The Declaration of Independence American Literature
A Little History The war had been going on for over a year. It was NOT going well & Britain was calling in mercs. The congress needed a purpose to rally the colonists get official recognition by other countries get aid.
Religion in the Constition By acknowledging a higher power, the Declaration establishes the necessity of limited government to avoid abuse by humans and greed. The Declaration clearly states that natural rights, given to all human beings by a divine creator, are not government's to give or take away. It is this very notion that many wish to eliminate from American governmental philosophy. Successful attempts to strike the word God from the Pledge of Allegiance serves not the people who pledge their allegiance, but politicians and judges, attempting to remove one more concept that limits their powers.
The Responsibility of “The Dream” Without a doubt, the cornerstone of the “American dream” is the ideal of freedom. The words of the Declaration of Independence are a ringing affirmation of freedom. Yet Jefferson knew well that freedom’s twin is responsibility—every kind of liberty we enjoy has to be balanced by an equal amount of personal responsibility.
Thomas Jefferson Statesman, architect, botanist, paleontologist, linguist, and musician Became a lawyer, A member of the Virginia House of Burgesses,
Thomas Jefferson A spokesperson for the rights of personal liberty and religious freedom. Wrote a pamphlet called A Summary View of the Rights of British America, a call for the rejection of parliamentary authority. This pamphlet established his reputation, Two years later, the Second Continental Congress chose him to help draft the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson Served as minister to France, Secretary of state, Vice president, President from 1801–1809 – 3rd in the United States of America
The Declaration Based on study of other resolutions: Greek Roman Iroquois – The Oldest Constitution
The Oldest Constitution The Iroquois Constitution Gives members equal voice in the nation’s affairs System of checks and balances Guarantees political and religious freedom Grants extensive political power to women Infused with basic principles of democracy and federalism
Parallelism Parallelism, a.k.a. parallel structure, is the repetition of grammatically similar words, phrases, clauses, or sentences to emphasize a point or stir the emotions of a reader or listener. Example: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with inherent and* inalienable rights;3 that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, …”
Major Themes of the Declaration of Independence Self evident truths We hold these truths to be self-evident Human equality All men are created equal They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights Among these rights: Life Liberty Pursuit of happiness Natural rights Purpose of gov’t To secure rights Measure of Justice Consent of the governed Whenever any form of gov’t is destructive of the security of natural rights Right of revolution Prudence: Long-established gov’ts shouldn’t be overthrown for “light and transient causes” Experience: Men are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves Limits to the right of revolution
Structure Questions Preamble: the reasons for writing down the Declaration (from "WHEN, in the Course of human Events" to "declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation."). What reason(s) did the Founding Fathers give for their decision to write out a declaration? Statement of beliefs: specifying what the undersigned believed, the philosophy behind the document (from "We hold these Truths to be self-evident" to "an absolute Tyranny over these States"). What beliefs did the Founding Fathers declare they held? List of complaints: the offenses that impelled the declaration (from "To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World" to "unfit to be the ruler of a free people"). What are the complaints? Are any specific events mentioned? If not, is the information given sometimes sufficient to figure out to which events the complaints refer? Statement of prior attempts to redress grievances: (From "Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren," to "Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.") In what way(s) did the framers claim to have already tried in addressing the complaints? Declaration of independence: (From "WE, therefore" to "and our sacred Honour.") What will change in the colonies as a result of the Declaration? The signatures: Which signers do you recognize?
Your Job Complete the Structure Questions. With your group: Rewrite the Declaration of Independence in plain, modern English.
Resources "EDSITEment - Lesson Plan." EDSITEment - The Best of the Humanities on the Web. 18 Sep. 2009 <http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=282>. "The Declaration of Independence." ushistory.org. 18 Sep. 2009 <http://www.ushistory.org/declaration "The Declaration of Independence - FREE Presentations in PowerPoint format, Free Interactives and Games." American Government - FREE Presentations in PowerPoint format, Free Interactives and Games. 18 Sep. 2009 <http://government.pppst.com/declaration Lorcher, Trent. "An Analysis of Facts about The Declaration of Independence." Bright Hub. 19 Sep. 2009 <http://www.brighthub.com/education/homework-tips/articles/40945.aspx>.