A TED-Ed animation written by historian Kenneth C. Davis highlights some lesser-known facts about the United States Declaration of Independence. Among them are the significance of the July 2nd date, which future President John Adams assumed would be celebrated as America’s Independence Day and the way in which Thomas Jefferson came to become the document’s primary writer. The Declaration as written by Jefferson also included references to slavery that were later edited out by committee.
The most important change came after the Declaration was turned over to the full Congress. For two days, a very unhappy Thomas Jefferson sat and fumed while his words were picked over. In the end, the Congress made a few minor word changes — and one big deletion. In a long list of charges being made against the king of England, the author had included the idea that George III was responsible for the slave trade and was preventing America from ending slavery.