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Declaring Independence

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Declaring Independence


In this chapter, the author brings attention to the way historical documents, primarily the Declaration of Independence, are reviewed. The authors convey how important the context of the work is in order to understand what influenced the writing by analyzing what was not written. They point out specifically, how actions speak louder than words - why did the authors include this, what influenced Jefferson to write it? They take us step by step on how to examine the document, reading the writing first - asking basic questions to eliminate bias, reconstruct the context of the situation, and rework what information the document is trying to relay. By examining the Declaration of Independence, the authors provide the audience insight on the context of which the work was written and why, all of which include - a developing power shift from British parliament to American independence and how African slaves had a major impact, for helping America push for their freedom, during the era the Declaration of Independence was written although barely mentioned in the document.


In order to understand the truth and complete historical depth of the Declaration of Independence, it is important to first analyze the document as an uncritical reader and then place the document in the larger context of historical events during the time period. If you approach the declaration as an uncritical reader and analyze when, where, and what Jefferson was thinking when he wrote the Declaration, analyze the intellectual world behind the words, and analyze the information that was seldom said, you can determine what we formerly know about the Declaration is now either incorrect of a brief version of the truth. From these deep observations, it is determined that independence was actually declared on the second, the members of congress did not actually sign the declaration until August, and all the members never met in the same room at once. Through these tactics of analyzation more can be concluded about history. By observing a small passage of the Declaration, that might have originally been passed over, about the agreement of the king to allow freedom to slaves if they joined the British, shows what a large role African Americans played in the revolution. These are only a few examples of how the process of “behind the scenes” analyzation can lead to great historical discoveries.


It’s interesting to see the other side of history - I remember learning about the Declaration of Independence in elementary school and giving credit to Jefferson for being a big ‘hero’ for his great creation of work. After reading this chapter, I’ve realized - yes, Jefferson did write most of the document, but his ideas were not original - much of which was sprouted from Mason and Locke’s previous writings. It’s interesting to see how such a famous document in American history is broken down in order to decipher the writing by recreating the context in which it was created. I definitely have a different view not just on Jefferson but also on the entirety of history, much of the information of what I know regarding famous topics is very minimal, there’s always new information and even historians are still trying to understand.

Main Points:

Actions speak louder than words - a lot of history is made up around the context of the work rather than what it actually says and events around the situation can influence what is being written. Uncovering evidence is very hard,



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