The Rough Draft Of The Declaration Of Independence

Ken AshfordBloggingLeave a Comment

Scientists at the Library of Congress have been analyzing Thomas Jefferson's rough draft of the Declaration of Independence.  Today they announced a discovery: Jefferson apparently was so accustomed to monarchical rule that he used the word "subjects" — as opposed to "citizens" — when he referred to the American public.

Full story here:

Fenalla France, a research chemist at the Library, said her lab made the discovery last year by using hyperspectral imaging, using a high resolution digital camera that compiles a series of images to highlight layers of a document. Some of those invisible layers — like erased text and even fingerprints — pop into view on a computer screen.  

In switching from "subjects" to "citizens," France said it appears Jefferson used his hand to wipe the word out while the ink was still wet. A distinct brown smudge is apparent on the paper, although the word "subjects" is not legible without the help of the digital technology.

There's also good stuff at the Library of Congress website including this photo of the rough draft (click to embiggen)


Happy Fourth everyone!