Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jefferson made big slip in Declaration

July 3, 2010

Advertisement

— Preservation scientists at the Library of Congress have discovered that Thomas Jefferson, even in the act of declaring independence from England, had trouble breaking free from monarchial rule.

In an early draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote the word “subjects,” when he referred to the American public. He then erased that word and replaced it with “citizens,” a term he used frequently throughout the final draft.

The Library released news of the struck word for the first time on Friday.

Fenalla France, a research chemist at the Library, said her lab made the discovery last year by using hyperspectral imaging, using a high resolution digital camera that compiles a series of images to highlight layers of a document. Some of those invisible layers — like erased text and even fingerprints — pop into view on a computer screen.

In switching from “subjects” to “citizens,” France said it appears Jefferson used his hand to wipe the word out while the ink was still wet. A distinct brown smudge is apparent on the paper, although the word “subjects” is not legible without the help of the digital technology.

“This has been a very exciting development,” France said, calling the findings “spine-tingling.”

Accompanied by police escort, the document was unveiled outside its protective case for the first time in 15 years on Friday morning for a demonstration of the hyperspectral imaging technology.

Comments

RoeDapple 4 years, 5 months ago

"Accompanied by police escort"

a police escort? it didn't have a couch strapped to the roof did it? and was nicolas cage around when all this was going on? i gots a cupple of cuzins whut need infirmed when this kinda stuf happens!

rbwaa 4 years, 5 months ago

bfd - don't these 'scientists' have anything more important to do?

BrianR 4 years, 5 months ago

“This has been a very exciting development,” .... calling the findings “spine-tingling.” --Fenalla France

Seriously? I don't even find it at all surprising. Jefferson was a subject, it's what he knew. He wrote it, thought about it and changed it -- nothing to see here.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 5 months ago

It would have been more surprising if he had snuck a plug for healthy cigarettes into the Declaration of Independence.

beatrice 4 years, 5 months ago

Someone who studies the Declaration of Independence in its original form would indeed find such a discovery "spine-tingling." Nice to read of someone getting excited by their work. I find it at least interesting, although I'll admit, it doesn't provide me with that OMG sensation experienced by the researcher.

I still can't believe the conservatives in Texas wrote Jefferson out of the history books.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.