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3rd Grade Guide to the Causes of the American Revolution

Updated on September 18, 2015

So When Was the Revolution?

The American Revolution began in 1775. The First Continental Congress asked King George to give the colonists the same rights as citizens who lived in Great Britain. King George refused to grant the colonists the same rights and before Congress had a chance to meet and discuss what to do next the war had begun.

After growing up in the UK and earning a BEd in History, I found myself at a loss when my 3rd Grader needed help to study for her Causes of the American Revolution Quiz. How do I have this gap in my knowledge of History?

I decided I needed to do something about it - the following are the key facts we studied.


French and Indian War

The French and Indian War began in 1754. The War was between the British and the French. The War began when the British became concerned that the French owned too much land in North America. The fighting lasted for nine years and ended with a British victory in 1763. The Native Americans fought on both sides.

Background Info/Causes of the Revolution

After the French and Indian War Britain had a lot of debt and needed to raise money to pay off that debt. Consequently the British government issued a series of taxes on the colonies. The Sugar Act, The Quartering Act, Proclamation of 1763 and Stamp Act all had an impact on the Colonists.

The Sugar Act - placed a tax on sugar and molasses.

The Quartering Act - ordered colonists to supply British soldiers with living quarters and supplies.

The Stamp Act - required colonists to pay for tax stamps that had to be placed on newspapers, legal documents etc.

Proclamation of 1763 - prohibited colonists from moving west of the Appalachian mountains.

Townshend Tax - tax on glass, lead, paint etc

Tea Tax - tax on tea

The colonists were prepared to pay some form of taxes but wanted to have the same representation in parliament as British citizens. The colonist grew more angered at the laws applied to them by the King.


Events that further Angered the Colonists

As well as having to pay increasing taxes the colonists were angered by a series of events.

The Proclamation of 1763 - this prohibited the colonists from moving west of the Appalachian Mountains. This angered the colonists because they had fought for the British in the French and Indian War and they wanted to expand into the land that had been gained during the war.

Boston Massacre - In 1768 a group of British soldiers arrived in Boston to maintain order.The colonists were not happy about the soldiers being there and one day in 1770,a young apprentice insulted one of the soldiers who hit him with the end of his musket. The boy returned with more people who yelled insults at the soldiers and threw sticks, stones and snowballs at them. In all the commotion the soldiers fired and 5 men in the crowd were killed. This angered many colonists.

Boston Tea Party - in 1773 colonists became angry about the British demanding that they pay for ships of tea. they wanted to send it back but the British insisted they pay. colonists dressed up as Mohawk Indians, crept not the ships and dumped all the tea into the ocean. This angered the King.

The colonists became increasingly angry and grew concerned that if they did not take action tne situation would just continue to get worse.

King George


Who was Fighting?

The colonists were divided into 3 groups -

Loyalists - they supported the King and parliament.

Patriots - supported the colonists, Sons of Liberty and the Revolution

No Side - supported both or neither

Declaration of Independence

On July 4th 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed at Independence Hall in Pennsylvania. It stated that all men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Key Vocabulary

a group of leaders that govern England
an amount of money you must pay depending on your income, property goods etc to the government
fight for a change in leadership
freedom from another country's control
a formal written agrement between two countries

Key Characters during the Revolution

What they did
King George 3rd
Ruler of Great Britian during the revolution, implemented taxes and redused to give colonists equal rights in parliament.
George Washington
Commander in Chief of the Army
Thomas Jefferson
Main writer of the Declaration of Independence
John Adams
Member of the 2nd continental congresss
John Hancock
Member of the 2nd continental congress
Ben Franklin
Pennsylvania delegate of the continental congress. He helped write the Treaty of Paris
Thomas Paine
Wrote the document "common Sense" giving 7 reasons why the colonies need to be independent
Baron Von Steuben
Prussian soldier
Helped train Continental Army at Valley Forge
Paul Revere
Warned people that the British were coming.
General Cornwallis
A General who surrendered to Washington


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  • Ruthbro profile image

    Ruthbro 3 years ago from USA

    Thanks, my passion is social history so I am now intrigued with the characters involved in the event!

  • profile image

    mbuggieh 3 years ago

    Interesting summary...thanks!

    Here in the US we teach (at least in the elementary schools) that basically one thing caused the American Revolution---taxation, and it is summed up in THE slogan of the war: "No taxation without representation".