Declaration of Independence 'Mistake' Could Change Everything

Lauren Burgoon
Uh oh -- does a 'mistake' in the Declaration of Independence change everything about America?

Oopsies. Does a possibly rogue period change everything America is based on? 

One of the Declaration of Independence's most famous lines may have an error that changes its entire meaning, a scholar is arguing.

American kids grow up learning about their unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Period.

But what if Thomas Jefferson never put that period in? The next line talks about the government's role. With the period, individual rights are basis for America. Without it, the government gets a bigger nod to its importance to protect the rights, the New York Times reports.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

Scholar Danielle Allen is nearly certain Jefferson didn't put the period in, but later transcripts did, changing the meaning and potentially upending nearly 250 years of America's approach to government.

Bet the Founding Fathers wish there was autocorrect back in 1776.