Delaware in the American Revolution
Choosing Independence: Fighting for Freedom
Power Point Introduction Script
Title Slide: Delaware in the American Revolution
(Slide 1) Choosing Independence
Fighting for Freedom
(For full screen version, click mouse twice to reveal subtitles)
Soon we will be taking a field trip to the Delaware History Museum for a
program on the American Revolution in Delaware. In order to get the
most out of the activities we’ll be doing, we need to know a little
background. To begin with, who can tell me what the American
Revolution was? (a war) And who fought against each other in this war?
England (or Britain) and the British colonies.
Slide 2: Caption: British Colonies in North America
How many colonies were there? 13! We have to go back in time before
all the fighting began to understand what was going on. All the problems
started in the 1750s, over 250 years ago! In the 1740s the 13 colonies
were a part of England and no one thought that things would ever change.
Slide 3: Caption: British Colonists made their own laws
Delaware and all of the other colonies were proud and happy to belong to
the British Empire. It was the strongest and most powerful country in the
world! Each colony had its own elected legislature. Those men made the
laws and decided what taxes people should pay.
Slide 4: Caption: Many British colonists prospered in America
Colonists were happy because everything was peaceful; most colonists
were prosperous (what does that mean?).
Slide 5: Caption: The British and French fought in both Europe and North
But that began to change in the 1750s when England and France started
fighting a war in Europe. Do you think a war all the way over here (point
to Europe) would change things all the way here (point to the colonies)?
Well it did because both England and France owned land in North
America (point out French and English territories).
Slide 6: Caption: English and French Territories in the 1750s
There were conflicts over land, so the King of England sent part of the
army to protect the American colonies. England with, the help of the
American colonies, fought with France here in North America. We call
this war the French and Indian War because the English fought against the
French and their Native American allies. Who do you think won?
Slide 7: Caption: English soldiers were known as Redcoats
But once England won and the war was over, the army didn’t go back
home. They stayed in the American colonies. Not only did the troops not
go home, but a few years later England decided that the colonists should
help pay for that army. The British government decided to tax the
colonists because the troops were protecting the people who lived in North
Slide 8: Caption: The Stamp Act:…
The colonists thought the Stamp Act taxes were unfair. They did not ask
for the soldiers to be stationed in the colonies and they couldn’t vote on
the taxes because they didn’t have a representative in the English
Parliament. A popular phrase during this time was “no taxation without
representation.” This meant the colonists wouldn’t pay the taxes if
England wasn’t going to let them help decide what to tax.
Slide 9: Caption: Divided Loyalties: Patriots and Tories
Some people who lived here decided that they didn’t want to be a part of
England anymore. They felt so strongly about forming their own country,
they were willing to fight a war. These people were known as Patriots.
Some of the people wanted to stay a part of Great Britain. They were
proud to be English citizens and supported using force to defeat the
rebellious Patriots. These people were called Tories.
Slide 10: Caption: Quakers were against war
A third group did not believe in using violence to resolve disagreements.
They were Quakers.
Slide 11: Caption: Many were indifferent to politics and war
Still others were so busy with their own lives that they didn’t really think
about politics They were indifferent or uninvolved.
Slide 12: Caption: The American Revolution begins: The Battle of Lexington and
n Delaware and the twelve other surrounding colonies, people argued back
and forth for more than ten years about whether or not to break away from
England. Eventually fighting broke out between England and the
colonists. The first battle of the American Revolution was in
Massachusetts in 1775 and was called the Battle of Lexington and
Slide 13: Caption: Delegates from thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia
The Battle of Lexington and Concord was the last straw. Starting in 1775,
representatives of all thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia to decide what
to do. This group was known as the Continental Congress. Delaware had
three delegates – Thomas McKean, George Read, and Caesar Rodney.
Slide 14: Caption: Was America ready for independence?
(For full screen version one additional mouse click indenitifes subjects of
In early July 1776 Thomas McKean and George Read were in
Philadelphia, but Caesar Rodney was at home in Dover. Thomas McKean
was ready to vote for independence. George Read, however, did not want
to vote for independence. With one man for and one man against
independence, Delaware’s vote wasn’t going to count! In our museum
lesson we’ll learn how Delaware took a stand on independence.
Slide 15: Caption: Signing the Declaration of Independence
The colonies agreed to adopt a Declaration of Independence (ask what
specific date-July 4, 1776). It was a letter written to England listing
everything the colonists were upset about and said that America was
officially its own country. It was willing to fight a war to stay that way.
Slide 16: Caption: Could Americans defeat the world’s best army and navy?
With the Declaration of Independence, America officially declared war
with Great Britain. This was a very scary time because England was the
most powerful country in the world at that time. They had money, a well-
trained army and a powerful navy. Did the newly-formed United States of
America have a chance to stand up against such a powerful nation? No
one thought that this brand new tiny country would actually be able to beat
Slide 17: Caption: Delaware Continentals
Around 800 Delawareans joined the army in 1776 and served throughout
the war in the Continental Army of General George Washington. They
were called the Delaware Continentals. They were known throughout the
army as the best dressed and best equipped regiment. Their hats were
unusual in shape and made of leather. Because of the color of their coats
they were nicknamed the Delaware Blues.
Slide 18: Caption: Delaware soldiers fought in almost every battle of the American
(For full screen version, one additional mouse click reveals caption)
Delawareans fought in almost every battle in the Revolutionary War. This
map shows the places where Delaware soldiers fought. Delaware also
formed local militias, groups of soldiers who stayed in Delaware to defend
the state against the British. Over 4,000 men from Delaware fought in the
Slide 19: Caption: A soldier’s life was hard
Being a soldier was hard. Many soldiers died in battle or from disease.
Sometimes soldiers went hungry because they did not have food or have
the time to stop marching to cook. Some of the Delaware Continentals
survived for a while by eating molasses, frogs, and alligators! The
Delaware Continentals, like many other state regiments, marched
thousands of miles during the war, sometimes up to 30 miles a day!
Slide 20: Caption: Americans fought the British at Cooch’s Bridge in Delaware
In 1777 the British marched through Delaware on their way to attack the
United States capital in Philadelphia. General George Washington brought
the American army to Delaware to try to stop them. The armies fought a
small battle or skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, just south of Newark. In our
museum lesson we’ll learn what happened to both soldiers and civilians
when the American Revolution came to Delaware.
Slide 21: Caption: The British surrender at Yorktown in 1781 ended the American
In the six long years that the American Patriots fought the British, both
sides had military failures and successes. Finally the British realized that
they would not be able to defeat the stubborn Americans. When the British
surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, in October of 1781, Patriots of
Delaware could be proud that they had played a role in choosing
independence and fighting for freedom.