Fourth of July; The day when Americans had Independence

Fourth of July; The day when Americans had Independence

Document details
Category: Government and Political Science Essay
Subcategory: American Government and Politics
Words: 1203
Pages: 2

All men are created equalthey are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Thomas Jefferson The Declaration of Independence is, to me, the founding document of America. It is what made America what it is and made Americans who they are. But it is also a controversial document, in that who were considered men is unclear. Today, men encompasses just about everyone, including women and minorities, in most aspects. Everyone has a right to liberty, unless they give up that right by breaking the law, and everyone can pursue a life that will make them happy, (though that doesnt always happen!) This was not always true. In our nations beginning, the men of the declaration only included white, property-owning males. Where did this leave the rest of America, and how did they feel about it? Two authors that answer this question are Frederick Douglass in his speech What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in her Declaration of Sentiments. First, the issue of manhood left many to question what the Declaration of Independence was all about. Who was a man, and what about those who werent? Douglass addresses this issue in his speech. On page 1888 of The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Douglass states, The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws, in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. So if the slave was a man, shouldnt he be entitled to liberty? Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own...

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