by Ray Raphael
British General Burgoyne (center left) surrenders to General Horatio Gates at Sa

On July 4, 1774, exactly two years before the United States declared independence, a patriotic club in Worcester, Massachusetts, decided that each member should have in the ready two pounds of gunpowder and twelve flints. With the Massachusetts Government Act, Parliament had just revoked key provisions of the colony’s provincial charter (like a constitution), and the people of Worcester vowed they were ready to fight to protect their political rights. Two months later 4,622 militiamen—half the adult population of this rural county—rode or walked for as many as fifty miles to gather along Worcester’s Main Street and shut down the governmental machinery at the local level. The show of force was so overwhelming that the British military commander in Boston did not dare send in his troops.More »

Featured Primary Sources

Declaration of Independence, Charleston, South Carolina, August 2, 1776. (Gilde

Declaration of Independence, 1776

Creator: Continental Congress Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Henry Knox, Order of march to Trenton, December 26, 1776 (Gilder Lehrman Collect

Henry Knox’s Order of March to Trenton, 1776

Creator: Henry Knox Curriculum Subjects: Geography, Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Map of Yorktown, Virginia, October 1781 (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Surrender of the British General Cornwallis to the Americans, October 19, 1781

Creator: Lord Cornwallis Curriculum Subjects: World History Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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Teaching Resources

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Divided Loyalties: How the American Revolution Came to New York

Speaker(s): Richard M. Ketchum Duration: 28 minutes 25 seconds

The Costs of the American Revolution

Speaker(s): Andrew Robertson Duration: 2 minutes 59 seconds

The Fight over Slavery in the Revolutionary Era

Speaker(s): Christopher Brown Duration: 58 minutes 34 seconds
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