The, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Happiness

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"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." These words represent the ideals of our country, but at the time that they were written, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were withheld from many members of american society. Racism, the belief that the physical appearance of a person or group determines their capabilities and that one group is naturally superior to others, has deep roots in our countries history, and the struggle against it continues to this day. Since colonists first arrived in the western hemisphere, African Americans have been defined as a weaker, less intelligent class of beings, and this definition allowed them to be treated as property and used as a free labor source throughout the continent. The prejudices born during the time of slavery, left deep scars in the social landscape of the United States, and though slavery was abolished after the civil war, African americans were still treated as a lower caste, less than human. Over the years, laws guaranteeing and withholding rights have come and gone, but the societal construct of racism endured in the american psyche.

After the civil war, hopes for reform were high, the north essentially had carte blanche to reshape the decimated south as it saw fit. The thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments were ratified abolishing
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