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Happy Independence Day to all of our American makers! In case you didn’t see this piece on Boing Boing, I thought I would post it here. I think it, and one of the first comments it received, speak volumes about this amazing experiment we call the United States of America.

citizensDoI2.jpg

Hyperspectral images of a draft of the Declaration of Independence reveal that it originally used the word ‘subjects’ instead of ‘citizens’ at a critical juncture. After writing “our fellow subjects,” author Thomas Jefferson scrubbed it out and replaced it with the familiar alternative.

And the second comment on Rob Beschizza’s post:

freshacconci

This is fascinating and telling on how the shift of one word can mean so much.

A lot gets written about you guys (USAers) and some of it may be accurate. But I do have to say as someone from across the border, the ideal is pretty impressive and admirable.

Happy 4th.

Indeed. Happy 4th of July, CITIZENS!

Draft of Declaration of Independence named subjects, not citizens

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


2 Responses to Happy 4th! (One word says a lot)

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  1. dj_nme on said:

    If think for just a minute, you would realise that the American colonials were subjects of The Crown (King George III) until after the revolution, when they became citizens.
    It makes perfect sense that the first draft might say “subjects” rather than “citizens”.

    • It’s a declaration of independence FROM the king. Still calling themselves subjects of said king would remove all meaning and intent from the document.

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