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Word Count: 305
The members of the Continental Congress who appointed Thomas Jefferson to draft the Declaration of Independence were sharply aware of their place within the English rights tradition even as they were deliberating a break from the government to which they had vainly appealed to defend those rights Jefferson himself was recognized as an expert in the English rights tradition and how it had developed in America a reputation he gained when he published the well-regarded and widely-published pamphlet A Summary View of the Rights of British America 1774 When Jefferson drafted the Declaration he took care to word the List of Grievances against George III in terms that could remind readers of the Grievances listed in the English Bill of Rights of 1689 Compare the list of grievances in the English Bill of Rights with the list of grievances in the American Declaration of Independence How many similar statements can you find How many similar ideas can you find for example violating the freedom of election of members to serve in parliament is similar to dissolving Representative Houses repeatedly How do you explain those similarities Now list differences between the two documents How many can you find How do you account for the differences for example historical events occurred before writing the Declaration that differed from those occurring before the Bill of Rights was drafted What does this comparison suggest about why Jefferson and Congress blamed the King of England for the War of Independence Why didnt they blame Parliament since many of the acts were initiated or authorized by Parliament What does this comparison suggest about how they viewed English Rights This comparison could serve as a review for a unit on the causes of the American Revolution It could also provide an excellent review for many of the Core Democratic Values
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