Who Wrote The First Draft of The Declaration of Independence?

It was Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Along with four other members, the Second Continental Congress appointed him within a committee of five people, for writing the Declaration on the 11th of June 1776.

The other four associates of Thomas Jefferson’s were:

  • John Adams (Massachusetts)
  • Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania)
  • Robert R Livingston (New York)
  • Roger Sherman (Connecticut)

By the way, Jefferson was from the colony of Virginia.

Who Wrote The First Draft of The Declaration of Independence
Source: Wikimedia

Due to Congress’s busy schedule, Jefferson was given only 17 days time to complete the job.

Therefore, discussing with the other four members about the document’s general outlines, he soon started writing the first draft.

After completing the job, he then presented it to them.

However, they had to make some extensive changes to the document.

Completing the review and changes, he then wrote a better copy for presenting in front of Congress.

Some of the important changes made in the manifesto were as follows:

  • In the first draft, Jefferson criticized Britain in the case of using Slaves. They had to remove it because they didn’t want to make colonists Slaveholders disgruntled. They were well aware that this could weaken the revolution.
  • Committee simplified Jefferson’s term – “Preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness” to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Of course, this is one of the most popular terms in the declaration.


Other Important And Interesting Points Related To The First Draft

  • In starting when Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson for writing the first draft, he became quite nervous. He even thought, John Adams should do the job. However, Adams later calmed him down with some drinks and persuaded him.
  • Did you know Jefferson produced the first draft in a rented room, near the State House, Philadelphia?
  • John Hancock was the first delegate, who signed the Declaration because he was then the president of the Continental Congress.


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