HISTORY'S MYSTERIES

Thomas Jefferson's Freudian Slip

Thomas Jefferson made a Freudian slip while drafting the Declaration of Independence, according to Library of Congress officials. Jefferson’s rough draft referred to Americans repeatedly as “subjects,” before he later changed the term to “citizens.” The document was taken from his oxygenless safe for the first time in 15 years as library officials traveled with police escort to examine it with high-tech imaging. A researcher used hyperspectral imaging to reveal layers of the document, like erased words and fingerprints. Jefferson apparently wiped away the word “subjects” with his hand while the ink was still wet, leaving a brown smudge and the word illegible without the technology. The Declaration also includes editing notes from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.