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Lesson 4*:  The Korean Independence Movement


We claim independence in the interest of the eternal and free development of our people and in accordance with the great movement for world reform based upon the awakening conscience of mankind.

 - Excerpt from Korean Declaration of Independence, 1919

March 1st Movement, circa 1919. (Source: WIkipedia)

​*Activity 4.1 was was adapted from the lesson Korean American Unity for Independence by Ms. Ellen Park, Principal, Cedarlane Academy, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.  Activity 4.1 was was adapted from the lesson Korean Independence Movement in the U.S. & its Significance for the Korean American Community in the early 20th Century by Ms. Eunjee (EJ) Kang, Social Science Teacher, Bohannon Middle School, San Lorenzo Unified School District. Both supplemental activities were developed by Ms. Hera Kwon, Social Science Teacher, Sunny Hills High School, Fullerton Joint Union High School District. 

Lesson Standards

  • History/Social Science Analysis Skills

  • History/Social Science Content Standards

  • ​Common Core Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects


Lesson Features

  • TOPICS: Korean Independence Movement, Wilson's 14 Points, Korean American identity


  • SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Persuasive Letter


Lesson Overview

  • Students situate President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points Peace Program and 1919 speech to congress in the development of the Korean Independence Movement.  They examine original documents and news reports from the time period to identify how the Korean Independence Movement shaped and was shaped by the formation of the Korean American identify in the United States. Students compose a letter to President Wilson to encourage the United States to support the Korean Independence Movement. 



  • Activity 4.1 requires 55 minutes. 

  • Activity 4.2 require at least two 55 minute class periods.

  • The Summative Assessment Letter to President Wilson will also require at least one 55-minute period or may be completed as homework.


Lesson Activities and Assessments​


​Objectives and Learning Goals

  • Students will be able to identify elements of Wilson's Fourteen Points that impacted the Korean Independence Movement.​

  • Students will be able to analyze how events in Korea and the United States shaped and were shaped the formation of the Korean American identity and Korean Independence Movement.

  • Students will be able to compose a clear and coherent persuasive letter.

  • Students will be able to evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to understand factors that shaped the formation of the Korean American Identity.

Additional Resources


  • Activist - a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

  • Annexation - the administrative and usually illegal action relating to the forcible acquisition of one state's territory by another state.

  • Colonialism - the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

  • Imperialism - a policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force.

  • Independence - condition of a nation, country, or state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory.

  • Occupation - the takeover and control of one country by another.

  • Self Determination - the process by which a country determines its own statehood and forms its own allegiances and government.

  • Sovereignty - the authority of a state to govern itself or another state.


Lesson 4 Presentation (PDF)

Lesson 4 Teacher's Guide (PDF)

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