Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness

A little Founding Fathers Rap, compliments of Jib Jab.

A fascinating look at the edited version Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration.

The Declaration of Independence is the foundation on which our democracy stands. Jefferson’s call to arms in the defense of liberty serves as the basis for  all else that follows.  Those rights protected in the first ten amendments in the United States Constitution derived from the self evident truths of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and the power of the consent of the governed to protect those rights served as an inspiration for the Revolution and later the writing of the Constitution.  And it further inspired and continues to guide our democracy to safeguard liberty and arouse duty to personal responsibility in self governance.

And so we must know it.  And know we will.

We are going to take the Declaration of Independence apart.  Then we are going to re-construct it.  You will present that reconstruction as a group. We will look at the real world edits from the day.  By Friday December 21 you will be asked to memorize a portion of the document and pass a Common Assessment Exam that calls for an interpretation.  Finally, after exploring all the in’s and out’s, we will watch it be debated and written in John Adams – Part Two.

So, let’s get going.

  • Go here for a copy of the in-class assignment of the Declaration.
  • We will deconstruct and reconstruct the Declaration in your groups.
  • Group 40 pt quiz grade on class presentation (Fri 14,  Mon 17)
  • Individual 30 pt HW grade on notes on that presentation. (Fri 21)
  • (Tue 18)  we will look at the edits made by Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams.
  • Finally we will watch it play out  – John Adams (Part II). (Wed 19, Fri 21)
  • Don’t forget Thursday’s 20 CA or your memorization by Friday 21.


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