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(The New York Times)   Scholar alleges Declaration of Independence has punctuation error that causes routine but serious misunderstanding of document. If you thought Jefferson simply wrote all men have right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, you're wrong. Period   (nytimes.com) divider line 113
    More: Interesting, bulletproof glass, Declaration of Independence  
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7108 clicks; posted to Politics » on 03 Jul 2014 at 9:09 PM (2 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-03 06:22:35 PM
But over the past several months, she has quietly enlisted a number of scholars and manuscript experts in what the historian Joseph J. Ellis, who supports her efforts to open the question, wryly called "the battle of the period."

In my endeavors to secure life, liberty, and happiness I fight "the battle of the period" every damned month.
 
2014-07-03 06:26:54 PM
This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.
 
2014-07-03 06:36:27 PM
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

It's a neat historical artifact, but I don't think it changes the meaning that much, if at all.  The sentence(s) still describe government as a means to protect the rights declared.
 
2014-07-03 06:39:03 PM
Can't say "happiness" without saying "penis".
 
2014-07-03 06:44:08 PM
thenovocastrian.files.wordpress.com

There's one in the constitution too.
 
2014-07-03 07:01:11 PM

Lsherm: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

It's a neat historical artifact, but I don't think it changes the meaning that much, if at all.  The sentence(s) still describe government as a means to protect the rights declared.


Pretty much this? I was gonna ask someone to bottom line this for me as to what exactly changes with this period, as it's pretty evident that pause or full stop, the line reads pretty much the same regardless.

Then again, as mentioned before, this all has no bearing on anything. The Declaration is not a legal document in regards to governance. It has no binding power other than as a symbol. A stated intent to Britain that America wanted to be free... and even there it wasn't even legally doing THAT. King George III didn't read the thing and go "Oh well, it's all right here then in ink isn't it?" No! He demanded the rebellious scum who wrote the thing to be captured and disemboweled in public execution!

Unless the article is just drumming it up to gain attention... Scholars in 18th century documentation postulating over ink and quills aren't sexy enough to get views, an error is grammar that could fundamentally change America?! That's gonna get the hits!
 
2014-07-03 07:04:59 PM
Well, guess it's void then.

Guys, we're all British again.

And just before Independence Day.
 
2014-07-03 07:05:39 PM

Sin_City_Superhero: Can't say "happiness" without saying "penis".


i.imgur.com
 
2014-07-03 08:09:06 PM

LograyX: Well, guess it's void then.

Guys, we're all British again.

And just before Independence Day.


...that means we get BBC 1 programming as it airs, right?
 
2014-07-03 08:20:14 PM
So Jefferson was a dottering old fool?
 
2014-07-03 09:10:35 PM
This is important.
 
2014-07-03 09:13:27 PM

kronicfeld: This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.


I suspect the sovereign citizens will not agree.
 
2014-07-03 09:15:51 PM
The intent of it is crystal clear if you format it as a bulleted list.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:
• that all men are created equal
• that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
• that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
• that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness


With or with out the alleged period, there's no interpretation of this passage that makes prosaic sense other than the above.
 
2014-07-03 09:16:03 PM
She just wants it to be so she can find an ideological kinship with the authors of it. Something she doesn't have due to her disdain for individualism.
 
2014-07-03 09:16:04 PM
You take issue with that and not the fact they mention MEN specifically? Huh.
 
2014-07-03 09:16:25 PM
I'm surprised it can be read at all after 0bama wiped his ass with it.
 
2014-07-03 09:17:08 PM
Whoops -- split that second bullet before the "that", make it its own point.

Every time the reader encounters a "that", it means that a new clause is beginning.
 
2014-07-03 09:17:40 PM

jaytkay: kronicfeld: This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.

I suspect the sovereign citizens will not agree.


We'll put some fringe around the Declaration.
 
2014-07-03 09:20:58 PM
With or without a period, it seems to say the same thing. It's just those that want to play word games with the constitution that seem to be troubled.
 
2014-07-03 09:21:03 PM
"The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights," Ms. Allen said. "You lose that connection when the period gets added."

Beware kids. This is what higher education will do to your brain.
 
2014-07-03 09:22:22 PM
Since she noticed this about 250 years too late for it to matter, to quote another famous woman, "what difference does it make?"
 
