Lesson video

In progress...


Hello, and welcome back to year eight history at the Oak National Academy.

My name is Mr. Arscott.

And today we're going to learn about one of the most famous documents in history.

The Declaration of Independence.

And as our sixth lesson together, so if you haven't done the first five lessons, please make sure you do that first.

And today we're going to need a pen, some paper and a ruler, in order to be able to complete the lesson well.

So please make sure you get them now, you might want to pause the video to do that, and you want to start writing down today's title, the Declaration of Independence, and I'll get my head out of the way whilst you do that.

So this is our final lesson, where we try to answer this inquiry question.

Did the enlightenment fuel a revolution in America? The last lesson we saw the enlightenment ideas like Montesquieu's separation of powers influenced the design of the USA new constitution.

Can you remember what constitution meant? The constitution means the rules used to decide how government should rule the country.

So Montesquieu's thought was that, no one individual shall have too much power.

So in the American government, there were three branches of government.

The Legislative that made rules, the Executive that made sure the rules were obeyed and the Judicial that decided whether or not rules have been broken.

However, we also noticed that after independence, some things did not seem so enlightened.

For example, slavery was still legal in some American states.

Now, owning another human as a slave seems to go against enlightenment ideas about freedom.

So there still seems to be some debate about how we can answer this question.

Did the enlightenment fuel a revolution in America? Now, before we try to answer our inquiry, let's recap our stories so far.

I want you to have a read of these statements and decide whether they are true or false.

It might be helpful to write some notes down as you do it.

So please pause the video now and then unpause it when you're finished.

Alright, welcome back.

So let's go through this, for statement A, well done if you wrote true.

People did migrate to the America to escape religious persecution.

There were some other reasons why people migrate to the America, but freedom to practise religion was one of the key reasons.

For B, well done if you wrote true, Britain did rule 13 successful colonies in North America.

For C, well done, if you put false.

You need to read this really carefully.

As a disagreement developed between Britain and it's 13 colonies over taxes, at that stage in independent USA did not exist.

So that's why if you put true.

That'd be wrong.

For D, well done if you put true.

France and Spain did support America against Britain.

For E well done, if you put false.

Although the independent USA did defeat Britain, it did not become a constitutional monarchy.

Instead it became a republic and we learn from last lesson, That means he did not have a king or queen.

Have a look at this painting.

Now this painting shows one of the most important events of America's revolution.

At first glance, it might not look that exciting, but actually the event was revolutionary.

What could possibly be happening? Well, this painting shows the moment when the 13 colonies declared independence from Britain.

The men standing up handing in a piece of writing, which went on to become world famous.

It's called the Declaration of Independence, and today you're going to have a go at reading it.

Now, when now we're going to use the Declaration of Independence to try to help us answer our inquiry question.

Did the enlightenment fuel a revolution America? Now, hopefully in the document, we'll find some evidence that'll help us make up our own minds.

So, as a reminder, so far we've considered two main answers to our inquiry.

One answer is yes, America experienced a revolution which was caused by enlightenment ideas.

Now, if you're attracted to this answer, you're likely to think the main reason for the revolution was a disagreement over the enlightenment idea of sovereignty.

So, who actually had ultimate control over the Americas and lots of Americans thought it was wrong, that the British Parliament in British Monarch claimed to have sovereignty over the 13 colonies.

However you might be tempted to answer no and say that America's war of independence was fought for a conservative desire to protect a traditional way of life.

So if you're attracted to this answer, you're likely to think the revolution was mainly caused by opposition to the new British taxes, or maybe the tyrannical way the British were behaving such as the British Army, the Red Coats, killing Americans.

Noe here on the right, we can see an image of what the Declaration of Independence looks like.

Now, it was agreed to in the early stage of the war in 1776, and it's written by a committee of men and two of the men are people we've heard it before.

Jefferson and Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

Can you remember where we heard of them before? Well, they were two Americans who were both very interested in enlightenment ideas.

So maybe we'll see that influence in what we're going to read.

So, what we're going to do, we're going to read this document, the declaration of independence.

And as we read it, we're going to look carefully at phrases which might be influenced by new enlargement ideas.

