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Comparing the Declaration of Independence and “i have a Dream”


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Comparing the Declaration of Independence and “I Have a Dream”

Lisa Castleman

Olympia High School






Spring 2007


Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division,

Detroit Publishing Company Collection
In this lesson, students will evaluate the Declaration of Independence; they will then compare and contrast the Declaration of Independence with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Lastly, the students will discover their own primary source document that depicts a person or groups oppression.
Overview/ Materials/LOC Resources/Standards/ Procedures/Evaluation/Rubric/Handouts/Extension


Overview Back to Navigation Bar

Objectives

Students will:

  • evaluate the purpose of the Declaration of Independence

  • compare and Contrast the Declaration of Independence to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

  • students will discover primary source documents that depict a person or group of people’s oppression

  • students will evaluate their primary source documents and describe the oppression that is depicted in the primary source document

  • students will compare and contrast their primary source document with the Declaration of Independence and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Recommended time frame

3 – 85 minute block classes

Grade level

11th-12th

Curriculum fit

American Government/American History

Materials

  • Analysis/Guided notes for the Declaration of Independence

  • Link to Library of Congress site to view the Declaration of Independence

  • Handout of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech

  • Primary Source analysis sheet for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech”

  • Computers for student research

  • Primary Source analysis sheet for the primary source document that the students will find

  • Rubric for student presentations

Illinois State Learning Standards Back to Navigation Bar




Social Studies:

GOAL 14: Understand the roles and influ­ences of individuals and interest groups in the political systems of Illinois, the United States and other nations.



  • 14D. Understand the roles and influ­ences of individuals and interest groups in the political systems of Illinois, the United States and other nations.

  • 14.D.5 Interpret a variety of public policies and issues from the perspectives of different individuals and groups.

GOAL 16: Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations.

  • 16A. Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.

  • 16.A.5a Analyze historical and contemporary developments using methods of historical inquiry (pose questions, collect and analyze data, make and support inferences with evidence, report findings).



Procedures Back to Navigation Bar




Day One:

  • Have students use the Library of Congress website to find the Declaration of Independence.

  • Have students read the Declaration of Independence

  • Use the Analysis/Guided Notes about the Declaration of Independence to discuss the colonists reasons for writing the Declaration of Independence and the format they used for writing the Declaration of Independence (see handout four).

  • Provide students with the handout of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have Dream Speech” (handout one)

  1. Have students complete the “I Have a Dream” Primary Source Analysis Form (see handout two)


Day Two:

  • Have student use the Library of Congress website to find a primary source document that describes a person or a group of people’s oppression

  • Have the students complete the “More Oppression” primary source analysis sheet (see handout three)


Day Three:

  • Students will present their primary source document and it’s evaluation to the rest of the class




Evaluation Back to Navigation Bar




  • Students will be evaluated on their presentations using the rubric provided.

  • Students will also be expected to turn in their primary source analysis forms.




Extension Back to Navigation Bar




This lesson will be part of a larger unit on the foundations of our American government.


Primary Resources from the Library of Congress

Back to Navigation Bar



Image

Description

Citation

URL



Copy of the Declaration of Independence

Law Library of Congress

Declaration of Independence
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=001/llsl001.db&recNum=124%20--%3e


Rubric

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CATEGORY

4

3

2

1

Comprehension

Student is able to accurately answer almost all questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Student is able to accurately answer most questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Student is able to accurately answer a few questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Student is unable to accurately answer questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Preparedness

Student is completely prepared and has obviously rehearsed.

Student seems pretty prepared but might have needed a couple more rehearsals.

The student is somewhat prepared, but it is clear that rehearsal was lacking.

Student does not seem at all prepared to present.

Stays on Topic

Stays on topic all (100%) of the time.

Stays on topic most (99-90%) of the time.

Stays on topic some (89%-75%) of the time.

It was hard to tell what the topic was.

Content

Shows a full understanding of the topic.

Shows a good understanding of the topic.

Shows a good understanding of parts of the topic.

Does not seem to understand the topic very well.

Makes Connection to the Declaration of Independence

Makes a full connection to the Declaration of Independence.

Makes a good connection to the Declaration of Independence

Connections to the Declaration of Independence are not vague and not detailed

Makes very few connections to the Declaration of Independence

Makes Connections to "I Have a Dream" Speech

Makes a full connection to the "I Have a Dream" Speech

Makes a good connection to the "I Have a Dream" Speech

Connections to the "I Have a Dream" Speech are not vague and not detailed

Connections to the "I Have a Dream" Speech are not vague and not detailed

Handouts

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Martin Luther King Jr.

I Have a Dream”


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now famous “I Have a Dream Speech” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on August 28, 1963. King’s speech is credited with mobilizing the supporters of desegregation and leading the push for Civil Rights legislation.

The following is the exact text of the spoken speech, transcribed from recordings.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"



King Jr., Martin Luther. "The I Have a Dream Speech." The U.S. Constitution Online. 27 Jan 2007. Steve Mount. 17 Apr 2007 .



AMERICAN GOVERNMENT & LAW


”I Have a Dream”

Primary Source Analysis Sheet
1. What person or people gave this speech?



