American Portraits

We Hold These Truths: Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence, and Identity

In this lesson, students will read a narrative about Thomas Jefferson and the writing of the Declaration of Independence in order to understand their identity.

Founding Principles

Inalienable / Natural Rights image

Inalienable / Natural Rights

Freedoms which belong to us by nature and can only be justly taken away through due process.

Liberty image


Except where authorized by citizens through the Constitution, the government does not have the authority to limit freedom.

Rule of Law image

Rule of Law

Government and citizens all abide by the same laws regardless of political power. Those laws respect individual rights, are transparently enacted, are justly applied, and are stable.

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