We'll also look out for phrases, which might suggest the writers were inspired by conservative ideas.

Now here we can see, what to look out for to support our reading of the Declaration of Independence.

So please pause the video now to copy out this summary of an enlightenment reading and a conservative reading.

So, to go over what you've just copied out, if you haven't yet copied out please pause the video.

So if we can see anything in the Declaration of Independence, which talks about natural rights or men being equal, this is all good evidence of enlightenment thought.

If there's a mention of humans consenting or agreeing to be governed, that's what consenting means, to agree.

This is also enlightenment idea, as before the enlightenment, many people thought God chose the ruler and it didn't matter what the people felt or said.

Now, conversely, if we might see things in the Declaration of Independence, which support the idea that it influenced by conservative thoughts, we might see things which shows influenced by conservative thoughts.

For example, if we find anything that's talking about protecting traditional rights, tradition means things that go way, way back or anything talking about protection against bad government.

If you remember, tyranny and despotism are both words for bad government.

Now, anything like that, that suggests that conservative ideas are influencing the Declaration of Independence.

Now, final thing, which conservative people and people that inspire concerned fighters, like is it that governments should be stable.

Now this goes against the idea of revolution, So someone who is inspired by conservative ideas would only change a government if they believed it was really necessary.

And they might only believe it's really necessary if their government is behaving in a tyrannical or despotic way, so in a really bad way.

Now, before we actually look at the declaration itself, I want you to use your ruler to create the table that you can see here.

So it's going to be a two column table.

Now this table needs to be about at least half a side of A4 if you're writing in an 85 book which is the whole page.

And it should look like the one on the screen, make sure to have the headings above the two columns.

So please pause the video now and copy this table out.

So, hopefully we now all have a table like the one you can see.

So now we're ready to look at our first extract from the Declaration of Independence.

Extract one from the Declaration of Independence, "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".

Now, this is one of the most famous sentences in history and it's also a sentence of such power that fueled the revolution.

But what does it mean? Let's have a look at some of these key phrases.

So I've put in bold, a few difficult terms from here and in green, some of the explanations about what they mean.

So self-evident means obvious, when it says endowed by their Creator, it means given by God.

And finally, this is really important when it says unalienable Rights, it means rights that cannot be taken away.

Now that's a lot like natural rights from Locke, who said that "You're born with certain rights" And he said, by saying, "You're born with some rights", It implied a government can't take them away.

So, now if we say, now let's just think about what this means there.

If we're saying, that all men are created equal, this is really, really shocking at a time.

And if you remember in Europe right now, people lived in hierarchies, where some people were seen as better than others.

For example, monarchs and aristocrats were seen as being born as better people.

But this radical document or this radical sentence in the declaration is disagreeing and it's saying everyone is equal.

Secondly, it also says everyone has unalienable Rights, which are given to them by God.

Now this means people have natural rights, which no government can challenge.

Now let's think about our table, are there any short quotes from this passage that we could use as evidence for either a conservative or for enlightenment ideas? How do you think about anything that you might quote from here? So from this extract, there is definitely some evidence of enlightenment thought.

In fact, the way the sentence is written is very similar to a sentence you want to John Locke's books.

You see a picture of John Locke, there on the right.

now, the two pastures, which I've underlined a good example of enlightenment thought.

The first one says "Men are created equal", which is a very new idea at the time.

And the second seems to describe, and then list some natural rights.

Now, what I want you to do, I want you to copy out the bits that are underlined, and I want you to put them as quotes into the column of your table, which says evidence of enlightenment thought.

So you might want to pause the video now, as you add these to your table.

welcome back.

Well hopefully you have something that looks like this, this your table beforehand, and now hope you have those two bits.

You might have chosen a slightly longer quote that you've put into the first column.

And now we're building up some evidence of enlightenment thought from the Declaration of Independence.

Now, having looked at that first extract, something might be worrying you about the Declaration of Independence.

We know that enlightenment thinkers like Rousseau opposed slavery and the Declaration of Independence says, "All men are created equal".

So how could a country that believes people are equal, allowed slow slave owning to continue.

Now, this important question means we shouldn't just accept the first answer we get.

