“Woke” silliness never ends. And increasingly it comes from the federal government.
Smithsonian Magazine—a federal publication—has the following headline on its website: “Mary Katharine Goddard, the Woman who Signed the Declaration of Independence.”
The site reproduces a tiny part of a 1777 reprint of the Declaration with the phrase “Printed by Mary Katharine Goddard.”
Here are the facts:
Six months after the Declaration was signed, the Continental Congress decided to ensure that all state governments had a copy. So on Jan. 18, 1777, Congress passed the following resolution:
“Ordered, That an authenticated copy of the Declaration of Independency, with the names of the members of Congress subscribing the same, be sent to each of the United States, and that they be desired to have the same put upon record.”
To send copies to the states, Congress needed a printing firm to produce them. It those days, most printers were newspaper publishers. Congress hired the Maryland Journal—which Goddard owned—to do the job.
Goddard was a patriot, but obviously the fact that she got a printing job does not mean she “signed” the Declaration. It’s rather like saying a newspaper “signs” the President’s State of the Union speech when the paper reproduces the speech as a service to its readers.
Unfortunately, politically-driven people have spread many untruths about the Constitution and the American Founding. This is just one example. Other examples include (1) the claim that the Constitution was inspired by the Iroquois confederation (discussed here), (2) the claim (first circulated in the 1840s) that there is a clear distinction between a republic and a democracy, and (3) the assertion (floated successful by liberal anti-reform interests during the 1970s) that a “convention for proposing amendments” can operate outside its constitutional limits. The latter two are discussed here.