Declaration of Independence and Education in the USA
A document that lays down the basis of what the US is today, the Declaration of Independence is a very important piece of American history. It describes the national identity of the country by saying that all people are equal and have the rights to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". This document has a long story of its own, which is why learning about it is so important for students.
Because of this importance, students are often asked to write essays or papers about this document. To get a head start on your assignment, you can choose to read essay on Declaration of Independence written by other students or academics. This will give you the basic insight you need to delve deeper into the document and what it entails.
While reading such examples, you might also find some interesting connections that the Declaration has with education. Some of these will be direct connections while others not so much. However, the ways in which this document relates to the access of knowledge are important to know.
A Direct Connection
After declaring independence, Thomas Jefferson returned home to Virginia with the idea of changing the laws of his state in ways that would make them align better with what was part of the revolution. This was the point at which he decided that all free children should be able to attend public schools without discrimination related to their wealth or social status.
To make this happen, Jefferson introduced a new bill. Known as the Bill for the General Diffusion of Knowledge, this document called for the creation of school districts that would educate local students. The basic idea behind this whole thing was every United States citizen had to have access to knowledge regardless of their personal condition or circumstance.
The original bill did not pass but a later version did, in 1796. And even though there are plenty of controversies that surround this bill, primarily because Jefferson himself was a slave owner and the bill did not necessarily grant the same rights to slaves, it was this move made by him years ago that led to the public schooling system the US has today.
Controversies in the Document
Whenever a student writes anything about this document, it is important to consider the controversies related to it as well. This is a good tip for students studying abroad in the US as they wouldn't have read about the efforts leading up to Independence Day. To help you kickstart your research on the subject, let's talk about perhaps the biggest point of contention in the document.
The founding fathers used the word men in the document when talking about equality. Today, people argue that this meant white males only and that the words of the document did not include women and African Americans.
However, it has been suggested that the word was used inclusively for everyone. This is evidenced by the fact that the same word was used to describe those being sold on the auction block, in the rough draft of the document. Because of this detail, we can determine that the word was used in an inclusive manner as women and children were also being sold there.
Another controversy around the document is that the one we have today is not actually a copy of the original parchment that was signed. Instead, it is the transcription of a later stone engraving. This is an interesting point to note for any student who wants to write about this document as it exists today.
Missing from the Classroom
Something that many people point out regarding this document is the missing information from general classrooms about Jefferson's struggle with the idea of owning another person. He is clearly and openly known as a slave owner but, during the American Revolution, he was also involved in legislation to abolish slavery.
Then we have John Adams who never held any slaves and actually thought of the practice as something wrong. This also indicates that he and the others had people of color in mind while crafting this document. These are points that generally don't show up when the Declaration's promises about liberty and life are being criticized with regards to slavery that existed at the time. That is why students must do their research whenever writing about this document’s role in providing freedom and safety to the citizens of the US.
July 4 marks the day when America declared its independence and laid the foundation of what it is today. The document that contained the principles on which the country would be built is as relevant today as it was then. However, it is very important to know some of the details surrounding this document. Despite all the criticisms that revolve around the founders of the US, though, the role it played in developing and shaping the system of schooling in the US is worth noting and appreciating.