voted for on the 4th of July 1776. It was actually voted for on the 2nd of July. John Adams thought that was the day that would be celebrated:
So take the 2nd off and if the boss says anything, just quote Adams.
It’s also interesting to read Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration. On the night of the 3rd, it was agreed two parts needed to be edited out. One was a comment about people of England, saying their comedy shows are pretty good; actually it was derogatory toward them and it was felt there were many English who were sympathetic to our cause, so let’s not piss them off. But the other was key:
“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”
In other words slavery. Between the Declaration and the Constitution, the Founding Father dodged this issue repeatedly. It would cost their great-grandchildren dearly.
When I was writing one of the six missions in Independence Day, where Moms goes back to Monticello on 4 July 1826, fifty years to the date, and when Thomas Jefferson died, while John Adams was dying in Massachusetts, this issue comes up. I want give away any spoilers but I learn a lot writing each of the storylines in the Time Patrol books. With six in each book, I write each one completely before moving on to the next, then integrate them into the overall book. So I immerse myself. And I learn a LOT of history I didn’t know.
The other day someone on Twitter remarked on this, mentioning how they wished they’d been taught history in school via something like the Time Patrol. Which got me thinking– the books are really good for kids to read to get into history. Action, adventure, and six snapshots of history. Also, the “what-iffing?”
What if the Declaration was never ratified at all in 1776?
Originally published at www.writeitforward.com on June 4, 2016.