What do you oppose? What does that say about you?

THOMAS JEFFERSON LEADERSHIP

As the sentiments of men are known not only by what they receive, but what they reject also, I will state the form of the declaration as originally reported. The parts struck out by Congress shall be distinguished by a black line drawn under them; & those inserted by them shall be placed in the margin or in a concurrent column.
Autobiography, 1821

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Some leaders have long memories!

The previous post gave two major changes the Continental Congress made in Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence. Those changes eliminated a condemnation of England’s slave trade and lessened criticism of the English people themselves. But there were many other changes, too, about 25.

Late in life, when Jefferson’s authorship was well known, he also wanted it well known which ideas were his, and which were not. Whether from personal irritation or for historical accuracy is not clear. Jefferson was quite miffed in July 1776 at all the changes and thought they weakened the document. Forty-five years later, the tone of this excerpt might indicate he still held a grudge over those changes. He included the full text of his draft plus all the changes.

To categorize the changes other than the two above:
– Most would be stylistic, eliminating or changing a word or phrase.
– Some toned down his harsher criticism of King George III.
– In the conclusion, Jefferson’s draft had no reference to any authority other than their own as individuals, as representatives of states and of the United States. As amended, two references to divine authority were added.

Source: Autobiography, 1821

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

Some leaders have long memories!
The previous post gave two major changes the Continental Congress made in Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence. Those changes eliminated a condemnation of England’s slave trade and lessened criticism of the English people themselves. But there were many other changes, too, about 25.

Late in life, when Jefferson’s authorship was well known, he also wanted it well known which ideas were his, and which were not. Whether from personal irritation or for historical accuracy is not clear. Jefferson was quite miffed in July 1776 at all the changes and thought they weakened the document. Forty-five years later, the tone of this excerpt might indicate he still held a grudge over those changes. He included the full text of his draft plus all the changes.

To categorize the changes other than the two above:
– Most would be stylistic, eliminating or changing a word or phrase.
– Some toned down his harsher criticism of King George III.
– In the conclusion, Jefferson’s draft had no reference to any authority other than their own as individuals, as representatives of states and of the United States. As amended, two references to divine authority were added.

*This link is to the entire volume. To find this passage, open the link, type Ctrl F (for find) and type several words from the text into the box. Those words will be highlighted wherever they appear within the work.


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The Moral Liberal Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.

His business address is ThomasJeffersonLeadership.com.