Nov 14, 2020 in History


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Declaration of Independence is an important legal and historical act that has been adopted to officially proclaim the independence of the USA from British Crown. However, one passage from this document was aggravated by many circumstances and the complicated process, including three revisions. This paper aims to identify the key authors of the Declaration of Independence and explain the changes that were made in regard to its content.

To begin with, the first rough draft of the document was introduced by Thomas Jefferson. It consisted of four pages. In this draft, Jefferson wrote that all people were created equal. Even in his prior works he frequently defended this legal view on the society. Thus, the text of the Declaration asserted that everyone had the right to liberty, life, and pursuit of happiness. Jefferson also noted that the colonies should no longer be considered binding by the British Crown. In addition, he mentioned that the powers should come from people, not the king or the government. Moreover, he enlisted the charges against the King George III. Lastly, Jefferson was the author of the section that condemned the slave trade as he was convinced that the slavery was against the sacred rights to life and liberty.

Later on, the rough draft was referred to Franklin and Adams who made a few changes to the official document. Franklin, for example, incorporated such phrase we hold these truths to be self-evident. On the whole, the Declaration was slightly changed this time, and the alterations usually referred to the language used rather than to the meaning and overall content of the document.

After that, the document was submitted to the Congress. Yet, many states refused to adopt the Declaration of Independence due to the slavery-related norms. The delegates from the New England were also not willing to sign the draft. Eventually, the Congressmen agreed to cut off the terms regarding slavery. Furthermore, the words of Lee regarding the colonies and their free status were incorporated as well.

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The Congress almost did not change the lyrical introduction that Jefferson paid so much attention to. However, they eliminated the paragraphs that related to the slavery. In particular, they cut off the paragraph, blaming the King for the slave trade in the colonies. They called him a tyrant claiming that he had offered the freedom to the slaves who abandoned their masters and joined the armed forces. In addition, the Congressmen had compressed the attack on the British people and rewrote the final paragraph of the Declaration. They also added the references to the God.

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As it could be noted from the changes discussed above, the Declaration of Independence adopted by the Congress was a historical document reached through the consensus and a series of deliberations. Its text demonstrates the controversy among the states, especially in regard to the issue of slavery. Even in the passage of the Declaration of Independence, which today has a little legal influence, the division in the American society was reflected, a more progressive North and the South occupied by the large planters and slave owners. More than that, this document demonstrates the role of the representation in the Congress. At those times, slaves were not presented there. Therefore, they were granted no protection at all despite the fact that the Declaration said that all people were created equal.

In conclusion, it should be stressed that the adoption of the Declaration of Independence was quite a cumbersome procedure due to the conflicting interests of the state and overall importance of the document. In any case, it demonstrates the importance of the compromising efforts in the process of making significant decisions for the nations.


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