On this date in 1776, the Second Continental Congress appointed a five member to draft a Declaration of Independence. The Committee Members included Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Adams explained to Jefferson why Jefferson was required to draft the Declaration of Independence: “Reason first – You are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason second – I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular. You are very much otherwise. Reason third – You can write ten times better than I can.” It was a fateful decision.
Adams was truly the leading Patriot to the independence, and was well known for his ego. However, he knew his place - he had to submerge his personal feelings in favor of the greater cause of the Revolution. He turned to Jefferson to carry the argument forward.Jefferson, who had become a famous author with a prior work, A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774), expressed the American sentiment in terms that would become perhaps the most famous words in world history.
For more about Jefferson and Adams, check out Patriot Week and America's Survival Guide.