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Declaration of Independence

(paraphrased)

We have found it necessary to break away from England and to form our own
country – we think that God would want us to do that. As we form this new
country, we believe it proper to tell everyone why we must do this.

We believe this: All men are created equal. People have rights that no one can
take away. Not even God gave people these rights – instead, these are rights that
all people are born with (natural rights). These rights include Life, Liberty, and the
Pursuit of Happiness.

The whole purpose of having a government is to make sure that we keep our
natural rights. In fact, the only power that government has is the power given to it
by the people.

Anytime government fails to protect people’s natural rights – or when it starts to


take these rights away – it is the job of the people to get rid of that government, to
change it, or to get a new kind of government. The new government should be set up in such a way that it will ensure
people’s basic rights.

Common sense shows us that people should not get rid of their government for silly reasons.

Most people are actually more willing to put up with bad government than to start over to make a new one. However, when
the government has abused people for a long time, people should definitely get rid of that government. When it is necessary
to make a new government, people should organize the government so that they are safe.

We American colonies have been patient and we put up with unfairness for a long time, but now we must change things.

The King of England has been an absolute tyrant (dictator) toward us.

These are the things that the King of England has done which have made us decide that we need to rule over ourselves:

1. The King won’t agree to laws that we feel we should have.

2. The King says that we can have no laws unless he agrees to those laws. He says to let him think about any laws we
need, and instead of thinking, he forgets about the whole thing.

3. The King says that the only way we can have the laws we need is if we agree not to try and elect any representatives
to Parliament.

4. When it is time for our legislatures to meet, the King says they can only get together in weird places out in the
country where there is no place to stay.

5. When it is time for our representatives to meet – before they can even start – the King says that the legislature is
over…all because he knows we will not agree with him.

6. The King has made us go for long periods of time with no government at all – this is not fair, and it is dangerous.

7. The King has made it hard or impossible for new people to move here because he doesn’t want our country to grow.

8. The King has made it hard to keep law and order because he won’t allow us to appoint judges, and he has said that
he can fire any judges we do appoint. He won’t let us give judges a salary, so no one wants to do that job.

Copyright © 2017 Around the World in 180 Days. All rights reserved.
For classroom use only. This copy is to be used by a single teacher. Please purchase one license per teacher using this product. Not for public display.
9. The King has invented a lot of new government jobs and sent out people from England to do those jobs. All they do
is boss us around and we are required to pay them. This is both very expensive and annoying.

10. We don’t need an army, but the King sent a big army from England to stay here and all they do is watch us. We are
required to feed these soldiers and provide uniforms for them; we must even let them stay in our homes. The King’s
law says that even if they murder us, they will not get in trouble.

11. We are not allowed to sail to other countries to buy their goods and to sell them the things that we produce. If we
do, the King will have us arrested.

12. We are required to pay taxes we were not even allowed to vote upon.

13. The King has taken away our right to trial by jury.

14. The King has punished some people by sending them far away across the sea to strange lands (like Australia). This is
for breaking laws that he just made up to cause trouble.

15. The King has taken away the rights of people living in Canada and then said, “That’s just what I plan to do in America,
too. Canada…America…eh, it’s all one place!”

16. The King has said that he has the right to make all decisions for us.

17. The King gave up the right to boss us when he refused to protect our rights – he even started a war against us!

18. The King has sent a paid army (German mercenaries, called “Hessians”) to do things to us that are as bad as anything
that ever happened in the history of the world.

19. The King has kidnapped us and forced some of us join the same British army that is killing their friends and families.

20. The King has tried to get us fighting each other, and has got the Indians mad at us and made them fight us.

21. Every time the King does something bad to us we have been very polite and have asked him to please stop, but he
just does something worse.

A King who acts like that has no right to rule over free people.

We have warned the British Parliament that they have no right to treat us the way they have been acting. We reminded
them how hard we have worked in this New World. We hoped that they would care about us because we are from the same
background and we are also all human beings. We reminded them that our friendship with England would be gone if we
separate from them. They have ignored us. They played deaf.

So, we agree as colonists that we will separate from England. From now on, England will be our enemies in war and only our
friends when they are at peace with us. We hope that God will think we are doing the right thing.

Speaking for the people in these colonies, we say that we are free of England. Everything that tied us to England is gone. We
are a country all on our own, and we can do anything that any other country can do. We are expecting God to protect us. We
absolutely promise to stick together no matter what.

Copyright © 2017 Around the World in 180 Days. All rights reserved.
For classroom use only. This copy is to be used by a single teacher. Please purchase one license per teacher using this product. Not for public display.
Name: ______________________________________Period:________Date:________________________

2 United States History

The Declaration of Independence

Directions: Use the paraphrased version of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the textbook to answer the
following questions. Please use complete sentences.

