Critical Understanding of Independence Day on Independence Day.
Originally posted in 2013.
Every schoolchild in the United States is exposed at one point or another to this famous passage from 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.” It is often cited, especially around Independence Day celebrations, as proof of the United States’ supposed moral infallibility and noble commitment to democratic ideals.
But for the vast majority of people who were alive for the drafting of this founding document, this was hollow rhetoric. Women were treated as the property of their husbands and fathers and had almost no civil or political rights. Even many white males were denied access to formal political channels due to property requirements for suffrage, and poor farmers were largely…
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