Chapter 2: The Colonists are Revolting

In the 1770s, colonists rebelled against British rule. In this famous portrait, General Washington rebels against the basic rules of boat safety.

Lonely ol' Chuck Carroll.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826. Adams' last words were "Thomas Jefferson smmffffss." Those around him decided he was going for "Thomas Jefferson still lives," but he COULD have been saying "Thomas Jefferson smells" or "Thomas Jefferson still owes me five bucks." What he didn't realize was that Jefferson had died a few hours before. And what NEITHER of them probably knew was that Charles Carroll, another signer of the Declaration of Independence, was also still alive. And, judging by his portrait, so, so alone.

Paul Revere contemplates the important question of whether to bust the painter over the head with a tea pot or brain him with a chisel. Revere didn't say "The British are coming" (the colonists WERE British). He said "the regulars are out," which either meant that they were being invaded by soldiers or guys who ate a lot of fiber. Either way, the colonists knew to be ready for something messy.


Write a rambling poem about Prescott or Dawes, the OTHER guys who made midnight rides that night, but failed to become American heroes because their names didn't rhyme with "you shall hear." Send it to the Smart Aleck Staff - we may post a few right here!*

See Assignment Gallery

* - As always, by sending it in, you grant us the right to post it in the gallery. We will give extra credit for any entries that include the line "out of the bed and onto the floor / fifty yard dash to the bathroom door," as the "joke version" of Longfellow's poem does.


To the Royal Academy of Farting
How Ben Franklin used his new independence: in 1785, he wrote to a group of scientists asking them to find a way to make farts smell better.

Extra verses to "Yankee Doodle."
Including some slightly naughty ones - check the one about Dr. Warren. Soldiers make up naughty verses to popular songs in every war.

The Declaration of Independence
Full text. Good reading. What do YOU think Jefferson meant by "all men are created equal," exactly? It's not like the founding fathers granted equal rights to everyone, after all. Was he just saying we shouldn't have "lords" and a class of nobles, like the English did, or was he reaching towards actual equality?

Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"
Loaded with quotes you'll recognize. Some have said that to be for independence in 1775, you had to be either a fool or a fanatic. "Fortunately," Bill Bryson once wrote, "there existed a man who was a bit of both." Almost no one was for independence in 1775. But after this pamphlet came out, everyone tried to say they were for it back BEFORE it was cool. Paine later wrote another pamphlet that got the French started on their own revolution. But most who knew him said the guy was nuts - and people eventualy turned on him, largely due to his controversial religious views (short version: he was against it). He died broke and forgotten; his bones were dug up to be heroically re-buried, but they somehow got lost. No one knows where they are now, but every now and then someone claims to have a couple of them. Meanwhile, some of the Founding Fathers who didn't even really SAY the quotes they're known for, and didn't do much besides sit around the back of the room in the continental congress whining their heads off, were buried as heroes. Kinda sucks, huh?

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