Saturday, July 2, 2011

Drafting the Declaration of Independence

Every literary work starts in draft, even the greatest of them. On June 11, 1776 the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and formed a committee to draft a document that would severe the colonies ties from Great Britain. King George III had forced the colonies to pay taxes without representation in Parliament and had sent troops to quell signs of rebellion, yet repeated attempts by the colonists to resolve the crisis peacefully were fruitless.

The committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. The document was crafted by Jefferson, who was considered the strongest and most eloquent writer. Jefferson's rough draft was presented to Franklin and Adams for correction, prior to committee. Eighty-six changes were made to his draft, but  one of the most important edits was when Jefferson changed  "subjects" to "citizens", thus obliterating the term "subjects" from the colonist's vocabulary.

The final version of the document was officially adopted on July 4th and went to print that very afternoon.  By the next morning copies were on their way to all thirteen states by horseback .  On July 5th the German Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote became the new nations's first newspaper to announce that the Declaration had been adopted and on July 6th, the first newspaper print edition of the full text appeared in the Philadelphia Evening Post.

The Declaration of Independence has since become our nation's most cherished symbol of liberty.

Rough Draft

Drafting the Documents

5 Obscure Facts About The Declaration of Independence


  1. I think it would be pretty cool, to be able to sit in and listen to the conversations during that time.

    Happy 4th!!

    God bless and keep you,

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  3. Yes, that would be fascinating, Sonia!


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