Sam the Minuteman
by Nathaniel Blenchley
Pictures by Arnold LobelAn I can read book – Level 3 (Grades 2-4)
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Long ago, over two hundred years ago, there were only colonies in America which were ruled by England. The English King made a rule that the colonists must pay tax on ordinary things like tea, sugar and paper. This made the colonists very mad, so no one drank tea. They decided that they would drink coffee, they would drink water but they would not drink tea! They were not allowed to vote, but they were forced to pay taxes. One day, in 1773, many boats bringing tea came to Boston. The Patriots sneaked up on the ships and threw all the tea into the water. This was called the Boston Tea Party. This made the King angry. From that day onwards the English army was against the colonists.
One of the colonist families was the Browns. One day, they heard that the English soldiers were coming to Lexington, the place they lived. Sam Brown‘s Dad was a Minuteman. They were ordinary people who had to be ready to fight on a minute’s notice. The American Revolution was about to begin in 1773. Sam was also asked to become a young Minuteman. He had to stop being afraid so that he could help the other Minutemen fight for their freedom. Paul Revere was a brave man who went on a horse all over to tell people that the British soldiers were coming. He was a silversmith and a patriot.
The British soldiers were called Redcoats or Lobster Backs because of their red coats. There were thousands of Redcoats and very few minutemen. They soldiers came and fight all night. Eight Minutemen died. Then, suddenly, the Redcoats left. While they were fighting, Sam Brown’s friend John got hurt when a bullet hit his leg. Sam’s fear changed to anger. His Dad helped John home. When Sam got home he told his Dad that he would shoot each soldier! His father told him that he might have the chance to do just that if the war began. But his mother said that he is not going out there again. When the British soldiers returned, Sam’s mother wanted him to stay in the house. But it was too late, Sam had already got his gun and run out after his Dad. The Revolutionary War had begun. It lasted 8 years! The colonists did not know that this war was the start of their fight for independence of a new country – the United States of America.
Since 1777 Americans have celebrated their independence day on the 4th of July. Some people like to bring history back, so they dress in costumes and act like important people. Others have barbecues and have fun watching fireworks. It is a fun national holiday in the USA!