Why Was There a War of Independence in America?

Why did a group of Americans dress up like Indians and dump tea into the sea? And what did the famous “Boston Tea Party” of 1773 have to do with the American war for independence? To be sure, that act of rebellion explains what the American colonists didn’t want: high taxes and a king making decisions on business and trade.

But what did they want? Did the American colonists really want to leave the British Empire? Were they inspired more by ideas of personal freedom or was it mainly about money? During our two-hour workshop, we will look at some major events and factors that motivated the colonists to fight for independence from Britain, and we will ask how much the war was a fight for economic rights and to what degree it was a revolution of ideas. To help answer these questions, we will also look at how the new nation was set up and at what the so-called “Founding Fathers” wanted to achieve.


Saturday, 4 November 2017, 10:00 am 12:00 am


Course on the American Revolution for Fifth and Sixth Graders.
30 places.


Museum of Anthropology, University of Zurich, Campus Irchel


Program changes possible

Mary Carozza: About me ...

I grew up in the United States and now work as a translator and teacher. The best part about my job as a translator is that I can play with words – I get to find the best English words and expressions to say what a German text says. The best part about my job as a teacher is that I can help people to understand their world a little better and to see how things are connected.

One of the main reasons I wanted to become a teacher was my fifth-grade teacher who, during history lessons, let her students play-act scenes from history. Once I was Magellan, sailing around the world. Once I played Louis Pasteur and discovered penicillin. Or I was Harriet Tubman, helping people escape slavery. And once, the whole class acted out scenes from the American Revolutionary War. It was fun and we learned.

Although I now work in adult education, my fifth-grade teacher has always been a role model. When I plan my classes, I ask myself how I can motivate my students to learn as much as they can. Usually the answer is by engaging their imaginations – by asking them questions and by having them ask questions – and by turning learning into something they do, not something that happens to them. Play-acting isn’t usually possible because the subjects I teach are harder to play-act (you can’t act out translating Apfel into apple) and most adults are afraid to look silly. But, although my students have to sit in their chairs and think, I try to be sure that they experience learning as an activity – a fun activity.