“Committee of Five, 1776” by John Trumbull – US Capitol. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
(much of this text is copied directly from a website built to share the research lead by Jim Allison, a certificated paralegal and historical-legal researcher and writer; and Susan Batte, who is a lawyer and a member of the US Supreme Court bar who practices in Virginia. Both have been involved in the separation of church and state debate, researching and writing extensively on the subject, for several years. The direct link can be found here)
Authors of Research Conclusions:
- The original version Jefferson wrote did not contain the word Creator.
- A copy that John Adams wrote in his own hand did not contain the word creator
- At some point after Jefferson wrote the original draft and before it was submitted to Congress it was changed to the wording with regards to creator that we know today
There are several possibilities
- Jefferson changed his mind and reworded it to what we know today
- The change was suggested by Adams.
- The change was suggested by Franklin.
- The change was suggested by both Adams and Franklin.
- The change was suggested by one or both of the other two members of the committee of five or all four of them that was given the task of producing this document.
Jefferson wrote most of the text even some of the changes which scholars are pretty sure was suggested by either Adams or Franklin. There are places in the handwriting of Jefferson yet the wording and style sounds more Franklin or Adams than Jefferson
In other places it appears that Adams made some changes in his own hand and perhaps Franklin did as well.
Thus, bottom line, Jefferson’s original draft did not contain the word creator. Sometime between writing that original draft and submission to Congress that wording was changed to the wording we know today
The events that took place between the original draft and submission to Congress were
- Consultation and submission of the draft to Adams
- Consultation and possible submission to Franklin
- Possible consultation and submission to the other two members of the Committee of Five
At least two maybe three revisions to various sections of the Declaration of Independence including this creator section in which the original language was deleted and the current language was inserted in its place, took place before the submission to Congress. Input or ideas from both Adams and Franklin, for certain and maybe the other two were incorporated.
Handwriting is not a reliable barometer since scholars feel that Jefferson probably wrote most of text including some sections that are known to be ideas of one of the others and others wrote sections that might be ideas or suggestions by Jefferson or the others. In addition there are a few places that appear to be in the hand of Adams and perhaps Franklin yet still other sections that scholars just plain have no idea whose hand wrote it for certain. Maybe Jefferson, maybe Adams, maybe Franklin, maybe one of the other two, they just don’t know
The only absolute is Jefferson’s original draft did not include the word creator. No one can say with complete certainty who was responsible for the change and the addition of “Creator.”
You can find the original documents here Original Rough Draught of the Declaration of Independence
Taken from Wikipedia Founding Fathers of United States Which can be found here
Franklin T. Lambert (2003) has examined the religious affiliations and beliefs of the Founders. Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics (D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons). Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.
A few prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical Christians such as Thomas Jefferson, who constructed the Jefferson Bible, and Benjamin Franklin.
Historian Gregg L. Frazer argues that the leading Founders (Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Wilson, Morris, Madison, Hamilton, and Washington) were neither Christians nor Deists, but rather supporters of a hybrid “theistic rationalism”
Efin’s conclusions: Keeping in mind that only the conclusions were presented here, extensive research is available on this. I have tried to get you started with the links I provided. These links offer further links to verify its content. Based on all that, the “Creator” line was simply added to impose that man does not give another man his unalienable rights. He is born with them and they can not be taken away by another man. This document assured that would be the new government’s starting point. That these words are so focused on and the rest of the document largely ignored by modern Americans, is the real shame. The document is beautifully written and was approved by a wide range of religious and non-religious affiliations. This was not meant to say that God fought and won independence and our nation’s rights and freedom. Men did that. Founding Fathers known and unknown to us gave us these rights that they felt were unalienable and undeniable from birth.
(Well, only for men; white men; but that revolution came later and is for another time)