Tips for Analyzing Documents

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Law, Thomas Jefferson Pages: 3 (1727 words) Published: November 2, 2014

Analyzing Documents
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration argues that governments exist for the benefit of the people, not rulers, and that the people should decide how to govern themselves. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, written by the Marquis de Lafayette, states the people’s ideals for individual rights and freedom. Study these two documents and then complete this sheet.

Tips for analyzing documents
Answer these questions:
Who wrote it? Thomas Jefferson
When was it written? 1776
Where was it written? Philadelphia, Virginia United States
Why was it written? To declare the colonist’s independence. For whom was it written? Great Britain/King George III
When a sentence is very long and written in a style that you find difficult to understand: Look for subject, verb, and object.
Highlight or underline the main part of each sentence.
Rewrite the main part or sentence into your words. 

Declaration of Independence
Excerpt One, First and Second Paragraphs 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such...
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