Harvard finds parchment copy of Declaration of Independence
Harvard finds parchment copy of Declaration of Independence
22 Abril, 2017, 20:01
Two Harvard University researchers announced Friday that they have found a second parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence in a tiny records office in southern England. Researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen believe the copy they uncovered in the archives of the town of Chichester, England, once belonged to Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond, known as the "radical Duke" for his support of the American colonists, the Boston Globe reports. The two researchers went to Chichester to see the document in person and determined it was the real deal. They made the find after spotting a catalog entry online while doing research for the Declaration Resources Project, which is collecting data on different versions, the New York Times reports.
The parchment was likely made in NY or Philadelphia.
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In an academic paper, the researchers say the document probably was commissioned by James Wilson of Pennsylvania, who later helped draft the Constitution and was among the original justices appointed to the Supreme Court.
"I'd found vague descriptions of other copies of the Declaration that turned out to be 19th century reproductions of the signed parchment in the National Archives, so that was what I was expecting,"said Sneff".
At the bottom of the 1776 copy of the Declaration, the 56 signers are grouped by the states they represented.
The team, working with British officials, is working to carefully test the document in a way that will not damage the parchment.
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'The team hypothesizes that this detail supported efforts, made by Wilson and his allies during the Constitutional Convention and ratification process, to argue that the authority of the Declaration rested on a unitary national people, and not on a federation of states, ' the researchers wrote in a statement to the Globe. Allen, a professor of government, says the document addresses a "key riddle" of the American system: whether the country was founded by its people, or by a collection of states.
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