36" x 40" oil
On June 11, 1776 the second Continental Congress, meeting in the Pennsylvania State House at Philadelphia, appointed a committee of five men to draft a Declaration of Independence—whereby the thirteen colonies would absolve allegiance to the British Crown. These five were, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert Livingston of New York.
The young Jefferson, because of his reputation as a writer, was chosen by the committee to draft the declaration. He is to have authored the rough draft on the second floor of the Graff House located at Seventh and Market in Philadelphia, where he rented rooms. His esteemed committee members, Adams and Franklin, may have offered minor changes to the final draft, but considerable changes by the congress irritated Jefferson; especially deletion of his censure of the people of Great Britain and his impassioned condemnation of the slave trade. By today's standard, it would have enhanced "self-evident" truths—that "all men are created equal" and are "endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights".
Several paintings have been done of the Declaration committee, but none where Thomas Jefferson presents his draft to the assembled five in his rented second floor room. It is true, no record of such a meeting exists—or if they ever met, as a group, anywhere to review the draft. However, I chose to show you what this great assemblage of founding fathers may have been; inviting you to be there as witness.
Reproductions of this painting were produced.