June 11, 1776 the second Continental Congress, meeting in the Pennsylvania
State House at Philadelphia, appointed a committee of five men to
draft a Declaration of Independence—whereby the thirteen colonies
would absolve allegiance to the British Crown. These five were,
Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania,
John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert
Livingston of New York.
The young Jefferson, because of his reputation as a writer, was
chosen by the committee to draft the declaration. He is to have
authored the rough draft on the second floor of the Graff House
located at Seventh and Market in Philadelphia, where he rented rooms.
His esteemed committee members, Adams and Franklin, may have offered
minor changes to the final draft, but considerable changes by the
congress irritated Jefferson; especially deletion of his censure
of the people of Great Britain and his impassioned condemnation
of the slave trade. By today's standard, it would have enhanced
"self-evident" truths—that "all men are created equal" and are "endowed
by their creator with certain unalienable rights".
paintings have been done of the Declaration committee, but none
where Thomas Jefferson presents his draft to the assembled five
in his rented second floor room. It is true, no record of such a
meeting exists—or if they ever met, as a group, anywhere to review
the draft. However, John Buxton has chosen to show us what this
great assemblage of founding fathers may have been; invites you
to be there as witness.