Causes of the Revolution - Declaration of Independence and Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Essential Questions

  1. What are the main ideas about mankind and government found within the Declaration of Independence?
  2. Were the colonists justified in declaring their independence from Great Britain?
  3. Compare and Contrast the Declaration of Independence with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  4. The Declaration of Independence inspired action on a national level. Do any of the current human rights violations studied inspire action by individuals, our community or our nation?

Standards Directly Addressed in Unit:

  1. 8.6 - Analyze important political values embodied in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights
  2. 8.5 - Use historical evidence to determine and support a position about important political values and express the position coherently
  3. 8.7 - Identify significant events and people in the major eras of United States and world history
  4. CCSS 8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Below you can find a link to a tutorial for the week, that will guide you through each section of the Declaration of Independence. You may work through this tutorial independently, with a partner or small group, or with Mr. Symes, depending on your ideal work style, preference or comfort level.


  • Unalienable
  • Declaration
  • Tyranny
  • Oppression
  • Endowed
  • Rights
  • Controversy
  • Ratified

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Close Reading of the Preamble to the Declaration of Human Rights
  • Identify the Key Words and Concepts within each of the 30 Articles - Gallery Walk in Class
  • For one article, summarize in your own words, visualize, and find a modern example of a violation
  • Compare the UDHR with the Declaration of Independence

Below you can find links to resources and documents that were used during the Declaration of Independence Unit

30 Articles of UDHR - Animated Film — This film gives animated visuals to accompany each of the 30 articles of the UDHR. Be aware this is a 20 min. video, so you'll want to have some time available to watch.

Abbreviated Document Links — These documents provide a basis for the points made within the 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. They have been abbreviated to help focus on the segments that most directly apply.

Declaration read out loud — Have the Declaration of Independence read to you.

Instructions from town of Malden, MA — Rationale for the colonies to declare their independence from Great Britain.

List of Grievances of the Colonies in Plain English — Translation of complaints into a friendlier language, as well as put into the context of what events inspired each grievance.

Locke's 2nd Treatise on Government #225 — Use to connect to concept of people changing their form of government.

Slave Petition — Compare to Declaration when considering rights that are given to man, and their origin.

Transcript of the Declaration of Independence — Written version of Declaration of Independence.

UDHR at 60 years — 22 articles that discuss the role the UDHR plays in our world after 60 years of existence.

UDHR - Young Persons Edition

United Nations Human Rights 2012 Report — Use the section titled "Thematic Priorties" for some introductory information on a wide range of subjects.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Preamble and Articles 1-30

Virginia Declaration of Rights — Compare to Declaration of Independence in terms of where government gets their power from.

Youth for Human Rights — This site also has a video, that goes into what each right means in the world today. Full Disclosure: This group that is supported and financed by Scientologists.