Why America Is Free Lesson Elements


Represent Diversity

Why America Is Free (WAIF) is broadly inclusive and is taught not solely from the 18th century mostly white, male Patriot perspective but rather from multiple points of view. A pervasive them that runs through the program is equal ownership in our national history and our nation by all citizens. WAIF is highly successful in schools whose demographics range from the most privileged to the most challenged.


A critical segment of Americans, essentially the poor Black, the poor Brown, and the poor White students, are not being taught effectively, though a great deal of money has been poured into programs aimed at improving their education. I think this programs could succeed where others have failed...if presented right, the Why America Is Free [course of study] could make an important difference for these underserved students—students these other programs have not helped—by planting their feet in the soil of this nation and making real to them that they have a stake in it. If done right, it could empower them.


                              Dr. Rénard Harris,Dean of Diversity and past Director of Social Studies Education,

                                  College of Charleston


WAIF covers the period from approximately 1753 to approximately 1810. It is taught after several units of study that lay important groundwork. These units include:


  1. Native American societies of North America in the 14th18th centuries
  2. Early Explorers
  3. Early Colonial Period
  4. Slavery in the American Colonies


Building on these units, WAIF begins with the French and Indian War, and then immerses the students into the ideas (the American Enlightenment), the issues, events, and impact of the American Revolution domestically and worldwide. All is taught from multiple perspectives. It ends with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Why America Is Free textbook, though it is without question the best available on this topic for fourth and fifth grade, does not cover everything, and does not give as much attention to minorities or diverse perspectives as necessary in American schools. The extensive WAIF lesson plans and materials not only work with what the book does present but also add the contributions and points of view far more diverse. What follows is a brief listing of some of the topics relating to Blacks, Native Americans, and women covered in WAIF  lesson plans materials.



In Social Studies

  • Insertion and removal of abolition of slavery from Declaration – historical context, events and discussion
  • Black Loyalists: Reasons thousands of Black slaves became Loyalists, Lord Dunmore's Proclamation, and Royal Ethiopian Regiment
  • Black Patriots:  Reasons that more Black freemen, freedmen, and slaves served militarily as Patriots than as Loyalists (around 9,000).
  • Blacks in Battle of Boston Massacre, Lexington, Bunker Hill
  • Integration in the Continental Army
  • Second Rhode Island Regiment
  • Impact of Enlightenment ideas, Declaration of Independence, and Black soldiers on White attitudes
  • Abolition movement
  • George Washington's manumission of slaves
  • James Forten, abolitionist and advocate for women's rights
  • Constitution: Three-Fifths Rule, historical context, debate


In the Book of Heroes (people of the period whose stories and contributions are offered for examination and discussion to determine which character traits students admire and whom among them the students find to be outstanding role models)

  • Benjamin Banneker
  • Mem Bett (Elizabeth Freeman)
  • Henri Christophe
  • Prince Estabrook
  • William Flora
  • James Forten
  • Lemuel Hayes
  • James (Armistead) Lafayette
  • Saul Matthews
  • Salem Poor
  • Peter Salem
  • Phillis Wheatley
  • Prince Whipple


In Language Arts

  • Phillis Wheatley: biography, poetry, correspondence with George Washington, impact on prejudice against Blacks
  • Journal writing about the omission of abolition from founding documents


In Science

  • Benjamin Banneker: biography, astronomy, impact on prejudice on Blacks


In Art

  • 18th Century American Portraiture: historical and economic context of portraiture in the American colonies so students understand why it is exceedingly rare to find portraits of any but the very rich



In Social Studies

  • Tribal affiliations after French and Indian War
  • Reasons behind the Decree of 1763 and its impact on Indians and Colonials
  • Native American Perspective on Revolutionary War
  • Pontiac's War
  • British Indian Alliances: Joseph Brant's Mohawks and the Six Nations; Cherokee Wars in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia
  • Patriot Indian Alliances: Mohicans of Stockbridge, Massachusetts including Jehoiaikim Mtohksin and Abraham Nimham
  • Seeking Neutrality: Ohio Valley Shawnees, Delawares, and Moravians tried for neutrality but were forced to the British side


In Language Arts

  • "Indian Tale" lesson: Native American storytelling tradition relating their perspective their perspective on the French and Indian War battle against Braddock's troops and George Washington


In the Book of Heroes

  • Joseph Brant, Mohawk
  • Jehoiaikim Mtohksin, Mohican
  • Abraham Nimham, Mohican
  • Nancy Ward/Nanye'hi, Cherokee



In Social Studies

  • Women's role limitations and expansion during the American Revolution
  • Martha Washington's roles at the army camps, as manager, as First Lady
  • Camp followers: lives, duties
  • Women soldiers: Deborah Sampson, Catherine Moore Barry, others
  • Women spies: Sybil Ludington, Miss Jenny, others
  • Influential writers and civic organizers: Mercy Otis Warren, Esther Reed, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheatley, Hannah White Arnett
  • Financial Supporters: ladies of Havana, ladies of Philadelphia


In Language Arts

  • Phillis Wheatley


In the Book of Heroes

  • Abigail Adams
  • Hannah White Arnett
  • Sarah Franklin Bache
  • Penelope Barker
  • Catherine Moore Barry
  • Martha Bratton
  • Elizabeth Burgin
  • Margaret Cochran Corbin
  • Lydia Darragh
  • Mary Draper
  • Deborah Sampson Gannett
  • Nancy Hart
  • Ona (Oney) Judge
  • Sybil Ludington
  • "Miss Jenny"
  • Lucy Knox
  • Molly Hayes McCauley
  • Grace and Rachel Martin
  • Mary Lindley Murray
  • Rebecca Mott
  • Esther de Berdt Reed
  • Nancy Ward/Nanye'hi
  • Frederica de Reidesel
  • Betsy Ross
  • Catherine Schuyler
  • Mercy Otis Warren
  • Martha Washington
  • Prudence Wright
  • Elizabeth Zane



In Social Studies

  • Financial, trade, materiel, and naval assistance of Spain
  • Diversion of British Troops
  • Battle of Savannah
  • General Gálvez
  • Battles of Pensacola and New Orleans, and Seizure from British of coastal land from Pensacola to New Orleans
  • Protection of the Mississippi River
  • Crucial supplies up the Mississippi
  • Mexican sailors on Patriot ships


In the Book of Heroes

  • General Gálvez
  • Society Ladies of Havana



  • French
  • British
  • Loyalist
  • Children



(281) 731-3202   (713) 533-1776


4899 Montrose Blvd. #1109

Houston, TX 77006

©2019 Values Through History. All Right Reserved