Declarations, Independence, and Text in the Information Age
First Monday

Declarations, Independence, and Text in the Information Age

The World Wide Web has presented new opportunities for the creation and dissemination of documents, especially in providing a greater power to citizens to proclaim opinions and to call for actions. There have been, of course, such documents before the Web. The Declaration of Independence was made all the more powerful, for example, because of the power of print to multiply copies and to support public readings of it as the American colonies took up arms against England. Renewed interest in the preservation of the original manuscript of the Declaration provides an opportunity to compare how, in the emerging Knowledge Age, we should consider documents and their text as well as to question what records professionals such as archivists should see as their priorities. Can we, from this time on, conceive of textual preservation in the same manner? Can we even have the same sense of primary or sacred documents as we have in the past? At the least, can we exhibit or use older documents in the same fashion as we did prior to the advent of the Web?

If the World Wide Web existed in 1776, there is no question that the Continental Congress would have placed its Declaration of Independence on a Web site in order to make the document freely accessible to as many people as possible. The Declaration was meant to be publicly read - it was after all a declaration. This is why the Declaration is often used as an example of a great rhetorical document. Historian Stephen Lucas argues that the "Declaration is a work of consummate artistry. From its eloquent introduction to its aphoristic maxims of government, to its relentless accumulation of charges against George III, to its elegiac denunciation of the British people, to its heroic closing sentence, it sustains an almost perfect synthesis of style, form, and content. Its solemn and dignified tone, its graceful and unhurried cadence, its symmetry, energy, and confidence, its combination of logical structure and dramatic appeal, its adroit use of nuance and implication - all contribute to its rhetorical power" [1]. The Declaration's meticulous structure, a legal indictment making a moral argument and intended to be both read and heard, is not an accident. Indeed, the first printings carried with it, mistakenly, diacritics made by Jefferson to indicate how the Declaration was to be publicly read, reflecting its multiple purposes. This was not the sacred document we now seem to have made it, but an action document justifying a bold political move of possibly short-lived importance and requesting help from citizens of the Crown and other nations.

Records, when they are created, are usually deemed to be either of value or relegated to utilitarian and often temporary roles. Rosalind Thomas, in her study of ancient Greek literacy, states about the records even then that "many ... were impermanent, destroyed when they were no longer needed. Others were made but apparently not used, and many served a symbolic and exemplary rather than administrative purpose" [2]. The Declaration can certainly be deemed to be one of those documents with the "symbolic" value, although this has not always been the manner in which this document has been viewed. Half of its history has been one of neglect, the other half a time of making amends for this neglect.

The Declaration's story is not unique in the annals of government or recordkeeping. This is a time rich with confusing and conflicting issues when it comes to records. Alexander Stille's recent essay in The New Yorker about the U.S. National Archives' efforts to contend with obsolete recordkeeping technology and its advice to federal agencies to print out on paper many electronic records reveals such perplexities about our era. "One of the great ironies of the information age is that," Stille writes, "while the late twentieth century will undoubtedly record more data than have been recorded at any other time in history, it will almost certainly lose more information than has been lost in any previous era." Stille worries about the fact that half of the National Archives' budget goes to storage, that it seems unable to get a handle on the management of electronic records, and the growing "vast accumulation of records makes it nearly impossible to distinguish the essential from the ephemeral" [3]. Another irony might be that the National Archives seems to be devoting an extraordinary amount of attention to the Declaration when it is secure and the text well known (if often contested) while many millions of other records seem endangered. Our reaction to the Declaration is what may confuse how records are meant to be perceived by our society and in our government.

Considering the Declaration of Independence in the modern information age is an interesting exercise, with revelations about electronic documents, records and accountability, permanence, relics, democratic governance, public memory, and the future. Lawrence Wroth, more than a half century ago, commenced his classic and ground-breaking text on colonial printing with this statement: "There is no greater degree of interest inherent in an old printing press than in a spinning wheel of the same period; it is the difference in the spiritual implications of the two machines which keeps the one alive in men's minds while the other stands cold and stark in the museum or gathers dust in the attic" [4]. But today, it is the original manuscript Declaration that sits in the Rotunda of the old National Archives building, not gathering dust - as it turns out - but gathering preservationists and foundation funds in order to preserve and display a symbol of a country's origins. Does this document possess "spiritual implications"? Does its words still have significance? Are our views of this document changing as we seem to drift away from its most powerful and eloquent words and ideas? Do we lavish attention on it out of some sort of national guilt? Are we going overboard with this and a few other historic (albeit critically important) documents?

