Throughout U.S. history, oppressed and disenfranchised groups (women, African Americans, farmers, workers, indigenous peoples, and more) have set forth their declarations of independence.
Modelled after the original Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, each document presents a vision for achieving full rights, freedoms, and liberties as members of American democracy.
Imagine that these groups had access to modern social media platforms. How would they have utilized social media to express their ideas and gain support for their Declarations of Independence?
Activity 1: Design a Social Media Campaign for a Declaration of Independence
- Choose either the original Declaration of Independence or one of the those written by other groups.
- Identify the grievances and discriminations faced by the writers of the declaration as well as their goals and hopes for a fairer, more just society.
- Design a social media campaign to build support for the document. The social media campaign should include at least 2 videos (e.g., YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok), 5 example posts, and 3 images (e.g., memes, graphics, infographics) designed by you.
- As you design your campaign, consider the following:
- What visuals and language will you use to highlight key ideas from the declaration?
- Which social media platforms will you use?
- What will you write in your posts to capture attention and inspire action?
- How will you use media (e.g., images, videos, audio) to make a convincing argument?
- *Here is a Twitter campaign example by Sara Shea.
Activity 2: Design a Modern-Day Declaration of Independence
- Create a modern-day Declaration of Independence (on TikTok or Snapchat, rather than as a document) for any group you think needs one to achieve freedom and justice in today's society.
Connecting to the Standards
- Massachusetts Civics & Government Standards
- Apply knowledge of the history of the Revolutionary period to determine the experiences and events that led the colonists to declare independence and explain key ideas about equality, representative government, limited government, rule of law, natural rights, common good, and the purpose of government as contained in the Declaration of Independence (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [8.T2.1]
- AP U.S. History
- Key Concept 3.1
- Key Concept 3.2
- ISTE Standards
- Digital Citizen
- 2c: Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
- Knowledge Constructor
- 3d: Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
- Creative Communicator
- 6a: Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
- 6b: Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
- 6d: Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for the intended audiences.
- DLCS Standards
- Digital Tools (DTC.a)
- Collaboration and Communication (DTC.b)
- Research (DTC.c)
- English Language Arts > History/Social Studies Common Core Standards
- English/Language Arts Common Core Standards