Source Analysis

Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776

Scholar Analysis

Portrait of Rosemarie ZagarriListen to George Mason University Professor Rosemarie Zagarri discuss the Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776. Rosemarie Zagarri received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1984. Her most recent book is Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). Dr. Zagarri’s work focuses on gender and politics during the American Revolution and the early years of the country.

Teacher Analysis: Elementary School

Pam GernerdListen to fourth-grade Loudoun County Public Schools (VA) teacher Pam Gernerd discuss her three-day lesson on the Declaration of Independence. Gernerd talks about how she used the Declaration of Independence to analyze the causes of the American Revolution and the founding principles and develop students’ historical thinking skills.

Teacher Analysis: Middle School

Hear eighth-grade Loudoun County Public Schools (VA) teacher Clifford Gold explain how he used the Declaration of Independence to teach historical thinking skills and the causes and ideology of the American Revolution.

Classroom Practice: Middle School

Watch as Clifford Gold’s middle school students learn about the American Revolution through the Declaration of Independence.

Lesson Plan

“Understanding the Declaration of Independence”
During this lesson, students will examine the Declaration of Independence. They will focus on the reasons why the colonies went to war with England and develop an understanding of the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

Read the Declaration

Download the Declaration of Independence broadside and a transcript of the Declaration.


Access transcripts of the scholar analysis and teacher analysis videos.


Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following institutions and individuals for the use of images from their collections:

  • Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
  • Connecticut Historical Society
  • Free Library of Philadelphia
  • Layfayette College Art Collection
  • Library of Congress Lilly Library
  • Mark Harden
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Musee des Beaux Arts, Carcassonne
  • Museum of London
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • National Galleries of Scotland
  • New York Public Library
  • Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Political History Collection