Declaration of Independence for Kids and Teachers - US Government Illustration

Declaration of Independence
For Kids


For Kids

Thomas Jefferson was given the job of writing the Declaration by the Second Continental Congress committee. Thomas Jefferson wrote the original Declaration in just four days. He reworked it a bit over the next two weeks. When he was done, he gave a copy to Ben Franklin and John Adams to read and edit before the next meeting of Congress, which they did.

On July 2, 1776, the Congress voted again on Lee's resolution. This time it passed.

Two days later, July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

In the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson explained that when a government does not protect the rights of its citizens it loses its right to govern. The Declaration also listed the reasons for breaking away from Britain and then declared the colonies to be independent states.

Only two people signed the Declaration on July 4th - John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress, and Charles Thomson as secretary. 500 copies of the Declaration were printed and distributed. One copy was sent to King George.

It was not until Aug 2, 1776, that 56 men, including John Hancock, signed a fresh copy of the Declaration of Independence. This is the document displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

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Lesson Idea:
Rewrite the Declaration of Independence
After the kids try to do this, ask them:
Is it difficult?
What are you missing?
What flexibility did you leave for future leaders?
Could someone misunderstand your meaning?
Justify your answer.

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