Category Archives: Editing History

A decent respect to the opinions of mankind

Here’s more proof that everyone needs an editor – even Thomas Jefferson. Note that both sentences are 71 words long and, even in the pre-Twitter days of 1776, ampersands were considered way too informal.

BEFORE John Adams, Ben Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston worked with Jefferson on it:

Thomas Jefferson's "rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence, courtesy of  princeton.eduWhen in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto remained, & to assume among the powers of the earth the equal & independant station to which the laws of nature & of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the change.

AFTERWARD:

Declaration of Independence, courtesy archives.orgWhen in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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