Washington, July 4 (ANI): Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the American Delcaration of Independence and one of founding fathers of the US, was by no means a closet royalist, a new study has confirmed.
Using high-resolution spectral imaging, The Library of Congress revealed that Jefferson, on the third page of a "rough draught," wiped the word "subjects" off with his hand and carefully wrote the word "citizens" on top.
Declaration drafts have numerous strike-throughs and corrections, but the "subjects" mistake is the only one completely obliterated by a Founder.
Jefferson's original line read: "[The British government] has incited treasonable insurrections in our fellow-subjects, with the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation of our property."
For Jefferson, who advocated individual liberty even as he maintained more than 200 slaves at his Virginia estate, the slip also hints at "The Sage of Monticello" struggling to resolve the revolutionary social and cultural changes in the late 18th century and shows, in the blotting of fresh ink, the resolve needed to break from European patriarchal politics.
"It actually may represent a dawning in the mind of Jefferson, mid-sentence, that with this document the whole relationship between individuals and government is turned on its head from what had been accepted for thousands of years before. For an historian this is like an astronomer seeing a snapshot of the Big Bang," The Christian Science Monitor quoted commenter "An American Expatriate", as writing on the conservative Free Republic website.
The philosophical difference between "subjects" and "citizens" in fact defined the Declaration of Independence, making the correction quite intriguing to historians.
Library of Congress preservation director Dianne van der Reyden said: "It's almost like we can see him write 'subjects' and then quickly decide that's not what he wanted to say at all, that he didn't even want a record of it. Really, it sends chills down the spine."
Jefferson could have made a Freudian slip, an unintended revelation of one's actual feelings.
But Jefferson was also simply stating a fact: at the time of writing, Jefferson and his fellow not-yet-Americans were, in fact, still subjects of King George.
Most likely, however, Jefferson lifted the word "subjects" from the First Virginia Constitution, which also refers to "our fellow subjects." (ANI)