1. Who was the main author of the Declaration of Independence? Name two others who helped write the Declaration.

2. From which English philosopher did Jefferson take his ideas?

3. Use the paraphrased version of the Declaration to provide a definition of the term “natural rights.”

4. According to John Locke, what are people’s natural rights? How did Jefferson change this?

5. Define the term “all men are created equal.” What might Jefferson have meant when he wrote this?

6. According to the Declaration, what is the purpose of government and from which source does government receive its power?

Copyright © 2017 Around the World in 180 Days. All rights reserved.
For classroom use only. This copy is to be used by a single teacher. Please purchase one license per teacher using this product. Not for public display.
7. What is meant by the term grievance? _____________________________________________________________________

8. According to Jefferson and the Declaration, when should people overthrow their government? Which English philosopher
originally proposed this idea?

9. What has the King said about legislatures and where and when they meet? (grievances 4 and 5)

10. Describe what the Declaration states regarding the presence of British troops in the colonies. (grievance 10)

11. According to the colonists, what other rights did the King take away? (grievances 11- 13)

12. Other than British troops, name three groups the King enlisted to fight against the colonists. (grievances 18 and 20)

13. According to the Declaration, how have the colonists attempted to persuade the King and Parliament to change their policies?

14. Who do the colonists hope will protect them in their future struggle against England?

Copyright © 2017 Around the World in 180 Days. All rights reserved.
For classroom use only. This copy is to be used by a single teacher. Please purchase one license per teacher using this product. Not for public display.
Declaration of Independence
(paraphrased)

We have found it necessary to break away from England and to form our own country –
we think that God would want us to do that. As we form this new country, we believe it
proper to tell everyone why we must do this.

We believe this: All men are created equal. People have rights that no one can take
away. Not even God gave people these rights – instead, these are rights that all people
are born with (natural rights). These rights include Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of
Happiness.

The whole purpose of having a government is to make sure that we keep our natural
rights. In fact, the only power that government has is the power given to it by the
people.

Anytime government fails to protect people’s natural rights – or when it starts to take
these rights away – it is the job of the people to get rid of that government, to change it,
or to get a new kind of government. The new government should be set up in such a way that it will ensure people’s basic rights.

Common sense shows us that people should not get rid of their government for silly reasons.

Most people are actually more willing to put up with bad government than to start over to make a new one. However, when the
government has abused people for a long time, people should definitely get rid of that government. When it is necessary to make a
new government, people should organize the government so that they are safe.

We American colonies have been patient and we put up with unfairness for a long time, but now we must change things.

The King of England has been an absolute tyrant (dictator) toward us.

These are the things that the King of England has done which have made us decide that we need to rule over ourselves:

1. The King won’t agree to laws that we feel we should have.

2. The King says that we can have no laws unless he agrees to those laws. He says to let him think about any laws we need,
and instead of thinking, he forgets about the whole thing.

3. The King says that the only way we can have the laws we need is if we agree not to try and elect any representatives to
Parliament.

4. When it is time for our legislatures to meet, the King says they can only get together in weird places out in the country
where there is no place to stay.

5. When it is time for our representatives to meet – before they can even start – the King says that the legislature is over…all
because he knows we will not agree with him.

6. The King has made us go for long periods of time with no government at all – this is not fair, and it is dangerous.

7. The King has made it hard or impossible for new people to move here because he doesn’t want our country to grow.

8. The King has made it hard to keep law and order because he won’t allow us to appoint judges, and he has said that he can
fire any judges we do appoint. He won’t let us give judges a salary, so no one wants to do that job.

Copyright © 2017 Around the World in 180 Days. All rights reserved.
For classroom use only. This copy is to be used by a single teacher. Please purchase one license per teacher using this product. Not for public display.
9. The King has invented a lot of new government jobs and sent out people from England to do those jobs. All they do is boss
us around and we are required to pay them. This is both very expensive and annoying.

10. We don’t need an army, but the King sent a big army from England to stay here and all they do is watch us. We are
required to feed these soldiers and provide uniforms for them; we must even let them stay in our homes. The King’s law
says that even if they murder us, they will not get in trouble.

11. We are not allowed to sail to other countries to buy their goods and to sell them the things that we produce. If we do, the
King will have us arrested.

12. We are required to pay taxes we were not even allowed to vote upon.

13. The King has taken away our right to trial by jury.

14. The King has punished some people by sending them far away across the sea to strange lands (like Australia). This is for
breaking laws that he just made up to cause trouble.

15. The King has taken away the rights of people living in Canada and then said, “That’s just what I plan to do in America, too.
Canada…America…eh, it’s all one place!”

