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Summary of Declaration of Independence and Activities

The Declaration of Independence said the United States wanted to form their own country, separate from England and they wanted others to respect them for becoming their own nation.  The Declaration of Independence specifically stated:

  • All men are created equal
  • All men have certain rights given to them by God

Some of those rights were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  The authors of the Declaration of Independence said if others get in the way of those rights people should have the right to do something about it.

When the Declaration of Independence was finished, not everyone was promised the rights they were trying to create.  Women, African Americans, and Native Americans did not have the same rights that the founders were asking for.

The authors of the Declaration of Independence had specific complaints to the King of England.

  • The colonists were not allowed to create their own laws for everyone’s own good.
  • The king tries to force others to give up their rights and sometimes their property.
  • The king won’t let the colonists take more land from the Native Americans so the colonists can have more land.
  • The king sends soldiers from England to force people to do things they don’t want to do.
  • The king tries to get the “Savages” (Native Americans) to attack people living in the United States.

Use the Declaration of Independence for Kids link below to complete Monday’s task.

 Day 2

a.  After watching the Trail of Tears Video, write a short statement in the comment box below about how you think the Native Americans were treated.  Did it seem to go against the Declaration of Independence?

(You can use the summary above to help remind you of the rights the U.S. wanted from England).

b.  President Jackson sent General Winfield Scott to remove the Cherokee from their land.  When General Scott came he read this letter to the Native Americans telling them to leave.  Click on the link to the letter and find at least two details from his letter that seem to go against the summary of the Declaration of Independence above.  You will write this answer on the handout titled Gen. Scott’s Trail of Tears Letter vs. Declaration of Independence.

Day 3

a.  Read this poem written from the view point of a Native American who survived the Trail of Tears and compare it to the Declaration of Independence that says “All men are created equal” and that people should be guaranteed “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Do you think the Cherokee Indians were treated equal and allowed to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  List two details from the poem that support your answer.

b.  Read the Trail of Tears poem again.  Choose at least three stanzas and create an illustration to show the experience of the Cherokee Indians on the Trail of Tears.

Day 4

Pretend you can go back in time and you have the chance to send a persuasive letter to President Jackson in an effort to change his mind about the removal of the Cherokee Indians from their land.

Use at least two details from the Declaration of Independence (the summary is above) and two details about the experiences of the Cherokees on the Trail of Tears to support your arguments in the letter.

Make sure your letter has all parts, heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature.  Be respectful, you are writing to the President.

Additional Activities

If you have finished all other tasks, use the link below to answer this essential question.

Life for Native Americans 1850-1890

After Lewis and Clark helped explore the West, how did life change for the Native American people in the West? Research and write your response on this page.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 5, 2014 5:10 pm

    Hi, Mr. Daniel! These are great lessons to really help us all learn a lot!

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