Aaron Ross Powell
Director and Editor

Aaron Ross Powell is Director and Editor of Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org, a project of the Cato Institute. Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org presents introductory material as well as new scholarship related to libertarian philosophy, theory, and history. He is also co‐​host of Libertarianism.org’s popular podcast, Free Thoughts. His writing has appeared in Liberty and The Cato Journal. He earned a JD from the University of Denver.

In this week’s Excursions​essay, George H. Smith continues his series on the Declaration of Independence. Here he looks at the historical evidence for plagiarism on the part of Thomas Jefferson.

After decades of studying the Declaration and the standard sources of Real (or Radical) Whig ideas, I have found no compelling reasons to doubt Jefferson’s claim that he “turned to neither book nor pamphlet while writing” the Declaration, and that it was not “copied from any particular and previous writing.”