Critical Analysis Of The Declaration Of Independence

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The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. The document announced that the colonies regarded themselves as thirteen newly independent sovereign states no longer under British rule. The writers of the Declaration expressed ideals stating that men are created equal and that all men have basic human rights given to them by God. The purpose of a government, according to the Founding Fathers, was to protect the basic human rights which Jefferson listed as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” However, the deplorable institution of slavery prospered after America gained its independence. African Americans were denied natural rights and were not…show more content…
The economic benefits of slavery made it justifiable in the United States as the abolition of the institution could have caused financial ruin. Although slavery denied African Americans unalienable human rights, it was promoted in the South for economic reasons. Therefore, the gap between the ideal and painful realities of American life was widened by the document. Additionally, the Declaration of Independence called for the equality of all men in society. For example, the document states that “all men are created equal.” Jefferson, however, truly meant that all free, property-owning white males are created equal. Therefore, the institution of slavery demonstrates how African American slaves were not included in this statement. In Frederick Douglass’s Rochester speech, he asked whether political freedom and natural justice embodied in the Constitution extended to African slaves. Of course the words of the document did not extend to African Americans, which is clearly depicted through the Slave Codes. Only white male landowners could truly take part in the democratic government and African slaves were perceived as property. Obviously, the ideal that all men are created equal was not true as slaves were unable to vote, own property, or bear arms. Additionally, enslaved Africans were subject to legal imbalance and if they were accused of a crime, they would almost always be put to death. Several more Slave Codes included travel restrictions, ownership of
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