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Ms. Nicoll History Unit 1 

Name: Jacob Withop 

Date: 9/7/17 

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 fed up with terrible legal acts 

from England 
○ Coercive Acts 
● The king was trying to make the Americans get in 
Background  line 
Information  ○ He thought this would follow him more, but 
instead they fought back. 
● The first (formal) government was the continental 
○ It was a traitorous act to fight back 

● 1775 - The second continental congress forms 

● Then they wanted to make an official statement of 
The Second independence 
Continental ● They went further as to declare their 
Congress independence from britain on paper - they started 
writing the Declaration of Independence. 
● Officially sent the declaration in 1776 

● About 5 years later (1780), they found that the 

continental congress wasn't enough to run a 
Then what?  ○ No unification 
● They write a new government - Articles of 
● This was used until 1789 when they realized again 

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Ms. Nicoll History Unit 1 

it wasn’t enough 
● Once the Constitution was written 

● “The declaration of independence formally 

announced the colonies dependence 
What is important  ● On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress 
to remember?  approved the Declaration of Independence. 
● This act broke all ties to the British Crown. The 
United States of America Was born.” 

● “All men are created equal” 

● “Unalienable Rights” 
● “Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” 
Declaration of
● “Governments are instituted among men” 
● “Consent of the governed” 
● “Right of the people to abolish [a corrupted 
government] and create a new government.” 

● Instead of “property”, jefferson listed “pursuit of 

happiness” as a right. 
● John Locke said just or fair governments have 
Philosophy of  ○ Are based on the consent of the teacher 
Government  ○ Protect people's natural rights to life liberty 
and property 
○ Should be changed or replaced if they 
become unfair 

● Thomas Hobbes established the “Social Contract 

Wait! What about  theory” 
Thomas Hobbes  ● Baron de Montesquieu 
● Jean Jacques Rousseau 

● All men possess unalienable rights 

Key Points of the 
○ Impossible to take away 
Declaration of
● “These rights include ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit 
of (property) happiness’” 

● “To secure these rights, Governments are 

instituted among men.” 
○ It is the government's job is to protect these 
Key Points of the 
Declaration of
● “Whenever any Form of Government becomes 
destructive of these ends, it is the right of the 
people to alter or to abolish it” 
○ If the government doesn’t protect your 

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Ms. Nicoll History Unit 1 

rights and weakens them then the 

government should be replaced. 

● The right to live 

Jefferson argued 
● The right to freedom 
● The right to pursue happiness 

● King George III had violated the colonists rights 

with unfair laws 
○ Over 25 right violations 
Jefferson also 
○ This included 
argued that…  
■ Taxing without the colonists consent 
■ Army's making a base in people's 
houses (especially without consent) 

● The social contract 

And, finally, 
● “The colonies have a right to break away from 
Jefferson argued 
britain because they violated their social contract” 
● Jefferson was influenced by the enlightenment 

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