Summary Objective 5

Students will describe the roles that slavery, Native nations and African Americans played in the Revolutionary War. Maps to Key Concepts 2, 3, 5, 9 & 10


What else should my students know?

5.A The Declaration of Independence addressed slavery in several ways, including author Thomas Jefferson’s indictment of the crown’s initiation of the slave trade (deleted from the final draft) and the charge that the king had “excited domestic insurrection among us.” The document also describes Indigenous people as “merciless Indian Savages.”

5.B Free and enslaved people used the language of the Revolution to argue for their own rights. African American and Indigenous participation in the war was largely in pursuit of freedom rather than loyalty to a particular side.

5.C Many Native nations fought in the Revolutionary War on both sides, while others tried to remain neutral. Disagreements about the Revolution split the Iroquois Confederacy. Most nations allied with the British because they hoped to end further colonial encroachment. After the war, even nations that had sided with the colonists lost land and liberties.

5.D Black soldiers participated in the early Revolutionary battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill, but General George Washington opposed including them in the Continental Army. After the British offered freedom to black men, Washington relented. He raised a black regiment to reinforce the Continental Army, and thousands of black men fought in the Continental Army or at sea.

5.E The British actively recruited free and enslaved black men. Though the British promised freedom in return for service, black Loyalists faced an uncertain future as the British retreated at the end of the war. Many fled and others were captured and re-enslaved.


How can I teach this?


Return to the 6-12 Framework Page

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