[lg policy] Revising our freedom: Digital archeology and Jefferson ’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence

Dennis Baron debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU
Tue Jul 6 21:23:17 UTC 2010


There's a new post on the Web of Language:

Revising our freedom: Digital archeology and Jefferson’s rough draft  
of the Declaration of Independence


On the last page of the rough draft of the Declaration of  
Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote “fellow-subjects,” then thought  
better of a phrase that evoked the very monarch he was challenging and  
changed the words to “fellow-citizens.” It’s no surprise that  
Jefferson was a writer who revised: every writer tweaks and fiddles,  
and a declaration of independence should be worded just right. What’s  
interesting about this particular edit is what Jefferson changed, how  
he changed it, and how that change came to light.

In a list of the colonies’ grievances against King George III  
Jefferson wrote, “he has incited treasonable insurrections of our  
fellow-subjects, with the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation  
of our property.” But the future president, whose image now graces the  
two-dollar bill, must have realized right away that fellow-subjects  
was the language of monarchy, not democracy, because “while the ink  
was still wet” Jefferson took out subjects and put in citizens.

Read the rest of this post on the Web of Language: http://bit.ly/weblan
____________________
Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

http://www.illinois.edu/goto/debaron

read the Web of Language:
http://www.illinois.edu/goto/weboflanguage








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