It is as symbol, however, that the document raises so many questions like these, and others. It is not hard to surmise that printing gave to government, especially fledgling ones like the new United States, the ability to make public its acts. Daniel Boorstin reflects on this when he recounts how the framers of the Constitution constantly worked on revisions from printed versions. "Printed matter announced a new age," Boorstin writes, "not of 'engrossing' but of diffusing." Boorstin continues with his assessment that "In the new age of typography it was not the uniqueness of an 'engrossed' copy sequestered in some archive but the publicity of print that gave authenticity and authority to acts of government." Now here is where we see the potential the eighteenth century Republicans might have had for the World Wide Web. Boorstin argues that "In a free American society the printing press made it possible for citizens to have access to the most significant public acts in privacy and at their convenience ... . The multiplying copies of the printed proposed Constitution were symbols of an opening society in which eventually all would have a right to know and judge the public business" [5]. We can see the Web as a massive printing press. Jonathan Wallace and Mark Mangan, in their analysis of online censorship, describe the Web in this fashion: "Every computer connected to the Net is a printing press, which its owner can use to write the next Common Sense, the next Walden or Areopagitica, and send it off to the world" [6]. This fact would not have escaped the attention of the authors of the Declaration, especially Jefferson who argued for the editing and publishing of documents more than two centuries ago as the best means for preserving such records.

In these statements by Wroth and Boorstin there is something of a pejorative meaning for archives. Dusty and sequestration are not positive terms for any institution, especially an archives. Yet, thinking about the Declaration makes one wonder about what element of the document we should focus on - the intent of the Founders, the words' current interpretation, or the original manuscript and its story as an object first of abuse than of reverence and preservation. Why is it that we would worry about this ancient document when the text is so readily available in so many different venues? Should we lavish so much attention on this single document when there are so many other millions of records in more serious risk of being lost because of the fragile electronic recording media? That the Declaration has been featured in both espionage novels and comic books as the object of affection and the target of terrorists is to suggest the symbolic importance of the document, but these are fictional accounts and not the recounting of actual events [7]. Terrorists might be more content to allow the fabric of our nation's documentary and evidentiary foundation disappear through misplaced priorities and technical problems. We do not need to fear from the outside when we ourselves seem intent to let so much of our nation's documentary heritage disappear in that mysterious land known as cyberspace.

That Americans have often had ambivalent feelings about their historic records can be seen in a brief history of the Declaration as document [8]. Historian John Bodnar reminds us that the "Declaration of Independence was not generally considered a sacred document at all before 1800," and its reputation only began to change as it became immersed in the testy political debates in the early nineteenth century [9]. The document's history reveals Bodnar's assessment to be an understatement. On July 19th Congress decided that the Declaration should be inscribed on parchment and engrossed by every member. A parchment version was ready by August 2nd and signed by John Hancock and as other members became available the document was unrolled and signed. Who would imagine the many trials and tribulations facing the Declaration as a physical artifact?

During the Revolutionary War the Declaration was moved numerous times, along with other records of the young government. As the British threatened at various times, the Declaration was moved, first to Baltimore at the end of 1776, then a county courthouse in 1777, and back to Philadelphia in the summer of 1778. Even after the war, the Declaration did not find a permanent home. In June 1783, when several hundred American soldiers demanding back pay marched into the city, the Declaration was sent along with Congress to Princeton, New Jersey. From then until the mid-nineteenth century, the Declaration was transported repeatedly, from various capitols (Annapolis, Trenton, Philadelphia, and, finally, Washington, D.C.).

At the new Capitol, the Declaration continued to be moved from building to building. When the British threatened Washington in 1814, the Declaration was transported to a gristmill in Virginia, then moved even further to Leesburg in that state, where it was stored in a linen bag with many other documents. As the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration approached, President John Quincy Adams had it printed using a "wet-pressing" to produce a facsimile, hastening the original's own deterioration. Adams' act marked a turning point. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Declaration's fate seemed to be improving. In June, 1841 Secretary of State Daniel Webster declared that the document should be displayed, and the Declaration was moved to the State Department's Patent Office Building. At this building, the Declaration remained for thirty-five years, hanging on a wall opposite a tall window where it faded and was subject to temperature fluctuations. With the Centennial, a new phase of the Declaration's history commenced. When it was put on display in 1876 in Philadelphia, the Declaration's physical appearance raised concern and Congress established a committee to consider its preservation. This Congressional committee asked the National Academy of Sciences to study the Declaration's condition, concluding that the document could not be restored and that it should be kept out of the light.

