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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Original Draft: The Declaration of Independence (Jefferson abolished slavery)

This text of the Declaration of Independence is from The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 1: 1760-1776 (Princeton University Press, 1950), 423-8. Although at some point Jefferson labeled this manuscript as the “original Rough draught,” it was not his first drafting of language for the Declaration. Portions of what Julian P. Boyd, the founding editor of the Papers and a student of the writing of the Declaration, called Jefferson’s “composition draft” have survived. What Jefferson came to call his “original Rough draught” was, Boyd surmised, a fair copy made from the earlier drafts. It has considerable significance, however, as the earliest complete version of the Declaration in Jefferson’s hand.
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