Lesson Plan

Lesson 3: Religion and the Fight for American Independence

Commander of the Continental Army, George Washington
Photo caption

As commander of the Continental Army, George Washington had to use different strategies at different times to deal with religious denominations that were either hostile to or ambivalent towards the American Revolution.

Religion offered many American revolutionaries moral approval of their opposition to British rule. Not all religious sects or religious believers, however, supported the Revolutionary War. Using primary documents, this lesson explores how religion aided and hindered the American war effort; specifically, it explores how Anglican loyalists and Quaker pacifists responded to the outbreak of hostilities and how the American revolutionaries enlisted religion in support of the fight for independence.

Guiding Questions

How did the leaders of the American Revolution employ religion to support the war effort?

How did different religions react to Revolution?

Learning Objectives

Discuss and analyze how the leaders of the American Revolution employed religion in the war effort.

Explain the particular problem the Revolutionary War posed for Anglican clergy.

Discuss how Anglican "loyalists" reacted to the Revolutionary War.

Discuss and debate how General George Washington dealt with Quaker pacifism during the Revolutionary War.