Rough Draft: Declaration of Independence

Rough Draft DeclarationA lot of thought goes into writing anything, or at least it should. I love looking at the rough draft of The Declaration of Independence and imagining a room full of writers arguing over how it should read.

“The opening should grab attention,” says Franklin. “It won’t change anything if we can’t get them to read it in the first place.”

“The opening is important,” says Adams. “But how are they going to take it seriously with all these adverbial phrases?” Jefferson starts crossing lines out with his pen, annoyed.

“Working with all of you is impossible,” says Jefferson as he drips ink on the table. “There are too many cooks trying to brew this document. I’ll finish it on my own.”

“Hold on! Mind your mess!” says Sherman, mopping up the spills with his handkerchief.

“This is meant to be a cooperative effort with input from all present,” says Franklin, wiping his bizarre bifocal spectacles on his sleeve. “It’s ‘we the writers, Jefferson,’ not just you.”

In the corner, Livingston just sighed and wondered how this democracy idea would work in practicality.

You can see the rough draft Thomas Jefferson wrote of the Declaration of Independence, and many other national treasures, online at The Library of Congress.


About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher, and author with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She co-publishes Space and Time magazine with author husband Ryan Aussie Smith. For more information visit
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9 Responses to Rough Draft: Declaration of Independence

  1. Lexa Cain says:

    That’s really funny! I hope you have a great weekend! :)

  2. This was delightful. Thanks for giving me such a good chuckle to start the day.

  3. Robin says:

    Ok, that was awesome. For the few seconds while I read this post I was in the room with these amazing men. Well done!

  4. Rachel says:

    The Declaration of Independence STARTS with an adverbial phrase, slips into passive voice, and fails to gain subject-predicate complement in its single sentence Introduction:

    “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary…opinions of mankind requires [sic]…”

    In the Preamble to the Indictment, adverbs and adverbial phrases gum up thirty percent of the text, including the famous adverb dressed up in an adjectival frock:

    “…that all men are created EQUAL [sic]…”

    That said, what a document it is!

    Thanks, Angela, for the adverbial starring role (I’m still smiling) in your delightful re-creation of word history. You are a peach!

  5. vera says:

    funny many people think we were given a democracy … but that simply isn’t true we were given a republic.. I guess its true if you say something long enough and loud enough people will believe it even if it is wrong… maybe because they are too lazy to do some reading..

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