16. The King has said that he has the right to make all decisions for us.

17. The King gave up the right to boss us when he refused to protect our rights – he even started a war against us!

18. The King has sent a paid army (German mercenaries, called “Hessians”) to do things to us that are as bad as anything that
ever happened in the history of the world.

19. The King has kidnapped us and forced some of us join the same British army that is killing their friends and families.

20. The King has tried to get us fighting each other, and has got the Indians mad at us and made them fight us.

21. Every time the King does something bad to us we have been very polite and have asked him to please stop, but he just does
something worse.

A King who acts like that has no right to rule over free people.

We have warned the British Parliament that they have no right to treat us the way they have been acting. We reminded them how
hard we have worked in this New World. We hoped that they would care about us because we are from the same background and
we are also all human beings. We reminded them that our friendship with England would be gone if we separate from them. They
have ignored us. They played deaf.

So, we agree as colonists that we will separate from England. From now on, England will be our enemies in war and only our friends
when they are at peace with us. We hope that God will think we are doing the right thing.

Speaking for the people in these colonies, we say that we are free of England. Everything that tied us to England is gone. We are a
country all on our own, and we can do anything that any other country can do. We are expecting God to protect us. We absolutely
promise to stick together no matter what.

Copyright © 2017 Around the World in 180 Days. All rights reserved.
For classroom use only. This copy is to be used by a single teacher. Please purchase one license per teacher using this product. Not for public display.
Name: ______________________________________Period:________Date:________________________

2 United States History

The Declaration of Independence

Directions: Use the paraphrased version of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the textbook to answer the
following questions. Please use complete sentences.

1. Who was the main author of the Declaration of Independence? Name two others who helped write the Declaration.

Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin also made

important contributions.

2. From which English philosopher did Jefferson take his ideas?

Jefferson based most of his ideas on the theories of English philosopher John Locke.

3. Use the paraphrased version of the Declaration to provide a definition of the term “natural rights.”

The term “natural rights” refers to those rights people are born with.

4. According to John Locke, what are people’s natural rights? How did Jefferson change this?

During the 1600s, John Locke argued that people’s natural rights include life, liberty, and property. In the Declaration of

Independence, Jefferson changed the term “property” to “pursuit of happiness.”

5. Define the term “all men are created equal.” What might Jefferson have meant when he wrote this?

The term “all men are created equal” means that all people enjoy equal rights. It is difficult to determine what Jefferson

intended when he included this phrase. Jefferson could simply have been referring to white men. He might also have meant

to include both women and non-whites (although, given the time period, this could be debated).

6. According to the Declaration, what is the purpose of government and from which source does government receive its power?

According to the Declaration, the purpose of government is to protect the natural rights of the people. Furthermore, the only

power that government has are those given to it by the people (consent of the governed).

Copyright © 2017 Around the World in 180 Days. All rights reserved.
For classroom use only. This copy is to be used by a single teacher. Please purchase one license per teacher using this product. Not for public display.
7. What is meant by the term grievance? __A grievance is a complaint._______________________________________________

8. According to Jefferson and the Declaration, when should people overthrow their government? Which English philosopher
originally proposed this idea?

According to the Declaration, people should overthrow their government when it fails to protect their rights. Jefferson based

this idea on the arguments of the English philosopher John Locke.

9. What has the King said about legislatures and where and when they meet? (grievances 4 and 5)

When it is time for the legislatures to meet, the King has either ended the meetings as soon as they have started, or has

ordered the legislatures to meet in “weird,” out-of-the-way places.

10. Describe what the Declaration states regarding the presence of British troops in the colonies. (grievance 10)

The Declaration argues that colonists have been forced to both house and feed British troops; colonists have also been forced

to provide uniforms for them. Even if British troops murder colonists, they will not be punished.

11. According to the colonists, what other rights did the King take away? (grievances 11- 13)

• Colonists cannot purchase goods from other countries

• Colonists must pay taxes to which they did not agree

• The King has removed the right to trial by jury

12. Other than British troops, name three groups the King enlisted to fight against the colonists. (grievances 18 and 20)

• Native Americans

• Foreign mercenaries (German soldiers known as Hessians)

• Other colonists

13. According to the Declaration, how have the colonists attempted to persuade the King and Parliament to change their policies?

According to the Declaration, the colonists have warned the British that they should not be treated this way. The colonists have

also reminded the British about their common heritage, and about how hard the colonists have worked in the New World.

14. Who do the colonists hope will protect them in their future struggle against England?

The colonists hope that God will protect them in their future struggle with England.

Copyright © 2017 Around the World in 180 Days. All rights reserved.
For classroom use only. This copy is to be used by a single teacher. Please purchase one license per teacher using this product. Not for public display.