Declaration of Independence worksheet
a. RELIGIOUS FAITH “endowed by their Creator….” “Laws of Nature and nature’s god”
we pledge our sacred honor, …protection of Divine Providence
b. DEMOCRATIC THEORY Basically the whole 2nd paragraph says people have the right to throw
off oppressive governments. The idea of consent of the governed is the basis of democracy.
c. AN AMERICAN CONSTITUTION. “…alter our former systems…” implies that some sort of
system is already in place. But officially, no Constitution had been written.
d. NATURAL LAWS “life liberty, pursuit of happiness, …. Inalienable rights, i.e.
e. ATTACKS ON PARLIAMENT. He hascombined with others.
f. A CALL TO ARMS AGAINST BRITAIN we will be “enemies in war, and friends in peace” (but it
doesn’t really say, pick up your muskets and go fight)
#1. If we don’t make our case fully, we will look like selfish whiners.
#2. King George III is the ultimate authority. Even though Parliament had passed all the laws
which the colonists hated, Jefferson puts the blame on the King. It is easier to blame one man
than a faceless mass. It helps people focus and channel their anger. Also, since the right to
legislate and have representation is the basis of the colonists’ argument, blaming a
representative body (parliament) would weaken their case.
3. The purpose is to state the reasons for the “candid world” to see. He says it directly. His
audience is other countries, who might come to the aid of the colonies. I believe that he had no
intention of doing anything other than informing Britain, Parliament and the King. They’d
already made up their mind on the question of lowering or removing taxes on the Americans.
Besides, the fighting has already begun. This just formalizes the intent of the colonies.
4. The first two paragraphs state the purpose and the theory of natural rights and natural laws.
The last three talk of what “we”, the colonies have done or what they want, not what “He”, the
king has done.
7. Opinions, but they must be supported.