Lesson Title: Propaganda and the Grievances Listed in The Declaration of Independence

By: Jessica Tensmeyer, Wasatch Range Writing Project Teacher Consultant

Burning Question: Can the grievances listed in The Declaration of Independence be viewed as propaganda? How can we recognize if something is propaganda? Why is it important to recognize propaganda?



This lesson is intended not only to help students become familiar with a part of The Declaration of Independence that many of them are not familiar with, but also to teach students the meaning of propaganda, how to recognize propaganda, and the importance of recognizing propaganda. Discussions of propaganda can connect to many different content areas in many different units. NOTE: teachers need to be careful when teaching this subject that they keep their own opinions at bay and allow students to form their own opinions. Teachers must create an environment for very open discussion.


Time Span: Approx. two 90 min class periods.


  1. the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.
  2.  ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause.



Students are often bombarded with many different opinions from a great number of sources. It is important for students to recognize when those sources are working to further their own cause or harm the cause of their opponents (propaganda). It is also important that students become familiar with The Declaration of Independence, all parts of it. This lesson helps them to become familiar with a section of The Declaration that is often overlooked, while exploring other issues at the same time.