Slavery In American History Term Paper

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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 The fact that it was withdrawn from the original document ultimately put the issue of slavery in the hands of future generations.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 Park 2 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 Park 3 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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