The Declaration of Independence Webquest: Parts 1 and 2
Standards: Concept 1 PO4-- Examine the fundamental principles in the Declaration of Independence. Objectives: By the end of this unit, SWBAT-- Summarize the major ideas of the Declaration of Independence, and the effect of four influential documents.
Declaration Of Independence Webquest Part I: The Declaration's Origins: Four (4) Primary Sources for Understanding the Declaration of Independence
Much of the language and many of the ideas in the Declaration can be found in other documents, to which Jefferson and the other writers had access. In this activity, students will be able to see these influences and understand the evolution of ideas over time that culminated in the Declaration.
Either working individually or in small groups, students will receive a copy the Declaration of Independence (to be annotated), digital copies of four influential documents, and a chart to record information.
As students read each of the four documents, they will search for the portion of the Declaration that was influenced by the document's text. They will compare the Declaration's ideas with these other documents. Students should analyze the extent of the connection and influence of the ideas in their document to the wording in specific sections of the Declaration.
Students will fill in the accompanying chart to document the accumulation of ideas leading to the Declaration.
2.Massachusetts Slave Petition, May 27, 1774, In this slave petition to the governing bodies of Massachusetts, the natural rights argument is made boldly by a people denied ANY rights at that time. (Focus on arguments at the beginning and end of the petition.)
3.Malden Massachusetts Statement of Independence, May 27, 1776 In this document, the citizens of the town of Malden express their concerns to their representative at the Continental Congress about the actions of the British and why a declaration in favor of independence was necessary and appropriate at that time. (You will find the specific grievances in paragraphs three and four that connect to the Declaration's grievances. Pay close attention to the concluding two paragraphs of the Statement of Independence. Is the language stronger or weaker than that in the conclusion of the Declaration?)
2. Identify and locate the three fundamental concepts (1. natural rights, 2. the social contract and 3. the right to revolution) in the Declaration of Independence text, annotating the location in the margin.
3. On a separate sheet of paper, re-write these three concepts in your own words and explain how they relate to the struggle between the English and American colonists. Remember to address the following: 1)how did they support the idea of revolution and, 2)given the context of the times, why were these ideas unusual and new?
**You may write on your copy of the Declaration of Independence.**
4.Next, students will analyze the list of grievances (using the original text)
Each student will select at least one grievance (students who analyze more than one grievance are eligible for recovery credit), which they will read and annotate in the margins (and then will report back to the class about what it is saying, how it relates to the struggle with England, and its significance).
You may use online resources to support your claims.
5.Finally, students should identify phrases in which the Americans assert their rights to popular sovereignty and self-determination, and where they say what they will do to achieve them. Students should explain these ideas in their own words on the separate sheet of paper from Part II number 3.