Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Declaration of Independence, the deleted passage

The Declaration of Independence lists a number of grievances against King George III.  During the composition of the document, the following passage was deleted, according to Jefferson, in order to appease delegates from South Carolina and Georgia along with Northern delegates representing merchants involved in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, The passage was replaced with a charge against George's incitement of "domestic insurrections among us."  Here is the original passage:
He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and 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, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce.  And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

Newell Convers Wyeth, Drafting the Declaration of Independence--1776


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