A colorful, enlightening account of how Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the road to July 4: a selection from Joseph J. Ellis’s American Sphinx, winner of the National Book Award.
How did the newest and youngest member of Virginia’s delegation to the Constitutional Congress come to write the founding document of the American project? In “Writing the Declaration of Independence,” Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Joseph J. Ellis outlines the life of the document and the road to its adoption on July 4. From Jefferson’s arrival in Philadelphia in 1775 in an ornate carriage along with four horses and three slaves, to a fascinating guided tour of the drafts and discussions (including the importance of a good speaking voice, the theatricality of Patrick Henry, and Jefferson’s tortured, ultimately discarded section blaming the king for American slavery), this is the true history of Independence Day.
About The Author
JOSEPH J. ELLIS is the author of many works of American history including Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; and American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, which won the National Book Award. He recently retired from his position as the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife and their youngest son.