The Declaration of Independence

by Thomas Jefferson

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What challenges did Thomas Jefferson face writing the Declaration of Independence?

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One further challenge that Jefferson faced was in reining in his enormous ego. Jefferson was fully aware of his massive talents as a writer, and he deeply resented the extensive changes made to his first draft of the Declaration by his fellow members on the Committee of Five and by the Continental Congress. But, as the Declaration was always designed to be a collective endeavor, giving expression to national, rather than individual, sentiment, Jefferson had to accept (albeit reluctantly) that he wouldn't always get his own way.

One imagines that Jefferson would also have found it rather difficult to reconcile his insistence on liberty as a fundamental, God-given right with the ownership of slaves, as practiced by himself and countless other members of the American political class. Jefferson was doubtless aware of the huge gap between the high-flown sentiments of the Declaration and the reality on the ground for the hundreds and thousands of African slaves living in America at that time.

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Thomas Jefferson faced many challenges while writing the Declaration of Independence. One challenge he faced was his age. He was the youngest member of the Second Continental Congress. This could have presented obstacles if Jefferson didn’t do his job well. There were five men that were charged with the task of writing the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was chosen because he was a good writer. Yet, if he didn’t do a good job or have well-developed ideas, his age could have worked against him.

A second obstacle Jefferson faced was developing an acceptable draft of the document. Jefferson spent many long days working on the document. He discarded several of his drafts having to begin anew each time he discarded a draft. Jefferson also had to find a way to take all of the ideas he had in his mind and mold them into an effective, clearly-worded document.

Once Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, other members of the committee had to make comments on it. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin did this. A few small changes were made, and then it went to the entire Second Continental Congress. This body would then examine it and decide whether or not to adopt it. More modifications were made, and then the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Jefferson had several issues to overcome when writing the Declaration of Independence.

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