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The Declaration of Independence Excerpt Analysis
Updated: 1/2/2017
The Declaration of Independence Excerpt Analysis
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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.

Declaration of Independence

Storyboard Description

Thomas Jefferson Declaration of Independence Primary Source Analysis

Storyboard Text

  • "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
  • We must protect our rights!
  • "The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States."
  • This excerpt is one of the most recognizable in the English language. It declares that all men are born with natural rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The declaration will expand off this, stating how these rights were violated by Great Britain.
  • This excerpt states the negative connotations and feelings towards King George III by the colonists. His repeated "injuries and usurpations" against them have directly prevented them from leading the lives they've desired. Therefore, he is a tyrannical, unjust ruler.
  • End the oppression!
  • Down with King George!
  • "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."
  • We must free ourselves from TYRANNY!
  • "We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America...That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States"
  • This excerpt declares that if a government does not work, it is the people's right to alter or abolish it. This means that because Great Britain's monarchical government is causing oppression, the colonists have the right to overthrow it and create a new, better government.
  • This excerpt is a literal example within the Declaration declaring freedom and independence. Because of the repeated injuries and oppressive nature against the colonies, the United States should be free. This is to ensure they dictate their lives, not Great Britain.
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