November 01, 2009


My favorite scene in pre-America America is Thomas Jefferson seething while the Continental Congress gentrifies his Declaration of Independence. I found a copy of Jefferson's draft here:

Cf. the final product:

Of note---

-Changing "we hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable" to "we hold these truths to be self-evident" (a change Jefferson made)

-Congress totally neutering the list of complaints against Crazy King George (the sentences that start "he has . . .")

Jefferson was pretty pissed about Congress abrogating the list of grievances---that section got the most press at the time. But now we remember the second paragraph, which I memorized in fifth grade, and which is Jefferson's writing entirely.

Also Jefferson and Adams both died on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration's ratification. But you already knew that.

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