Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, but he did not work alone. 

On June 7, 1776, Virginia Delegate Richard Henry Lee put forward a resolution that "all political connection is, and ought to be, dissolved" between Great Britain and the Colonies. On June 11th, the Contenetal Congress nominated a drafting committee of five men to compose a declaration of independence.

Committee Members

Author, Author!

Many words describe Thomas Jefferson. He is best remembered as the person who wrote the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States.

An Editor, Not an Author

Jefferson’s friend and mentor Benjamin Franklin revised and edited Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence.

The Tongue of Independence

John Adams told Jefferson “You can write ten time better than I can” and joined Franklin in editing the Declaration of Independence.

The Chancellor

Recalled to help convince his home colony of New York to vote for Independence, Robert R. Livingston later negotiated the Louisiana Purchase.

Super Signer

Roger Sherman of Connecticut is the only founder to sign all four of America’s original great state papers.

Jefferson Remembers the Committee of Five

In an 1823 letter to James Madison, Jefferson contradicts both John Adams’s and Timothy Pickering’s versions of how the Declaration of Independence came to be.