Celebrate Freedom

“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….”

Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776. By issuing this document, some of England's colonies in North America announced to the world that they were separating from England and forming a new, independent nation. Many ideas in the Declaration were inspired by English philosopher John Locke. He believed that all people were born with certain natural rights. As you study about other parts of the world this year, you will have a chance to see how the ideas of the Declaration have affected people in other places.

Read this opening section of the Declaration of Independence aloud. As you read, think about the ideas it expresses.

Identify Central Ideas

What point is Jefferson making about the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Make Inferences

Based on this passage, what is a “just,” or fair, government?

Apply Information

How could the ideas expressed in this section of the Declaration be used to justify a political revolution?

endowed, v. given; provided

unalienable, adj., not to be taken away

deriving, v., getting from a source

consent, n., agreement


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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments