Each year millions of Americans walk through the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives building in Washington D.C. The Archives house our nation’s founding documents — the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. The combination of architectural beauty, august ambiance, and history is incredibly powerful. There is something, however, that is not housed in the Charters of Freedom, something most Americans know nothing about: a deleted portion of the Declaration of Independence. This part constituted the lengthiest section of Thomas Jefferson’s draft, was the most controversial, and was arguably the most vicious charge against the King of Great Britain. The passage was about slavery. Jefferson wrote: “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, Read more
Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a critique of King George III’s involvement in the slave trade. Although not approved by the entire Second Continental Congress, it indicates that the leading Founders understood the slavery issue in moral terms.
…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 and 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. Read more