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What If Thomas Jefferson had successfully retained anti slavery sentiment in the Declaration of inde
“God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say:" This is my country."
Thomas Jefferson, known to be the author of the declaration of independence was also a well known representative of democracy and for the rights of men. If Thomas Jefferson successfully retained anti slavery sentiment in the declaration of independence our nation would have avoided so many losses. Our nation would be less branded by the losses that slavery has caused. Our nation’s outcries about the importance of liberty and democracy would not be over shadowed by hypocrisy. Finally we would have been more healed, less prideful, and less damaged by the mistakes of our past ancestor if we had anti slavery sentiment in the declaration of independence.
“Slavery may, perhaps, be best compared to the infantile disease of measles; a complaint which so commonly attacks the young of humanity in their infancy, and when gone through at that period leaves behind it so few fatal marks; but which when it normally attacks the fully developed adult becomes one of the most virulent and toxic of diseases, often permanently poisoning the constitution where it does not end in death.”
Olive Schreiner, Thoughts on South Africa
Without a doubt our nation's history has been scarred with the injustices of slavery. Examples of such societal damage in 1822 Denmark Vesey, when plans of a massive rebellion is made by thousands of slaves in Charlestown, South Carolina. But the freedman’s are betrayed, and he and 34 others are hanged. During the "Red Summer," scores of race riots left at least 100 people dead. These sparked by white resentment of African Americans working in industry, and their large-scale migration from South to North. Another example in 1932 the united states government begins a 40-year study in Tuskegee, Alabama, on the effects of syphilis in 400 African American men, never telling the subjects they had been diseased or offering any treatment. These men were trying to work for the rights they should’ve been given from the time they were born to the day they died. Not only have we lost fellow human beings to such unjust practices but we have also lost time. Placing anti slavery sentiment in the declaration of independence would have alluded time to develop our nation to become stronger, time to heal from the pains of slavery and overcome diversity, time to accept, and time to forgive. By not allowing anti slavery sentiment in the document said to recognize the unalienable rights that the constitution of the United States secures. It seems as if slavery was an omission to the chapter and verse of liberty made known in the declaration of independence and in the constitution of the United States of America. Slavery is beyond question the imperfection that blemishes the face of our nation even today.
Benjamin Franklin said that slavery was "an atrocious debasement of human nature" and "a source of serious evils.” James Madison called it "the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man." John Adams opposed slavery his entire life and referred to it as a "foul contagion in the human character" and "an evil of colossal magnitude.” Thought the delegates thought it was wrong to admit in any document representing the government that there could be property in men. The alterity of the use of the word property rather than person was a circumlocution to hide the hypocrisy of slavery. The representatives that reviewed and edited the declaration of independence took out the original paragraphs that pertained to the dark truths of slavery but they kept the part that stated "All Men Are Created Equal". When Thomas Jefferson wrote that document, he was the owner, and so continued until his death, of a large number of slaves. Did he intend to say in that Declaration that his negro slaves, which he held and treated as property, were created his equals by divine law, and that he was violating the law of God every day of his life by holding them as slaves? It must be borne in mind that when that Declaration was put forth, every one of the thirteen colonies were slaveholding colonies, and every man who signed that instrument represented a slaveholding constituency. Recollect, also, that no one of them emancipated his slaves, much less put them on equality with him, after he signed the Declaration. On the contrary, they all continued to hold their Negroes as slaves during the Revolutionary War. Now, do you believe—are you willing to have it said—that every man who signed the Declaration of Independence declared the negro his equal, and then was hypocrite enough to continue to hold him as a slave in violation of what he believed to be the divine law?”
Stephen Douglas, speaking at Galesburg
Thomas Jefferson later wrote in a letter "all eyes are opened or opening to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has not already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god.”
If anti slavery sentiment had successfully been a part of the declaration of independence our nation would be more healed, less prideful and less damaged by the mistakes of past generations of Americans. Thousands of hearts would not be plagued by with pride, shame, or sorrow. In 1965 August 11-16: Watts’s riots leave 34 dead in Los Angeles. In 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. it started violence in more than 100 cities. At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War. That’s who lost family, which lost history, which gave up their lives because of slavery. Millions of people would not have been damaged with manipulation, abuse, and mutilation. The hopes and aspirations of Americans 100 years ago and beyond that would not have been shadowed by hate, pain and a feeling alienation from society. “An injustice to one human is an injustice to humanity” Anne Frank. People would not harbor pains and poor memories of slavery in their hearts and would have been allowed more time to heal, forgive, and forget. In 1992 the first racially based riots in years erupt in Los Angeles and other cities after a jury acquits L.A. police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, an African American.
“This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor in which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.”
If Thomas Jefferson had successfully retained anti slavery sentiment in the declaration of independence our nation would be less scarred by the losses that slavery has inflicted upon us. Our nation's foundation wouldn't be in question or marred by the injustices of slavery and the hypocrisy that it comes along with. Finally we may have been more healed, less prideful and less damaged by the mistakes of the past ancestors. Like noted in the first written draft of the declaration of independence "all men are created equal that they are endowed by their nation's dedication to liberty and human equality creator inalienable rights, which among these rights are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
The Heritage Fondation. “How to Understand Slavery and the American Founding.” www.heritage.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2009.
PBS. “African American World Timeline.” www.pbs.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2009.
Suite101. “The Politics of Thomas Jefferson.” http://americanhistory.suite101.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2009.
USHistory. “The Declaration of Independence: The Want, the Will, the Hopes of the People.” www.Ushistory.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2009.
- - -. “The Declaration of Independence: When in the Course of Human Events...” www.ushistory.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2009.
Virginia Education. “Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government.” http:etext.virginia.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2009.
Washington State University. “Thomas Jefferson: The Declarationn of Independence.” www.wsu.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2009.
White House. “3. Thomas Jefferson: About the White House Presidents.” www.whitehouse.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2009.