Fall HUS Research Project Tasks
Phase I: P01_The Declaration of Independence
I. The purpose of this research project is to…
– Practice academic research skills.
– Sharpen skills with computer applications in the gathering, analysis, and presentation of findings (data).
– Expand our understanding of the historical value of the nation’s foundational documents.
II. The project will be divided into phases.
Each phase will be part of a larger, overall, research effort into an understanding of foundational documents from the first 120 years of US History.
A. Phase One: The Declaration of Independence
Purpose: Through an analysis of the document’s content, structure, and context, students will reveal the nature of the founders’ concerns and their justification for drastic action.
B. Phase One: Instructions
1. Mindmeister Free account setup by each student.
2. PDF copies of The Declaration of Independence and John Locke’s 2nd Treatise on Government. The documents have been minimally edited by Mr.V for class use. An important edit was the addition of numbers marking-off sections of the documents.
3. Digital copies of Chapters from *The Americans* course textbook.
4. A research primer mindmap created by Mr.V and containing links to academic resources. Students are not restricted to these resources while completing the project. But, any other source must be properly vetted and appropriately cited within the mindmap.
1. One student within each group starts a new mind map on Mindmeister.com. That student, who now becomes owner of the map, shares that map with his/ her group members and Mr.V. Everyone must be given “Can Edit” privileges when sharing is being setup, including Mr.V. (To share a mindmap with Mr.V, use **firstname.lastname@example.org**)
2. A basic organizational skeleton for the mindmap must be created. As the map grows in size and content, students within the groups should decide how best to structure the map for efficiency, clarity, and ease of use.
a. Label the Central (Node) Idea: P01_Declaration of Independence-Group#.
Example: P01_Declaration of Independence-03 (Where ‘P01’ means “Project Unit 01”, The Document name, and Group #3.)
b. Create three child nodes off the central idea. Label each of the three nodes respectively: Time, Place, Circumstance. These nodes will contain relevant contextual data surrounding the document.
c. Create four additional child nodes off the central idea. Label each of the four nodes respectively: Para.#1, Para.#2, Para.#3, Para.#4. Each of these nodes must contain a translated version of the same numbered paragraph indicated on the Declaration of Independence PDF document. The translation must be in plain, simple, 21st C. colloquial English. Assume you are translating for another person who does not have your background knowledge. Write your translation in the mindmap node. Students within the group who were not assigned a paragraph to translate should be editing the writing of the group members who did translate. Translations for clarity, conciseness, and brevity usually result in less words being used (less verbose).
d. Each group bears the responsibility of assigning tasks to members. The group should be organized to complete the task by the allotted time and in accord with academic standards set forth by Mr.V.
3. Finding John Locke’s philosophy in The Declaration of Independence.
The Founding Fathers were a product of the Enlightenment Era. They were aware of and impacted the thinkers of the time. John Locke was one of these central Enlightenment thinkers.
For each of the four nodes dedicated to the translation of the Declaration of Independence, extend your analysis to include a complementary reference from John Locke’s 2nd Treatise on Government. Your goal is to find a supporting reference within Locke’s treatise for each of your translated paragraphs. Be creative when showing a linkage between these two documents on your mindmap.
4. Comparing Jefferson’s Accusations with British actions.
For this portion of our project, we want to see where and how Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin (all playing a role in drafting The Declaration of Independence) blame Britain for the events leading to this document.
Turn your attention to sections 5 through 10 on the PDF file of The Declaration of Independence. Use the sources available, or those suggested by Mr.V, to connect each of those sections with a British action that angered/ punished the colonies in the eyes of the American colonists. Refer to our discussions of the various Acts passed after the Royal Proclamation of 1763. Consider how each of the accusations in sections 5 – 10 relate to specific British actions.
Be creative with how you reveal this relationship in your mindmap.
5. Be prepared to explain, verbally in class and in written form within your mindmap, how section #12 and #13 of The Declaration of Independence is a summation of the colonial argument against a continued relationship with Great Britain.
- Dec. of Ind. was printed and disseminated as a ‘Broadside’
- Colonial news spread via a communal ‘bulletin board’.
- The act was a first for human civilization: The Proclamation of a nation’s birth.