The Declaration of Independence and Its Signers What sacrifices did these men make?
Objectives • Students will be able to explain the events that led up to the colonies severing ties with Great Britain • Students will understand the main grievances the colonials had with Great Britain • Students will be able to analyze the importance of the Declaration of Independence today
Essential Questions • What were four factors that led to the drafting and approval of the Declaration of Independence? • How can the formation of the American government be seen as an illustration of the Enlightenment philosophy? • What were three purposes of the Declaration of Independence? • What were 4 grievances that the American Colonists had against Great Britain in 1776? • How well does America today live up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence?
Background to Declaration of Independence • Mercantilism: economic policy from 1500-1800 in which nations encouraged exports as a means of collecting gold and silver • Government controls all trade • Colonies ensured a safe and steady stream of raw materials for England, including fur, fish, cotton, tobacco, and indigo • Colonies were expected to import manufactured and processed goods like iron products and tea • Navigation Act: England regulated what its colonies could and could not trade
Background to the Declaration of Independence • After England won the French and Indian War, King George III demanded control over the colonies • King George and Parliament felt the colonists should bear some of the costs and administration of the areas acquired from France. • Parliament passed several new acts designed to shift to the Americans some of the cost of defense
Background to the Declaration of Independence • Stamp Act: required that all printed materials be stamped to indicate that tax had been paid • England began to change trade policies as well by used a new monopoly on tea • Colonists were angered over the taxes • “No taxation without representation” • Stamp Act was repealed in 1766 • Boston Massacre 1770 rioting over taxes and the British soldiers killed a man outside of the courthouse in Boston. Crispus Attucks first to die
Why Did the Declaration of Independence Happen? • Boston Tea Party: a group of angry colonists boarded 3 ships in Boston and threw the tea overboard • Intolerable Acts series of laws designed to punish the people of Massachusetts. It limited the power of the colonial legislature, required quartering of British soldiers and closed the port of Boston • First Continental Congress formed
Second Continental Congress 1775-1776 • Convened May 19, 1775 • George Washington appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Forces • Appointed 5 men to write a declaration stating the colonies intent and reasons for independence • June 1775 56 delegates met and debated, each colony had one vote • Deliberated for one year • January 1776 Common Sense by Thomas Paine explained why there should be independence to the public
Resolution of Differences • Second Continental Congress drafted the Declaration of Independence. Approved for signature July 2 • July 4 1776 Declaration written by Thomas Jefferson was signed, John Hancock signed first with the largest signature • Severed ties with Great Britain
Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson understood what the actions entailed Wanted to make sure the document explained why the colonists wanted to separate The second paragraph lays down the philosophy for the decision. “All men are equal” Government was to protect “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” fundamental rights of all When the government failed to do so, citizens have a right to overthrow it Overthrow is not for trivial reasons, but when treatment becomes “absolute despotism”
Three Basic Principles of the Declaration of Independence Natural Rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness Popular Sovereignty: People are the source of political authority Order: Importance of stability, overthrowing a government is only the last resort
List of Grievances that were Improper Actions by the King • Dismissing colonial legislatures and denying the colonists their right for self-government • Tax the colonists without their consent • Maintaining an army in the colonies without the consent of the legislature and elevating the military above civilian authority • Forcing colonists to house British soldiers in their house
List of Grievances that were Improper Actions by the King • Making judges dependent on the King for their salaries and their tenure in office • Refusing colonists the right to a fair trial in front of a jury of their peers • Cutting off the trade of the colonies • Abolishing the Charters, forms of government, and important laws of the colonies • Refusing to address colonial grievances • Renouncing the King’s authority to govern the colonies by waging war on them • Encouraging domestic violence and Indian attacks on the colonies
Results from the Declaration of Independence 86 Changes were made 500 words were taken out 1,337 words were included 18 signers were under the age of 40 Three were in their 20s Half of the 56 signers were judges and lawyers 11 were merchants 9 were land owners and farmers 12 were doctors, ministers and politicians
Do you think there were consequences for severing ties with Great Britain? What do you think some might have been?