Let's look at another extract from the Declaration of Independence and see if we can find any evidence of conservative ideas.

Because it's only conservative ideas, which might justify why slavery continues.

So let's look at a second extract, extract two from the Declaration of Independence.

"The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having indirect object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States." So again, this is a beautiful sentence that it's quite difficult to understand it.

So let's break it down a bit and look at some of the key terms. So when it says, "The present King of Great Britain", it's referring to George III.

Now if you remembered, it was George III and parliament they were so keen to tax the Americans are willing to send troops to force the Americans to pay tax.

Now, when it says usurpations, it meaning taking things away.

Now that might be referred to the idea of taking money from the Americans through tax or it might be the idea of taking away their freedoms, like when the British government forced the port of Boston closed down.

And there's final phrase in bold, establishment of an absolute Tyranny.

What this means is, setting up a bad style of government.

I think lots of Americans felt when George III and the British Parliament were willing to send troops, to force the Americans to obey them, that was a tyranny, a tyrannical style of bad government.

So, what we're going to do again, is we're going to see, can we find any evidence from this short extract, which could support either an enlightenment reading of the Declaration of Independence or a conservative one.

So have a think about what you can see, whether you can see any, and then we'll look at some examples I've chosen.

So here's some examples I've chosen.

So, the first one I point out, it says "The history of the present King of Great Britain".

Now I think that's quite a conservative idea, but you're saying the Americans don't have a problem with kings in general, that ever problem with kings or queens or monarch ruling country, but they have an issue with the current King of Great Britain.

That's our first hint that this is a conservative- there are some conservative idea influencing the Declaration of Independence.

Now you might remember earlier I said, in general conservatives, don't like to change governments for no reason.

And the second I've underlined, gives a hint of that.

It talks about repeated injuries and usurpations.

Now what that implies is that over and over again, the British Parliament and British King have done bad things in America.

Now if you look at the picture on the right, this gives us an example of the kind of things that some Americans might have imagined, times when British soldiers, the Red Coats fired on Americans.

Now the final bit gives us another idea of a conservative idea, an absolute Tyranny.

So conservatives don't want to change governance for no reason, but they are opposed to tyrannical governments.

Governments, which are doing bad things to the people.

And those kind of governments are ones that are conservative might think should change.

So here we got some ideas about conserve- we've got some evidence of conservative ideas which influenced the Declaration of Independence.

So I'll just keep saying things before, and I want you to copy out some direct quotes from this passage and put them into your table.

And I want you to make sure you put them under the column, which is about conservative ideas that influenced the Declaration of Independence.

So I'm going to pause the video now to copy them out.

Okay, So hopefully you'll have something that looks a bit like this.

That was it beforehand and now you have a few quotes, which show evidence of conservative thought.

Now what we've just done together is what I want you to go do it by yourself.

So, I'm going to ask you shortly to pause the video and then go to the next page.

Now on the next page, there'll be a presentation which has a verge, or has several versions of the Declaration of Independence.

And I want you to try to read them yourself and get information that you can put into your table.

Now I've actually put three different versions of the Declaration of Independence in there.

The first one is written in a way, which hopefully you can make sense of.

I've kind of changed the language to make it a bit more modern.

Then I put the original version with the difficult language where some of the words might not kind of make as much sense to a modern reader.

And then I put a third read a version in, which has some suggestions about things which could be enlightenment thoughts or conservative thoughts.

Enlightened ideas or conservative ideas.

So if you're really struggling to work out what quotes to put in, you can use that third version to help.

So, what I'm going to ask you to do is pause the video now, go and look read through those versions of the Declaration of Independence.

Complete your table and once you've got at least one extra quote for both enlightenment idea and a conservative idea, then come back to the video.

Okay, welcome back.

Hopefully we've added to our tables now, and you might have something that looks a bit like this.

So I've just put two extra quotes in.

So another bit of evidence of enlightenment thought could be right to the people to alter or abolish it.

That's the idea that an enlightened idea, that the people have a right to change their government.

Now there's also another quote for conservative idea, "Governments long established should not be changed." And that's the idea that conservative thought is that governments should stay face stable.

