All Men Created Equal America has undergone incredible hardships as a nation. No issue has had more impact on the development of the American definition of freedom than the issue of slavery. Did the Constitution specify which men were created equal Surprisingly enough the phrase “all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights” did not mean what it does today. The nation was divided on the issue of slavery and the rights of the black man in its early stages as a growing republic.
Abraham Lincoln was a brave pioneer who dared to rub his hand against the grain of slavery bringing the original ideals of America’s founders to a new light. He was a man who felt he was witnessing a slow decay in the foundation of the American principles. His views were not met with unanimous applause from the American people. He battled against an equally strong constituency – the slave owner’s and their presidential candidate, Judge Douglas.
Abraham’s grounds for the abolition of slavery were based on the words that were scripted in the Declaration of Independence and the meaning of those words as they related to American citizens and the celebration of the 4 th of July. Many American’s argued that the Negroes were not entitled to the same rights because they were not legally citizens of the United States of America. This issue was dealt with in the ruling of the Dredd Scott case. Lincoln points out that the ruling of the case was based on historical fact that was wrongly assumed. Judge Taney, who presided over the case stated that “Negroes were no part of the people who made, or for whom was made, the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution of the United States.” This statement was later refuted by Judge Curtis who shows that “in five of the the thirteen states… free negroes were voters, and, in proportion to their numbers, had the same part in making the Constitution that the white people had.” The fact that Negroes were citizens who participated in the framing of the Constitution gave them the same freedoms as the white men who helped shape the American ideals classifying the Negro as a “citizen.” The strongest persuasion that Abraham could have possibly given the American people were the words that the Declaration of Independence so powerfully spoke.
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Lincoln fully understood the phrase “all men were created equal” as pertaining to the entire human family. He explained: “[they] intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity.” This statement was perfectly logical. The Declaration goes on to state that the “inalienable rights” that human beings have are the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was the idea which Abraham believed was the “standard maxim for free society.” Abraham even used a parallel from the Bible.
“‘As your Father in Heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect.’ ” This quote from Matthew 5: 48 was used to illustrate that God had set an impossible goal for us to attain, and in the same way the framers of the Constitution and writers of the Declaration of Independence gave mankind an endeavor to give equality to all mankind. Douglas argued that the writers only meant to give the British citizens in America equal rights to the British citizens then residing in Great Britain. Douglas’ argument for this hypothesis was: “‘they [the writers] referred to the white race alone, and not to the African, when they declared all men to have been created equal'” It was terribly wrong because ‘white’ did not necessarily mean British. Where did this statement leave white immigrants from Germany and France who were not necessarily ‘British’ The Declaration was not meant as a mere statement of liberation from Britain but as the basis of a government that would uphold the belief that the people deserved to be free from a King or other form of rule which infringed on those rights that mankind deserves. In fact, what worth was the Declaration eighty years after it was written if it’s only purpose was as statement of independence from Great Britain What’s more, the Declaration of Independence would have given no freedoms to men residing in America if it had read, as Douglas implied, “‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all British subjects who were on this continent eighty-one years ago, were created equal to all British subjects born and then residing in Great Britain.’ ” To the citizen of the United States, the Fourth of July would have come to mean absolutely nothing if freedom was granted to an exclusive group of people. Though Americans were divided on the issue of Negro rights and their right to citizenship, an almost unanimous fear was the possibility of an increase in interracial marriages following the abolition of slavery.
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Abraham agreed with the separation of the races when it came to mixed blood. He gave Americans numerical statistics which showed that interracial marriages were significantly less within free states. The end of slavery (and thus separation of whites and blacks) “is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation.” The reasoning was based on the frequency of mulatto births arising from slaves and their masters in comparison to the number of mulatto births that were among free states. The mixing of the blood was occurring because the Negroes and whites were in forced contact. The elimination of an almost universal fear was yet another argument for the separation of the races. Although he was not a ‘modern day’ civil right’s activist, Lincoln’s logic eventually led to the abolition of slavery, tragically driving the nation into a state of civil war.
... two officers were affected by the not achieved American ideals of opportunity, equality and rights. America has ... States have to face and farther proves that America has not lived up to that ideal. Just like American ... to be made. African Americans are also not equal. Even after slavery has ended, Jim Crow ... were victims of a civil rights violation and sued the city and the state of Illinois, charging ...
However, the American ideals which he embraced have made their way into our modern societies standards leading to civil right’s programs which are constantly being reformed. Immigrants, of all nationalities and colors now look to America as a symbol of great ideals. Abraham said more prophetically than he could imagine that the American ideals of freedom should be “constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all peoples of all colors everywhere.” As a result of his push for the preservation of the American ideal of freedom, slavery no longer exists and is even considered unconstitutional on the grounds that it is in direct contradiction with the conception that “all men are created equal.”.