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The Global Impact of the American Revolution DBQ

90 min
  • Students will consider the extent to which there was a connection between the American Revolution and revolutions in France, Haiti, and Latin America.
  • Students will systematically analyze primary sources by answering comprehension questions for each document.
  • Students will write a thesis statement that responds to a document-based question prompt.

Ask students to consider the following questions with a partner, in a small group, or with a quick write-up:

  • How would you define an unjust government?
  • What, if anything, would lead you to take part in a violent revolution?

Lead a brief class discussion on student responses.

Distribute Handout A and introduce the following DBQ activity. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Enlightenment or Age of Reason took hold in Western Europe. This intellectual movement asserted that human reason could solve problems, and it spawned new ideas concerning human nature and society, government, and politics. As these ideas spread through the increasingly literate populations of Europe and America, political unrest erupted into revolutions, beginning with the American Revolution in the 1770s. In this activity, students will examine documents from the American, French, Haitian, and Latin American revolutions to address the following prompt: To what extent was there a connection between the American Revolution and revolutions in France, Haiti, and Latin America?

Allow students to work through the documents individually, in pairs, or in small groups.

After students have worked through the documents, lead a class discussion of the following questions:

1. What patterns do you see across these documents?

2. Were there similar causes to the revolutions, based on these documents?

3. In what ways do the documents list similar grievances?

4. To what extent do you see evidence of John Locke?

5. Based on these documents, did these revolutions follow a similar path? Explain.

6. What information do you not have in these documents that would help you address the prompt?

Have each student write a thesis statement to address the DBQ prompt: To what extent was there a connection between the American Revolution and revolutions in France, Haiti, and Latin America? Evaluate student thesis statements using the AP DBQ Rubric.