Declaration of Independence Explorations

American Declaration of Independence Explorations

Before considering the questions below, please read the draft of the Declaration of Independence found in Thomas Jefferson’s autobiography. After clicking on the link, search for the phrase “Congress proceeded the same day” and read through the conclusion of the annotated Declaration. Take note of the changes between the draft and the final product, and decide for yourself which revisions are the most significant.

  1. How does Jefferson rely on Enlightenment philosophy in crafting The Declaration of Independence?
  2. What are the rhetorical effects of Jefferson’s list of grievances?
  3. Describe the nature of the revisions made to the final version of the Declaration. Which revisions strike you as particularly significant, and why?
  4. Why do you think it was important for the colonies—which were already at war with Great Britain—to issue a formal declaration of independence to the King?