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Slavery In American History Essay, Research Paper

The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 by Thomas

Jefferson under order of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and the

Continental Congress. This document was written in order to let the whole

world know that the colonists of the United States of America were going to

denounce the British Government in order to establish a democratic

government of their own. The unalienable rights of a citizen that were

defined by Jefferson were, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Through the use of slavery, the acknowledgment of these rights to hold true

for all men invalidated this document but set a basis that would ultimately

bring about changes in issues such as slavery.

The Declaration of Independence went through many changes during

the original writing. The members of the Continental Congress, including

Jefferson, were aware of the issue of slavery and its contradiction toward the

document. One of the statements which Jefferson had originally written to

show further proof that the King of Britain was a “tyrant,” included the

disapproval of his use of slavery and his ill treatment towards the people of

Africa. This statement was taken out of the final draft of the Declaration of

Independence by the members of the Continental Congress. They had

argued that the inclusion of this statement would defame their own reputation

because many of them practiced slavery. Jefferson’s intentions were clear

when he tried to put that statement into the document. The fact that it was

withdrawn from the original document ultimately put the issue of slavery in

the hands of future generations. The main intentions of the writers of the

Declaration of Independence was to break away from a tyrannical British

government, and the



issue of slavery would have torn the colonies apart. In turn, the unity of the

newly found country would have been destroyed, making the will to fight

against the opposition impossible.

The American Revolution, which lasted from 1775-1783, was a test of

the country’s unity and their will to fight for a just cause. It was also

significant, because for the first time in modern history, a new government

had been formed without a prior government from which it could have

evolved. The writers had to keep in mind that the idea of having a

government serving the people’s needs was very a revolutionary idea. Their

victory could not have been accomplished without the total unity within the

United States and the patriotic attitudes of their citizens. The issue of

slavery wasn’t dealt with because the writers of the Declaration of

Independence knew that the factors that caused their victory, would have

been jeopardized.

The issue of slavery was dealt with by the citizens of the United States

in the Civil War. The war which pitted brothers against brothers and citizens

against citizens lasted from 1861-1865. The outcome of the war

acknowledged slaves to hold the unalienable rights of all men. Though this

held true on paper, it was not true to the public at large. The use of

segregation in order to separate the “blacks” from the “whites,” began to

divide the nation. The rise of leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and

Malcolm X brought about great changes throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s.

For the first time, American media took to the streets to show the whole

world how governments were treating African American people fighting for

their rights as citizens. With the rioting that was happening all over the

country and the

political pressure from other countries, President Kennedy had called for an



end to all of the chaos. He made a decision to enact Civil rights laws that

would protect minorities from people who tried to deny them the right to be

citizens. The passing of the Civil Rights laws abolished the use of

segregation, and today there are many organizations which protect minority

groups from things such as discrimination and segregation.

One can tell that the writers of the Declaration of Independence knew

that the issue of slavery would be dealt with at some time in the future, by

the way they expressed their ideas about liberty, and the way they had left it

open for further improvement by not specifically stated guidelines. They

provided the means which were necessary in order to achieve the goals of a

nation which does not judge people on the basis of race, religion, or sex.

The Declaration of Independence was written in order for nations such as the

United States to rise and revolt against there oppressors. This document

was a symbol which stood for independence and was also the first of its kind.

It was also intended for the advancement of the newly found nation to do

what was right in the eyes of “the Creator” which Jefferson had stated in the

Declaration. In conclusion, this document was invalidated by their practice of

slavery, but without this document, there would not have been a basis to

move on and face issues such as slavery.

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