Thomas Jefferson was only 33 years old when he drafted the Declaration of Independence. He began June June 11, 1776. The Committee of five made a few revisions and the entire document was presented to the Continental Congress July 2, 1776. They voted for independence and made a few more revisions before releasing the Declaration of Independence to be read to the colonies. It was read from town to town for the benefit of those who could not read.
The Declaration of Independence stands as America’s most noble document. It defines the very essence of the spirit of America. In 1822, John Adams wrote a response to Timothy Pickering who had asked a number of questions about the writing of the Declaration. It was published in 1850:
You inquire why so young a man as Mr. Jefferson was placed at the head of the committee for preparing a Declaration of Independence? I answer: It was the Frankfort advice, to place Virginia at the head of everything. Mr. Richard Henry Lee might be gone to Virginia, to his sick family, for aught I know, but that was not the reason of Mr. Jefferson’s appointment. There were three committees appointed at the same time, one for the Declaration of Independence, another for preparing articles of confederation, and another for preparing a treaty to be proposed to France. Mr. Lee was chosen for the Committee of Confederation, and it was not thought convenient that the same person should be upon both. Mr. Jefferson came into Congress in June, 1775, and brought with him a reputation for literature, science, and a happy talent of composition. Writings of his were handed about, remarkable for the peculiar felicity of expression. Though a silent member in Congress, he was so prompt, frank, explicit, and decisive upon committees and in conversation – not even Samuel Adams was more so – that he soon seized upon my heart; and upon this occasion I gave him my vote, and did all in my power to procure the votes of others. I think he had one more vote than any other, and that placed him at the head of the committee. I had the next highest number, and that placed me the second. The committee met, discussed the subject, and then appointed Mr. Jefferson and me to make the draft, I suppose because we were the two first on the list.