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The Declaration committee

[Detail] The Declaration committee

Lesson Preparation

This lesson is meant to be an introduction to primary source analysis, but is best used with students who have a basic understanding of the events leading up to July 4, 1776.


Have the requisite materials ready before the activity:


Brief background for the lesson:

In anticipation of a vote for independence, the Continental Congress appointed a committee to draft a declaration of independence in June of 1776 in Philadelphia behind a veil of congressionally imposed secrecy. At the committee’s request, Thomas Jefferson drafted the declaration. Revised first by committee members and then by the Congress, Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” was the foundation of the Declaration of Independence adopted by Congress on the morning of July 4, 1776. (Note: Do not share this information with students until after lesson step 3.)

Before leading students through the exploration process, teachers should make themselves familiar with the details of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence by reading the following Library of Congress resources: