|THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.
One of the best known sentences in English language-
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Signers of the Declaration
Analyzing the Declaration of Independence
With your partner, analyze and answer the following questions on the back or on a separate piece of notebook paper.
Read the 1st page of the Declaration. (The introduction and the demand)
According to the Declaration, what are the 3 rights given by God to all people? What do you think these rights mean?
What does Jefferson say the people should do when the government becomes destructive of their rights?
The Declaration of Independence has been called the “birth certificate of the United States.” What do you think this statement means?
Examine the list of grievances that start on the bottom of the 1st page of the Declaration. (3rd Paragraph and go through ½ way down 3rd page)
Who are the grievances aimed at?
Pick out 3 grievances and rewrite them in your own words. Why are the 3 important?
Read the last paragraph (request for action).
In your own words, what does the last paragraph say?
How do you think the colonists felt after reading or hearing this?
ACTIVITY: CHOOSE 1: Complete Individually
What-If statement: What if the Declaration of Independence had never been signed. What do you think would have happened? Think about the relationship between Great Britain and the colonies. How would things of changed in our history? How do you think our government would have been different?
Create your own Declaration of Independence. Write an introduction, list your rights and freedoms, file any grievances, and write a statement of independence.
(Think About: What are you declaring independence from?)