The concept of “equality” proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence has proved to b
e most controversialwithin American society. Analyze the ways Americans, since 1776, has gra
ppled with the question of exactly what equality means, how it should be achieved, and to which
groups it applies. Be sure to use specific examples from the revolutionary era up through, roug
hly, the 1980s to ground your analysis. how
grappling with this question?
1. What doe equality mean to americans
2. How equality should be achieved
3. Who does this equality apply to
4. How successful have Americans been in understanding the ideal of equality
In this paper I plan on addressing many of the important perspectives surrounding race,
gender and equality which we have been studied in detail thoughout this course. I will begin my
essay by addressing what the common ideal of equality is among the American society in its
early years in accordance to the declaration of independence. Followed by an examanination of
which groups it either does or does not apply to and how those groups finnaly achieved their
equality. The three distoinct groips of people i will be discussing in this essay are native
americans, african americans and American women. I will conclude my essay by discussing in
further detail exactly how successful Americans have been in grappling with the question of
equality in their society.
Definition of equality in dec of ind
Throughout a majority Unite States history the meaning of equality was limited to white male
property owners. Although the declaration of independence clearly state’s all men are created
equal its intentions was contradictory to it claim, therefore up until in the early 1980s Africans
American, native americans, and women were not publicly accepted as the white ,mans equal.
Thus the justification for the discriminations which took place during the past 3 centuries sense
it was signed.
which groups it applies. + what it meant to the public
To the American society the concept of equality proclaimed by the declaration of
independence did not apply to native americans on the continent. Because native americans
were not of anglo saxon descent and did not believe in any organized religion or the ownership
of property, they did not fit the criteria stated in the declaration of independence of being a white male, property owner, thus the reasoning for the denial of their equal rights. Belived to be the
wilderness in need of being tamed.
As the new nation expanded further inward native americans were forced into accepting 3
options removal on to settlements further west in to the oklomahoma valley, incorporate
themselves into white civilization or face instinction. Through the leadership of Thomas
Jefferson and other presidents and a series of negotiations with native chiefs that were never in
their favor, native americans became reliant on American goods to survive. With the buffalo
gone the native plain way of life ended by end of 1880s much feelings of hopelessness , thus
their dependence on American goods made them easier to negotiate with.
To speed the process Jefferson made the indian removal act of 1830 which forcefully moved
all native americans further west into lands which were still unsettled (Oklahoma) by colonists.
Because many native americans were loosing their culture and traditions to interactions with
white, the public consensus was that this move was good because eit would give them more
time to adjust. The Cherokee nation tried suing the state of Georgia against the indian act but
were denied, because native americans are not US citizends they thefore have no rights under
the US constution and are unequal to US citizens.
Some whites are simpathertic to natives but vast americans are to cought up in progress
in what their country has gained npot what the native americans have lost
How it should be achieved
Their equality will be achieved through native nationalist organizations and protests. In 1925
native americans were made US citizens, in an attempt to assimilate them into us society and
culture. This did not work because in many of the cases they were discriminated, harassed,
given poor jobs and housing in cites. In the same way the black-nationalist were protesting
against assimiliation the natives were shouting out red power. They began to make
organizations to speak for themselves, in 1968 American indian movement AIM was created.
They aimed at the problems natives still living in cites were faced with. These organizations and
protests achieve some equality goals of, Better control over native reserves, Increased health
care on reserve and practicing of native beliefs.
Which group it applies to + what equality means to the public
In American society the concept of equality proclaimed by the declaration of independence
did not apply to African americans. Because slaves were not consider American citizens but the
property of American, therefore they were not white property owners. Thus, the reasoning for
their initial denial of equal rights under the declaration.
To the public it meant that anyone who was black in America was a slave and anyone who
was a slave in America was black. The general concept of slavery is a life long position, where the slave has literally no rights and the children of the slave also become the masters property
to do with them what he likes. A clear example of this occurred in the dred scot vs Sanford case
in 1857, where he sues his master for his freedom after being taken into suposely free tetoritory.
He loses the trial because slaves are still considered as property in the nation. Blacks are not
citizens so he did not have the right to sue.
The original one was just anti black this one is against anything changing even the new
women and immigrants
If u are not whit anglosaxon male they do not like u
They were a powerful body pretty much controlling Indiana
The ideal of slavery was felt differently by americans in the north. Although slaves were still
not considered American citizens, In many northern states laws were made to forbid slavery
because it was contradictory to their interpetations of the declaration of independence.
The signifance of slavery in America is that it provided two things. One a cheap labor force
for the growing nation and two it provided a unique social function creating unity among the
different classes of white (superior whites vs inferior blacks)
Similar to that of when the irish immigrants arrive they become seen as a other group vs
native born americans.
How their equality should be achieved
Blacks at war
The first significant achievement to black equality came during the war of 1812, when british
and colonial troops offered any slave who would fight for them his freedom. The second came
durirng the American civil war when salves ran across union lines away from their masters. This
allowed Lincoln to make them contraband of war thus injuring the confederate economy, this all
led to lincolns emancipation proclamation in 1863. This was significant for two reasons one it
freed the slaves in southern states and two it allowed them to enlist in the union army and fight.
In 1865 the 13 amendment was passed abolishing slavery in the entire US.
WW1 gave southern blacks the opportunity to move north, and change the national voting
demographic. Between 1915 – 1920 half a million (10% of southern pop) AA migrated into
northern cities to seek employment. This is significant to black equality because it led