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The Fourth of July

Thank You, Mr. Jefferson, From A 'Citizen'

On this July 4th, there's yet another reason to praise the genius of Thomas Jefferson.

The Associated Press calls it a "slip." But I think of the newly discovered evidence that as he drafted the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson crossed out the word "subjects" and replaced it with "citizens," in the same way researchers at the Library of Congress see it:

"The correction seems to illuminate an important moment for Jefferson and for a nation on the eve of breaking from monarchical rule: a moment when he reconsidered his choice of words and articulated the recognition that the people of the fledgling United States of America were no longer subjects of any nation, but citizens of an emerging democracy."

Words do indeed matter, and Jefferson made sure to use the right one.

If you wish to re-read, and hear, the Declaration, Morning Edition's annual reading is here:

Have a safe holiday.