I came across this neat news article, just in time for the fourth of July.
It seems that when was drafting the Declaration of Independence, he was struggling for the right word to describe the American people. He settled on ‘citizens’, but originally he had written ‘subjects.’
I find that wild. In the beginning Jefferson was going to confirm the convention that all men and women are slaves to the monarch or the state. But with one stroke of the pen he changed all that. No longer subjects, but citizens with rights and privileges and information.
It made me think of the Bible. When you read the Old Testament you get the feeling that God is looking for subjects. That he’s looking for a bunch of people who will just do what they’re told without asking too many questions. But then Jesus came and made it clear that he was not after slaves at all, but citizens. Indeed, fellow citizens. People he could tell his plans to. People who could share the inheritance he earned. In a real way, brothers.