Joseph, Linda C., Multimedia Schools
[Editor's note: URLs mentioned in this article appear in the chart that follows on page 30.]
April Morning by Howard Fast is on many core reading lists and addresses several of the standards in reading/language arts as well as social studies. My column this month focuses on Web resources that support the analysis of this piece of literature in the historical context of the American Revolution, specifically April 19, 1775. In addition, several references are listed for events leading to the war. There were no cameras present to record the clashes between the Colonists and British during the struggle for independence. Our historical record relies on the stories told through paintings, drawings, broadsides, newspapers, government documents, and eyewitness accounts. The details of a skirmish or battle depend on whose account you read and the person's interpretation. These quotes illustrate two opposing viewpoints at a time when most Colonists considered themselves to be British.
"The Colonies were acquired with no other view than to be a convenience to us, and therefore it can never be imagined that we are to consult their interest."
--The London Chronicle, 1764
"If our trade be taxed, why not our lands, or produce ... in short, everything we possess? They tax us without having legal representation."
--Samuel Adams, 1765
To understand what happened on April 19, 1775, the historical record needs to be studied and carefully analyzed. The following Web sites provide a vast array of resources that support this activity.
ROAD TO REVOLUTION
American Revolution (John Bull and Uncle Sam)
A series of illustrations accompanies a brief overview about the American Revolution in this special presentation at the Library of Congress. Some of the featured items include a 1-penny stamp required on newspapers and pamphlets, a color engraving of the Boston Tea Party, a mezzotint by Phillip Dawe showing a group of ladies in North Carolina agreeing not to drink any tea, and a French etching depicting the surrender at Yorktown. This virtual exhibit is an excellent starting point.
The Boston Massacre
The Archival Research Catalog at the National Archives is a great place to search for early illustrations and engravings. Typing the keywords Boston Massacre will retrieve illustrations by Alonzo Chappel, John Buford, and Paul Revere. Each engraving portrays a slightly different scene. Compare these images with the written record. How accurate are the details? Were any of these illustrations used as propaganda?
Boston Massacre Trials
Who would defend the British soldiers who fired upon a crowd in Boston? Although John Adams knew that taking the case might affect his law career, he also believed injustice and that everyone was entitled to a defense. He took the case without hesitation. Key figures in the trial, the trial account of the soldiers, accounts of the massacre, John Adams' summation, illustrations, and a timeline offer a wealth of information for research.
Liberty! The American Revolution
Liberty!, the complementary Web site for the television series of the same name, offers interviews with experts, explanations of key events, and games. To better understand Colonial life, you click on different areas of a farm scene and information is displayed. For example, by clicking on livestock, you learn that "a comfortable farmer in the North owned 10 cattle, 16 sheep, six pigs, two horses, and a team of oxen." Test your students' knowledge on events leading to the American Revolution through an interactive quiz. To round out the site, there are links to other resources to encourage further investigation.
APRIL 19, 1775
The 19th of April 1775: Historic Doubts on the Battle of Lexington
Harold Murdock's 1923 book is a fascinating look at the Lexington-Concord controversy. …