Jefferson writes a draft in two to three days and submits this "original Rough draught" first to John Adams, then to Benjamin Franklin, and two other committee members, who make a total of forty-seven changes to the draft.
June 28, the Committee submits to Congress the emended draft, entitled "A Declaration by the Representatives in General Congress Assembled."
July 1, a vote in Congress on a declaration of independence finds nine states in favor, South Carolina and Pennsylvania opposed, Delaware delegates divided, and New York still without instructions.
July 2, with the arrival of Caesar Rodney to break the Delaware deadlock, and the absence of two opposed Pennsylvania delegates, and a change in position by South Carolina, Lee's resolution on independence passes, 12 to 0, with New York abstaining.
July 1-4, Congress debates the draft declaration, making thirty-nine additional changes. The most significant of these changes are Congress's deletion of Jefferson's arguments holding King George III responsible for the slave trade in the Colonies, and Jefferson's paragraph blaming Parliament and the British people, as well as King George III, for the oppression of slavery, and his strongly worded ending, which Congress replaces with the text of Lee's resolution.
July 3-4, Congress approves these final thirty-nine changes to the Declaration.
Jefferson objects to many of Congress's revisions. During the summer of 1776, Jefferson makes a copy of his original rough draft for himself, without the deletions, which he circulates among friends.
"We Hold These Truth To Be Self-Evident....": Jefferson's "original Rough draught". Top Treasures of the Library of Congress [http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trt001.html]
Monticello: The Home of Thomas Jefferson. The Monticello website presents articles on Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and the Hemings family. Among the articles: "Founding Father," by Eric S. Lander and Joseph J. Ellis, Nature, November 5, 1998.
Thomas Jefferson Papers Home Page