Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States, a founding father of the country, and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important documents in our nation’s brief but inspiring history.
But as my mind is prone to wandering, I often wonder what the Declaration might have looked like if Thomas Jefferson spoke Jive.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
De unanimous Declarashun uh de dirteen united States uh America,
When in de Course uh human events, it becomes necessary fo’ one sucka’s t’dissolve da damn political bands which gots connected dem wid anoder, and t’assume among de powers uh de eard, de separate and equal stashun t’which de Laws uh Nature and uh Nature’s God entitle dem, some decent respect t’de opinions uh mankind requires dat dey should declare da damn causes which impel dem t’de separashun.
We hold dese truds t’be self-evident, dat all dudes are created equal, dat dey is endowed by deir Creato’ wid certain unalienable Rights, dat among dese is Life, Liberty and da damn pursuit uh Happiness.–Dat t’secure dese rights, Guv’ments is instituted among Men, derivin’ deir plum powers fum de consent uh de governed, –Dat wheneva’ any Fo’m uh Guv’ment becomes destructive uh dese ends, it be de Right uh de Sucka’s t’alta’ o’ t’abolish it, and t’institute new Guv’ment, layin’ its foundashun on such principles and o’ganizin’ its powers in such fo’m, as t’dem shall seem most likesly t’effect deir Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, gots’ta dictate dat Guv’ments long established should not be changed fo’ light and transient causes; and acco’din’ly all ‘espuh’ience had shewn, dat mankind is mo’e disposed t’suffer, while evils is sufferable, dan t’right demselves by abolishin’ de fo’ms t’which dey is accustomed. But when some long train uh abuses and usurpashuns, pursuin’ invariably de same Object evinces some design t’reduce dem unda’ absolute Despotism, it be deir right, it be deir duty, t’drow off such Guv’ment, and t’provide new Guards fo’ deir future security. Slap mah fro!–Such gots been de patient sufferance uh dese Colonies; and such be now de necessity which constrains dem t’alta’ deir fo’ma’ Systems uh Guv’ment. De histo’y uh de present Kin’ uh Great Britain be a histo’y uh repeated injuries and usurpashuns, all havin’ in direct object da damn establishment uh an absolute Tyranny upside dese States. To prove dis, let Facts be submitted t’a kindun did wo’ld.
He gots refused his Assent t’Laws, de most wholesome and necessary fo’ de public baaaad.
He gots fo’bidden his Governo’s t’pass Laws uh immediate and pressin’ impo’tance, unless suspended in deir opuh’shun till his Assent should be obtained; and when so’s suspended, he gots utterly neglected t’attend t’dem. WORD!
He gots refused t’pass oda’ Laws fo’ de accommodashun uh large districts uh sucka’s, unless dose sucka’s would relinquish de right uh Representashun in de Legislature, some right inestimable t’dem and fo’midable t’tyrants only. Slap mah fro!
He gots called togeda’ legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfo’table, and distant fum de deposito’y uh deir public Reco’ds, fo’ de sole purpose uh fatiguin’ dem into compliance wid his measho’ mans.
He gots dissolved Representative Cribs repeatedly, fo’ opposin’ wid manly firmness his invasions on de rights uh de sucka’s.
He gots refused fo’ some long time, afta’ such dissolushuns, t’cause oders t’be elected; whereby de Legislative powers, incapable uh Annihilashun, gots returned t’de Sucka’s at large fo’ deir ‘esercise; de State remainin’ in de mean time ‘esposed t’all de dangers uh invasion fum widout, and convulsions widin. ‘S coo’, bro.
He gots endeavoured t’prevent da damn populashun uh dese States; fo’ dat purpose obstructin’ de Laws fo’ Naturalizashun uh Fo’eigners; refusin’ t’pass oders t’encourage deir migrashuns hider, and raisin’ de condishuns uh new Appropriashuns uh Lands.
He gots obstructed da damn Administrashun uh Justice, by refusin’ his Assent t’Laws fo’ establishin’ Judiciary powers.
He gots made Judges dependent on his Gots’ta alone, fo’ de tenure uh deir offices, and da damn amount and payment uh deir salaries.
He gots erected some multitude uh New Offices, and sent hida’ swarms uh Officers t’harrass our sucka’s, and feed da bud out deir substance.
He gots kep’ among us, in times uh peace, Standin’ Armies widout da damn Consent uh our legislatures.
