Most students are familiar with the Declaration of Independence.  But have they ever critically examined the text or questioned the motives of its authors?  In this lesson plan, students weigh contrasting interpretations by prominent historians to answer the question: Why did the Founders write the Declaration of Independence?

Image: Thomas Jefferson's original rough draft of the Declaration of Independence from 1776. From the Library of Congress.


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Dana Mejías
San Diego, CA
I am a middle school teacher in San Diego and was fortunate enough to a SHEG workshop in 2008....
Mark Helman
Taichung, Taiwan
A huge thank you to the Stanford History Education Group!  Your incredible work and stimulating...
Loi Laing
Miami, FL

I can't recall how or when I stumbled upon Reading Like a Historian, but it was a...

Nicole Ritter
Fort Mill, SC

I am using these lessons and loving them.  I have always been a firm believer in use of...

Ermelinda Sosa
Dallas, TX

I have really enjoyed the lessons from your group. Thank you very much. I love the primary...

Bobbi Young
Colorado Springs, CO

I'm thrilled that I found this site! I have wanted to try this methodology in my classroom, but...

Tammi Holman
Dothan, AL

Congratulations!  I have begun to integrate your curriculum into my U.S. History and U.S....

Sandy Smaltz
Big Rapids, MI

I came across your site while researching to update and improve my U.S. History classes. I was...

Quinn Longhurst
Taylorsville, UT

I just wanted to thank you all for this brilliant curriculum. I have been trying to find primary...

Heather Ihde
Nashville, TN

I just wanted you to know how much I love and appreciate all of the Reading Like a Historian...

Matthew McDonald
Woodbridge, VA

I love using your lessons in my classroom! I teach both 6th and 7th-grade U.S. History in...

Paul C. Beavers
Nashville, TN

I use these documents and lesson plans all the time!  This is an amazing resource...

Kevin Hodges
Pereira, Colombia

Let me just say that I love this program. It has a variety of useful information that helps...