Skip to comments.Thomas Jefferson a Closet Royalist? Hardly. (Freeper Quoted)
Posted on 07/03/2010 6:27:20 PM PDT by kristinn
Quill pen in hand, Thomas Jefferson invited the King's noose when he set out to write what his fellow founders at first thought would be a mundane legal document: a declaration of independence from the British crown.
But despite a preamble that became a paean to individual liberty that has rivaled the Magna Carta in the breadth of its global impact, Mr. Jefferson apparently committed a slip of the pen.
To usher in the Fourth of July weekend, the Library of Congress revealed hard evidence from high-resolution spectral imaging that Jefferson, on the third page of a "rough draught," wiped the word "subjects" off with his hand and meticulously etched the word "citizens" on top perhaps the kind of brain-freeze that a modern writer quickly hits delete to send into the digital ether, but that Jefferson struggled mightily to erase in a section on British abuses of the Colonists.
Jefferson's original line read: "[The British government] has incited treasonable insurrections in our fellow-subjects, with the allurements of forfeiture & confiscation of our property."
(The finding, though confirmed by spectral imaging, isn't really new. A 2004 Princeton University paper makes note of the correction as part of a long list of rewrites made during the humid month-long session of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.)
"It actually may represent a dawning in the mind of Jefferson, mid-sentence, that with this document the whole relationship between individuals and government is turned on its head from what had been accepted for thousands of years before," writes commenter An American Expatriate (sic, the quote is from Freeper Katana) on the conservative Free Republic website. "For an historian this is like an astronomer seeing a snapshot of the Big Bang."
(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...
Its really not a complicated issue. American colonists had thought of themselves as british subjects for generations. Its not hard to understand using the term “subject” as a matter of habit.
This is an era when the notion of divine right of kings was ascended by the notion of divine rights of men. It seems possible that in that time drafting a government document using the term citizen was as radical as anything else the founders were attempting . . . using the word in place of subject must have seemed alien and incongruous with a lifetimes worth of conditioning. Sorta of like the way many of us feel watching Obama work so hard to transform a nation conceived in the ideal of men endowed by their creator to one of governments endowed by fiat.
On my best day I will not be able to approach the intellect and vision Jefferson had.
But as a common man I can apprehend the vision he layed out.
God truly blessed America - we should return the favor.
Wonder if you can call Monarchy.... MOB Rule by mobsters?...
Post #5 is extremely well-put.
Jefferson was pure genius.
Absolutely...although what was actually meant by “subjects” had already been altered considerably by then, most notably by Civil War in England in the 1640’s.
Yes. Thank you for the post. Despite the “revelation” to the writer, Jefferson’s correct has been known for years.
Thanks for posting.
I’ve been reading Jospeh Ellis “Founding Brothers” this weekend. Jefferson was an inspired genius and it’s hardly surprising he edited himself as he went along in his drafts. Americans WERE subjects- that was the whole problem. Jefferson had in mind to change that problem - and thank GOD he and his generation were strong enough and inspired to conceive of this revolutionary, radical idea..