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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed... (The Free Dictionary, 2014, para. 5) Above, which avers the fundamental American idyllic government, is part of the opening paragraph of the most significant of all American historical documents, the Declaration of Independence. The very theory of natural rights dramatically influenced the conception of this starting paragraph. Natural rights is a political theory that strongly asserts that each individual who enters into any society possesses certain rights that no government can deny.
John Locke an influential philosopher and pioneer during the Enlightenment era, known for his ground breaking ideas of Natural Law. In Locke’s text “Two Treatises of Government” he asserts the idea “That all men by nature are equal. ...being that equal right, that every man hath, to his natural freedom, without being subjected to the will or authority of any other man.” (Locke 161). Influencing Thomas Jefferson, this idea made its way into the Declaration of Independence. Although, the founding document states that all men are equal, allowing one to pursue freedoms.
For many generations, America has been known as the land of the free and of opportunity but it doesn’t take a genius to see that the land of hypocrisy works just as well to describe it. Freedom is perhaps one of the greatest and yet one of the most unappreciated feelings in the world and obtaining it surely was not easy. Before Americans knew true freedom and equality, there were numerous obstacles in the way that stemmed from its original discovery by Christopher Columbus. If freedom wasn’t being hindered by another nation, it was being hindered by Americans in power which generally included older white males. As a whole, we’ve come a long way from oppression but there are still clear lasting effects.
In the eyes of the delegates, and the common white majority, blacks, indians, and women were not an issue. To them, it was apparent that blacks were kids, Indians were savages, and women were homemakers. From the late 18th century to the mid 19th century was the greatest era of social and racial inequality in all American history. The Declaration of Independence states, "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." This infamous passage written by Thomas Jefferson on July 4th, 1776, states that ALL men are created equal and are entitled to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
It began a quest for the ‘inalienable rights’ that many still do not have in 2015 and while Jones critiques the document based on its lack of evidence and overcompensation of how many rights can truly be inalienable, the purpose of this document is overlooked in Jones’ critique. The purpose of this document was to spark a social and political revolution, leading the colonies out of oppression and into a brighter future where people can overcome. History shows that since The Declaration of Independence has been published, we have created great change and opened the doors for so many other countries, people, and minority populations with the ideas and even some of the same language from this
Problems like: social equality, slavery, women’s rights, and the struggle of land claims against Native Americans were suddenly being presented in new and influencing ways to our pristine leaders. Some historians believe that while the Revolutionary War was crucial for our independence, these causes were not affected; thus, the war was not truly a revolution. Still, being specified in the Background Essay, several see the war as more radical, claiming it produced major changes above and beyond our independence. After we established precisely what we were fighting for, complete independence from England was our unyielding goal. Ultimately, against all odds, the Americans defeated the British in a victorious surrender at Yorktown on October 19, 1781.
Equality Throughout America History According to Thomas Jefferson, as evidenced in the Declaration of Independence, “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.” His definiton of equality seems to be limited only to those who hold similar race and status to that of the original American colonist. Americans today cling to this ideology however, but never really consider the the manner in which this logical paradox has shaped our way of thinking socially and politically. As a typical Caucasian-American born and raised in this nation, one tends to be blinded by White Privilege. The experiences of those of different color and/or gender, especially within different time periods, would have much different perspectives to offer this discourse on equality. When one compares readings from authors such as Thomas Jefferson, Bruce Johansen, and W.E.B Du Bois, the realities are exposed and can certainly be used to analyze equality today.
Progressive era foreign policy was motivated by a variety of factors including racial and national superiority, business and economic interests, strategic concerns, and idealism. Excerpts from For the Record provide various examples supporting the concerns that led to America’s foreign policy. The idea of national superiority was evident in the belief of manifest destiny. This doctrine basically stated that America was a superior nation that was designed to expand. The nationalist argument is best depicted in Albert Beveridge’s “The March of the Flag” which states, “The rule of liberty that all just government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are capable of self-government.”(For the Record p.117) This supports America’s superior views that it could govern a country better than the country’s native citizens.
At the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s language is elaborate and elegant. He uses long flowing sentences filled with philosophical concepts, like ‘Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,’ borrowed from John Locke’s ideas regarding the Natural Rights of Man. His choice of words like ‘self-evident’ and ‘unalienable’ makes the Declaration formal yet he still communicates a very personal message to his audience. When he states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” this phrasing shows that Americans believe, like Jefferson, they have rights that are absolute. Also, the term “self-evident” shows that there is an awareness of perspective held by Americans of their value or worth which is not understood by the British.
He strongly drew support from constitution to prevail his vision on freedom of people. Jefferson’s life surrounded around the first ten amendments. There was no flexibility in Jefferson’s vision when interpreting the rights of people. He loved the idea of liberty for people in any types of practice. Regardless of Thomas Jefferson being a slave owner, when it was the matter of equality among people, his views were very... ... middle of paper ... ...ton and john Adams who’s views were that America should be run by strong federal government, and if we do not have strong militia and impose extensive taxation the country would collapse.