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withdrawn from the original document ultimately put the issue of slavery in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