So hopefully you've got a few extra question there.

You weren't necessarily having exactly the same ones as me, but hopefully you've got something else in there from your reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Now what we're going to do to end lesson, is I'm going to ask you two questions, and this is our first question.

So, what you have to do is you need to finish this sentence, the Declaration of Independence was.

Now going to ask you to read through the four options and then decide what you need to do, to finish that sentence.

And I want you to write it all down.

So pause the video now, read through those options.


Welcome back.

So, hopefully you thought the right answer was option three.

So if you haven't done it yet, or you thought is one of the other ones.

What I want you to do now, is I want you to write out the full sentence.

The Declaration of Independence was a document written by Americans declaring the colonies are now part of a new independent country.

So if you haven't done that yet, pause the video.

Now, for our second question, I want you to have a go also finishing this sentence in the Declaration of Independence there is evidence that.

Now this question is a bit different, there isn't one correct answer, instead of all four of the answers could be correct.

So I want you read through and copy and decide which one you agree with most.

Now, remember there is not a wrong answer here, it's just which one you agree with most.

So, pause the video and read through these options and then copy out the full sentence that you agree with most.

So please pause the video now.


Welcome back.

So, unfortunately it's not going to be quite easy as just you finishing the sentence.

What I want you to do to our final task today is, I want you to write an additional sentence where you justify whatever choice you made.

So it doesn't matter if it was option one, option two, option three, option four.

But I want you to now write an extra sentence, where you give a reason to back up what you said.

Now, the best way you can do that, is to use a quote from your table to support your point.

So you're using as evidence to support the point you're making, about which of those options you agree with most.

So, you can pause the video now to have a go at doing that.

Right, well done for your watch day.

That was actually a very challenging lesson because we looked at an original document from the 18th century with difficult language.

You've really well to get some information out of it.

Now, if you're running out of time, I suggest you end the lesson at this point and then go into the final quiz.

If however, you have a bit of extra time, lets just you have to go are our extension activity.

So, our extension activity is asking the question, we'll be looking at all lesson.

What evidence is there of enlightenment ideas in the Declaration of Independence? Now, basically what that means, what we've been doing is trying to answer that question.

And I've put a few suggestions on this slide to help you.

Now the green box, is a sentence that you can use to begin your answer.

The American Declaration of Independence does provide evidence that the American revolution was inspired by the enlightenment.

For example, now what you've then got to have a go at doing is trying to explain, first of all, an enlightenment idea, and then give a quote to back up where you consider enlightenment idea in the Declaration of Independence.

Now if you think you can do that now, then you can pause the video and do that.

If you're not entirely sure how to do it then keep the video playing, and I'll give you a bit, I'll give you an example.

So here's an example.

So what I've done here is I've used the first two bullet points to show how to finish that answer.

So I'll read the whole thing.

The American Declaration of Independence does provide evidence that the American revolution was inspired by the enlightenment.

For example, enlightenment thinkers, disliked the idea of is becoming too powerful.

The Declaration of Independence seems to be inspired by this idea because it says, "All men are created equal".

So I've done that, I've used a quote, the Declaration of Independence to support the idea that enlightenment thinkers dislike the idea of rulers becoming too powerful.

So what are you also going to be doing now, is trying to write an extra point to finish that paragraph.

Maybe you could use the two bullet points at the bottom on the left hand side.

Right, now in order to answer this question really, really well, you could have a go at trying to put some counter-arguments in it too.

So again, same question, what evidence is there of enlightenment ideas in the Declaration of Independence.

And here I've some sentence starters, which would allow you to argue there are both enlightenment ideas and there are conservative ideas in the Declaration of Independence.

So if you've managed to do the task before, you're well, you're in a good position to now have a go at doing this.

Now this is just a continued, these sentence starters or a continuation of what you've already written.

So you're going to start again, you just keep writing.

So, if you think you can do this, pause a video now and have a go trying to finish these sentences and write out two nice new paragraphs.


Brilliant work today, we looked at some amazing really famous documents, and you've done a really good job of trying to carry your own thinking about them.

So well done for your hard work today, and we're now going to end the lesson and you can do the final quiz in order to show you have complete state.