2014-07-03 09:25:37 PM

badhatharry: "The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights," Ms. Allen said. "You lose that connection when the period gets added."

Beware kids. This is what higher education will do to your brain.


You don't need an education to know that you lose that connection when the period gets added.
 
2014-07-03 09:25:44 PM
Semi-colons, how they are supposed to work:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights;
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness;
that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; [and]
that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

From Thomas Hobbes by way of John Locke.

I really like those "But Bible!" people. I challenge them to get four highlighters and (1) take Leviathan and highlight every quote from Leviathan that is in the Constitution (and Bill O'Rights) and (2) then to do the same with Locke's Treatises. After which they are challenged (3) to do the same with the Bible.

Which one requires no highlighters whatever?

Those who do not know history and those who do not read political philosophy are doomed.
 
2014-07-03 09:28:18 PM

kronicfeld: This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.


It mentions God. Checkmate, Libtard.
 
2014-07-03 09:30:40 PM
Thanks, Obama.
 
2014-07-03 09:32:21 PM

badhatharry: "The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights," Ms. Allen said. "You lose that connection when the period gets added."

Beware kids. This is what higher education will do to your brain.


I was wondering where I'd seen you before...

d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net
 
2014-07-03 09:34:20 PM

doyner: badhatharry: "The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights," Ms. Allen said. "You lose that connection when the period gets added."

Beware kids. This is what higher education will do to your brain.

You don't need an education to know that you lose that connection when the period gets added.


But you do need to have some (re)education in order to believe that Jefferson not only trusted the government to protect our rights but he valued it over individual rights. You have to be really educated to be that is pants-on-head retarded.
 
2014-07-03 09:34:53 PM
"Scholar" or "Sovereign citizen nutjob"?

*clicks link*

Well whaddaya know, I stand corrected.
 
2014-07-03 09:35:26 PM

UNC_Samurai: badhatharry: "The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights," Ms. Allen said. "You lose that connection when the period gets added."

Beware kids. This is what higher education will do to your brain.

I was wondering where I'd seen you before...

[d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net image 488x650]


I know it's a common meme and all, but that's almost assuredly a guy that's more hipster than 'murikan.

Look at his hat.  And that cigarette looks hand rolled.
 
2014-07-03 09:35:40 PM

badhatharry: doyner: badhatharry: "The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights," Ms. Allen said. "You lose that connection when the period gets added."

Beware kids. This is what higher education will do to your brain.

You don't need an education to know that you lose that connection when the period gets added.

But you do need to have some (re)education in order to believe that Jefferson not only trusted the government to protect our rights but he valued it over individual rights. You have to be really educated to be that is pants-on-head retarded.


static.fjcdn.com
 
2014-07-03 09:37:39 PM

Dafatone: UNC_Samurai: badhatharry: "The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights," Ms. Allen said. "You lose that connection when the period gets added."

Beware kids. This is what higher education will do to your brain.

I was wondering where I'd seen you before...

[d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net image 488x650]

I know it's a common meme and all, but that's almost assuredly a guy that's more hipster than 'murikan.

Look at his hat.  And that cigarette looks hand rolled.


Naw, that's a GPC 100 Light or some similar product.
 
2014-07-03 09:38:05 PM
Languages and grammar can change across centuries. In the 19th century, "dude" was an insult akin to "poseur", which only became an affectionate nickname in the 1960s.
 
2014-07-03 09:38:18 PM
www.math.harvard.edu
 
2014-07-03 09:38:37 PM

kronicfeld: This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.


Any author knows that when you're doing persuasive writing that you write to your audience. In this case, Jefferson was writing with King George in mind as his audience and was both appealing to George's nature (invoking God, for instance) and tweaking him at the same time.
 
2014-07-03 09:38:52 PM

kronicfeld: This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.


That was my first thought. It's a historical thought experiment but that's about it.
 
2014-07-03 09:41:10 PM

FirstNationalBastard: ...that means we get BBC 1 programming as it airs, right?


You can get it right after it airs if that helps...
 
2014-07-03 09:42:41 PM

Gyrfalcon: Since she noticed this about 250 years too late for it to matter, to quote another famous woman, "what difference does it make?"


