You Can Learn Something New Every Day

Page 1 of Original Rought Draught of Dec of Ind.jpg
First Page of “Original Rough Draught” of the Declaration of Independence

One of the very sharp research interns (Jonathan Rick) at the Cato Institute (of course, they’re all very sharp, or they wouldn’t be at the Cato Institute) challenged me (very politely) during our seminar the other day on the Declaration of Independence, when we were discussing the meaning of “self-evident.” He said that Jefferson had not used that term in his first draft. I said that the text we had, from The Portable Jefferson, showed the first draft submitted to the Congress and all of the changes, and that showed “self-evident” in the first draft submitted to Congress, so I would need further evidence before accepting Mr. Rick’s claim. Well, he up and done it with a link to a very interesting site, which offers the opportunity to print off images of the “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence. (One of the pleasures of working at the Cato Institute is leading seminars for our new staff and research interns.)

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