Despite the recommendations of the committee, the Declaration remained on display for eighteen years in the new State, War, and Navy Building, when, in 1894 it was finally taken off of display because of its faded condition and stored in a steel case. From this point on the story of the Declaration is that of careful physical monitoring and the move to its permanent exhibition shrine at the National Archives building. Another examination by the National Academy of Sciences in 1903 produced the recommendation that the Declaration be kept out of the light. But by this time there continued to be such a demand to see the document that the State Department began to make plans for having it placed somewhere else on display. Preservation expert Clapp relates that "by 1919, the State Department began to feel that possession of this document was a nuisance. People insisted on seeing it, and if they couldn't see it informally, they would get letters from important people addressed to the Secretary of State to assure a private exhibition. The Secretary of State therefore decided to entrust it to somebody whose business it was to handle documents - the Librarian of Congress" [10]. The Declaration was put on display at the Library of Congress in 1924, where it remained for the next thirty years except for a few years storage at Fort Knox during the Second World War.

By the time of the Second World War the Declaration had become enshrined as an object of study as much as a sacred American text. In 1940 one of the guards noted a crack in the upper right-hand corner of the document, leading to yet another long report on the document's condition as well as a new position, Keeper of the Collections. Alvin W. Kremer, filling that position, began a series of regular photographic records, adding to the growing archives about the Declaration. Armed with all these studies, the Declaration was moved in 1952 to the new exhibit space at the National Archives, its permanent home, and sealed in a Thermopane glass case with inert helium gas and measured amount of water vapor. Surrounded by archivists and preservation specialists at the National Archives, the Declaration was sure to become an object of regular and even more detailed analysis. There was a major physical examination in 1981. In 1987 a $3.3 million computerized imaging system designed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was installed, leading to another detailed physical examination the following year.

Preservation pioneer Verner Clapp started off a 1971 essay on the Declaration with this sentence: "The Declaration of Independence is one of the most abused documents in the history of preservation of documents" [11]. Yet, something seems to be wrong with such an assessment. Rather, it seems that the Declaration, during the past hundred years, has been the most fawned over document in American history. This is certainly the case in the past decade. Four years ago the Declaration was subjected to an examination by a fiber-optic device. As one of the conservators involved in this process noted, "We are really the first to definitively document all of the features of the Charter documents ... . It's painstaking work but this information will be invaluable" [12]. The use of the fiber optic analysis was only a warm-up. In 1998 it was announced that the Pew Charitable Trusts was granting the National Archives $800,000 to supplement federal funds for re-encasing the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights on display [13]. In 2001 the documents will be taken off display for eighteen months for the re-encasing. A long article in the New York Times revealed that the funds were being partly used to re-install all of the documents (including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights) in a more modern exhibition [14].

During much of the time that the National Archives has been monitoring the deterioration in the physical condition of the Declaration, it has also been contending with the growing use of ever more sophisticated electronic information technology to create and maintain records. In an article meant to raise concerns about the durability of new electronic media being used by the government for recordkeeping, the journalist started this way: "The parchment has yellowed and the ink is badly faded, but with a bit of effort one can still make out the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, penned more than two centuries ago. Both are painstakingly preserved by the National Archives in Washington, D.C., not merely as historic curiosities but, in the words of an official sign, as testimony 'to the accountability of a government that lays itself open, through its records, to the scrutiny of present and future generations'" [15]. The comparisons were obvious, even a bit over-used in the rapidly increasing writing about the concerns with the durability of electronic media. The intent was to state that the older recordkeeping systems, despite whatever other challenges they provided, were at least more likely to be around for the next century or so.

