VIDEO: SIA 101.4: Declaration of Independence – Part IV (Video time: 45 minutes)

REQUIRED READING: “Writing of the Declaration of Independence”

Where there is a time mark, the answer is provided at the time indicated in the relevant podcast or video. Where there is no time mark indicated, the student should look up in a book or perform an Internet search for the term, person, or place.

  1. Review Aristotle
  2. Cicero (When and where did he live? What books did he write?)
  3. Thomas Aquinas (He is the considered a “Doctor of the Church” by Catholics. What does that title mean?)
  4. Pythagoras (when and where did he live?)
  5. Abigail Adams (Was married to whom?)
  6. Thomas Jefferson (Wanted to be remembered for what three achievements in his life?)
  7. Alexander Hamilton (In what capacities did he serve George Washington?)
  8. James Madison (Collaborated with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to write what book?)
  9. Benjamin Franklin (What did he do in France?)
  10. John Adams (Was married to whom?)
  11. Regime
  12. Founding Fathers
  13. Thomist
  14. Omnipotent
  15. Omnipresent
  16. Omniscient
  17. Pythagorean Theorem
  18. Popular Opinion


  1. What is the modern meaning of self-evident? (2:19)
  2. What is the philosophic (old, traditional, classic) meaning of self-evident? (3:39 – 11:05)
  3. In his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, what words did Thomas Jefferson use instead of self-evident? (5:20 – 7:30)
  4. Why were the words changed to self-evident? (7:30 – 10:45)
  5. Listen to the example of a self-evident truth. (start 12:25)
  6. What is the first thing a thinker must do to start to discover if something is true? (18:00)
  7. What question is helpful to ask in order to discover if something is true? (18:40)
  8. What can be discovered by asking the question, “What does this mean?” (18:53)
  9. How many people have to know something for the idea to be a self-evident truth? (25:00)
  10. Summarize what a self-evident truth is. (1:40 – 26:39)
  11. Summarize what the founders meant by a self-evident truth. (1:40 – 26:39)
  12. What is the first moral, self-evident truth that the founders offer in the Declaration of Independence? (26:40 – 27:15)
  13. What is the most important philosophic question to ask about the first self-evident truth in the Declaration of Independence? (27:30 – 29:00)
  14. Describe the thought exercise on the idea that “all men are created equal.” (30:30)
  15. What is a fundamental (simple) way we are all equal? (33:40)
  16. Why is this first, self-evident truth from the Declaration of Independence significant? (35:56 – 36:56)
  17. Each individual human being contains the model of what moral and political concept? (36:40)
  18. The founders used the word men in the self-evident truth all men are created equal. What word can be thought of or used in discussing this idea of human equality? (37:40)
  19. What story does Dr. Krannawitter use as evidence for the argument that the founders believed men in the self-evident truth all men are created equal meant and included all mankind? (37:40 – 44:19)
  20. Who were the first editors of the Declaration of Independence? (43:30)
  21. Does this idea of all men (mankind) being equal have a revolutionary political impact? (44:20)