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Revolutionary Songs

Grade Level: 5

Lesson Duration: Two 45 minute periods

Content Standards: History #5, Social Studies Skills and Methods #3, #4, #5

Primary Sources Used:

American Revolution Song Lyrics “The Liberty Song” for the Patriot viewpoint

 Song Lyrics for the British Loyalist view, “The Congress” (1776) and/ or “The Rebels” (1778)

Source: www.digitalhistory.uh.edu (collaborative partnership of The University of Houston, National Park Service, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History)

Lesson Summary:

Provide students and overview of the music and divided loyalties during the Revolution…loyal to King George III or to your newly formed 13 United States of America?  From the digital history site’s “For Teachers” page under “Explorations”, you may consider their brief summary,  simplifying or adding further details as suits for your class needs.  This overview illustrates the “sides” of the American Revolution and how music reflected the “deep divide within the colonial population.

Students will analyze songs from the Patriot and British view, at first individually, then with a compare/contrast format.

Instructional Steps:

*During your American Revolution studies, review patriot, loyalist and neutral positions.  Emphasize that these “positions” are evident in many areas of the period: literature, art, broadsides and music.

*Distribute copies of “The Liberty Song” and “The Congress” (or “The Rebels” or both)

* Read each song aloud with students, discuss one at a time – begin with “The Liberty Song” as the Patriot view is better known and likely more popular.

*Analyze each song, progressing through spiral question levels

Post Assessment

The students will be able to compare/contrast the two opposing views in these period music pieces.  What are the arguments?  They will note similarities and differences on the worksheet.

Extension: Loyalties during the Revolution divided the Colonial population…although not to the point of open war or rebellion, what issues divide the American population today?  Are songs still written to make political points?


·        Define “propaganda” – Do you feel these songs fall into this category?  Why or Why not?

·        Timeline the songs.  Research other happenings; in the same year…could these events have triggered these songs? How do they reflect the period?

·        Find other songs- find a song that is written by Patriots that deals harshly in their view of the British

·        Are these songs based on fact or feeling?

Materials needed by Teachers

Copies of Primaries, RevolutionaRy War Songs “The Liberty Song”, “The Congress” and “The Rebels”

Overview of Music in the Revolution from www.digitalhistory.uh.edu

 Document Analysis Worksheet

Materials needed by Students

* Copies of songs and Document Analysis Worksheet, provided by teacher


 Created by Margaret Reagan

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