Although it can be hard to imagine, during the American Revolution, not all of the colonists were against a dominating Great Britain. Rather, many people did not want separation and there was a large pacifist Quaker population, especially in the city of Philadelphia. This lesson plan includes the primary sources of a prominent colonial military officer and a Quaker woman, both living in Philadelphia. Their stories allow students to see multiple perspectives from the American Revolution and consider its effects on American society.
The first source that students will work with is The Protest of the Committee of the Privates of the Military Association belonging to the City and Liberties of Philadelphia. This document is a list of demands made by the Military Association of Philadelphia concerning the election of brigadier generals in 1776. This source comes from the collection of Daniel Cunyngham Clymer, an officer of the Philadelphia Military Associates and a deputy commissary general of prisoners in the Continental Army during the Revolution. Language, ideals, and undertones of the American Revolution are present throughout this source.
The other source that students will work with consists of entries from Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker’s personal diary written in 1777. Drinker was a Quaker woman living in Philadelphia during the American Revolution. She writes about the daily life of women in the late 18th century, as well as the interaction between the Continental Army and the pacifist Quakers. Her diary offers a perspective that is not often seen in the traditional narrative.