The Declaration of Independence: How 13 Colonies Became the United States

Overview

How much do most students know about the Declaration of Independence? For that matter, how much do most adults know about it? Probably everybody is aware that it’s the document that formally severed the 13 American colonies’ ties with England. They also know that it’s dated July 4, 1776, and is why we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. But how many among us can answer questions like these?

1. On what date ...

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Overview

How much do most students know about the Declaration of Independence? For that matter, how much do most adults know about it? Probably everybody is aware that it’s the document that formally severed the 13 American colonies’ ties with England. They also know that it’s dated July 4, 1776, and is why we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. But how many among us can answer questions like these?

1. On what date did Congress actually vote for independence?
2. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
3. When did the members of Congress sign the Declaration?
4. Which famous founder did not sign the Declaration? (Answers below)

These and more questions are answered in Syl Sobel’s newest fun-to-read book that covers an important moment in American history. It enlivens a major historical event by presenting something unusual and interesting on every page, and is virtually guaranteed to become a favorite classroom supplement among history teachers and students alike. Features line art, a glossary, a suggested reading list, and an index. (Ages 8 and older)

Answers:
1. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted for Independence. They adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4.
2. Thomas Jefferson wrote the first version. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin made several changes. Then Congress made more changes before giving final approval.
3. The formal signing was on Aug. 2, 1776, although some members of Congress did not sign it until several days later.
4. George Washington was commanding general of the Continental Army and was unavailable for the signing.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
Politics and government, 1775-1783. This title covers, in a short version, "Taxation Without Representation," the "Boston Tea Party," the "First Continental Congress," "Decision in Philadelphia," "Independence!" and "Creating the U. S. Government." These are shortened versions but give enough information for a lower level grade that needs some information. It is fairly readable and the format is workable. There are helpful things, like the "Introduction," the "Conclusion," a "Glossary," a "Selected Bibliography," and the "Index." The illustrations do work for this kind of book and help to set the timeframe and to depict the scenes of what is happening. It uses some old print font and depicts the characters fairly true to form. The two colors of the illustrations provide less clutter to digest for the reluctant and/or poor reader. Any reader should come away with an understanding of how the thirteen colonies became the United States. The price is right for home and individual school purchase. Reviewer: Naomi Butler
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5

This brief overview interprets a complex topic in a manner that will be understandable to children. Unfortunately, the book's format will not draw them in. The illustrations consist of sketches done in black, white, and shades of blue. No maps, photographs, or reproductions of documents are included. Although sources are listed, the text includes quotations without attribution. Judith St. George's The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence (Philomel, 2005) and Sam Fink's The Declaration of Independence: The Words That Made America (Scholastic, 2002) are both more creative and have a great deal of visual appeal. For a solid basic introduction, consider Michael Burgan's The Declaration of Independence (Compass Point, 2000).-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764139505
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/2008
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Syl Sobel, J.D., is Director, Publications & Media Division, Federal Judicial Center, Washington, D.C. He is also the author of How the U.S. Government Works, The U.S. Constitution and You, and Presidential Elections, all available from Barron's.
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Table of Contents

Introduction     6
Taxation Without Representation     8
Boston Tea Party     10
First Continental Congress     13
Decision in Philadelphia     18
Independence!     34
Creating the U.S. Government     35
Conclusion     39
Glossary     41
Selected Bibliography     45
Index     47

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