Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Interesting (I think) 4th of July Writing Tidbits



Happy almost July 4th everyone! In honor of Independence Day, I thought I’d share some facts that I find interesting about the writing of The Declaration of Independence. Here’s hoping that they might interest all of you writers and readers, too.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was one of five men appointed to write The Declaration of Independence? John Adams of Massachusetts and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Robert R. Livingston of New York joined Mr. Jefferson. Doesn’t that sound like a powerful writer’s group?

Thomas Jefferson, however, was asked to write the first draft. I’m guessing he was more of an outliner than a pantser.

This writing project took him less than three weeks. This bit of information, frankly, makes me a little sheepish about my slow writing pace. Upon completing the final draft (after many), Mr. Jefferson showed it to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, who input their own revisions. The Congress, of course, made more alterations and deletions. The process of revision continued through all of July 3 and into the late morning of July 4. And I’ve read that Mr. Jefferson was not thrilled with the final product. Still, when the Declaration of Independence was finished, church bells rang out in Philadelphia. Don’t we all celebrate once those final revisions are made, for better or for worse?

Fifty years later, Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, as did John Adams. It’s true: Two of the men who crafted The Declaration of Independence died on the same day, and on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the document. Kind of wild, don’t you think?

And now I leave you to your fireworks (for those of you celebrating the birth of the USA) with a few quotes on the value of reading and writing:

“I cannot live without books.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~ Benjamin Franklin


“Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.” ~ John Adams

“I read my eyes out and can't read half enough...the more one reads the more one sees we have to read.” ~ John Adams


Can you add any fun, Independence Day writer facts?

Happy fourth of July whether you celebrate Independence Day or not!

49 comments:

  1. They died on the 4th of July? That is so cool! I did not know that. (Well, not the fact that they DIED. Just the date.) Awesome quotes. :D

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    1. I think the fact that they died on the same date, and July 4th, is also cool. Thanks, Danielle.

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  2. It took him less than three weeks?!?!? Now I feel awful about the fact that I'm stuck on a scene. :P

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    1. I know! I feel the same way about my own lagging pace!

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  3. I wonder how many quills they wore out while drafting that thing. Have a great day, Cynthia.

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    1. Quills. . . Imagine. I'm not sure where I'd be without my trusty laptop. : )

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  4. Interesting quotes from the crafters of the American Declaration of Independence. I particularly like the one about doing something worth writing about or writing something worth reading.

    The facts around the DoI are indeed interesting. What are the odds that two of five would die on the same day. Hmmm. Thanks for sharing this info.

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    1. You're most welcome! I like that particular quote, too, J.L. : )

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  5. Thanks! I was just thinking about the writing of the Declaration today. (Probably only writers think of it as a writing project, and are so interested in the composing/drafting/revising aspect!)

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    1. You're probably right, Jenn. I think we have a certain appreciation. Imagine writing with quills on parchment! Ha!

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  6. I knew both Jefferson and Adams died on the same July 4, but I didn't know the year. Unfortunately, I have nothing to share from these gentlemen about writing. I enjoyed yours!

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  7. Have a great Fourth of July!!! Thanks for these scrummy quotes from these amazing creative inventive Americans! Take care
    x

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  8. Great post! I love how you related this to writing and revision! That is crazy that Adams and Jefferson both died on the 4th! How odd. Have a great holiday.

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  9. What a great series of quotes....love how you tied this big day to writing. Boy can I relate.

    Hope you had a great time today!!

    Angela

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  10. Thanks, everyone! : ) Sorry I couldn't reply to each comment. Blogger started giving me a hard time (again!).

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  11. Those are super interesting facts. Talk about revision under pressure! :)

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  12. I love learning new things. I knew that Franklin and Adams did some revising, but I did not know about the other to men. I also knew about Jefferson not being thrilled with certain changes. Where are those statesmen/women now? Love those quotes.

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    1. Good question, Bish! They were quite the amazing cast.

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  13. wonderful post---i think i recall there are several presidents that died on july 4th!

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    1. Really, Lynn? I only know about Adams and Jefferson. Do tell! : )

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    2. james monroe--i thought it was more!

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  14. Thanks for the patriotic post, Cynthia. I must admit some of the facts you mentioned I learned not from HS history, but from watching the John Adams mini-series! I did not know that church bells rang out upon the completion of the Declaration of Independence - "let freedom ring."

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    1. Oh, I loved that mini-series, Victoria! Thanks for reminding me of it. : _

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  15. I knew I liked Jefferson! And I heard recently that there were a huge number of rewrites done.

    I don't feel so bad now. =D

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    1. Ha! I don't feel as bad now, either, Donna. ; )

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  16. We Canadians celebrated our birthday on July 1st (but it wasn't our birthday until 1867).

    Read some of that history on Jefferson before. But its wonderful you put that historic note into your holiday post.

    How did I get here? Oh, yes; via Donna K. Weaver's place.

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    1. Welcome and thanks for stopping by! And happy belated birthday to Canada.

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  17. Yes, the ultimate writer's group indeed!

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  18. It must have been itchy writing in those wigs during an east coast summer.

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    1. Ooo, good point, Leslie! And no A.C. or even fans!

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  19. Ahhh I love this!!! They were fast because they were working under a deadline after all. ;D

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  20. I love this! So many interesting tidbits here. And if I'd learned this stuff before - I'd completely forgotten it. Thanks for the mini refresher in U.S. History ;)

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  21. Fascinating stuff Cynthia! Even though I'm English I celebrate it too! My daughter's birthday is 4th July -

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    1. Happy belated birthday to your daughter, Pat!

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  22. This was hilarious. That would be some writers group. I bet they didn't worry about voice and slow pacing. :D

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  23. Ha! I bet you're right, Stina. Voice and pacing were probably not as important. : )

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  24. Great recap on how the Declaration of Independence came to be. 3 weeks? I feel like a total slacker now. And I can tell everyone I'm an outliner, just like Thomas Jefferson.

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  25. Thanks for the history lesson and insight into this writing group. Three weeks is amazing, especially considering their ink pots and writing instruments of those days.

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    1. Exactly, Medeia. Can you imagine writing on parchment? With a quill? No thanks.

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  26. Thomas Jefferson puts us all to shame. What a brilliant mind. We could definitely use some of his mental prowess in our government today. Now that's an idea for a great book. Think I'll write it.

    I didn't know Adams and Jefferson died on the same day. A double loss for the US on a single day.

    Loved the information. Thanks.

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    1. A brilliant mind, is right. And I look forward to that book! : )

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  27. What a neat post! Writer's group extraordinaire, no doubt! My history knowledge stinks, so no, I can't add anything. LOL

    I've been busy building a new blog. It was the only way to get the Follower gadget to work again. I've also got another month of blog posts to schedule. Then, when the kids start school, I'll be #amwriting... :D

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  28. You do sound busy, Melissa. I'll drop by to check out your new blog! : )

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