A Stray Spot? or a Period?

  • Anyone who has been to the National Archives Museum knows that the Declaration of Independence, the U.S Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are nearly impossible to read due to their faded parchments. Now a scholar claims that the Declaration of Independence, which seems to have a period at the end of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, in fact does not have one. It is just a stray spot.

     

    According to Danielle Allen (who recently published Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality) the logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights. Accepting, as almost everyone does, that there is a period significantly changes the meaning of the Declaration, she claims. For a summary of arguments on both sides, see The New York Times (2-Jul-2014).

JDN | 14-Jul-2014

Loyalism was a siren call for the British. They were constantly bending their strategy to conform to the chimera of Loyalist support that was assumed to be there but somehow never materialized. Howe’s Philadelphia campaign and Burgoyne’s invasion from Canada, as well as the British strategy in the South, were based on the assumption that large numbers of Loyalists would rise in support, if only sufficiently encouraged and protected ...

Michael Stephenson
Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought (2007)