Sunday, July 04, 2021

"Carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere": A passage deleted from the United States Declaration of Independence

A few years ago, I learned about Frederick Douglass's speech now known as "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?", which he gave on 5 July 1852. It should be a central document in any history curriculum in the United States. Today, thanks to a Twitter thread by Ali Velshi, I learned something new about a document at the center of American history and mythology: Thomas Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a passage in its grievances against King George III that condemned the enslavement of Africans and their transportation to North America. The debate in the Continental Congress on 1-3 July led to its deletion. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 4 July 2021)
Jefferson’s Original Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence, from here.


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