The Declaration of Independence Lesson Plan

Denunciation of the British people

  1. Why did Jefferson denounce the British people in the Declaration?
  2. What changes did Congress make between the original draft and the one they signed? What was the effect of those changes?

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

Choose one or more of the webpages you've studied as part of this lesson that you think are relevant to the above section of the Declaration and explain why.

SKILLS: Analyze, Apply

In this section of the Declaration, Jefferson changes from criticizing the King to focusing on the citizens of England. His criticism, or denunciation, of the British people is written simply and artfully. It is not overly negative. By closing with the words, "enemies in war, in peace friends," Jefferson shows his close connection to England and shows hope for a renewal of good ties with England.

  1. Why did Jefferson denounce the British people in the Declaration?
  2. What changes did Congress make between the original draft and the one they signed? What was the effect of those changes?
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