Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wordsmithing by committee

USHistory.org is the best site for tracking the changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin and for comparing the language of the various versions. Who says you can't edit by committee? "That all Men are created equal and independent; that from that equal Creation they derive Rights inherent and unalienable"—that was reasonably well said. "That they are endowed by their creator with inherent & inalienable rights" is slightly more elegant. "That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights"—now that really nails it.
--Jacob Weisberg, Slate, on the refining of the Declaration of Independence

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