Impact Today Ideals of equality led to Civil War, Women’s Rights and the Civil Rights Movement Influenced the French Revolution in their Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789 Latin American Movements of 1890s Vietnam War: Ho Chi Minh used it as a reason to invade the south During World War II it was kept at Fort Knox KY More than 1 million Americans view it in the National Archives each year
New Hampshire Delegation • Josiah Bartlett • Matthew Thornton • William Whipple
Massachusetts Delegation • John Adams • Samuel Adams: Had a $35,000 price on his head during the American Revolution • Elbridge Gerry • John Hancock: Elected Governor of Massachusetts 10 times and had a $50,000 price on his head during the American Revolution • Robert Treat Paine
Rhode Island Delegation • William Ellery • Stephen Hopkins
Connecticut Delegation • Samuel Huntington: Elected Governor of Connecticut 10 times • Roger Sherman • William Williams • Oliver Wolcott
New York Delegation • William Floyd • Francis Lewis • Philip Livingston • Henry Misner (left before signing) • Lewis Morris
New Jersey Delegation • Abraham Clark • John Hart • Francis Hopkinson • Richard Stockton • John Witherspoon
Pennsylvania Delegation • George Clymer • John Dickinson (did not sign) • Benjamin Franklin • Robert Morris • John Morton
Pennsylvania Delegation (cont.) • George Ross • Benjamin Rush • James Smith • George Taylor • James Wilson
Delaware Delegation • Thomas McKean • George Read • Cesar Rodney
Maryland Delegation • Charles Carroll: Last signer to die at 95 in 1832 • Samuel Chase • William Paca • Thomas Stone
Virginia Delegation • Carter Braxton • Benjamin Harrison • Thomas Jefferson • Francis Lightfoot Lee
Virginia Delegation (cont.) • Richard Henry Lee • Thomas Nelson, Jr. • George Wythe
North Carolina Delegation • Joseph Hewes • William Hooper • John Penn
South Carolina Delegation • Thomas Heyward • Thomas Lynch • Arthur Middleton • Edward Rutledge
Georgia Delegation • Button Gwinnett: Died in a duel in 1777 at 42 most valued signature due to only 14 examples that exist. • Lyman Hall • George Walton
Information on the Signers • The following signers lost their lands, homes and possessions due to signing and being in the American Revolution. • Carter Braxton • Abraham Clark: 2 of his sons died in the Revolution, both were prisoners aboard British prison ship, “Jersey” in NY Harbor, 11,000 American captives died on this ship. • George Clymer • William Ellery
Information on the Signers (cont.) • The following signers lost their lands, homes and possessions due to signing and being in the American Revolution. • William Floyd • Lyman Hall • John Hart: Lost his wife, 13 children and home • Thomas Heyward • William Hooper
Information on the Signers (cont.) • The following signers lost their lands, homes and possessions due to signing and being in the American Revolution. • Francis Lewis: His wife was taken prisoner by the British and died two years after release. His property near Harlem, NY was completely destroyed • Arthur Middleton: Was a British prisoner along with Edward Rutledge and Thomas Heyward and sent to St. Augustine, FL.
Information on the Signers (cont.) • The following signers lost their lands, homes and possessions due to signing and being in the American Revolution. • Thomas Nelson: Fired a cannon at his mansion because it was being used by the British and died destitute and bankrupt. He raised $2 million for the Revolution and was never repaid. • Richard Stockton: Beaten and put in jail and starved, ending up an invalid. Lost estate and his family had to live off of charity.
Information on the Signers (cont.) • Philip Livingston: All his possessions in NY were confiscated • Louis Morris: All his timber, crops and livestock were taken and barred from his home and family for 7 years • Dr. John Witherspoon: President of College of New Jersey, later Princeton. Princeton was occupied and library burned.
Information on the Signers (cont.) • Robert Morris: Merchant in Philadelphia, raised arms and provisions for Washington’s army. He lost 150 ships at sea. • Dr. Benjamin Rush • John Morton: Had views of a Tory prior to signing. • Thomas Lynch, Jr.: Developed health problems while a company commander in the army. He was told to seek a cure in the West Indies and he and his wife were drowned at sea.
Information on the Signers (cont.) • Of the 56, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war • 5 were captured and imprisoned, all brutally treated • 12 saw their homes burned • 17 lost everything they owned • Not one went back on their word • All stood by the Declaration of Independence
Results from the Declaration of Independence • Most of them had large estates, all but two had families • Each had more to lose from revolution than gain • John Hancock already had a price on him and had the largest signature to ensure the King could read it
Questions to Answer: CHOOSE 4 50 points What were four factors that led to the drafting and approval of the Declaration of Independence? How can the formation of the American government be seen as an illustration of the Enlightenment philosophy? What were three purposes of the Declaration of Independence? What were 4 grievances that the American Colonists had against Great Britain in 1776? Why was it necessary for Jefferson to outline the philosophy of the new nation instead of just listing what they king did wrong? What does “pursuit of happiness” mean? How well does America today live up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence?
Results from the Signing of the Declaration of Independence Open Response: CHOOSE ONE • Can you connect the actions of the British Parliament towards to colonists to the start of the American Revolution? Use three actions to support your case. Describe each action and explain how it led to colonial discontent and revolt. • What are two lessons about decision making emphasized today in our study of the signers of the Declaration of Independence? Were there costs involved? What were the rewards and consequences of the decisions made by these men?