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Ms. Nicoll History Unit 1 

Name: Demian Schatt  

Date: September 7th  

Class: 8th Grade - US History 

Slides and Notes
Topic Student Notes

The Declaration of Independence 

Unit 1: Lesson 2 

Analyze the philosophy of government expressed in the 

Main Idea  Declaration of Independence​, with an emphasis on 
government as a means of securing individual rights.  

● 1774 Americans were fed up

● They got a bunch of terrible legal tax. Some Americans
have never even been to England.
Background  ● The first Continental Congress, which was comprised of
Information  delegates from the colonies, met in 1774.
● first government ever formal written for the United States
was the continental congress which was a traitorous act. It
was resistance.

● Second Continental congress came after the Revolutionary

War began
● It was an idea of making a statement rather than just be
The Second
● Created Committee to write a document that declared the
colonies independence from Britain - Jefferson was the main

● 5 years later they realized that the continental congress was

not enough
● Everyone arguing and fighting over everything - there was
no unification
Then what? 
● They write a new government called the “Articles of
Confederation” -First real attempt of branches of
● Lasted from 1780 - 1789 until the US constitution happened

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Ms. Nicoll History Unit 1 

● The Declaration of Independence was a formal

What is important  announcement from the break from Great Britain
to remember?  ● July 4th, 1776 the continental Congress approved it
● Broke all ties to the British Crown

● Equal
● Unalienable
● Life, Liberty
● Governments
Declaration of ● Men
Independence ● Consent
● Destructive
● Abolish
● New
● Safety

● Jefferson built upon the writings of the English philosopher

John Locke
Philosophy of 
● If most people don’t agree, they can become a new
● Fair punishments

● Hobbes was an English philosopher

Wait! What about  ● Before John Locke
Thomas Hobbes  ● Montesquieu
● Rousseau

● Unalienable Rights
Key Points of the 
● People are born with individual rights that cannot be taken
Declaration of
● Life, liberty, and pursuit of (property) happiness

Key Points of the  ● Job of government is to protect these rights

Declaration of ● Change or remove anything that harms other people
Independence  ● Impeachment is an element of that

● Right to love
Jefferson argued 
● Right to have freedom (or liberty)
● Right to pursue happiness

● King George III violated the colonists rights 
Jefferson also 
argued that…  
● Unfair Laws 
● Large army inside people’s houses  

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Ms. Nicoll History Unit 1 

And, finally,  ● Social Contract

Jefferson argued  ● Colonies have a right to break away from Great Britain
for...  ● Rulers had to protect their citizens and England wasn’t

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