Learn American History through 50 pop songs

The Declaration of Independence

Synopsis

The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It stated that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. This document was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, a Virginia Congressman at the time.

Lyrics

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

We’ve been taxed and abused
Thomas Paine mused
He said, “It’s just Common Sense!”
Time to get off the fence
Time to draw a line in the sand
Sever from the Mother Land
On our own for generations
Now we must build our own nation

1776
We must weigh every risk
Must state our liberation intentions
And declare our independence
There’s this Virginia congressman
Name of Thomas Jefferson
He’s got a certain way with words
And a certain passionate reserve

He’ll concisely state our position
In his well crafted official petition
So Jefferson sat down and somberly wrote
A pointed doctrine of intended revolt!

“We hold these truths to be self evident
That all men are created equal
And are endowed with unalienable rights
Of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”

Into history these words were signed
On the very first Fourth of July
Upon Jefferson’s righteous flow
Our seed of liberty were boldly sown

Time to draw a line in the sand
Sever from the Mother Land
On our own for generations
So we became our own nation!

Vocabulary

The Declaration of Independence— The Declaration of Independence was signed by the Second Continental Congress on July 4. It dissolved the colonies' ties with Britain, listed grievances against King George III, and declared the colonies to be an independent nation.

Thomas Paine— A British citizen, he wrote Common Sense, published on January 1, 1776, to encourage the colonies to seek independence. It spoke out against the unfair treatment of the colonies by the British government and was instrumental in turning public opinion in favor of the Revolution.

Common Sense— Written and published by Thomas Paine on January 1, 1776, to encourage the colonies to seek independence.

1776— Year in which the American colonies officially declared their independence from Britain.

Thomas Jefferson— He was a delegate from Virginia at the Second Continental Congress and wrote the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the third President of the United States.

Fourth of July— Date on which, in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

Who wrote the document called Common Sense?

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

On what date and in what year was the Declaration of Independence signed?

Tier 2 Questions

Why do we celebrate the Forth of July?

Tier 3 Questions

In the first stanza are the lines “Time to draw a line in the sand/Sever from the Mother Land”. What do you think these lines have to do with the Declaration of Independence?

Test Prep Questions

1) The main purpose for writing the Declaration of Independence was to

  • (1) declare war on Great Britain
  • (2) force France to support the Revolutionary War
  • (3) convince Great Britain to abolish slavery
  • (4) state the colonists’ reasons for separating from Great Britain

2) In the publication Common Sense, Thomas Paine argued that the American colonies should

  • (1) approve the Treaty of Paris (1763)
  • (2) ratify the Constitution of the United States
  • (3) end their political relationship with Great Britain
  • (4) support the policies of King George III(4) The Senate approves a president’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

3) One similarity between the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights is that both documents

  • (1) provide for a government with three separate branches
  • (2) discuss colonial grievances against the monarchy
  • (3) stress the importance of individual liberty
  • (4) criticize the practice of slavery

4) “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

This statement from the Declaration of Independence indicates that government has a responsibility to

  • (1) promote economic development
  • (2) control the lives of citizens
  • (3) respond to the will of the people
  • (4) provide for the defense of the nation