Overview

Students learn how the American colonists grew used to governing themselves and became increasingly unhappy with British policies toward the colonies. Students follow the development of those policies to see why the colonists ultimately declared independence from Britain in order to establish their own government. Finally, students analyze the Declaration of Independence to see how it addressed the colonists' concerns. As an extension, students look at primary sources to see how the colonists' reaction to the Stamp Act was being reported in London. This lesson feeds into the lesson “Wanted: A ‘Just Right’ Government,” but may be taught independently.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Describe how British policies and responses to colonial concerns led to the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Analyze the ideas (natural rights, role of the government) and complaints set forth in the Declaration of Independence.
  • Analyze the impact of the Stamp Act, Declaratory Act, Townshend Revenue Act, Quartering Act, and Intolerable Acts.
  • Outline the Declaration of Independence and its parts.
  • Evaluate the colonists' reaction to the Stamp Act using primary sources.