/14.]




Image: Stamp Act political cartoon published by William Bradford in 1765. From the Library of Congress.

Comments:

Used this lesson along with SOAPSTONE graphic organizer to analyze the documents. My students loved it because they were getting different perspectives and it was brought down to a language they could understand. I like that the lesson is flexible enough to add your own spin to it or follow it to a T.
I added a heavily scaffolded version essay assignment to this for 8th graders as well as an outline I was looking for. I'm copy/pasting it in here in case its helpful to anyone. Some of it is based on prior lessons, but most of it deals with the Stamp Act. The format was lost in the copy/pasting. Why were colonists upset about the Stamp Act?
 Answer: Evidence from text: “ “ Evidence-What? Who? Where? When? Corroborating evidence from text: “ “ Evidence-What? Who? Where? When? Was the Stamp Act an unreasonable and unfair tax? 
 Were the British violating colonists’ rights? - To answer these questions, you first need to answer, what did the colonists believe and why? Now, do you agree with the colonists? Why or why not How were the colonists behaving in response to the Stamp Act? Answer: Evidence from text: “ “ Evidence-What? Who? Where? When? Corroborating evidence from text: “ “ Evidence-What? Who? Where? When? 
 Some historians have argued that the American Revolution happened because a few rich leaders riled up all the poor people. Do these documents provide evidence for argument? Is that evidence believable? Answer: Evidence from text: “ “ Evidence-What? Who? Where? When? Is that evidence believable? Evaluate the evidence, using what you’ve been taught Essay out line A. Introduction 1. Start with explaining why the British passed the Stamp Act in the first place. Hint: Think of the results of the French and Indian War-we compared their debt to how much the British made a year. 2. Write this: Some historians have argued that the American Revolution happened because a few rich leaders riled up all the poor people. 3. Write your topic sentence where you either agree or disagree with the historians. Based on our lesson, there is only one right answer. B. Explanation as to why the colonists were really upset with the Stamp Act. 1. Topic sentence “The reason why colonists…” 2. Evidence “One example comes from… 3. Quote “It states, “…”” 4. Why they are believable “This source is reliable because…” C. More explanation as to why the colonists were really upset with the Stamp Act. 1. Topic sentience-Corroborating evidence “This is also corroborated by…” 2. Quote “It states, “…”” 3. Why they are believable “This source is reliable because…” D. Conclusion 1. Restate some historians claims(from your introduction) 2. Where they get their evidence “According to…” 3. Quote 4. Reliability-Look closely at who’s saying it 5. Summarize paper as a whole and state whether you believe the colonists rights were being violated and why
Great instruction on reading for source and possible bias/point of view.
I love this idea!
Great lesson! I work with a group that needs a lot of movement, so I am going to break up each document with an "acting" element after. I'm going to have one student act out the source, 2 or 3 act out how a Patriot would respond, and 2 or 3 how a Loyalist would respond. I love the historical thinking element and all of the guiding questions included in the lesson. Thank you! Will let you know how the acting piece turns out!
Thank you. The updated original documents look great.
Hi Kimberfb! We're happy to hear this lesson is useful for you. Thank you for pointing out that Document C was missing from the Original Documents. It's been updated and includes Document C.
This is a great lesson. I am doing it over two days, with one being on the broader context of mercantilism. One question: In these attachments, I don't see an original of Document C. Am I missing something?
The use of varying perspectives brings the conflict alive for my students. Great resource.
Great lesson, really hit all of the themes of reading like a historian that I am teaching my students.
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