There is no reason, of course, to castigate archivists for clinging to older forms of records because of symbolic and other values. The multiplication of the Declaration's text does not mean the original should be left to rot. After all, we know that for many records the text is intimately tied to its form. A French book historian, Roger Chartier, wrote that "any comprehension of a text is necessarily dependent on a knowledge of the material forms it has taken" [16]. The same is true for records. Yet, there are complications for revisiting the Declaration in the Information Age. Chartier's statement equally well applies to those records created in electronic form, and it is not hard to imagine that the next writers of a new Declaration (something of equal importance in the twenty-first century as the Declaration was to the eighteenth) would be drafting in HTML for placing the document on the World Wide Web. Given the mixed results by archivists managing electronic records, could we be as successful in preserving for two centuries such a document? There are more questions beyond the effectiveness of managing electronic records. Do we realize whether the symbolism of the Founding documents like the Declaration and their display in the Rotunda of the National Archives is a symbolism for all Americans?

The concern about the display of a symbolic Declaration is complex and compelling. Pauline Maier, in the most important recent study of the Declaration, argues that the monument at the National Archives is completely wrong, because it suggests a "glorious but dead past." In her estimation a vital document does not belong among the "mummified paper curiosities lying in state at the Archives" [17]. Others have had similar thoughts about this. Others have expressed similar sentiments. Some see such focus on these older documents as problematic, as a form of civic religion gone astray in which we have lost sight of the historic context and circumstances of the creation of the documents and simply paralyzed our ability to govern ourselves [18]. Even these criticisms capture the abiding interest in these fundamental records and the manner in which the information and evidence from these records are used and viewed.

For some commentators, such symbolism is tied up with more intricate historical events. James Atlas, in his contribution to the literature on the culture wars, wonders if "one of the main weaknesses of the American federation of states is that it's such an amalgam of diverse interests and identities. The rhetoric of our primary documents affirms a vision of America to which most of us assent; but those documents were framed by a dissenting elite for a nation that consisted of a few thousand souls. How are we to address the vastly different constituency that has emerged since the white, male Founding Fathers sat down with their quill pens to compose their decrees?" [19] So, how far do we go with enshrining the original manuscripts in a federal building?

Determining the symbolic significance of a small group of essential American texts is only part of the story. The real issues relate to the uses intended for texts like the Declaration and the future of new significant American documents. Historian David Thelen notes how the "printing press and subsequent mass media turned opinion from a face-to-face interaction into an artificial assembly of invisible individuals." Thelen has some comments reserved for the Declaration:

In justifying their declaration of independence by appealing to 'a decent respect to the opinions of mankind,' the founders of a new American nation in 1776 addressed a faceless audience that would encounter their declaration in the new mass media. Writing in the same year that Adam Smith imagined a new economic order in which an 'invisible' and impersonal hand would replace the very visible regulations that had guided economic activity in the past, the American colonists envisioned public opinion in the same spirit, as composed of isolated individuals who moved in response to self-interest and individual reason [20].

Looked at in another way, these same American colonists transformed into revolutionaries, transported to a later time and place, would certainly have made use of the World Wide Web. The issues of moving the document for protection would never have materialized, although perhaps other equally weighty issues about the permanence of the text would have caused more consternation. However, can something on the World Wide Web even possess symbolic importance as an original manuscript like the Declaration can?

Using media like the Web does have other implications. For one, it, and other electronic information technology, does not necessarily help anyone or any group to write better. Theodore Roszak writes that the "computer contributes nothing essential to the life of the mind" and notes that "information [such as that found on the Web or in other electronic form] is worthless if it is not informed by ideas, values and judgment." Roszak believes the Web to be the "product of a predatory entrepreneurial sensibility" [21]. A predatory sensibility it is indeed, and one with no responsibility for long-term maintenance of what is placed on it. Who or whatever places something on the Web assumes responsibility for it, and few have figured out what this means. Printing out a Web site seems ridiculous when one tries to figure out how to deal with the multiple links to it, and these links are critical to the hypertext documents residing on the Web. But how does one effectively maintain an electronic version of such a site? If electronic mail has proved to be so difficult, prompting Alexander Stille to write his recent lament about information overload, maintaining Web sites pose a challenge of several additional orders of magnitude. In other words, I doubt that one would be visiting an electronic Declaration in the National Archives rotunda in the future. But maybe we shouldn't be worrying so much about the parchment version that sits there now.

