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The Declaration of Independence

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1 The Declaration of Independence
Mr. Webster’s Class

2 Vocabulary debt – money that is owed duty – a tax abolish – to end
assent – to agree boycott – to refuse to purchase certain goods or services deprive – to remove or withhold something derive – to receive or obtain despotism – a form of government where the ruler has absolute power dissolve – to bring to an end endow – to be given something naturally

3 Vocabulary Cont. grievance – a complaint
natural rights – rights people are born with that cannot be taken away quarter – to house self-evident – obvious tyranny – a government in which a ruler possesses and abuses absolute power tyrant – a ruler that possesses and abuses absolute power unalienable (inalienable) rights – basic rights that may not be taken away legislature – governing body responsible for making laws Parliament – the name of the English legislature

4 Jamestown & the House of Burgesses
During the 1600s, many people from England traveled to North America and set up colonies. The first permanent English settlement in North America was Jamestown. It was settled in 1607, and it was a part of the Virginia Colony. Beginning in 1619, Virginia colonists began electing leaders called “burgesses” to represent them in an assembly. The assembly was called the House of Burgesses. This marked the beginning of self-government and representative government in colonial America.

5 The Pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact
In 1620, a group of English settlers called the Pilgrims sailed to North America. They sailed on the Mayflower and landed in what is now Massachusetts. There was no English government there. The men on the ship decided to make a list of rules for the colony. It was called the Mayflower Compact. It was another example of democracy in America.

6 The 13 Colonies By 1733, there were 13 English colonies along the Atlantic coast of North America. One thing the colonists shared was their English background. Their rights as English citizens were very important to them. When the colonists first settled, the king and Parliament did not pay much attention to them. Also, England was very far away so many laws were hard to enforce. Over the years, the colonists became very independent.

7 A Time of Change By the mid-1700s, the colonists had become used to governing themselves. Most agreed with John Locke’s idea that the government should protect people’s rights. When colonists began realizing that British laws and policies typically favored British interests over colonists’ needs, they became concerned. Many colonists began to think that they did not have as many rights as people in England did.

8 The French & Indian War By the 1750s, British colonists were moving west into places that France said it already owned. Soon after, Great Britain and France went to war. This is known as the French and Indian War. The British won the French and Indian War in 1763, but afterwards, they were deeply in debt. King George III decided that the colonists should help pay for the war.

9 The Stamp Act In 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act to help raise money to help pay for the war. This law made the colonists buy and place tax stamps on all official documents. The law made the colonists very angry as they did not think Parliament had the right to tax them. Colonists protested the act and began boycotting British goods. Eventually, the Stamp Act was repealed.

10 Declaratory Act & Townshend Revenue Acts
Following the Stamp Act, Parliament passed more laws. In 1766, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act which stated that they had the right to tax the colonists and make decisions for them. In 1767, they passed the Townshend Revenue Act which taxed imported goods, like, glass, paper, and tea.

11 The Boston Massacre In 1768, word was sent to Britain that the colonies were on the brink of rebellion. That same year, British soldiers were sent to Boston to keep order. In 1770, an argument between the British soldiers and colonists got out of hand, and resulted in the death of 5 colonists. This is known as the Boston Massacre. Clip

12 The Boston Tea Party In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act. This measure was NOT a tax. Instead, it pressured colonists to purchase their tea solely from the British East India Company. In December 1773, angry colonists dressed up as Native Americans and boarded several ships in Boston Harbor and dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor. This is known as the Boston Tea Party. Clip

13 Intolerable Acts In 1774, Parliament responded to the Boston Tea Party by passing a series of acts known as the Intolerable Acts (also known as the Coercive Acts). These acts infuriated the colonists. As a result, in September 1774, delegates from 12 colonies met in Philadelphia to plan a united response. This became known as the Continental Congress.

14 First Continental Congress
The Continental Congress decided to send a letter to King George III asking him to respect their rights as British citizens. They also organized a total boycott of all British goods. King George responded by calling for stronger measures.

15 War Begins / The Second Continental Congress
Tensions eventually led to war. The first shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775. The Second Continental Congress formed shortly after, and became the governing body for the colonies during the war. The Congress then unanimously appointed George Washington to command the Continental Army.

16 Common Sense As the war continued, support for independence grew in the colonies. In January 1776, Thomas Paine published a pamphlet titled Common Sense that made a strong case for independence. It became a bestseller, and convinced many colonists to support independence.

17 The Declaration of Independence
In June of 1776, the Continental Congress chose a committee to draft a document to explain why the colonies should be free. The committee then chose Thomas Jefferson to write the document. While drafting the document, Jefferson drew on John Locke’s ideas about natural rights and social contract. The end result was the Declaration of Independence.

18 The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was formally adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence announced that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as free and independent states. The document also justified the independence of the United States by listing grievances against King George III.

19 The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a revolutionary document. At that time, no other nations’ government was based on the principles of government by the consent of the governed. Clip

20 Declaration of Independence Timeline
1754 – 1763 – The English fight the French during the French and Indian War. The English win the war, but find themselves in debt after the war ends. 1765 – The English Parliament passes the Stamp Act, which requires all printed materials to be taxed. Many American colonists oppose the act and protest its passage. Although the Stamp Act is eventually repealed, Parliament imposes a number of other taxes on the colonies. 1770 – The Boston Massacre occurs when a large group of colonists crowd around and harass English soldiers. In response, the soldiers fire their guns into the crowd killing five and injuring six. 1773 – In response to the Tea Act, a group of colonists board English ships in Boston, and dump hundreds of chests of tea into the harbor. This is now known as the Boston Tea Party.

21 Declaration of Independence Timeline Cont.
1774 – In response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament passes a series of laws. Colonists call them the Intolerable Acts. In response to these acts, the First Continental Congress meets and agrees to boycott English imports and stop exporting goods to England. 1775 – English try to quell the “rebellion” occurring in the colony, but it is to no avail. War between Britain and the colonies begin. 1776 – A Virginian presents a formal plan calling for independence from Great Britain. A committee is formed, and Thomas Jefferson is chosen to prepare the first draft. On July 4, Congress formally supports the Declaration, although signing does not occur until August 2.


23 Too Late To Apologize: A Declaration




For this assignment, you are to pretend that you are a colonist living in the year You support the idea of independence, so you decide to write a letter to King George III explaining why you feel the way that you do. In your letter, you must make mention of all of the different acts and laws, and how they have affected your everyday life. Your letter needs to include at least three paragraphs that support your reasons for supporting independence from Great Britain. This assignment is worth 20 points. I will be giving 5 points for each of the following: Focus/ Relevance – 5 points Support / Evidence – 5 points Organization / Layout – 5 points Creativity / Effort – 5 points

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