The Declaration of Independence - What the Words Mean to Me
Updated: 1/11/2017
The Declaration of Independence - What the Words Mean to Me
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The Declaration Lesson Plans & Activities

The Declaration of Independence: A Primary Source Analysis

Lesson Plans by Richard Cleggett

American independence begins not only with war and protest, but the Declaration of Independence itself. The Declaration serves as both a official severing of ties with Great Britain for the American colonies, and also a list of grievances detailing why this separation is necessary. It is the culmination of what the colonists had protested for, and against, throughout the years leading up to the American Revolution. Written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, the Declaration is one of the most important and defining documents of our nation’s beginning.


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Declaration of Independence

Storyboard Description

Thomas Jefferson Declaration of Independence for kids

Storyboard Text

  • WORDS OF THE DECLARATION
  • EXCERPT 1
  • We must reject this tyrannical oppression!
  • EXCERPT 2
  • I sentence you to seven years in prison!
  • But what about my trial?
  • EXCERPT 3
  • The king is not happy...
  • How can we control these colonists?!
  • WHAT THEY MEAN TO ME
  • "Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. "
  • Taxes are NOT injury! They are necessary!
  • "He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries."
  • We shall control our OWN judicial systems!
  • "Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. "
  • We shall govern with our OWN laws and ideas!
  • AGREED!
  • This quote means to me that time and time again, the colonists and colonies have suffered. They now need to change their government in order to preserve what they deem is right. I agree with this, because tyranny prevents freedoms, and that can cause injury in many ways.
  • King George III even controls judges. He controls their time in office and even their compensation. I think this could greatly alter judges decisions and the decision-making process, to the detriment of the colonists. Fairness is needed in court, not control.
  • They don't want to fight, but they've tried to warn the British. This shows the issues have built up over time. The King cannot take away freedoms from across an ocean. I agree that a ruler should not control people so geographically far away.
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