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Critical Thinking, Thoughtful Writing:
A Rhetoric with Readings
, Third Edition
John Chaffee, LaGuardia College, City University of New York
Christine McMahon, Montgomery College
Barbara Stout, Montgomery College
Activity: Four Accounts of the Battle of Lexington

Developed by Kevin O'Reilly, creator of the Critical Thinking in History project.

Develop your critical thinking abilities in this activity designed to complement Chapter 11: Believing and Knowing: Writing to Analyze.

Read the following passages, which purport to give factual accounts about the events that were observed at the Battle of Lexington during the American Revolution. After analyzing these accounts, develop your own version of what you believe took place on that day. Include such information as the size of the two forces, the sequence of events (for example, who fired the first shot?), and the manner in which the two groups conducted themselves (where they honorable? Brave?). In rating the reliability of each source, consider the following information:

Account 1. From a mainstream American history textbook.

Account 2. From a British history book written by a former prime minister of England.

Account 3. From a colonist who participated in the event with the colonial forces.

Account 4. From a British soldier who participated in the event.