Declaration of Independence – Acts of Courage

Lesson Duration

Author:  National Constitution Center

In the course of this lesson, students are asked to examine closely their definitions of courage and their understanding of what it takes to act courageously. In the first section, students have an opportunity to reflect on their understanding of “courage” in response to a writing prompt. They begin to construct a definition of courage based on classroom discussion, then consider a Founding document, The Declaration of Independence and an essay about what happened to the signers in the years during and following the American Revolution. Students are asked to reassess their definition and apply it to later examples, including their own actions and lives of people they may know.


  • define courage after reading the Declaration of Independence and an essay on the signers of the Declaration;
  • explain if/why it took tremendous courage to sign the Declaration of Independence;
  • interpret modern examples of courage and reassess definition of courage; and
  • apply an understanding of courage to their own lives and actions.



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