(smiths.jpg)
 
2014-07-03 09:49:00 PM

kronicfeld: This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.


Which is a little ironic, because Jefferson wrote the Declaration as a sort of divorce document.

Prior to the Congressional session that summer, Jefferson had argued the first ever divorce case in the colony of Virginia.

http://www.californiadivorce.com/fami ly6.html


On a side note, as the TFA I liked says, this was a bizarre and highly sordid case.

"From an anonymous letter, Kitty learned that her husband had been rendered impotent from a nervous disorder. Dr. Blair, on the other hand, heard rumors that Kitty had never loved him and was having an affair with the Earl of Dunmore, who was the British Governor of Virginia. Dr. Blair wrote to the Earl, accusing him of committing adultery with his wife. However, Blair retracted the accusation when the Earl threatened to discharge Blair's brother, the clerk of the Governor's Council, if he did not issue a retraction."
 
2014-07-03 09:49:04 PM

Lsherm: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

It's a neat historical artifact, but I don't think it changes the meaning that much, if at all.  The sentence(s) still describe government as a means to protect the rights declared.


And the people as a means to abolish it, when necessary.
 
2014-07-03 09:51:50 PM

kronicfeld: This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.


"Guys, call the police back. These people have a right to throw off their government."

/things you'll never hear

Radioactive Ass: kronicfeld: This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.

That was my first thought. It's a historical thought experiment but that's about it.


How many thought experiments ever involved full on revolt?

The document was written 6 years before the end of a brutal war.

It's a modern thought experiment.
It was a historical event.
 
2014-07-03 09:53:08 PM

Gyrfalcon: Since she noticed this about 250 years too late for it to matter, to quote another famous woman, "what difference does it make?"


Morrissey?
 
2014-07-03 09:54:05 PM

poot_rootbeer: The intent of it is crystal clear if you format it as a bulleted list.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:
• that all men are created equal
• that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
• that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
• that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

With or with out the alleged period, there's no interpretation of this passage that makes prosaic sense other than the above.


Well, there's one for an academic who is apparently desperate for funding for her study.
 
2014-07-03 09:58:18 PM
I'm glad they threw out that early draft where it said '... the fursuit of happiness.'
 
2014-07-03 09:59:41 PM

kronicfeld: This might matter if the Declaration of Independence had any relevance whatsoever to American law or jurisprudence.


also...

wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net

I just wanted to post that.

/this was a time when laaawww was whatever a group of people with pen an paper and massive balls said it was
//and it's the entire point of the document. law is what it is... until the people decide it isn't anymore. as the basic (self evident) rights of the people trump the order and establishment of any government
 
2014-07-03 10:01:24 PM
No shiat.  It was supposed to be property not pursuit of happiness.  Farking slave owners ruined that for us.  Thanks a lot whitey
 
2014-07-03 10:02:12 PM

Sin_City_Superhero: Can't say "happiness" without saying "penis".


How the hell do you talk?

/hap-ee-ness
/you people are weird
 
2014-07-03 10:05:27 PM

doyner: badhatharry: doyner: badhatharry: "The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights," Ms. Allen said. "You lose that connection when the period gets added."

Beware kids. This is what higher education will do to your brain.

You don't need an education to know that you lose that connection when the period gets added.

But you do need to have some (re)education in order to believe that Jefferson not only trusted the government to protect our rights but he valued it over individual rights. You have to be really educated to be that is pants-on-head retarded.

[static.fjcdn.com image 812x732]


He's a conservative.  If you're trying to appeal to his sense of humor, post a picture of "medicine man Obama".  He'll chortle.
 
2014-07-03 10:06:34 PM

MurphyMurphy: It's a modern thought experiment.
It was a historical event.


Six of one or a half dozen of the other.
 
2014-07-03 10:12:51 PM
The punchline is something about birth control right?

Viral Hobby Lobby criticism masquerading as an article.
 
2014-07-03 10:13:12 PM
As a professional American historian (I've got the Ph.D. and academic position to prove it), I will just say this is the worst kind of academic navel gazing: pointless focusing on irrelevant minutiae. As pointed out above, the period or lack thereof in no way changes the clear meaning of the preamble.
 
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