ITALIAN INFLUENCE ON THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE?
> Can you please tell me the name of The friend of Thomas Jefferson who was > Italian,that influenced him in his writing of the Declaration of > Independence? In a disucssion of the Declaration included in Jefferson's letter to Henry Lee, May 8, 1825, he states: "All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc." Therefore, the only Italian (actually a Roman) that Jefferson seemed to acknowledge as an influence was Cicero. He was much influenced in LEGAL matters by Cesare Bonesano Beccaria. But I don't think Beccaria was a "friend" of Jefferson, and I have not seen any reference to him as an influence in writing the Declaration of Independence. > I found the person I was searching for , his name is Filippo > Mazzei...thanks! In a letter to John Vaughan, September 16, 1825, Jefferson mentions that he had sent "rough draughts [of the Declaration] to distant friends who were anxious to know what was passing," including one sent to Mazzei. These were draughts created during the process of revising the Declaration, and were sent as the Declaration was being prepared. But I have not been able to find any indication that Mazzei actually influenced Jefferson in the writing of the Declaration. In the Vaughan letter, Jefferson says that Mazzei gave the copy he sent him to the Countess de Tesse (aunt of Madame de Lafayette), suggesting perhaps that Mazzei was in Paris at the time, although I am not certain of that.
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