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The Declaration of Independence is the name of a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as thirteen newly independent sovereign states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they formed a new nation—the United States of America.
See the fact file below for more information on the Declaration of Independence or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Declaration of Independence worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- In the 1600s, the British began to colonize the New World and established settlements, the first in Jamestown, Virginia. The Thirteen colonies were founded under the British crown. On October 26, 1760, George III of England ascended the throne.
- In 1764, the British Parliament began to impose taxes on the colonists to compensate for the losses in the French-Indian War. The Sugar Act was implemented which raised taxes on British goods imported to the colonies, including sugar, wine, coffee, dye, and cloth.
- After few months, the Stamp Act was passed which required taxes on all printed items produced and used inside the thirteen colonies. It included newspapers, playing cards, legal and commercial documents, and books.
- In 1767, the Townshend Acts levied additional taxes on tea, glass, paper, lead, and painted colors. By the following year, the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts were imposed on the thirteen colonies. As a result, the colonists felt that the laws violated their rights, same as with the first promulgation of the Stamp Act.
- On March 5, 1770, a group of colonists had an encounter with British Private Thomas Preston outside the Custom House on King Street in Boston which resulted in 5 deaths among the colonists. The event became known as the Boston Massacre.
- Angered by the new tax, colonists in Boston protested against the British by boarding three docked trade ships and throwing cargo of tea overboard into the ocean on December 16, 1773. This event became known as the Boston Tea Party.
- In response to the growing discontent against the British rule, representatives from all the colonies except Georgia met in Philadelphia during the First Continental Congress held between September 5 to October 26, 1774.
- It was followed by the Second Continental Congress on May 10, 1775 led by John Hancock.
- On April 19, 1775, the American Revolutionary War officially began with the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
ABOUT THE DOCUMENT
- The colonists were frustrated with King George and Great Britain. The men in the Second Continental Congress wanted to inform the King of how people were feeling, and what they wanted done.
- Five men were selected to write a letter to King George. Four of the men were from the Northern Colonies. They were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman. One man was from the Southern colony of Virginia. This man was Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was asked to write the actual “letter” because he was such a good writer.
- The Declaration of Independence contained three important points the Congressional Representatives of the Thirteen Colonies wanted King George to know.
- First, the documents told the King what they believed made good government. Secondly, it described which rules and taxes the representatives thought were unfair. The last statement the representatives included was to declare the colonies free and independent from Britain.
- Essentially, the Declaration of Independence declared war against King George and Great Britain.
- The Declaration of Independence was signed by the Congressional Representatives of the Thirteen Colonies on July 4, 1776.
- Many believe that the most famous and important words in the English language are:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
- After the letter was finalized on July 4, the Second Continental Congress made copies and distributed it to the people. The most famous version of the Declaration, a signed copy that is usually regarded as THE Declaration of Independence, is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
- Underneath the word “citizens” there is a smudge on the Declaration of Independence. Historians have always wondered what was under the smudge. Special imaging technology has allowed us a look under the word. Jefferson made a big mistake and accidentally wrote the word “subjects” instead of “citizens”.
- The original Declaration of Independence was not well cared for. Congress would roll it up and carry it with them wherever they met. It suffered a lot of wear and tear. Finally, it came to rest under bullet-proof glass in a titanium case. The case has argon gas inside, which prevents it from decomposing.
- The Declaration of Independence was written on parchment. Parchment is animal skin which is very thin and treated. Iron gall ink was used to write on the parchment, which is made by combining fermented oak marble galls with ferrous sulfate.
- Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. The youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence was Edward Rutledge. He was 26 years old. The only person to ever recant his oath in signing the document was Richard Stockton. John Hancock was President of Congress at the time. His signature is the first and largest on the Declaration. It is rumored that he signed it large and bold because he wanted King George to be able to read it without his spectacles.
Declaration of Independence Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Declaration of Independence across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Declaration of Independence worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Declaration of Independence which is the name of a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as thirteen newly independent sovereign states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they formed a new nation—the United States of America.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Declaration of Independence Facts
- Five Writers
- Mapping the Colonies
- Women of Revolution
- Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
- Practicing My Rights
- Land of the Brave
- Picture Analysis
- Events Vault
- Independence in Letters
- News Today!
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Link will appear as Declaration of Independence Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 22, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.