27 September 2009

Jefferson, Interrupted

Thomas Jefferson's words are heavily censored in his own memorial in Washington, DC.  Consider this passage from the Declaration of Independence, inscribed on the interior of the memorial:

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We...solemnly publish and declare, that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states...And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.
Despite the fact that the passage in yellow was never written by Jefferson, this looks fair enough, until you take a look at the actual text of the Declaration:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The passage in green, which Jefferson thought was the whole point of the Declaration, was dropped.  Some editing to conserve space is appropriate, but this gutting of his message is ridiculous.  Of course, I'm not the first to notice this censorship.  Let's hope I won't be the last.

In light of Mr. Jefferson's prominent role as the supplier of our new lead quotation here, let's raise a glass to this Founding Father, censored in his own memory.

Update: Since folks have asked, my point is that this type of editing is dangerously Orwellian.  Even our national monuments may be lying to us.  (The memorial was constructed just a few years before Orwell completed 1984.)

(Thanks to Tony the Misfit for the gorgeous image of the Memorial.)

1 comment:

  1. ChristopherBPurrowes11 July, 2010 11:47

    When you are looking for your car, you will generally find that similar vehicles are more union bank california expensive from dealers than from private parties. There are several reasons for this. Dealers often recondition cars. Some offer warranties.