Honors U. S. History Project: Your Personal Declaration of Independence overview

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Honors U.S. History Project: Your Personal Declaration of Independence
OVERVIEW: Your task is to write your own Declaration of Independence in which you declare yourself independent from something: Prattville High School, parents, siblings, homework, rules, chores, job, etc. (Get creative!) You must follow the guidelines below to create this document, which should mirror the format of the real Declaration of Independence we analyzed in class. Each student will draft his/her own document, sign it, and then get others to sign their support.
ROUGH DRAFT DUE DATE: End of class on December 9, 2014 (DAILY grade)

FINAL PROJECT DUE DATE: December 12, 2014 (PROJECT grade)
Guidelines for writing your personal Declaration of Independence:

  • Preamble: Discuss the reasons for why you are writing your Declaration. (From, “When in the Course of human Events” to “declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.”) What reasons do you believe you should declare your independence? Challenge: Use one long, complex sentence like Jefferson’s.

  • Declaration of Student Rights: Explain what you believe and the philosophy and GENERAL ideals behind why you have a right to declare independence. (From, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident….”) What beliefs about your independence do you have?

  • List of Complaints/Grievances: List the person/persons to whom you are addressing your complaints (for example: the principal, the teachers, parents, siblings). Important: You may not list any individuals by name (remember Jefferson doesn’t), and all complaints must be intelligently worded and appropriate for school. Then list what you specifically are complaining about. (From, “To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World….”) An example might be, “Our Teachers have assigned an enormous amount of homework that we were forced to complete at times inconvenient.” All grievances should use parallel structure by starting each complaint with the same word or phrase.

  • Statements of prior attempts to redress grievances: List the ways in which you have already tried to address your complaints. (From “Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren…”) In what ways have you already tried to address your complaints?

  • Resolution of Independence: Describe how you want things to change as a result of this Declaration. (From “We, therefore…”) How would you want things to change if you became independent?

  • Signatures: Sign your declaration and have at least four other students sign as witnesses.


  • You may use the same starting words that are written in the Declaration of Independence to help fill in your Declaration. For example, you may start off your Preamble with “In the course of….” Just remember to replace their ideas, complaints, and what should be changed with your own.

  • Please see the wall beside the air conditioning unit for good student examples.

Grading Rubric

________(70 points) project follows directions & includes all parts required under the guidelines—preamble, declaration of student rights, list of complaints, statements of prior attempts to redress grievances, resolution of independence, signatures (4 plus yours)

________(20 points) project is creative and neat (includes use of proper grammar and use of COLOR)

________(10 points) project reveals extensive time and concerted effort

*The following is an EXAMPLE Student Declaration of Independence TO BE USED ONLY AS A GUIDELINE:

When in the course of a secondary education, it becomes necessary for students to cut ties with their parents and teachers and to become independent, they must explain why they deserve to be independent to the rest of the world. This requires us, as students, to write our own Declaration of Independence for the rest of the world to see and understand why we should be and will be independent and equal to the station of our parents and teachers.

Declaration of Student Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident-- that all students are deserving of a life, freedom, and the pursuit of whatever makes them happy. To obtain these rights, parents and teachers should enable students to do as they wish. However, when parents and teachers begin a long train of mistreatment against students that shows they only want to control every aspect of their lives, it is the duty and right of students to get rid of the control their parents and teachers have over them and establish their independence.

List of Grievances

Until now, students have been very patient with parents and teachers, but with such a long history of mistreatment and unfairness by the parents and teachers toward students, it is now time that the rest of the world find out what has been going on.

  • They have given us too much homework with little class time to complete it

  • They have given us repeated detentions without good cause

  • They have grounded us for reasons that were unfair and not our fault

Statements of Prior Attempts to Redress Grievances

Even after all of this mistreatment, we have explained how we felt to both our parents and teachers. However, our complaints have fallen on deaf ears, and we have been ignored. We have even appealed to our school administrators, grandparents and even our friends at other schools, but our appeals have been ignored and we must now announce that we are separating ourselves from our homes and our schools to become independent.

Resolution of Independence

We, therefore, the representatives of the student body at Glendale High School in Glendale, California, present these facts to the rest of the country and the world. In the name and by the permission of all of our fellow students, we solemnly write and declare that the students at Glendale High School out to be free and independent, and we give ourselves the same powers as any adult has who is also free and independent. For the support of our declaration, we pledge our lives, honor and all that we have!

(Signatures would go here at the bottom…)

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