They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. The original Constitution, by contrast, involved a set of political commitments that recognized the legal status of slavery within the states and made the federal government partially responsible for upholding “the peculiar institution.” As my late colleague Don Fehrenbacher argued, the Constitution was deeply implicated in establishing “a slaveholders’ republic” that protected slavery in complex ways down to 1861. B efore the Declaration of Independence enumerates the basic human rights that are unalienable, it states that “All men are created equal.”. The Declaration’s recognition that “all men are created equal” does not mean that the civil government must treat each person the same on the basis of what they do or on the basis of their conduct. Two things. The Declaration, in its remarkable concision, gives us self-evident truths that form the premises of the right to revolution and the capacity to create new governments resting on popular consent. Declaration of Independence. Roger Himes Esq. It is that promise of equality that has always defined our constitutional creed. PLAY. All men are created equal. Rather, what they declared was that American colonists, as a people, had the same rights to self-government as other nations. When the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it was a call for the right to statehood rather than individual liberties, says Stanford historian Jack Rakove. Test. Jefferson clearly stated that black males were "men." 1 decade ago. And how did these diverging interpretations emerge? Within the context of the times it is clear that "all men" was a euphemism for "humanity," and thus those people, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, who used the Declaration of Independence to demand equality for African Americans and women seized the historical as well as the moral high ground. The purpose of the Declaration, he said, had simply been to justify the independence of the United States, and not to proclaim the equality of any "inferior or degraded race". Next consider, "Who was not represented by this statement?" To say that this system of exploitation was morally corrupt requires one to identify when moral arguments against slavery began to appear. When the Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal,” it is paraphrasing a passage from Roman law. In a report late on Feb. 13, NBC News reporter Miranda Leitsinger also quoted Judge Allen's statement -- "Our Constitution declares that 'all men' are created equal" -- without correction. Two arguments offer the bare beginnings of an answer to this complicated question. Allow groups time to discuss. . It was only in the decades after the American Revolutionary War that the phrase acquired its compelling reputation as a statement of individual equality. Declaration of Independence, which Thomas Jefferson penned in 1776 during the beginning of the American Revolution. Jefferson's "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence. the Bible. But they did not intend it to be a declaration of intent to grant equality to all men. B efore the Declaration of Independence enumerates the basic human rights that are unalienable, it states that “All men are created equal.”. Return to groups to interpret what Jefferson meant by this phrase in the document. ⋆ The Constitution • Constitution.com Second, the greatest tragedy of American constitutional history was not the failure of the framers to eliminate slavery in 1787. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. With each passing generation, our notion of who that statement covers has expanded. He thought that African Americans should be freed – but colonized elsewhere. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. The Declaration of Independence Latest answer posted August 21, 2011 at 5:54:37 AM Many believe that the greatest hypocrisy of the Declaration of Independence was that "all men are created equal." That’s not hard work if you want to do it, but your condemnation, however justified, will never explain why people in the past acted as they did. Stanford experts decipher the mysteries and mechanisms of extinction and survival in Earth’s deep past and paint an increasingly detailed picture of life now at the brink. Lily_Oliver. Because they possessed this fundamental right, Rakove said, they could establish new governments within each of the states and collectively assume their “separate and equal station” with other nations. Overview. It was thereafter quoted and incorporated into speeches by a wide array of substantial figures in American political and social life in the United States. Weigh for a moment the words ‘all men are created equal’ against the Declaration’s assessment of indigenous people as ‘merciless Indian Savages.’ ” — Ryan Spencer Globe Opinion When Jefferson wrote “all men are created equal” in the preamble to the Declaration, he was not talking about individual equality. No historical account of the origins of American slavery would ever satisfy our moral conscience today, but as I have repeatedly tried to explain to my Stanford students, the task of thinking historically is not about making moral judgments about people in the past. All men are created equal. “All Men are created equal” The meaning of the idea that “All Men are created equal.” The Declaration of Independence states that among the “truths” that Americans hold to be “self-evident” is that “all Men are created equal.” What did Thomas Jefferson mean by this statement? But the interpretation of "all men" has hovered over the Declaration of Independence since its creation. With the U.S. confronting its history of systemic racism, are there any problems that Americans are reckoning with today that can be traced back to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution? But the Reconstruction amendments of 1865-1870 marked a second constitutional founding that rested on other premises. Stanford sociologist details how, why privilege plays role in criminal courts. Lesson Plan Summary Students will explore the truths of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence was a revolutionary document and a catalyst to change as part of an in-depth, interdisciplinary project which runs parallel curriculum to Civics and Language Arts … The Constitutional Rights Foundation notes that \"all men are created equal\" can be found in the Declaration of Independence of 1776. With its soaring rhetoric about all men being “created equal,” the Declaration of Independence gave powerful voice to the values behind the American Revolution. 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