He gots affected t’renda’ de Military independent uh and supuh’io’ t’de Civil power. Ah be baaad…
He gots combined wid oders t’subject us t’a jurisdicshun fo’eign t’our constitushun, and unacknowledged by our laws; givin’ his Assent t’deir Acts uh pretended Legislashun:
Fo’ Quarterin’ large bodies uh armed troops among us:
Fo’ protectin’ dem, by some mock Trial, fum punishment fo’ any Murders which dey should commit on de Inhabitants uh dese States:
Fo’ cuttin’ off our Trade wid all parts uh de wo’ld:
Fo’ imposin’ Taxes on us widout our Consent, dig dis:
Fo’ deprivin’ us in many cases, uh de benefits uh Trial by Jury:
Fo’ transpo’tin’ us beyond Seas t’be tried fo’ pretended offences
Fo’ abolishin’ de free System uh English Laws in some neighbourin’ Province, establishin’ derein an Arbitrary guv’ment, and enlargin’ its Boundaries so’s as t’renda’ it at once an ‘esample and fit instrument fo’ introducin’ de same absolute rule into dese Colonies:
Fo’ takin’ away our Charters, abolishin’ our most valuable Laws, and alterin’ fundamentally de Fo’ms uh our Guv’ments:
Fo’ suspendin’ our own Legislatures, and declarin’ demselves invested wid powa’ to legislate fo’ us in all cases whutsoever. Ah be baaad…
He gots abdicated Guv’ment here, by declarin’ us out uh his Protecshun and wagin’ War against us.
He gots plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed da damn lives uh our sucka’s.
He be at dis time transpo’tin’ large Armies uh fo’eign Mercenaries t’compleat da damn wo’ks uh dead, desolashun and tyranny, already begun wid circumstances uh Cruelty & puh’fidy scarcely paralleled in de most barbarous ages, and totally unwo’dy de Haid uh a civilized nashun.
He gots constrained our dude Citizens snatchn Captive on de high Seas t’bear Arms against deir Country, t’become da damn execushuners uh deir homeys and Bredren, o’ t’fall demselves by deir Hands.
He gots excited domestic insurrecshuns amongst us, and gots endeavoured t’brin’ on de inhabitants uh our frontiers, de merciless Indian Savages, whose knode rule uh warfare, be an undistin’uished destrucshun uh all ages, sexes and condishuns.
In every stage uh dese Oppressions We gots Petishuned fo’ Redress in de most humble terms, dig dis: Our repeated Petishuns gots been answered only by repeated injury. Slap mah fro! A Prince whose characta’ is dus marked by every act which may define some Tyrant, be unfit t’be da damn rula’ of some free sucka’s.
No’ gots We been wants’in’ in attenshuns t’our Brittish bredren. ‘S coo’, bro. We gots warned dem fum time t’time uh attempts by deir legislature t’extend an unwarrantable jurisdicshun upside us. We gots reminded dem uh de circumstances uh our emigrashun and settlement here. We gots appealed t’deir native justice and magnanimity, and we gots conjured dem by de ties uh our common kindred t’disavow dese usurpashuns, which, would inevitably interrupt our connecshuns and co’respondence. Dey too gots been deaf t’de voice uh justice and uh consanguinity. Slap mah fro! We must, derefo’e, acquiesce in de necessity, which denounces our Separashun, and hold dem, as we hold da damn rest uh mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Cuddies.
We, derefo’e, de Representatives uh de united States uh America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealin’ t’de Supreme Judge uh de wo’ld fo’ de rectitude uh our intenshuns, do, in de Name, and by Audo’ity uh de baaaad Sucka’s uh dese Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, Dat dese United Colonies are, and uh Right ought t’be Free and Independent States; dat dey is Absolved fum all Allegiance t’de British Crown, and dat all political connecshun between dem and da damn State uh Great Britain, be and ought t’be totally dissolved; and dat as Free and Independent States, dey gots full Powa’ to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and t’do all oda’ Acts and Doodads which Independent States may uh right do. ‘S coo’, bro. And fo’ de suppo’t uh dis Declarashun, wid some firm reliance on de protecshun uh divine Providence, we mutually pledge t’each oda’ our Lives, our Fo’tunes and our sacred Hono’.
P.S. You can read a more thorough biography of Thomas Jefferson here. It makes no mention of Jive.