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The Declaration of Independence: The Evolution of the Text
Synopses & Reviews
A new edition of a consummate scholar's book on America's most important document.
First published in 1943 and out of print for over 40 years, this handsome new edition once again presents photographic prints of all known drafts in one large-format book, adding the fragment of a rough draft Boyd found in 1947.
For more than 50 years, Jefferson scholar Julian P. Boyd's study of the evolution of the text of the Declaration of Independence, which the Library of Congress undertook while the nation was in the throes of World War II, has remained the preeminent textual presentation of the most fundamental document of the United States. First published in 1943 and out of print for over 40 years, this new edition once again presents photographic prints of all known drafts in one large-format book. It now adds the fragment of a rough draft Boyd found in 1947. In an introductory essay, Gerard W. Gawalt relates the story behind the fragment's discovery, and why it sheds new light on the writing of the Declaration.
A moving wartime foreword by Archibald MacLeish, Librarian of Congress in 1939 - 44, and Boyd's expert insights into Jefferson's writing and editing process, set the stage for the superlative color reproductions. Readers can examine documents, such as the Virginia Declaration of Rights, that Jefferson drew upon in preparing the Declaration of Independence. Moreover, the documents show that writing the Declaration was not an easy individual undertaking, but rather that its composition involved diligent, determined cooperation by many in the midst of wartime chaos.
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