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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $28.84
  • February 2015
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93889-0
  • 208 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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    Patriots, Loyalists, and Revolution in New York City, 1775-1776

    Reacting to the Past

    Second Edition


    See all options and formats starting at

    Bill Offutt (Author, Pace University)


    A Norton original in the Reacting to the Past series, Patriots, Loyalists, and Revolution in New York City invites students to experience the chaos of the American Revolution.

    In this Reacting to the Past game, the classroom is transformed into New York City in 1775, where Patriot and Loyalist forces fight for advantage among a divided populace. Confronted with issues like bribery, the loss of privacy, and collapsing economic opportunity along with ideological concerns like natural rights, the philosophical foundations of government, and differing definitions of tyranny, students witness how discontent can lead to outright revolt.

    Reacting to the Past is an award-winning series of immersive role-playing games that actively engage students in their own learning. Students assume the roles of historical characters and practice critical thinking, primary source analysis, and argument, both written and spoken.

    For more information about the series, visit


    Motivates students to actively learn by making history come alive

    In each Reacting to the Past game students receive a game book, which outlines the historical context, game premise, central debates, rules, and primary source readings. Students take charge of their own learning by assuming roles in a historical game they will want to win. While players must adhere to the beliefs and worldviews of the historical figures they have been assigned to play, they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively in speeches or other public presentations. 

    New and improved student and instructor resources

    The new Norton editions of Reacting to the Past use a clear five-part structure: 1) Introduction, 2) Historical Background, 3) The Game, 4) Roles and Factions, 5) Core Texts. This new organization brings a much-demanded consistency to the series and makes it easier for new instructors to learn the games, or for experienced ones to teach multiple titles in succession. 

    A proven approach for history skill-building

    Supported by a national network of engaged teachers, Reacting to the Past helps students develop primary source analysis, public speaking, writing and argument, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork skills. For its innovative approach to teaching and learning, Reacting to the Past has been supported by organizations like the Teagle Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, and was honored with the 2004 Theodore Hesburgh Award for pedagogical innovation. 

    The Reacting Consortium

    Reacting to the Past was developed under the auspices of Barnard College, which hosts an annual institute where interested faculty can learn more about the series by playing condensed versions of the games. To learn more about the annual faculty institute and other events, go to the Conferences and Events page

      Part 1. Introduction
      Brief Overview of the Game
      How to React

      Part 2. Historical Background
      Crisis in the Colonies, 1763–1775
      Social Discontent, the Fertile Soil of the Revolutionary Crisis
      The Economic Crisis Facing the Colonies
      Political Ideologies in the Revolutionary Crisis
      New York, Spring 1775

      Part 3. The Game
      Major Issues for Debate
      Rules and Procedures
      Victory Objectives
      Outline of Game Sessions

      Part 4. Roles and Factions
      The Provincial Congress
      The Crowd

      Part 5. Core Texts
      Notes on the Texts
      Introduction to Locke’s Second Treatise 
      John Locke, From Second Treatise of Government, 1689
      Daniel Dulany, “Consideration on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes in the British Colonies for the Purpose of Raising a Revenue,” 1765
      Soame Jenyns, “The Objections to the Taxation of our American Colonies by the Legislature of Great Britain, briefly consider’d,” 1765
      Samuel Johnson, “Taxation No Tyranny,” 1775
      Samuel Seabury, “Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Continental Congress in a Letter to the Farmer,” 1774
      Thomas Paine, “Common Sense,” 1776
      James Chalmers, “Plain Truth,” 1776