Our 7th graders are studying the American Revolutionary War.
This morning I woke up to the morning news which showed the protests against the G-20 Summit in London. These demonstrations gave me an idea for a teachable moment. I began class by explaining what I saw on the news this morning. I explained that the protests in the streets of London made me think of the protests that occurred on streets of Boston in the 1770's. This Video will set the stage as to why the United States President and the leaders of Europe and the rest of the world are meeting in London this week. Read the text or view the video. They are the same (...sorry about the advertisement...).
This next site shows the street protests and helps one to understand the perspective of the protesters. That was Monday. Today, the height of the summit, the protests looked like this.
I showed my students clips from the protests and then had each look up some particulars about this event. Students used the mobile computer lab to research what the G-20 was, what the purposes/goals of the meeting were, and what the complaints of the protesters are.
Here is what we found! G-20 stands for the Group of 20. This group includes the United States of America, 18 other world powers, and the Head of the European Union. Their goals are many and varied (See the second link above), but we found that the main focus of this summit was to strengthen international finances, to create sustainable international economic growth and development, and to prevent a global financial collapse. There was also considerable concern about the aid to the emerging economies who are suffering despite no fault of their own.
...and the protesters. They demanded that this crisis be fixed quickly. They demanded that once fixed, the old system does not return. They also protested for the sake of the "little guys" who bear the brunt of economic crisis. Others protested against war and against capitalism. Some anarchists protested all capitalists governments as they exist today. According to reports from a variety of sources, protests were generally peaceful and good-natured; however, some did vandalize the Bank of Scotland, breaking windows and stealing/vandalizing computers.
We then looked at similarities of these events and the events surrounding the American Revolutionary War. Here is what 2nd period had to say. In both cases, people want more say in governing themselves and where their money goes. They also pointed to a dissatisfaction with government decision making on behalf of the citizenry. Other similarities had to do with the street protest, violence, and government troops/police who bore the responsibility of enforcing government policy.
...pretty good stuff!
...meanwhile, prior to the start of the American Revolutionary War (1770), British soldiers who were stationed in Boston and quartered in colonial homes were attacked by an angry colonial mob while performing guard duty. You would never know it from this bit of masterful propaganda created by Paul Revere.
Three years later, in protest to a tax on tea, the Sons of Liberty boarder three ships in Boston Harbor and threw 342 chest of tea overboard. The Boston Tea Party, as this event was called was actually a major act of vandalism. Britain's response was fast and it was severe. According to the Coercive Acts (AKA the Intolerable Acts), Clonial assemblies were abolished, and Boston Harbor would be closed until the tea was paid for. Check out these figures!
...on April 18, 1775, British troops, who were on their way to destroy colonial ammunition that was stored in Concord, and colonial militia met on a village green in Lexington, Massachusetts. A shot was fired. This "Shot heard 'round the world" as it came to be known, marked the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Read about it on these sites. It's worth it!
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