Tuesday, August 5, 2014

TJ's Plagiarism?!

Every year I have my students look at the VA Declaration of Rights (also known as the VA Constitution of 1776) compared to the Declaration of Independence.  It was published on June 29 and appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette the day before Jefferson was charged, along with four others to write the Declaration of Independence.   If you follow my students' exercise you will see that the bottom part of the VA Dec. of Rights looks surprisingly like the Dec. of Independence, in some case, in fact, it is word for word.  Know also according to Ray Raphael (I just read this) that Mason's document was copied much more in the colonies than Jefferson's.  Indeed the VA legislature voted for independence in April 1776 and prior to that was Worcester, MA.

If you want to finish my exercise, then have your students compare the complaints in both the Mason and Jefferson documents to the Bill of Rights and it will be a clear case of cause and effect.  

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