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Philadelphia Council of Safety, 1776

Philadelphia Council of Safety
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_691
Document Description
A broadside from the Council of Safety to the people of Philadelphia ordering them to defend the city, December 2, 1776.
How would you feel if your town issued a similar statement?
How do you think the people of Philadelphia felt about it?
What sorts of things could the people of Philadelphia do to prepare to defend their city against the British?
Historical Challenges
The Sons of Liberty were sometimes seen as a violent mob. Research this organization and create a list of the positives and negatives of their actions.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: On September 26, 1777, British troops marched into Philadelphia. How many days passed between December 2, 1776, when the Philadelphia Council of Safety recommended that citizens prepare to defend the city and the day the British army entered Philadelphia?
English Language Arts: Old-fashioned spelling often used a "long s" when the letter "s" appeared at the beginning or middle of a word. The "long s" looked a lot like the letter "f." Which words in this statement appear to be spelled with f's instead of s's? Look closely at the "s" in "shut" and the "f" in "Defence." How are they different in appearance?
Moore, Kay and Dan O'Leary. If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution. Scholastic, Inc., May 1998. ISBN: 0590674447.
Egger-Bovet, Howard, Marlene Smith-Baranzini, and Bill Sanchez. US Kids History: American Revolution. Little, Brown & Company, May 1994. ISBN:0316222046.
Murray, Aaron. American Revolution: DK Battles and Leaders Series. Dorling Kindersley Publishing, January 2004. ISBN: 0789498898.

Historical Context
The entire era of the American Revolution was a time of danger and uncertainty for both Americans and Englishmen. Angry mobs often overtook Loyalists and besieged Patriot merchants who failed to adhere to the organized boycotts. Drastic measures on both sides were undertaken. In Philadelphia, the Council of Safety recommended that the city be vacated by anyone not prepared to fight in battle. Another indicator of unrest is the engraving of the Sons of Liberty pulling down the statue of King George III. The angry mob later used the metal from the statue and rail to make cannon balls and bullets.
Essential Question
How are the lives of citizens affected by times of national conflict?
Check for Understanding
Identify the main idea of this document and evaluate the importance of a council of safety during this time period.