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Topic: Historical Documents

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1 Topic: Historical Documents
Some documents in American history have considerable importance for the development of the nation. Students use historical thinking to examine key documents which form the basis for the United States of America.

2 Historical Document #1: The Declaration of Independence
Content Statement: The Declaration of Independence reflects an application of Enlightenment ideas to the grievances of British subjects in the American colonies. Expectations for Learning: Explain a grievance listed in the Declaration of Independence in terms of its relationship to Enlightenment ideas of natural rights and the social contract.

3 Historical Document #1: The Declaration of Independence
Content Elaborations: The Declaration of Independence opens with a statement that the action the American colonies were undertaking required an explanation. That explanation begins with a brief exposition of Enlightenment thinking, particularly natural rights and the social contract, as the context for examining the recent history of the colonies. The document includes a list of grievances the colonists have with the King of Great Britain and Parliament as a justification for independence. The grievances refer to as series of events since the French and Indian War which the colonists deemed were tyrannical acts and destructive of their rights. The Declaration of Independence ends with a clear statement that the political bonds between the colonies and Great Britain are ended. Independence is declared as an exercise of social contract thought.

4 WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN WHY 1. Declaration of Independence
2. Northwest Ordinance 3. Constitution of the United States 4. Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers 5. Bill of Rights WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN WHY

5 The Declaration of Independence

6 Historical Context Thomas Jefferson About The Author
Born on April 13, 1743 in Virginia to a wealthy family. He was very well educated. Attended The College of William & Mary. Served in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Eloquent correspondent, but not good public speaker Known as the "silent member" of the Congress Was unanimously chosen by the Committee of Five to prepare a draft of the Declaration alone.

7 Major Events of The Time
Common Sense is published North Carolina produces the Halifax Resolves making it the first British colony to officially authorize its delegates to vote for independence. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposes a resolution calling for a Declaration of Independence. Virginia Declaration of Rights by George Mason is adopted by the Virginia Convention of Delegates. The Delaware General Assembly votes to suspend government under the British Crown

8 Intended Audience The audience were those wanting independence from England. International audience

9 Jefferson’s Viewpoint on the Major Issues of His Time
He believed in the separation of church and state. He believed that the colonies had the right to overthrow a tyrannical government.

10 Main Points of the Declaration of Independence
All men are created equal. “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. Men are given by God certain unalienable rights. “They are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” We have the natural right by God to declare our independence from England. “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…

11 Main Points of the Declaration of Independence
Governments derive their authority from the consent of the people. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” When a government abuses it’s power, the people have the right to overthrow it. “That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it… The colonies tried repeatedly to compromise with King George, but has been a tyrant. “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.

12 Historical Significance
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence Historical Significance The American Colonies finally declared their independence from England It was the first step in the creation of a new nation.

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