Introduction to American Government: The Declaration of Independence Flashcards

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Read the excerpt from the Arizona Republic editorial "Supreme Court Affirms the Right to Pursue Happiness,” published on June 26, 2015, about a case that resulted in nationwide legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

It's a day to remind ourselves of what it says in the Declaration of Independence: "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.”

Not all truths are self-evident to us, of course.

Some things take time. Too much time.

What conclusion about unalienable rights can best be drawn from the excerpt?

People do not always agree about what rights everyone should have.


Which had the greatest influence in prompting the Second Continental Congress to declare independence?

increased open public support for independence


Which part of the Declaration of Independence acts as an implied plan of action, in that it lists laws and practices to be changed?

the body


The preamble to the Declaration of Independence outlines the principles upon which the new government would be based. Which of these best describes one of those principles?

a government based on a social contract


What event prompted the formation of the First Continental Congress?

the Boston Tea Party


As the colonies moved toward independence, the First Continental Congress was created in



Why were taxes an ongoing source of conflict for the American colonists?

They were taxed without having representation in Parliament.


Which best summarizes the social contract outlined in the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence?

Government has the power to protect natural rights, but people can change their government if it fails to do so.


Which example describes natural rights?

rights that should be protected by the government


Who was appointed to write the Declaration of Independence?

Thomas Jefferson


Which type of rights did the colonists who drafted the Declaration of Independence most want to protect?



As the result of a conflict between British troops and a colonial militia in Massachusetts,

Thomas Paine published Common Sense.


Why did Thomas Paine question British authority to rule the colonies in Common Sense?

He believed the king would only approve laws that benefited Britain.


Which best describes the purpose of the Second Continental Congress?

It was the group of leaders who worked to create the Declaration of Independence.


Read the quotation from the Declaration of Independence.

"For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world."

Which reason explains why this grievance was included in the Declaration?

Trade focused on generating income for the Crown only.


What purpose did the introduction to the Declaration of Independence serve?

It indicated why independence was necessary.


Which best describes the main action called for by the Declaration of Independence?

to give the United States the power of self-government


The image shows a 2018 rally supporting a lawsuit seeking government action on climate change.

How do the protestors with the signs saying "A livable planet is an unalienable right” and "Life, liberty, property” use the Declaration of Independence to express an opinion?

The signs reference the role of the government in protecting the natural rights of the people.