Do you know why we celebrate the 4th of July as Independence Day?
The Declaration of Independence is a statement that was adopted by the congress on July 4, 1776. It announced that the 13 colonies who were currently at war with Great Britain were now independent states an no longer a part of the British Empire. This is why we celebrate the 4th of July as Independence day. It is the Birthday of the United States!
Here is the Activity: Divide everyone into groups of 2. They are going to have a race to see who can put together the words of the first 2 paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence the fastest. Give each group an envelope with lines cut out, like the picture above. When you say “Go”, they can empty their envelopes and try to put them in order.
Here is the print out: Declaration of Independence : the second page is the one you will want to cut up.
Disclaimer: I definitely do not have the Declaration memorized. But I could figure it out.
After everyone has put it together, you could ask them some of the following questions:
- Who was the primary writer of this document? (Thomas Jefferson)
- Which sentence in has been called “one of the best-known sentences in the English Language” and the “most potent and consequential words in American history? (The first sentence of the second paragraph: “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 pursuit of Happiness.”)
- How many congressmen signed this document? (56)
- Which congressman had the larges signature? (John Hancock of Massachusetts and the President of Congress)
- Which president considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy? (Abraham Lincoln)
- What is the beginning of the declaration called? (The Preamble)
- What famous instrument sounded in order to call the people together for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence? (The Liberty Bell)
- What happened to the bell the first time it was rung? (It cracked)
- What are some points you see in this document that justified the colonies from breaking away from British rule? (many answers)