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The Declaration of Independance- some scholars say we've been reading it wrong.

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Just got linked to this.

The original document is very badly faded and worn, time has not been kind to it even with modern preservation techniques.

However there are some scholars that say the punctuation has been transcribed incorrectly in most circulating reprints of its text. Changing that one little dot makes a pretty significant impact on how the document would be read, and what it could mean.

It would be of course that it is in the line relating to how the government gets its power from the people it governs.

I don't see this ending well.

“The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights,” Ms. Allen said. “You lose that connection when the period gets added.”
--- End quote ---

The Founding Fathers probably wouldn't have been overly concerned about something that tiny. They would have had sufficient faith in each other and the citizenry to understand the intent behind the document and interpret it in that light.

But they weren't actively seeking ways to get around it like later manifestations of the US government apparently are. :-\

I disagree that this would have a significant impact on the meaning of the document.  Either way, with or without the period after "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", it's clear that those rights are inherent, that the role of government is to secure those rights, and a government which does not do so is subject to replacement.

I don't read a different meaning with or without the period.  Maybe someone can better explain to me how removing the period would change the interpretation.

It's a fascinating idea that an old transcript could have an error that gets passed down through the years -- and a fascinating idea that a punctuation change could make a dramatic difference.
On closer inspection, however, it looks like just that -- a cool idea that's too tempting to pass up, even if it doesn't amount to anything.
Period or not -- i don't see any change at all in meaning -- which is still very much in the eye of the beholder.
Whether there is a period in that spot or not is purely stylistic -- i see no way to credibly argue that it changes any meaning or even any emphasis.


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