Unheard Voices from the War of Independence

Home Education Unit Plans Unheard Voices from the War of Independence

Unheard Voices from the War of Independence

The American Revolution is commonly perceived as the tale of thirteen fed-up colonies banding together to defeat the tyranny of Great Britain, but is this really how it happened?  In the traditional narrative, Loyalists and women are few and far between, and there is no mention of the daily lives that continued during the conflict. Due to this viewpoint, it is often a misconception that support for the American Revolution was a national movement heeded by wealthy white men and blindly followed by all others.

The primary sources in this unit bring to light societal values, relationships between men and women, and the placement of women in the fight for freedom. The documents illustrate that women played a duel role in the American Revolution. On one side, they were a driving force and enthusiastic voice during the War of Independence. Yet, at the same time, women were constrained by a patriarchal society and restrictive gender roles.

This unit exposes students to dissenting and often unheard voices from this contradicting time in our nation’s history. Students will read and interact with primary sources that show multiple perspectives of various men and women affected by the Revolution. By analyzing multiple perspectives, students will construct a new and more complete understanding of the American Revolution.


18th century
American Revolution

Big Ideas

Historical Context
US History

Essential Questions

How can the story of another American, past or present, influence your life?
Why is time and space important to the study of history?


  • Learning about the past and its different contexts shaped by social, cultural, and political influences prepares one for participation as active, critical citizens in a democratic society.
  • Textual evidence, material artifacts, the built environment, and historic sites are central to understanding United States history. 


  • Analyze the interaction of cultural, economic, geographic, political, and social relations for a specific time and place.
  • Analyze a primary source for accuracy and bias and connect it to a time and place in United States history. 

End of Unit Assessment

Give each student a person with a name and an occupation. These can be historical figures or someone completely made up; then ask the students to write a short diary entry or letter as if they are this person living in Philadelphia at the time of the Revolution. Direct students to think about how their person’s occupation would affect their wealth or social status and the affect that would have on their support of the Revolutionary War.