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Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence
self | July 4, 2023 | Self

Posted on 07/04/2023 8:50:43 AM PDT by Retain Mike

The Continental Congress chose Thomas Jefferson instead of John Adams to write the Declaration of Independence, because they wanted to solidify the southern states participation in the revolution.

Jefferson suffered through Congress remaking his work. His draft at 1704 words was 366 words longer than the final. The Congress added 253 words, and removed or rephrased 792 words, thereby transforming over 60% of his work. Among passages removed was a 168 word section complaining the mercantile system, imposed on the colonies by commercial charter, mandated the importation of slaves to the New World. Such is my analysis, but you can find his draft on the internet.

Here is the text of the final work.

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Partial Bibliography:

Declaration of Independence: A Transcription (1333 words)

Jefferson's "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence (1704 words)

Benjamin Franklin and The Declaration of Independence.

British prohibit abolition of Slavery's%20assembly%20intended%20to%20prohibit%20absolutely%20the%20slave%20trade%22&f=false,+which+inhibit+their+assenting+to+such+laws+as+might+check+so+very+pernicious+a+Commerce&source=bl&ots=KHtn4vrAY5&sig=ACfU3U01RHw9Q-T8NgyY1rvOP91TiYigDg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj3gMKK06DpAhUmnq0KHfnMA_MQ6AEwBnoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=remove%20all%20Restraints%20on%20your%20Majesty's%20Governors%20of%20this%20Colony%2C%20which%20inhibit%20their%20assenting%20to%20such%20laws%20as%20might%20check%20so%20very%20pernicious%20a%20Commerce&f=false

The Virginia Slavery Debate of 1831-1832

The Timeline of abolition of slavery and serfdom–1799_(Late_Modern)

13 Colonies Population (1710 - 1770)

TOPICS: Chit/Chat; History; Society
KEYWORDS: declaration; independence; jefferson; thomas

1 posted on 07/04/2023 8:50:43 AM PDT by Retain Mike
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To: Retain Mike

Happy Birthday, America. It is hard to believe that I have survived almost a third of this country’s existance.

2 posted on 07/04/2023 8:57:09 AM PDT by granite (The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.Ecclesiastes 10:2)
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To: Retain Mike

Good post. Thanks

3 posted on 07/04/2023 8:57:59 AM PDT by jcon40 (The same Lefties who used to lecture us on bullying are now bullying our kids (innocents) on LBGTQ+ )
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To: Retain Mike

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. God bless you all and God bless America!

4 posted on 07/04/2023 9:02:27 AM PDT by No name given (Anonymous is who you’ll know me as)
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To: Retain Mike

Thank you for posting.

I wonder if the kids these days ever think of what these men did for us and how eloquent that Declaration is.

And I wonder what it would’ve been if John Adams wrote it?

5 posted on 07/04/2023 9:03:52 AM PDT by Beowulf9
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To: Retain Mike

Sounds like the majority those same grievances are well in place, today.

It’s time, people.

6 posted on 07/04/2023 9:11:08 AM PDT by Howie66 (Let's Go Brandon!!)
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To: Retain Mike

I highly commend the DVD,”1776” to your viewingedification.

Great Stuff.

7 posted on 07/04/2023 9:21:10 AM PDT by William of Barsoom (In Omnia, Paratus)
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To: Retain Mike


8 posted on 07/04/2023 9:27:20 AM PDT by sauropod (Sun Tzu: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”)
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To: granite

Fun Fact about our 247-year-old country:

Harrison Ruffin Tyler (born November 9, 1928) is an American chemical engineer, businessperson and preservationist. He cofounded ChemTreat, Inc., a water treatment company, in 1968 and restored the Sherwood Forest Plantation. He is a son of Lyon Gardiner Tyler as well as the last living grandchild of former U.S. president John Tyler (born on March 29, 1790 during George Washington’s first term as President), the earliest former U S. president with a living grandchild.

9 posted on 07/04/2023 9:39:44 AM PDT by one guy in new jersey
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To: Retain Mike

Happy 4th of July, proud to be a American.

10 posted on 07/04/2023 10:44:34 AM PDT by Rappini (Hope means coming in second.)
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To: Retain Mike

Happy Independence Day.




11 posted on 07/04/2023 10:46:34 AM PDT by M Kehoe (Quid Pro Joe and the Ho have got to go)
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To: M Kehoe

I think when it’s all said and done, it’s more like 1776-2008

12 posted on 07/04/2023 10:47:38 AM PDT by dfwgator (Endut! Hoch Hech!)
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To: dfwgator


Good case for the date...


13 posted on 07/04/2023 10:59:53 AM PDT by M Kehoe (Quid Pro Joe and the Ho have got to go)
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To: granite
"It is hard to believe that I have survived almost a third of this country’s existence."

Wow! Me too. Thanks for the perspective.

14 posted on 07/04/2023 11:24:56 AM PDT by MV=PY (The Magic Question: Who's paying for it?)
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To: Retain Mike

Somewhat unrelated, but I felt compelled to share. There is a small place near Williamsburg, Berkeley Plantation, and its history amazing. But the one fact that stands out above all is that at one time or another, the first five presidents of the United States had crossed the threshold of that home and spent time in the parlor room, just to the left upon entering. When I visited, the enormity of the fact that I was standing right in the same place where these incredible men had been really touched me: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. And what’s more, the plantation was owned by William Henry Harrison, our 9th president and it is still in the same family name, his descendents, today.

Lastly, during the Civil War, General McClellan’s army encamped right there, all throughout the vast property. As you walk through the gardens and down the path to the James River, you can’t help but get a sense of what that must have been like some nearly 150 years before. There’s nothing big and fancy about BP, but it’s place in history is remarkable.

15 posted on 07/04/2023 11:28:21 AM PDT by nfldgirl
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To: Retain Mike
Congress chose five men to draft the declaration (one of which did not sign the document). It was John Adams who insisted that Thomas Jefferson write the initial draft, because he believed that Jefferson could write much better than Adams himself could.

The Declaration was adopted on the fourth of July, but not signed until weeks later. Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who survived the longest of all the Signers, was not yet in Congress on July 4, 1776.

16 posted on 07/05/2023 11:20:23 AM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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