Scripture tells us that all citizens are duty-bound to respect government authorities and promote the common good. The protection of personal rights and the common good is the purpose of government. But yet, world history shows that governments have a tendency to oppress the very people they were established to protect. Are citizens obligated to obey the commands of an unjust government? Are there cases where civil disobedience is insufficient, and armed resistance is justified? Was the American Revolution one of those cases? For this DBQ (Document-Based Question), students will analyze the church’s teaching on when armed resistance to government is justified. They will then turn to the Declaration of Independence issued by the Continental Congress in 1776 and evaluate the situation that led the colonists to take up arms against the British. Finally, they will use these documents, as well as their own knowledge of history, to determine whether colonial resistance to the British was justified in 1776.
Grade Level: High School, Middle School
Subject: Civics, Government, and Economics, Government, The Declaration of Independence
Learner: Traditional Classroom, Advanced Placement, Homeschooled Students
Tagged as: american revolution, declaration of independence, just war, thomas jefferson
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