Special Topics in Media
September 22, 2014 The Declaration of Independence
After being ruled by Great Britain for almost 200 years, the leaders of the 13 colonies, grew fed up with the tyrant government and decided to write a formal complaint declaring their independence. In this document the leaders not only, spoke on behalf of the people against the oppressive laws and governing of the Great Britain King, but they also established moral standards to which United States should strive. Although the Declaration of Independence states that all individuals are created equal and are born with the natural god given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, some would argue that this document is one huge contradiction which did not intend to include the rights of all people, while others might view this document as the first step towards equality for all mankind.
Is the Declaration of Independence one huge contradiction? Some could say it is merely a document of complaints drafted by Thomas Jefferson and a hypocritical group of “American Leaders” who were tired of being controlled by Great Britain. To think the authors of this document actually had the audacity to speak so blatantly against some of the exact forms of oppression they continued to directly inflict on Africans’ for almost one hundred years after gaining the country’s independence from Great Britain in 1776. Not to mention the 100s of years of mistreatment prior to this sudden realization of the equal rights of all mankind. It’s like the old unanswerable question, What Came first the Chicken or the egg? In this case it’s what came first the racist consensus by all white people that African Americans weren’t considered human or the tyrant ruling of Great Britain that forced this mentality onto the lives of a civilized group. Slavery started in 1619 only 12 years after the 13 colonies where colonized by Great Britain. Given the savage behavior and reputation of the British Empire, it’s easy to believe that the concept of the enslavement of thousands of African was devised by such a dictatorship.
Although the American leaders had benefited and survived off the suppression of another group’s rights for so long, they couldn’t fathom their rights being infringed upon any longer. They drafted the declaration of Independence to assert their rights, however they never intended for the document to apply to the rights of all people. They knew that to include the African Americans would be indirectly denouncing the system that had sustained their economy for hundreds of years. That’s why the original drafts of the Declaration of Independence that included clauses that mentioned African Americans were extracted before the final publication. The authors didn’t want to offend white southerners who were still benefiting from this slave system that just so happen to resemble the policies of the British Empire.
Although the authors of this great document might have felt it was necessary to define the rights bestowed upon each individual at birth to successfully explain their reason for overthrowing the government, ignoring their own participation in unjust practices makes this document appear contradictory. The authors of this document believed every man was created equal and reserved the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, yet they miserably enslaved thousands of human beings on their plantations for hundreds of years. According to this document these “American Leaders” felt that it was the job of “the people” to elect a specific group to govern over the community. Whenever the community was unpleased with the way the government was running the land it was the right and obligation of the people to overthrow that government. Yet they never gave the Africans the chance to choose their own government and the disobedience and revolts of the enslaved resulted in the murder of hundreds of innocent people.
When the “American Leaders”