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American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence Paperback – May 26, 1998
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This is a well-written, well-researched, entertaining account of the creation of the United States' Declaration of Independence as well as an analysis of how the declaration has been enshrined as something of a sacred document (a place it did not always hold). Pauline Maier, a history professor at MIT, will no doubt surprise many readers with detective work demonstrating that Jefferson's Declaration of Independence was actually preceded by many local declarations, which have been generally overlooked by historians but which were published throughout the colonies and were well known in their day. American Scripture holds many surprises as it details Jefferson's drafting of the document, the editing process, and the varying regard with which the Declaration of Independence has been held in the past two centuries. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Maier (American history, MIT; From Resistance to Revolution, LJ 7/72) sets the stage for her fascinating history of the Declaration of Independence with a concise and well-written introduction into the political background of the American Revolution. She provides the context for the document within the British tradition of declarations, addresses, and petitions and relates it to the many local and state declarations that aimed to mobilize support for independence. The thrust of her work is a careful examination of the drafting of the document by Jefferson and the Congressional committee; she then describes how Congress edited it into its final form. The latter third of the book is dedicated to the ways in which the Declaration has been redefined and used by different groups of Americans. Combining meticulous scholarship with clear prose, Maier tells a compelling story that will succeed in winning her a general audience. Highly recommended.
-?David B. Mattern, Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Shows all of the human frailties, especially those of memory when Adams and Jefferson are asked to describe how the Declaration was written.
Maier shows the changes made in Jefferson's drafts and what may be the single instance of group editing actually making a document BETTER! It is well-enough written to still raise questions of modern political importance, such as what were the Founding Fathers' attitudes towards religion? Why did two of the rights in the Bill of Rights get rejected?
Only objection: a little professorial and dry in spots.
The book is a thorough, scholarly treatment of the subject - well documented with citations to supporting and source material. In the end the book takes little away from Jefferson - while illuminating the contribution of other participants and clearly illustrating prior documentation incorporated into the Declaration. A very recommended read to better understand the history, objective and content of this piece of 'American Scripture'.
Well done e-book publication; text-to-speech is implemented and the full expected range of presentation formatting is available (text size, typeface choices, line spacing, margins and background color) Notes are properly hyperlinked and the index is fully and impressively hyperlinked to the contents. Missing are page numbers and the book contains no illustrations. - ★★★★★ for Random House publishers.