2. What date was the speech given?


3. Where was this speech made?
4. Who was the intended audience?



5. What was the purpose of this speech (ie: was it a campaign speech, a news report, an interview, etc)?



6. How do you know this?

7. What is the tone or mood of this recording?


8. List three things in this speech that you think are important:


1.


2.


3.

9. What are two things in this sound recording that tells you about life in the United States at this time? 
1.


2.

10. What is a question that is left unanswered by this speech?



11. Because this primary source is a transcript of a speech, what information is missing if it were a written letter or a



written document?


  1. What similarities do you see in the words or the intended content of the Declaration of Independence and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?




  1. What differences can you identify in the words or the intended content of the Declaration of Independence and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?




  1. What similarities and differences are there in the intended audiences of the Declaration of Independence and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?




  1. What similarities and differences are there in the structure of the Declaration of Independence and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?


Adapted from a design developed by the Education Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408

AMERICAN GOVERNMENT & LAW


More Oppression

We have spent time recently discussing the oppression that the colonist felt that Thomas Jefferson expressed in the Declaration of Independence. We also saw nearly 200 years later Dr. Martin Luther King Jr expressed similar oppressions in his famous “I Have a Dream Speech”. Throughout American history there are many people and groups of people that have felt oppressed by the American Government or by someone in a position of authority. You are to use the Library of Congress website (www.loc.gov) to find a primary source (song, speech, letter, etc) that depicts this oppression and then you should answer the following questions to analyze your primary source and to make connections to the Declaration of Independence and King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech. You will present your findings to the rest of the class. Please look over the attached rubric for the requirements for the presentation. If you have any questions, let me know!


1. Who is the author/authors of your source?



2. What date was the speech given?


3. What type of primary source did you find?
3. What is the setting for this primary source?
4. Who was the intended audience?



5. What was the purpose of your primary source?



6. How do you know this?

7. What is the tone or mood of your primary source?


8. List three things discovered in your primary source that you think are important:


1.


2.


3.


9. What are two things found in your primary source that tells you about life in the United States at this time? 


1.


2.

10. What is a question that is left unanswered by your primary source?




  1. What similarities do you see in the words or the intended content of the Declaration of Independence, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and your primary source?




  1. What differences can you identify in the words or the intended content of the Declaration of Independence , King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and your primary source?




  1. What similarities and differences are there in the intended audiences of the Declaration of Independence , King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and your primary source?




  1. What similarities and differences are there in the structure of the Declaration of Independence, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and your primary source?

15. How does the oppression in your primary source compare with the Declaration of Independence and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?

Adapted from a design developed by the Education Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408


AMERICAN GOVERNMENT & LAW

The Declaration of Independence Analysis and Guided Notes

TYPE OF DOCUMENT (Check one):


Newspaper

Map


Advertisement

Letter


Telegram

Congressional Record

Patent

Press Release



Census Report

Memorandum

Report

Other
UNIQUE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DOCUMENT (Check one or more):






Interesting Letterhead


Notations






Handwritten
"RECEIVED" stamp






Other
Typed


Seals


DATE(S) OF DOCUMENT:


AUTHOR (OR CREATOR) OF THE DOCUMENT:


POSITION (TITLE):


FOR WHAT AUDIENCE WAS THE DOCUMENT WRITTEN?



DOCUMENT INFORMATION (There are many possible ways to answer A-E.)


A. List three things the author said that you think are important:


B. Why do you think this document was written?


C. What evidence in the document helps you know why it was written? Quote from the document.


D. List two things the document tells you about life in the United States at the time it was written.


E. Write a question to the author that is left unanswered by the document:



Designed and developed by the Education Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408



Teacher’s Notes
I would argue that The Declaration of Independence is the most important and powerful document in American History. The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson and signed by 55 brave men after the colonist had suffered much oppression from the King of Great Britain. In many ways the Declaration of Independence (DOI) was a letter written to the King of Great Britain and to the world as an expression these oppression. Not only did the colonist tell the world how they had been wronged, but they also outlined the plan for democracy. Many people argue that the DOI is the document that outlines the foundation of our American Government.
Let’s look at the outline of democracy that the Declaration of Independence provides… You can view The Declaration of Independence in its original form at the Library of Congress website.
I will use the following notes to help the students analyze the Declaration of Independence…
1. 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.
Explanation - If it is necessary for people to abolish a government, they must let others know why they are separating themselves from that government.
2. 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,

Explanation – Everyone has certain God given rights or obvious rights. It is the Governments responsibility to make sure that no one is taking away these rights, the people created the government for this purpose.


3. 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 principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Explanation – If the government is not protecting these “unalienable rights” it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government and create a new government.
4. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;
Explanation - Governments will not be changed for small reasons.
5. and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Explanation – People are more likely to sit by and suffer oppression and do nothing, unless that oppression gets so bad that they have no other choice to alter or abolish the government or those that are causing the oppression.
6. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Explanation- This is what happened to the colonist. The King of Great Britain has abused them so much, had taken away their God given rights, they had no choice but to abolish those ties.
7. Thomas Jefferson goes on to list 27 wrongs that the King of Great Britain committed against the colonist.
8. To close the DOI, Jefferson goes on to tell the world that the colonist have tried to let the world and Great Britain know what was going on and no one seems to have listened and nothing has changed. The colonist have no other choice but to “alter or abolish” their ties with Great Britain and declare their independence.



An Adventure of the American Mind

Illinois State University





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