Some writings have stood the test of time, continuing to be relevant even as time and everything else has changed. One such writing is the Declaration of Independence which was drawn at a time when things like the equality of men were not recognized and America was still governed by the English crown. The document did not only point out the equality of men but also how the government must represent the people. As it continues to remain timeless, the question that has always remained is; who wrote The Declaration of Independence?
It is important to point out before anything else, that the Declaration of Independence was written as an indictment against King George III as America declared its independence from the British crown.
Who Wrote the Declaration of Independence?
America has not always been a free nation. It used to be ruled by the British crown and was under the parliament and courts of England. But then on July 4, 1776, the continental congress met in Pennsylvania and adopted the highly regarded Declaration of Independence after it was drafted by a committee of people such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman. This document proclaimed America to be a self-governing nation.
Before the men came together to work on it, it was Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration. He was assigned the responsibility after his ability with words was recognized. After he wrote it, it was edited by the committee, and then the entire congress before it was later signed by members of congress.
At first, the authorship of the document was not known because it was considered treason against the British crown and so it was jointly issued by the thirteen states unanimously and was signed by men who did not fear to put in their names.
The real author of the Declaration of independence remained hidden until sometime in the 1790s when the popularity of Jefferson as its writer became publicly known. While someone like John Adams was not happy with the fame of the other man as the author, Jefferson did not claim to be the writer until a year to his death although he gave credit to the works of people like John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu.
The angst of Adams was easy to understand since he was the one who suggested that the young Thomas Jefferson should join the committee in drafting the Declaration because they needed someone from Virginia, a state that had so much influence.
On their part, Jefferson and Adams would later settle their differences in the last years of their lives, and then on July 4, 1826, 50 years after the Declaration, both men died.
When was it Written and Why?
With the American Revolution beginning in April 1775, the continental congress met in Philadelphia in June 1776, a little more than a year after the war started. This meeting was geared towards discussing the Independence of America.
The men would finally reach a resolution of independence which was finally approved on July 2 of the same year. It was within this period that the Declaration of Independence was written. Finally, the document was adopted on July 4th, a date that would always be celebrated as the independence of America.
The reason why it was written, is as pointed out, to indict the British crown on one hand, and on the other (which is more important), to support the arguments why America must be free. After the Declaration of Independence was written and worked upon by the committee and then presented to the congress, hours were spent deliberating on the documents with some important corrections made.
The minor corrections made were only on the choices of words among other little things. However, there was a major change that was made to what was originally drafted and submitted to congress. This had to do with slavery. In the original document written by Jefferson, he accused the English crown of promoting the slave trade.
He accused King George III of the slave trade, claiming that America wanted to stop it but the king was preventing that from happening. Congress did not want anything about the slave trade mentioned because some of them accepted the system, which was an irony coming from men signing a document on the equality of men. Years later, this would lead the nation to civil war.