This is a four to sis week unit prepared for seventh or eighth grade social studies classes. It has been designed to be used as a source for teachers or as a text to be used in class by the students. The focus of the unit is on the imperial struggle between the colonies and Great Britain. By using Connecticut as a case study of anti-imperialism, students can learn important aspects of imperial struggles throughout world history, including the 20th century. Teachers can bring in information on the other colonies as it relates to the incidents covered in the unit. In this way students can develop a broader picture of the colonial struggle than is presented in the unit.
I have designed this unit primarily because there is a scarcity of classroom materials on Connecticut. Also, textbooks I have used make fleeting reference to Connecticut in the colonial period.
By studying Connecticut, students will learn that their state had a history of independence before the colonial struggle began. They will learn that Connecticut was a self-governing colony from its inception and that Connecticut citizens considered themselves loyal British subjects. Students will also learn that Connecticut colonists viewed imperial interference in their internal affairs as a violation of their rights as Englishmen. Students will learn that Connecticut played a significant and leading role in the struggle with England. Students will understand the difference between conservative and radical political views in the Revolutionary context.
However, the fundamental purpose of this unit is not the study of Connecticut
but rather to illuminate imperial relationships throughout world history. The concept of imperialism is not covered to the 20th century. Because the curriculum I use covers the Fall of Tome through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the colonization of North America, ending with the American Revolution. Therefore, further discussion of imperialism is not pertinent to the unit. Teachers may wish, however, to continue the historical development of imperialism into the present day.
The unit is divided into three sections with the sub-headings “Imperialism,” Mercantilism,” and “Connecticut as a Case Study in Anti-Imperialism.” Each section can be used separately to facilitate classroom use. Two sample lessons are provided to illustrate ways the unit can be used in class.