Patriot or Loyalist?

A Revolutionary Decision

Student Resources

Teacher Resources














Background Knowledge


Research Scenario

Which aspects of the Maryland colonists' personal lives had the greatest influence on the decision to become a Patriot or a Loyalist?

Independence Day is coming soon and the Baltimore Sun would like to publish a special section on the Revolutionary War in Maryland. As a new reporter for the paper, you jump at the chance to be involved. Your editor feels this is an opportunity to tell both sides of the story: Patriot or Loyalist. Furthermore, she would like you to decide, based on all that you learn: If you had lived during the Revolutionary War, would you have been a Patriot, or would you have been a Loyalist?

Watch Chapter 2 of Liberty Kids, NY on Safari Montage. As you watch, think about the characteristics depicted for loyal and the patriots. Think about:

BrainPop's American Revolution > FYI > Politics page gives some background on the Loyalists. (click on the Politics tab)

Causes of the American Revolution - a Brainpop movie

Think about how each side might have felt about the events described in the resources above. How would you have reacted? Would you be a patriot or a loyalist?

Task and Product

Your editor has asked you to work with a group of 5 writers to create a series of articles, a video debate, or a Web2.0 product on the following topics:

  • Maryland Patriots
  • Maryland Loyalists
  • The Price of Being Loyal to the King
  • African American Loyalists
  • MD Loyalists: Where Are They Now?

When you are through, you each must write an additional editorial article explaining what your position would have been, Patriot or Loyalist, based on your personal circumstances.



The following scoring tools may be used or adapted by your teacher to evaluate your research process and your final product and presentation.

Research Process Assessments:
  • Daily (Formative) Assessments
  • Research Process (Summative) Assessments:
    Student/Self | Teacher

Group Collaboration Assessments (if needed):

Final Product Assessments: 

Select the rubric for the product your have chosen.

View an idea of the student assessment.

Group work Self-Assessment.



Essential Question:

Which aspects of Maryland colonists' personal lives had the greatest influence on the decision to become a Patriot or Loyalist?

Focus Questions:

  • What were the differing beliefs of the Patriots and the Loyalists?
  • Did economic factors such as jobs and land ownership influence a person's decision to become a Patriot or Loyalist?
  • How did religion influence a person's decision?
  • Why did African Americans choose to be Loyalists or Patriots?
  • Were there social issues that affected colonists' decisions as well (for example; treatment at the hands of other colonists or from family members)?
  • Do you consider this an easy decision or a difficult decision to make?

Can you add some questions of your own?

Gather and Sort:

Gather information about your topics from a variety of sources. Student Page

Sort your research findings using a graphic organizer. You can use these organizer to take notes:

Be sure to avoid plagiarism and keep track of your resources for a bibliography.

Find some helping tools and directions to guide students in sorting and locating research.


Analyze your research notes to determine if you have adequate information to answer your subsidiary questions. Check your graphic organizers and make sure you have gathered enough information to create your product.

Synthesize your findings by preparing your first draft of your newspaper article. Can you answer these questions?

What new insights have emerged about your topics?

Which facts are the most compelling and would have the greatest impact on your audience?

Transform your notes into your product. Refer back to the focus questions and those you generated. Use the questions as a guide as you compose your product. Refer to your rubrics to ensure that you have met all the criteria.


Present your research findings to your classmates by sharing your product.

After all the presentations, you will write your editorial. Don't forget to check the rubric so you have met the criteria for the editorial.

Provide some manner to link back to the Essential Question and to ensure that students are accountable for all the information presented by each researcher or group. This can also be a reflection, journal, or other peer review.


Now that you've prepared your presentation, listened your classmates' presentations and composed your editorial, think about what you learned. Did your position change? Do you have an appreciation for how the opposing side may have felt?

  • Reflect on your learning of the content by writing a response to the Overarching Question; support your response with ideas and evidence from both your own research and your classmates' presentations.

Which aspects of Maryland colonists personal lives had the greatest influence on the decision to become a Patriot or Loyalist?

  • Reflect on your inquiry process using Self Reflection on Inquiry and Self Reflection on Inquiry Tools (p. 159-160 in Guided Inquiry Design)
    Extend your learning:

Form a group with other classmates who are on the same side as you are. Prepare for a class debate between Patriots and Loyalists. Use our articles and letters to defend your points of view.