By lex, on July 3rd, 2010
We inherited the English language from the Mother Country, but Thomas Jefferson decided that one word, at least, should form no part of our political lexicon:
That’s what Thomas Jefferson first wrote in an early draft of the Declaration of Independence to describe the people of the 13 colonies.
But in a moment when history took a sharp turn, Jefferson sought quite methodically to expunge the word, to wipe it out of existence and write over it. Many words were crossed out and replaced in the draft, but only one was obliterated.
Over the smudge, Jefferson then wrote the word “citizens.”
No longer subjects to the crown, the colonists became something different: a people whose allegiance was to one another, not to a faraway monarch.
Nor to regents close at hand, either.
A wise fellow, Jefferson. Would that we had more like him today.