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5th Graders Host Annual Patriot Versus Loyalist Town Hall Debate
Ruth Kornblatt-Stier

On Friday, May 7, Core teacher Linda Beasley and her students in class 5A held their annual historical town hall debate over the colonists' declaration of independence from Great Britain. Students each claimed a historical figure to impersonate, such as Benjamin Franklin, Martha Washington or Thomas Gage, and subsequently argued from the perspective of their chosen figure. 

In preparation for their town hall meeting, students created two impressive and authentic newspapers: The Continental Times, the American patriot newspaper, and The Loyalist Gazette, the pro-British newspaper. Using the information they learned in their history class, students wrote stirring, impassioned and persuasive articles in the voices of their historical figures. Student Sam S., writing as Alexander Hamilton in The Continental Times, took a strong stance in favor of American independence, saying, "Our families need protection, not corruption." Elucidating one of the major problems with the Boston Tea Party, Molly Z., writing as William Franklin, explained that the colonists' "complaint was about taxes, but that does not give them the right to destroy private property that did not belong to them...Our King deserves better subjects than these ungrateful colonists."

At the town hall debate, students wore historical attire such as robes and handmade wigs. They gave spirited arguments on topics including the Boston Port Act, the Boston Massacre and the Quartering Act. The loyalists delivered a compelling defense of the critical importance of British protection against Native American tribes and other conquering European powers. In turn, the patriots decisively articulated the injustices the colonies had endured at the hands of the British. Discussing the Boston Tea Party, one of the loyalists questioned, "How is wasting tea a legitimate form of protest?" Student Ben M., speaking as Martha Washington, countered, "You have forced us to act like children because you [the British] are acting like tyrannical parents. This is not how a governmental relationship should be." Another patriot added, "Throwing tea into the bay does not justify starving an entire city of people." 

Thank you, class 5A, for your outstanding historical research and performances! You can watch the full town hall here (passcode: gB^8=Dgs). 

  • Middle School

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