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Rebels of the Revolution

During the American Revolution, the colonies were divided between patriots and Loyalists. Many of the Loyalists were those whose livelihoods depended on the trade with the British Empire. Loyalists and those thought to be loyalists faced harsh persecution by their patriot counterparts for their loyalty to the crown.The goal of this unit is for students to understand the basic beliefs of Loyalists, the central issue that caused such harsh treatment of taxation without representation, and the patriots’ treatment to Loyalists. Through the various accounts and depictions of Loyalists during the American Revolution students will understand the perspective of American Loyalists and their perspective of loyalty to the British government is similar to our loyalty to our own government today.


18th century

Colonial period

American Revolution



Big Ideas

Historical Context

US History

Essential Questions

How can the story of another American, past or present, influence your life?

What role do multiple causations play in describing a historic event?

What role does analysis have in historical construction?

End of Unit Assessment

Each lesson will have its own Assessment:

Liberty and Loyalists

To wrap-up the lesson, students create a short essay responding to Joseph Galloway’s Remarks upon a Union explaining:

  • Do you support Joseph Galloway's viewpoint that the America should unify with the British Empire? Why or why not?

  • During the American Revolution, why would Joseph Galloway's viewpoints be denounced by colonial patriots? Why would his viewpoints be viewed favorably to colonial loyalists?

Unfair Taxes and Loyalties

Have students choose either a Loyalist or patriot perspective, and create a poem describing their viewpoint on the Taxation Acts and a solution to "taxation without representation."

Treatment to those Loyal

Using a compare and contrast Venn Diagram, students will indicate what are the similarities and differences of how revolutionaries viewed and treated the authors and Benedict Arnold from the primary source documents in the lesson of Treatment to those Loyal.


Plans in this Unit

Is it Liberty to be Loyalist?

Unfair Taxes and Loyalties

Treatment to Those Loyal

Grade Level

Middle School

Standards/Eligible Content

Standard - 5.3.5.G

Standard - 8.3.7.B

Standard - CC.8.5.6-8.B

Standard - CC.8.5.6-8.F

Standard - CC.8.5.6-8.G

About the Author

This lesson was created by Brandon Rothenberger, Education Intern, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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