Historical Account of African-Americans Seeking the American Dream

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Historical Account of African-Americans Seeking the American Dream

The American Dream began as a vision for the men who framed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. These two documents provided the foundation upon which the American Dream was built. The reality of the American Dream translated into a nightmare for the African-Americans who had to overcome slavery in order to achieve the ideal that all men are created equally. Their dream did not become a reality with the signing of the Declaration of Independence; in fact, even after slavery was abolished, there was no concrete date established that mandated that whites and African-Americans were equal. The law said the slaves were free;
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The original document argues against the commerce, which supported removing people from distant lands and "carrying them into slavery" (731). The representatives called slavery an "assemblage of horrors", yet they managed to strike the nightmare from their blueprint (732). By removing this definition, the Declaration simply states that all men are created equal: thus begins the American Dream with a contradiction that would last for years.

The Declaration of Independence established an ideal of equality that African-Americans would have to work to overcome for many years, even after slavery was abolished. After their independence, theoretically, all men were considered equal in the United States by law; yet it would take a century and a civil rights movement to achieve equality. The African-American portion of the American Dream seems to reconnect to the American Dream of the past as African-Americans search to build their own future and attain their own American Dream. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., where he plainly stated his reconnection to the American Dream:

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall