Revolution on Their DoorstepMeriam's Corner: Concord, MAApril 19, 1775

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The Nathan Meriam House, Corner of Old Bedford Road and Lexington Road, Concord, MACourtesy of Minuteman National Historical Park

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Hewitt Portrait Page
Brooks Portrait Page

"Lexington Common was a tragedy.
Concord's North Bridge was treason.
Meriam's Corner was war."

-Jim Hollister, National Park Ranger and Historian
-Joel R. Bohy, Historian
Every student in the United States is taught about the beginning of the American Revolution by learning about the famous “battles” on Lexington’s Common and at Concord’s North Bridge. What most do not learn is that these two incidents were seen as skirmishes by both sides on that day, both only lasting a matter of minutes with few casualties. In fact both the Lexington Common fight and the North Bridge fight were very similar to the Boston Massacre, with both sides reeling themselves back unsure how to react after the initial action. What made April 19th different from the Boston Massacre, as well as the powder alarms of 1774-1775, was that after the initial shots and withdrawals by both sides the men of Massachusetts decided that they were no longer going to live in fear of British reprisals and would make a firm stand to defend themselves against a violent threat that had invaded their communities.

It was at a place known as Meriam’s Corner that the lesser known, but no less brave, men of towns like Reading, Billerica, Chelmsford, Sudbury, and countless others joined with the men of Concord, Lincoln, and Bedford and stood up for their rights to be secure in their homes, free from the fear of violence at the hands of their own government.

This lesson will explore the stories of those men; the ones who began the running fight we today call the Battle Road which would besiege a British army in Boston and would mark the beginning of what would become the American War for Independence.

Standards (MA Curriculum):
USI.4 Analyze how Americans resisted British policies before 1775 and analyze the reasons for the American victory and the British defeat during the Revolutionary war. (H)
USI.5 Explain the role of Massachusetts in the revolution, including important events that took place in Massachusetts and important leaders from Massachusetts. (H)
  • the Battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill

Common Core Standards, Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies:
  • RH.9-10.1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
  • RH.9-10.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
  • RH.9-10.3. Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

  • RH.9-10.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.
  • RH.9-10.5. Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.
  • RH.9-10.6. Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.

  • RH.9-10.8. Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.
  • RH.9-10.9. Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

To download this lesson in Microsoft Word format, please click on this link:

TransferStudents will be able to independently use their learning to…
Decide if and when pre-emptive violence is an appropriate response to political unrest.
Determine historical truth by examining multiple perspectives
Identify the importance of who instigates violence and why that matters so much to participants

Students will understand that…
  • Revolutions often begin with simple, swift actions by small groups of people.
  • Individuals can have a profound impact on history based upon quickly, and sometimes rashly, made decisions.
  • Throughout history, the question of “Who started it?” has always been one that matters to both participants and their descendants
  • Progress often comes at a price – the extent of which allows history to judge its success
  • Revolutions have outcomes that affect both the local and global communities.
  • How do we determine what really happened at an historical event?
  • What is the importance of understanding multiple perspectives?
  • When is the use of violence justified?
  • Is the use of preemptive violence ever justified?
  • How do we determine truth from myth when multiple contradictory perspectives claim to be the truth?
Students will know…
  • The reasons for the Regulars’ Column expedition to Concord and retreat to Boston on April 19, 1775.
  • The importance of answering the question, “Who shot first?” for both contemporaries and modern descendents alike.
  • Factors that contributed to making Meriam’s Corner a tactically sound location for Provincials to lay ambush to the regulars.
  • Social, political, and cultural effects, both immediate and long term, of the fighting that happened at Meriam’s Corner.
Students will be skilled at…
  • Analyzing primary documents for purpose, main idea and significance
  • Identifying bias in primary source documents
  • Comparing and contrasting differing accounts of the same event
  • Writing persuasively, using primary evidence as support
  • Tracing change over time amongst witnesses to history
  • Recognize, define and use key vocabulary in context
  • Identify main idea and details