|portrait by Allan Ramsay, 1762,|
courtesey of Wikipedia
Prelude to Revolution
Purpose: To summarize the rising conflict between Britain and the English Colonies that led to the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution. It contains the primary laws that Parliament passed for the colonies and possibly how King George and Parliament viewed the colonists. Put the King and Parliament on one side of the room and the Colonists on the other side of the room.
King: OK, colonists, we have sent part of our army to protect you from the big, bad Frenchman during the wars we were waging with France. We won the wars....
Colonists: (doing a happy dance) Yay!
Parliament: But now we need to keep those soldiers there to protect you in case those big, bad Frenchman attack you again.
King: Or in case the Indians attack you.
Parliament: Or in case the Spaniards attack you. And by the way, you need to provide food and shelter for the soldiers and give us money to pay them in the form of Taxes.
Colonist 1: But we don't want the soldiers. We can protect ourselves from Indians.
(King and Parliament laugh)
King: (To Parliament) Isn't that cute, how they think they can take care of themselves. (To the Colonists): I know that you THINK you are big enough and strong enough to handle things for yourselves. However, if it wasn't for us, you would be speaking French!
Colonist 2 (speaking low): If it wasn't for you, there wouldn't have BEEN any wars
King: What was that?
Parliament: By the way, we need more money from you. Your king and your country have spent all our money on the wars. So we are going to tax 3 cents on every gallon of molasses that you buy from us.
Colonist 1: Wha???
Colonist 2: We hardly make any money on selling rum as it is!
Parliament: OK, we will make it one cent.
Colonist 1: That is still unfair!
Parliament: (grumbling). Fine. Have it your way. Instead, we are passing a law that says that you HAVE to entertain soldiers and pay for them to protect you. AND We are making you buy stamps in order to get newspapers, playing cards, diplomas, wills and some other legal documents.
Colonist 2: Wha??? We don't even want the soldiers here. If you can't afford them, send them home!
Colonist 1: You are trying to trick us. This Stamp Act is nothing more than another way to tax us.
Colonist 2: You know, you keep making rules for us. We are Englishmen. We deserve to be represented in Parliament if you are going to start making laws for us.
Colonist 1: That's right!
Parliament: (laughing). Oh, they are so CUTE when they are mad, aren't they, your Highness?
King: Yes, yes. But, too soon, they grow up and if we don't show them who is boss now, they will grow from little tyrants to big ones.
Colonist 1: We think we can govern ourselves, thank you very much. Please restore our home legislatures.
King (to Parliment): See what I mean
King (to Parliment): See what I mean
Parliament: Well, instead, we are going to write laws for you. We will be your legislature.
Colonist 2: Then let us have representation in Parliament, please.
Parliament: Maybe when you get older. But right now, Daddy will take care of you and tell you what to do.
Colonist 1: You forget that we have been taking care of ourselves for quite a while now. You have no right to take representation away from us.
King: You are subject to your King and you will do as we say.
Parliament: And what we say is that you will pay duties on imports. We are sending our customs agents to you now to make sure you pay for everything that comes into your ports. We are calling it the Townsend Act.
Colonists: That is taxation without representation! We protest!
Parliament: You know, you are being quite a pain. But I will make a deal: you will only have to pay an duty on tea.
Colonist 1: (to Colonist 2): Let's buy tea from somewhere else.
Colonist 2: (to Colonist 1): Great idea.
King: Oh Colonists. You have to buy tea from us. We are sending ships loaded with tea for you and are cutting the price. But you MUST buy tea from your daddy.
Colonist 1: (to Colonist 2): Are you thinking what I am thinking?
Colonist 2: (to Colonist 1): To have a tea party and dump all the tea into the harbor?
Colonist 1: Yes!
(Colonists pretend to dump the tea into the harbor)
King: That does it. You have REALLY made me mad now. Close Boston Harbor until they pay for all the tea they have ruined! Do not let the Massachusetts legislature make any rules. Give the governor full power. And fire the current governor who let this happen and make one of the generals there the new governor!
Parliament: Aye, aye, Captain!
Colonist 1: Those acts are intolerable!
Colonist 2: Now we are really angry. We are going to get together and form the 1st Continental Congress to come up with a list of grievances.
(Colonists huddle together and whisper)
To the king:
Colonist 1: We will not do any more business with you.
Colonist 2: And we will start organizing militias.
King: Who do you think you are?!!! Without my help, you would have all starved or become subjects of France. I am the only one who can make decision for you and if you don't obey me by choice, you WILL obey my soldiers!!!!!
Have a child read the Declaration of Independence. Stop them every few sentences to rephrase or ask another student to rephrase what was just said. The child who reads can be a younger student and then the older children can interpret it, if they can. Help them.
The Good: This didn't take a lot of time and the kids had fun hamming it up.
The Bad: I found errors as we read through it. Feel free to make some changes and improvements.
The Ugly: Nothing ugly that I can see. You might have a different opinion.