It may be that the symbolism of the original Declaration becomes different as the Information Age morphs into a Knowledge Age totally dependent on electronic technology. We know, for instance, that as Americans tried to overcome the lack of a long history, patriots appealed to the idea that Divine Providence had given America a particular or special mission. By the early nineteenth century, the Fourth of July "became literally the holy day of obligation for American patriots" and the status of the Declaration began to move from forgotten document to sacred text [22]. By the late nineteenth century acquiring complete sets of signatures of the Declaration signers had become the epitome of autograph collecting [23]. Now, at least for older eras, such as the time of the American Revolution, we can study fragments of early printings and manuscripts, discovering new facts about the production of such records and the dissemination of public texts. But will we have such fragments in the developing Information Age? [24] Electronic fragments tend to be so much gibberish.

The most important question is, what would remain of the Declaration and its historical context two hundred years from now if these records were created as electronic documents? One might assume that more could be saved. Joshua Meyrowitz writes:

The information form of electronic media is changing our perceptions of the world and its people. And through electronic 'documents', future generations will experience a new sort of past. 'History' was once a discursive script written and acted by the rich, the powerful, and the educated. Because of their discursiveness, historical sources were also filled with arguments, propositions, ideas, and ideals. The growing archives of audio and video tape, however, thrust the common person into history; simultaneously, they reveal what is common even about our leaders. And the 'language' of these records is the experience-presentational-analogic form of gesture, feeling, and experience. It is not surprising that in the last three decades many discovered a new vacuum in our understanding of the past - the everyday experience of the common people who did not write down their thoughts and who did not make history, but who only occupied it. A whole new historical industry has developed that involves analyzing parish documents, gravestones, and other traces of 'the world we have lost.' [25]

I am not quite so positive about this. And given that Meyrowitz wrote this over a decade ago, in a more innocent age (technologically speaking), others should be skeptical as well.For the past thirty plus years archivists and others have labored to create mechanisms for dealing with electronic records and other digital media. Much has been saved, more has been lost, and more seems doomed to be lost.

Perhaps we have already been given a real test, as well as opportunity, about this challenge. We know well that there remains a great amount of tentativeness about just what might be possible to be saved; should everything be printed out on paper or maintained in electronic form? Can we really handle more paper? If we attempt to save records created in electronic form in some electronic state, how do we account for rapidly changing hardware and software changes? And while we ruminate on how to do this, there have already been other Declarations posted on the World Wide Web.

After the passing of the Telecommunications Reform Bill in 1996, Internet activist John Perry Barlow drafted a "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace." Reacting to efforts by Congress to govern what could be said on the Internet, Barlow argues in his Declaration that "This bill was enacted upon us by people who haven't the slightest idea who we are or where our conversation is being conducted." Borrowing from the spirit of the original Declaration, Barlow writes that "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions." More specifically, his Declaration asserts that "In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us" [26]. Renewing the spirit of the Declaration (the first one) is what should be the aim of refurbishing the exhibition at the National Archives.

Think about the issues raised by Barlow's Declaration. There are, of course, the substantive matters about free speech, censorship, access, and government regulation. Barlow's immediate posting of his text on the Web certainly underscores that this is the new printing press for revolutionary proclamations. But there are also matters raised about the posting of his Declaration on the Web. Does it possess some symbolic or spiritual values in its electronic form? Is the Barlow Declaration needed to be preserved in its electronic state rather than a more traditional printed version? Is something lost in paper versions given that this is a Declaration about cyberspace? If we deem it essential to retain Barlow's text as an electronic document, what assurances do we have that it won't be lost as the Web constantly shifts and changes?

The Declaration on display should not be allowed to become an ancient symbol, an artifact entombed in a sarcophagus, mostly preserved for curiosity to be visited by school children, tourists, or foreign dignitaries. What should be displayed there is the story of the Declaration's own plight, its near misses, its transformation into an important national symbol, and the problems with its physical deterioration. But more importantly, the document should be the centerpiece of an exhibition focusing on the greater dangers facing records created as part of newer electronic systems and government itself.

