PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 7 Humanities: Week of 10/22/2018 Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Humanities!


Dear Families,

Leaping forward in time from The Age of Exploration to The American Revolution might seem like a stretch, but interestingly, the template of colonialism, exploitation, and expansionism perfected by Christopher Columbus is not so different from the methods employed by our founding fathers. We noticed that the very words leveraged to wage war — Freedom for All! — are actually a shocking hypocrisy that amount to merely freedom for the already wealthy and privileged.

The American Revolution really did seem like a just cause — why should the colonists here be occupied by a country over there? But, who actually gained from the victory over England?

Did the Indians benefit from our independence from England? No, conditions actually got worse for the Indians.  The Proclamation of 1763 forbid westward expansion into Indian territory. When England was defeated, the colonists decided to move westward across the continent.

Did black Americans benefit from the American Revolution? No, slavery existed before, during, and after the war. It was even written into the Constitution.

Did white farmers benefit in the same way as someone like a Jefferson or a Madison? Not really, many poorer whites were promised land that they would never receive if they agreed to fight against England. The ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness remained words on a page and an unattainable hope for most.

The American Revolution was complex and not everyone benefited: not Indians, not black Americans, not women, and not the poor. When an event has been relegated to the past, it becomes very difficult to imagine its trajectory in a way other than how it went. We tend to believe that many or even all of our wars have been inevitable. However, between war and inaction lie a million possibilities.

Additionally, in literature, our approach to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains has four goals: #1 to enjoy literature and storytelling, #2 to understand the intersectionality of our protagonist Isabel who is a black American, female, and a minor, #3 to learn more about The Revolutionary War, and #4 to squeeze in some test prep with an eye towards the Spring 2019 state exams.


Ms. Sacilotto


Charting how it all began . . .


Illustrating metaphors, similes, hyperbole, and personification from Chains . . .




“The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.”

— Thomas Paine