Analyze the paintings below. Check out their details.
who assembled in 2017 for a photo recreating the scene.
Let there be no mistake: the big July holiday is not called Firecracker Day, and it's not even called July the Fourth. As I believe that words matter, the title of this national holiday is Independence Day. Why?
The writers of the Declaration of Independence including some interesting verbiage up front - that "all men [all mankind] are created equal". Though many struggled to include Africans in "all men", they knew they could not get the support of the entire Continental Congress.
Years later, in 1861, our nation fought a Civil War to gain the freedom of the slaves and the outlawing of the slave trade. Still, it took another century for all races to gain equal rights in the United States, and we still face many issues of racism in our country, some of which have caused controversy, especially in the southern states where slavery was so prominent.
What a feeling it must have given to see that statue of King George come toppling down!
More recently, people have defaced and destroyed monuments and statues around the country, claiming they are offended by what the monuments represent.
Get ready to discuss this topic. We may not make any conclusions, but we want to have an honest discussion while considering all sides of the issue.
The Break-Up Letter
The Declaration of Independence is about the biggest break-up letter ever. It wasn't exactly like a girl breaking up with her boyfriend, but it was 13 colonies breaking up with their mother country.
Watch the video here to see what the adoption of the Declaration might have felt like. Then, for a little fun, see this break-up letter in music form with a special Music Appreciation - Too Late to Apologize.
John Adams believed Americans would celebrate the second of July with parades and fireworks. It turns out he was right about the celebration, but wrong about the date. Explore some celebration information on our Celebrate Good Times page devoted to Independence Day.
We're going to find many words and phrases in the document that are unfamiliar to fourth graders (and even some adults today). Be ready to write some of these down as we parse the meaning of the Declaration of Independence.
Here are some songs to help us celebrate our freedoms while working on reading fluency:
When in the Course of Human Events
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people
would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of
their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the
rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative
powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining
in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for
Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the
conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat
out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by
our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the
Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary
government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for
introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation
and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous
ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to
become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our
frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all
ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Robert Treat Paine
Thomas Jefferson was 33 years old when he wrote those words. While that seems young for such a formidable and important task, others among the leadership of the day were even younger. Here is a post that lists the ages of some of the more prominent of the founders.
And what of the consequences of signing such a public document? Accusations of treason, sedition, inciting to riot were inflamed against these 56 men. See more about the consequences of some of these brave man who pledged their support and their treasures to make our nation free.