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History Log. What is the meaning of “equality”?. “All men are created equal .”. What did Jefferson mean by this? Who was included in “all men”? Who wasn’t included?. Chronology of the Declaration.

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History log

History Log

What is the meaning of “equality”?

All men are created equal

“All men are created equal.”

What did Jefferson mean by this?

Who was included in “all men”?

Who wasn’t included?

Chronology of the declaration

Chronology of the Declaration

  • June 7 -- Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, receives Richard Henry Lee's resolution urging Congress to declare independence.

  • June 11 -- Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston appointed to a committee to draft a declaration of independence. American army retreats to Lake Champlain from Canada.

  • June 12 - 27 -- Jefferson, at the request of the committee, drafts a declaration. Jefferson's clean, or "fair" copy, the "original Rough draught," is reviewed by the committee.

  • June 28 -- A fair copy of the committee draft of the Declaration of Independence is read in Congress.

  • July 1 - 4 -- Congress debates and revises the Declaration of Independence.

Declaration of independence

Rough Draft

Final Version

“We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness…”

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…”

Declaration of Independence

History log

Are there any inherent differences between these versions?

Slavery in the rough draft

Slavery in the Rough Draft

“he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life & 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….”

History log

Does this paragraph in any way change who you believe Jefferson included as “all men”? Why or why not?

Something to think about

Something to think about..

Why do you think this paragraph was taken out of the final version? Does this change your opinion of Jefferson or the other drafters of the Declaration?

Thomas jefferson to benjamin banneker august 30 1791

Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Banneker, August 30, 1791

“No body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colors of men, and that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa & America. I can add with truth, that no body wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced for raising the condition both of their body & mind to what it ought to be, as fast as the imbecility of their present existence, and other circumstances which cannot be neglected, will admit….”

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