I’m back! Lots of twists and turns in this author’s life of mine and I’ll blog them all in a day or two. To begin…
Today is my blog day at Romance Books ‘4’ Us. I’m talking about the mystery of messages that wash up on beaches in bottles . Very interesting, if I do say so myself. Come see!
Today is the 4th of July, and as I so recently completed edits on my newest– The Changeling— I thought it might be interesting to post a historical tidbit regarding one of the most important editing jobs in history.
After Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, he sent copies to several close friends. One friend, fellow Virginian Richard Henry Lee took issue with the changes Congress had made and told them so.
“I wish sincerely, as well for the honor of Congress, as for that of the States, that the Manuscript had not been mangled as it is. It is wonderful, and passing pitiful, that the rage of change should be so unhappily applied. However the Thing is in its nature so good, that no Cookery can spoil the Dish for the palates of Freemen.”
The idea wasn’t original, people had been trying it for hundreds of years. The concept gained reason and strength during the period of history known as the Enlightenment (a fascinating era to study, by the way).
Cherished American mythology simply paints both the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War that followed as rebellion against a tyrant king. The truth is, there is far more to the document and the war than what the myths tell us. The founders based their bold idea upon the best of concepts of human rights in the free (notice I said free) Ancient world, namely Ancient Greece and Rome. The United States of America was designed from the get go to be a democratic republic based upon ideals of a democratic Greece and the republic of Rome. It was to be the “golden temple on the hill” — In other words, the ideals of the Enlightenment made tangible. But there was more to it than even that. In fact, the golden hill philosophy was the frosting on the cake. The bakers of this cake were the founding fathers of the United States.
These Declaration drafters and signers were the cream of the crop. They were educated, self-made men of standing sent to represent their colony’s interests. At the time, raw materials were being harvested at a tremendous rate and the lands harvested laid waste. The products from these materials were manufactured elsewhere and then sold back to the colonies at high cost rather than the colonies making their own goods with local materials to be sold in local markets. These men saw the benefit of keeping resources to be used here, and profited from, here.
The truth behind our beloved myth wasn’t simple, and it wasn’t about tyranny alone. It was reason and finance. And you know what? That doesn’t make it any less potent than the myth of ragtag colonists telling the mean king they weren’t going to pay tax on their tea anymore. I think it makes the idea even bolder because money talks, and armies march on their stomachs. It was a huge risk. King George was loathe to give up the cash cow. Had there been no ocean divide to make the war a drain on English society across the pond, we’d all have free health care and inexpensive education. :)
American children grew up with this document as mandatory learning in the 8th grade. I recommend reading it with an adult’s eyes. It really is an astounding act of defiance. The unedited version must have been amazing. Read it and follow it up with the Bill of Rights. These fluid documents were made to grow with us. The romantic idea of a self-governing people was a good one. I certainly felt Enlightened after I read them with my adult perspective.
The Declaration document
Jefferson Exhibition at Library of Congress online
Biography of Thomas Jefferson
Vote of the Colonies to Declare Independence
Declaration of Independence, Original Draft – Page 2
Declaration of Independence, Original Draft – Page 3
Jefferson Changes Page 3 – Replaces “Subjects” with “Citizens”
Declaration of Independence, Original Draft – Page 4
Sole Surviving Fragment of Jefferson’s Declaration Notes
Have a happy and safe 4th of July everyone!
۞>>>>More on my other blogs<<<<۞
#FreedomHop, My Sexy Saturday, & Scintillating Sunday Showcase
Weekend Writing Warriors
Have too many weeds? We sure do. I’ve left my wild foods recipes up.
Just scroll back and enjoy. Yum!
**A promo op for you too!**