Propaganda and the American Revolution

Game Project Assignment Two: “Whose Side Are You On?”: Propaganda and the American Revolution.

Objective: Gain a deeper understanding of how propaganda is constructed (what works in attempts to sway public opinion). 

Part One, write one paragraph: As a first stab at thinking about how your character may have reacted to the coming of the Revolution, indicate how your character would have responded to the following resolution: “We the residents of our town believe that the events of the Boston Massacre signal that it’s time to declare independence from England.  If your character doesn’t have the right to vote, state that and explain how your character would vote if he/she had the right. Reflecting on your character’s story and life during that time, why would your character vote the way he/she voted? 

FOR ASSIGNMENT PART 1: In terms of your character, you are a white widowed women tavern keeper(meaning husband has passed) during the revolutionary war in America. It’s also important to understand what a tavern keeper did. A tavern was a business, that always included a place for people to drink, and often included places for travelers to stay the night, too. Though they weren’t necessarily the richest people in town, tavern keepers usually made enough to live fairly securely, financially — though the Revolution might have interrupted their business.

Part Two, write 1-2 pages: Analyze loyalist and patriot propaganda to explore how propaganda that reflected specific points of view may have shaped an individual’s decision to support or reject the Revolution. From the options provided, you must analyze one loyalist and one patriot piece of propaganda. Make sure that your selections include one document and one image (in other words you may NOT analyze all documents or all images). 

  1. Pick the propaganda: select a document and an image, one must be Loyalist and one must be Patriot (all files are shared)

    1. Document 1: Loyalist Propaganda, Document — W. Franklin Speech
    1. Document 2: Patriot Propaganda, Document — Thomas Paine Calls for American independence in “Common Sense”
    1. Image 1: Loyalist Propaganda, Image — “Bostonians Paying the Excise-man…(1774)”
    1. Image 2: Patriot Propaganda, Image, “The able doctor, or America swallowing the_bitter draught, 1774”

  2. Analyze your selected propaganda by answering the following questions.
    1. Propaganda Analysis – Document
      Use your own words in your analysis, but make sure to support your responses with specific evidence from the document.

      1. List the document you are analyzing
      1. Message(s): What are the main messages that this document communicates? Describe the messages in your own words but use specific evidence from the document to illustrate your points.
      1. Author: Who was the author of this document and how might the author  personally benefit from the audience’s acceptance of this message?
      1. Audience: Who was the audience for this document?
      1. Purpose: Why was it important for this message to be delivered to this audience at this moment in time?
      1. Persuasive methods/techniques: How does the document communicate its message? What words and phrases does the author use to persuade his audience of a specific point of view? What emotions does the document use to communicate its message?
  • Propaganda Analysis – Image/Political Cartoon
    Use your own words in your analysis, but make sure to support your responses with specific evidence from the document.

    List the image you are analyzingWhat’s happening in the cartoon? Describe what you see. What do you notice first? What people and objects are shown?  What, if any, words do you see?  What do you see that might be a symbol? What other details can you see? Historical Context:  What major events were taking place when this cartoon was made?Historical Issue: What issue is this cartoon addressing? Audience: Who do you think was the audience for this cartoon?  Persuasive methods/techniques: What methods does the cartoonist use to persuade the audience? (What specific details are designed to appeal to the audience’s emotions/shift a point)

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