“Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.” These are the words of Ronald Reagan, former President of the United States of America, speaking on the topic of freedom, a subject he frequently dealt with during his long presidency. Over the years, freedom in the U.S. has become an increasingly controversial topic, and the effectiveness of the government in affording these freedoms has been called into question. Through certain historical documents and events, the government’s effectiveness at ensuring freedoms for all can be confirmed.
The occurrences of several major events in the history of America eventually gave all blacks equal rights and fostered a culture of change in American society. The Emancipation Proclamation of 1862, written by President Abraham Lincoln, was one of the most important documents in the history of the nation, and served to officially and permanently emancipate all slaves from their owners, and to erase the black stains of legalized bigotry from the principles of an entire nation. From the document: “I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves [. . .] are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive Government of the United States [. . .] will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons” (Lincoln 1). Although the decree was little more than symbolic, it initiated the slow but gradual process that eventually granted blacks with the very same rights and freedoms that were already afforded to whites. Only three years later, the intentions from the Lincoln’s Proclamation were officially and legally solidified with the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment, which stated that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude [. . .] shall exist within the United St...
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