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The Declaration of Independence:  Overview/Goals/Objectives


At the end of the French and Indian War (1763), victorious Great Britain was the only superpower left in North America, with France losing all her North American colonies. However, the French and Indian War left the British colonies broke. Beginning in 1763, the British government imposed a series of taxes and proclamations on their American colonies. The American colonists rebelled against these taxes through a series of boycotts, claiming that, as Englishmen, they were entitled to representation in England prior to any colonial taxation. In response to the British government’s taxes and its declaration that the colonies were in open revolt, on June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered a formal resolution to the Second Continental Congress calling for independence of the American colonies from Great Britain. Thomas Jeffer- son was tasked in writing the Declaration of Independ- ence. On July 2, 1776, Congress approved Lee’s resolu- tion for America’s independence from Great Britain by a 12-0 vote (New York abstained). With independence adopted, Congress spent the next two days editing Jeffer- son’s draft of the Declaration. On July 4, 1776, Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence and sent it to the printer for duplication and distribution.


Students will understand the origins and text of the Declaration of Independence.

By the end of the week they will be able to explain and discuss:

Why it was written?

What are the central ideas of the Declaration?

What ideas and legacy from the Declaration of Independence are important to you in the 21st century?


Students will learn how to read a timeline, examine and interpret primary sources and using critical thinking skills write an expository paragraph on the Declaration of Independence’s enduring ideas and legacy in today’s world.


What were the central ideas of the Declaration of Inde- pendence and how would you describe the legacy of these ideas in today’s world?


8th Grade Social Studies

8.23 Determine the central ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence and write an expository piece in which the legacy of these ideas in today’s world is described and validated with supporting evidence from the text. (H,P)

8th Grade English/Language Arts
Reading: Informational Text – Key Ideas and Details.
1. Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analy- sis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to support- ing ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
3. Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through compari- sons, analogies, or categories).


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

  •   Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader

    categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to

    aiding comprehension.

  •   Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other infor-

    mation and examples.

  •   Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.

  •   Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

  •   Establish and maintain a formal style.

  •   Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation pre-


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