The Declaration should become a reminder that without the documents representing the quest for freedom, and not just a few like the Declaration and the Constitution, that our very freedom might be in jeopardy. Sitting next to the wonderfully preserved Declaration ought to be examples of records lost because of technological obsolescence and examples of records nearly destroyed by government efforts to cover up the stories of abuse of powers. Then the Declaration and its costs of maintenance might mean more to more Americans. After all, in the Declaration itself, one of the complaints arrayed against King George is that he "has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures." Certainly the loss of so much of our documentary heritage due to the technical problems of modern recordkeeping will do more to make our records inaccessible for the purposes of accountability, memory, and evidence they were intended to provide. In fact, perhaps Barlow's Declaration should be displayed on a computer monitor next to the original Declaration where people can not only look at it but look at the World Wide Web. This reflects that Jefferson and his committee's original Declaration is still vital as inspiration for other Declarations. The exhibition in the National Archives Rounda becomes vital, then, and not the viewing of a corpse at a funeral.

About the Author

Richard J. Cox is an Associate Professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences where he teaches archives and records management. He is the author of four books and many articles, and he is currently completing two books on the history of records management and policy aspects related to records management. More information about him can be found at


1. Stephen E. Lucas, 1990. "The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence," Prologue, volume 22 (Spring), pp. 25-43.

2. Rosalind Thomas, 1992. Literacy and Orality in Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 137.

3. Alexander Stille, 1999. "Overload," The New Yorker, (March 8), pp. 38, 43, 44.

4. Lawrence C. Wroth, 1938. The Colonial Printer. Second edition. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, p. 3.

5. Daniel J. Boorstin, 1994. Cleopatra's Nose: Essays on the Unexpected. New York: Random House, pp. 66, 70, 72.

6. Jonathan Wallace and Mark Mangan, 1997. Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace: Freedom and Censorship on the Frontiers of the Online Revolution. New York: Henry Holt and Co., p. 228.

7. Jeffrey Archer, 1993. Honor Among Thieves. New York: HarperPaperbacks, and The Amazing Spiderman, volume 1, number 325 (Late November 1989).

8. A popular history of the original Declaration is Patricia E. Carr, 1974. "The Document That Traveled," American History Illustrated, volume 9, number 4, pp. 26-33.

9. John Bodnar, 1992. Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 23.

10. Verner Clapp, 1971. "The Declaration of Independence: A Case Study in Preservation," Special Libraries, volume 62 (December), p. 504.

11. Op.cit., p. 503.

12. Quoted in Warren E. Leary, 1995. "Nation's Vital Documents Get Checkups," New York Times (14 February).

13. "Preserving the Charters of Freedom," The Record: News From the National Archives and Records Administration, volume 4 (March 1998), p. 5.

14. Warren E. Leary, 1999. "New Framers of the Nation's Constitution Work to Preserve a Heritage," New York Times (7 February).

15. Laura Tingley, 1998. "Whoops, There Goes Another CD-ROM," U.S. News and World Report (16 February).

16. Roger Chartier, 1995. Forms and Meanings: Texts, Performances, and Audiences from Codex to Computer. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, p. 5.

17. Pauline Maier, 1997. American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 215.

18. Such as Daniel Lazare, 1996. The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy. New York: Harcourt Brace and Co.

19. James Atlas, 1990. Battle of the Books: The Curriculum Debate in America. New York: W.W. Norton, p. 119.

20. David Thelen, 1996. Becoming Citizens in the Age of Television: How Americans Challenged the Media and Seized Political Initiative During the Iran-Contra Debate. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 161-162.

21. Theodore Roszak, 1999. "Shakespeare Never Lost a Manuscript to a Computer Crash," New York Times (11 March), p. D8.

22. John F. Berens, 1978. Providence and Patriotism in Early America 1640-1815. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, pp. 114-115.

23. Moncure D. Conway, 1891. "The Story of the Declaration of Independence," The Open Courtvolume 5 (July 2), pp. 2859-2861.

24. One study examines a fragment of an early printing and determines that it was an early reading version printed for the use of Congress, made before the final printing known as the Dunlap Broadside. Wilfred J. Ritz, 1992. "From the Here of Jefferson's Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence to the There of the Printed Dunlap Broadside," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, volume 116 (October), pp. 499-512.

25. Joshua Meyrowitz, 1985. No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 109.

26. This Declaration was posted all over the Web, and it can be found, among other places, at For more about Barlow see his Web site at and the chapter on Barlow in John Brockman, 1996. Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite. San Francisco: Hardwired, pp. 9-16.

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