Drafts, Analysis and Interpretation
The words Declaration of Independence have two common variant spellings: Déclaration of Independence and
Declaration of Independance. In web site documents, these words are sometimes written in the following compacted forms:
DeclarationofIndependence, DéclarationofIndependence, or DeclarationofIndependance. The
words Declaration of Independence are also abbreviated: DOI or DofI. The word checklist is sometimes
written check list.
The Different Drafts
(The following is
taken from James Brown Scott's, "The United States of America: A Study in International Organization." New York,
Oxford University Press, 1920.) In June 1776 the Continental Congress selected a committee of five to draft a Declaration
of Independence. The committee, which was composed of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert
R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman, selected Thomas Jefferson to prepare the initial draft. Jefferson began his work
on June 11th. After preparing several drafts, he concluded his work with a final draft called Jefferson's
Rough Draft. Slight alterations to the Rough Draft were made by committee members Benjamin
Franklin and John Adams. Then, on June 28th the Committee Draft was submitted to the Continental Congress.
On July 2nd the Continental Congress voted for independence. Afterwards, the Congress made additional changes to the Committee
Draft. The Final Declaration of Independence was printed by John Dunlap on the night of
Analysis and Interpretation
analysis and interpretation of the Declaration of Independence has led researchers
to reach important conclusions. According to E. C. Hartwell, the Declaration of Independence is
a forcible statement of the intentions, political principles, and grievances of the colonies.— Hartwell's "Story
Hour Readings Eighth Year," 1921.
Analysis also shows that the Declaration
of Independence consists of three different parts:
- a preamble
- a list of grievances
- a conclusion
The preamble states the right of peoples to set up government for themselves and to change
their forms of government at their sovereign pleasure. The grievances are those suffered at the hands of George II,
king of Great Britain. The conclusion is a declaration of independence based upon the
rights of the colonies asserted in the preamble and justified by the enumerated grievances.
When the Founding Fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence
they were seeking independence from England. Today, the Declaration of Independence is more a statement
of American ideals than a listing of grievances.
Analysis of the Hosting Works
In the years
following 1776, the Declaration of Independence was reprinted many times in different works (called
hosting works). We know that together the hosting works trace a history of how our early American ancestors felt about their
independence and freedom. Yet, little work has been done to study the full impact of how the Declaration of
Independence has affected events and peoples' lives over time, mainly because of the time and effort required to
locate the works to be studied. Notwithstanding, a history of the Declaration of Independence demands
that we include an analysis of the hosting works and an analysis of the impact that the Declaration
of Independence has had on U.S. History.
As said, this task has been impeded by the massive amount
of work required by each individual researcher, alone, to identify and locate the hosting works to be studied. Moreover, a
count of the number of such works has heretofore been unavailable, making it impossible to even "size" the amount
of work required to identify and locate these hosting works.
Fortunately, the necessary up front work has recently been
accomplished for years 1776-1825. The findings are these: There are 358 works (books, pamphlets, and periodicals), 1776-1825,
that reprint the full text of the Declaration of Independence in English. Two-thirds of these works
do not mention the Declaration of Independence in their titles. But, all of these works are now
easily identified and located, as the 358 works reprinting the Declaration of Independence have
been gathered together in a checklist, now made available to the public.
Free Free Free Free Free
The checklist has 400 entries. Of these, 358 reprint the full text of the Declaration of
Independence, in English. The remainder are ancillary or continuation volumes. The number of works in each general
subject area are these: History 126, Law 103, Political Science 29, Law and Political Science 78, Biography 17, and Other
47. Researchers, instructors, and students of history, law and political science should be especially benefited by the checklist.