Declaration of Independence


What Did Jefferson Think After Finishing the Declaration of Independence

Dear Mr. Jefferson,

      I am a 3rd grader in Spotsylvania, Virginia. I have toured
Monticello and I was wondering, did you store anything other
than ice at the icehouse? How did you feel after you wrote
the Declaration of Independence, sad because you thought you
might be hanged,or happy because you had gone against Britain?

     Thank you for your time,
      Michael

Dear Master Michael,

     Thank you for your recent letter. Please excuse me for not
responding to it sooner, but I was away from Monticello and
just recently returned.

      You ask about my icehouses. I have one at Monticello and
one near the Rivanna River where I store river ice. The Monticello
ice house is most often filled with packed snow. In this ice
house I usually store butter and other dairy products, fresh meat,
and salad greens. I also use the ice for frozen creams.

      I was quite pleased to be asked to write the Declaration of
Independence. After it was completed I had mixed emotions due to
the alterations that were made to my original draft by the congress.
In general I was pleased because the document says what is in the
minds of my fellow countrymen - to be free of King George and to
have the rights that are naturally given to us by the laws of nature.

I am with great esteem, Your most obedt. humble servt,

      Th.Jefferson


Did Jefferson Really Mean That All Men Are Created Equal?

Dear Mr. Jefferson-

      Hello, my name is Jennifer and I'm in 8th grade. I sincerly hope you
will not be offened by my question because I do not mean to sound rude or
insult you in any way but right now in my time there is much conterversy
on this subject and I must ask. In the Declaration of Independence you
state "...that all men are created equal" yet you have slaves of your
own to me this does not make any sense. I would like to know why you keep
slaves if you really belive all men are created equal?

      Sincerely-
      Jennifer

Dear Mistress Jennifer,

      You ask a most difficult question for me to answer simply. I do
indeed believe that all men are created equal in the laws of nature.
However, history has given us the vile institution of slavery. I am
miserable till I shall owe not a shilling (I am much in debt at
present). The moment that I owe nothing, I shall feel myself at
liberty to do something for the comfort of my slaves.

      My opinion has ever been that, until more can be done for
them, we should endeavor, with those whom fortune has thrown on
our hands, to feed and clothe them well, protect them from ill
usage, and require such reasonable labor only as is performed
voluntarily by freeman. The laws do not permit us to turn them
loose. I see manumission (the freeing of slaves) as similar to
abandoning children, who have no way of caring for themselves.

      I leave it for future generations to correct the ills of their fathers.

     I am with great esteem, Your most obedt. humble servt,
     Th.Jefferson


 

Writing the First Draft of the Declaration of Independence

Dear Mr. Jefferson,

     We loved reading about your life and have a few questions for you.

      How did you come up with the idea of the Declaration of
Independence? Was it hard to write the first draft? How long did it
take you to write it? What do you think is the most important reason
you were picked to write the Declaration of Independence?

      What was the best thing about being President of the United States?
How did you like living at the White House?

      Your futuristic friends,
      Drew, Sasha, Allen, Geoffrey, Adam, Adnan, Gage, Ashley, Tobias,
      and Joe
                                           Wayne, PA (near Valley Forge)

Dear Mistresses Sasha and Ashley, and Masters Drew,
Allen, Geoffrey, Adam, Adnan, Gage, Tobias and Joe,

      I am pleased that you have been studying the Declaration of
Independence. I believe that I was chosen to pen the document because
of my skills in writing and also because I came from Virginia. I
labored for about a fortnight in the writing of the document. The
writing came relatively easily for me and I relied on the knowledge
and ideas gathered from my previous readings of the great philosophers.

     A committee served as editors of my work. They made a number of
suggestions, some of which I agreed with them upon and some I
did not. The edited document was then presented to the Congress
as a whole and was then picked apart as if by vultures. I was not
pleased by this process and was greatly distress to see a number of
changes made to the document. Most significantly I disagreed with
my clause on slavery being omitted. All this was done in the name
of compromise.

     I have often been known to have said that the second office
of the land is honorable and easy, the first is but a splendid
misery. I did not live in any building called the White House
while I was President. I did however live in the executive mansion
or President's house as it was often known. Do you now call it the
White House? The President's house was drafty and unfinished while
I lived there. I did have delight in being able to make the addition
of designing the porticos to the building and this gave me great joy.

      I see from your letter that you are from the land around Valley
Forge. Have you perchance met my good friends General Washington
and Lt. Monroe?

     I am with great esteem, Your most obedt. humble servt,


The Hardest Part about Drafting the Declaration of Independence

Dear Mr. Jefferson:

       We are studying about Presidents in my class and I'm
your biggest fan. What was the hardest part about writing
the Declaration of Independence? What kind of pets do you
have? How does it feel like to be a president?

       Jakob

Dear Master Jakob,

       Thank you for your recent letter. I am pleased
to hear that you are an admirer of mine. I believe
that the most difficult part of writing the Declaration
of Independence was listening to the delegates of the
Second Continental Congress debate its merits.

       We have a number of animals at Monticello, but
most of them are farm creatures. I do however have
a pet mocking bird named Dick. Do you have any pets?

       You ask what it felt like to be president. I have
often said that no man will ever bring out of the
presidency the reputation which carries him into it.
The second office of the government is honorable and
easy, the first is but a splendid misery.

       I am with great esteem,
       Your most obedt. humble servt,
       Th.Jefferson


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