LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No errors in the Declaration of Independence

If you’ve ever visited the Constitution Center in Philadelphia and have been introduced by the tour guide there that the typeset copy of the Declaration of Independence is the real one and the handwritten, signed one really is irrelevant and means nothing at all, it is an errant statement.

The typeset copy was created to disseminate the approved handwritten copy because back in those days, they didn’t have photocopiers to copy the handwritten version to hand them out. What they had to do was turn the handwritten version into typeset. They were not sitting at their laptops, so, the typeset version is not the original version; it is always the handwritten version.

Looking at the handwritten version of “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America,” it’s written in small caps, the font where the capital letters are still large to indicate capital letters but the lowercase letters carry the same form as the capitalized letters but in small form, so, the grammatical capitalization effect is still carried.

The problem is when copies were created in typeset, there was no unlimited access to fonts, so, in carrying over the small capitalizations that occur within “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America,” it was created in all caps, because they did not have a small-cap version of typeset. (“… United States of America,”)

What happens with this is, we lack the understanding of the importance of the written document, we lack the cultural and physical limitations of the time and we lack the historical application of the document because you cannot understand the document unless you take all of those things in their context. It’s a principle called “hermeneutics.”

You have to understand the concept, the history, the present limitations and the present and current conversation, not our conversation, but their conversation.

Now, we also have this idea, then, that the typeset is the formally accepted copy, the correct copy; it is not. If you ever go to the Constitution Center, read the sign above the copy of the Declaration of Independence and ignore the tour guide. “This copy of the Declaration of Independence was created to be a press release so that the text of the Declaration of Independence could be passed throughout the colonies for the education of the people.”

Since we have missed this entire technical application, we are subjected to an errant understanding of the Declaration of Independence in which a federal government existed that did not exist, and not only did it not exist, but then, it created the States, and that’s how the federal supremacists work. It does take thought, consideration and knowledge of history, application and context.

People need to be educated on the understanding that the Declaration of Independence was the result of our independence, not the cause of it. The cause of our independence was the ratification of the Lee Resolution, July 2, 1776; that was the day we became independent!

Robert Duff

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