The Declaration of Independence: The Birth of Wite-Out

Long before the days of computers, Thomas Jefferson held his breath, wondering where he would mess up next on the Declaration of Independence.

“Thomas, you forgot the ‘w’ in ‘wholesome’ again.”

-Benjamin Franklin

The writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence was well-documented as many knew that this was a historic period of time. Because of that, many of the discarded drafts were kept and have surfaced in recent years.

Besides the obvious problems with cramping in the forearm and wrist, Jefferson became frustrated because of how many times he had to rewrite the Declaration. The many rewrites were caused by occasional rewording, misspellings, coffee stains, and Joseph Priestley (a friend of Ben Franklin’s who often dropped by) shaking Jefferson’s writing desk for a laugh.

Along the way, Jefferson made many mistakes. One of the funniest being that America was claiming independence from “England and the tyrant, King Gorge.”

The largest blunder was the second to last rewrite of the document. Jefferson presented the document to the Second Continental Congress, and all of the men signed it. It was not until the last man signed it that John Adams noticed that Jefferson had written June 4th instead of July 4th.

Thomas Jefferson’s 1,328 word blunder.

In the end, America gained its independence, and Thomas Jefferson began work toward creating Wite-Out.

Author’s Note: Read more about Joseph Priestley and his pranks involving Benjamin Franklin!

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3 Responses to “The Declaration of Independence: The Birth of Wite-Out”


  1. 1 S G April 9, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    “Thomas Jefferson’s 1,328 word blunder.

    In the end, America gained its independence, and Thomas Jefferson began work toward creating Wite-Out.”

    I’m sorry, but I am quite offended by your use of the term “1,328 word blunder”. Be it a draft, it is a draft no less of the most impactful and most important document in the history of the freedom of Man.

    I believe that the word “blunder” is a harsh description for a few meaningless editorial mistakes, certainly not justifiable to describe the “1,328 word”[s] of the draft.

    Your whimsical take on the process of drafting the Declaration of Independence is a clear sign of your lack of respect for said document, and thus in my opinion, renders your commentary on the subject regardless, considering that the very draft you criticize grants you the right to write this very critique of it.

    -Unimpressed

  2. 2 Stella May 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    u did this on my b-day

  3. 3 Freethinker May 18, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Legal documents such as a Declaration are valued on their intent, not on spelling. British English and American English are almost two different languages. The line is drawn in the sand for intent.

    Blunder is just a word, it hurts no one. However, the comment about, “history of freedom of men”. is a harsh blow to mankind. FREE MEN, do NOT, need freedom! Slaves, need and want FREEDOM! Those men who cry for freedom are slaves to the system, and, have given up their rights to be free for privileges from the tyrant government which rule them. Such as the 14th Amendment, such as a drivers license.

    The original comments of blunder do not in any way shape or form harm or, disrespect a powerful document such as a declaration.

    Jefferson was a man who believed in FREE-thinking men. If you suppress or control man thoughts you have enslaved him. Today, we listen and believe everything said on TV, Radio and Newspaper. Yet, we are trained and enslaved to believe harmful drugs will not hurt us. The public watches TV Ads and ignore the warning signs of drugs as they ignored warning signs of smoking. Slave thinking, no FREE Men.


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