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Original US Declaration of Independence

In Thomas Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence, he included a proposal to put an end to slavery.

Ben Franklin was on board with that, even though he owned two slaves at the time and held as many as seven previously. Ben also allowed the printing of rewards for the capture of slaves in his printing shop, and let slaves be sold in his general store, although he later became a staunch abolitionist.

Other politicians forced Thomas Jefferson to delete the anti-slavery portion in the final draft. They were so concerned with what they considered the most important first step, the freeing of America, and didn’t want to dilute their statement with a message about slavery.

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