I am deeply indebted to the many scholars, librarians, and students who have helped to guide my steps through the process of research and writing. The Declaration of Independence is a subject of such broad interest that my universe of intellectual confidants extended from the classroom to faculty lounges, coffee shops, restaurants, and mountain trails.
Each conversation enriched me and helped me think through primary and secondary resources. Luminaries have taught me much not only about how to improve the manuscript but also about how to provide generous assistance. At the nascent stage of the project, Marcia McCormick, Bret M. Frischmann, Michael S. Pardo, and Spencer Waller carefully proofed the basic outline of the work. David Brion Davis, with his profound erudition, helped me set the introduction for the entire work. Susan Ferber, of Oxford University Press, made invaluable comments on my book proposal. As research began, the initial outline was revised numerous times to accurately reflect the gems I discovered through library and electronic researching, but I never lost track of their initial counsel. Throughout the whole process of development, friends kept me imbibed with ideas. Whether on a tour bus with Jack Balkin; at a conference with Shannon Gilreath; or by phone with Gordon Hylton, Heather Cox Richardson, and Michael Kent Curtis, the wealth of ideas I received kept me plied with insights about inalienable rights and equality.
Gathering research materials is always enjoyable, but it is made doubly so in the company of acquaintances. Librarians helped by directing me whenever I hit a dead end in the stacks or on the Internet. At the Loyola University-Chicago, C. Frederick LaBaron, Jr., and Jeannette Pierce always seemed ready to help fill a variety of requests and resource inquiries. I also received valuable assistance from Sarah Haight of Southern Methodist