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Lesson One

State House Yard (Reading 9B). Have each group report the incident from their perspective. How do the Adams and Clitherall accounts of the May 20 rally differ? Why would Adams look upon the rally as a town meeting while Clitherall viewed it as mob tyranny?

  • 8.

    Remaining within the previously assigned groups, have each group read “The Address and Remonstrance” and Benjamin Rush’s letter to his wife describing public reaction to the Remonstrance (Reading 10). Have each group examine the readings from either Adams’ or Clitherall’s perspective. At this point in time, would it have been possible for the Assembly to continue as the government of Pennsylvania? Explain.

  • 9.

    Discuss with students the sequence of events between the State House Yard rally, May 20 and the adjourning of the Assembly onJune 14 (Reading 11). What tactics did the Independents use to force the issue regarding independence in the Assembly? How effective was their strategy?

  • 10.

    Read aloud the Declaration of Independence. Remind students that the Continental Congress on June 11 appointed a committee of five, headed by Thomas Jefferson and including Benjamin Franklin, to draft a declaration of independence. Jefferson sent a copy of the declaration to Franklin on June 21 asking that he review and make changes in the document. Franklin made only several minor changes. Discuss how the Declaration of Independence reflects the earlier controversy over the Stamp Act. Why is the Stamp Act considered as one of the foremost causes of the American Revolution?

  • 11.

    Conclude the lesson with a discussion of the steps taken to secure Pennsylvania’s vote for independence. How did Philadelphia’s radicals move Pennsylvania’s delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence? How important were boycotts and mass meetings in securing a change in Pennsylvania? Is it feasible to argue that mechanics (artisans) in Philadelphia and farmers in the backcountry were the backbone of the independence movement?

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