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Investigating Jefferson's Definition of 'Equality - Essay Example

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English November 28, 2011 Investigating Jefferson’s Definition of ‘Equality The Declaration of Independence by Jefferson is an eighteenth century document that stands as a sacred scripture to the American civil religion…
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Investigating Jefferson's Definition of 'Equality

Download file to see previous pages... This document later on inspired the revolutionary efforts of the Americans and promoted their views and values regarding to the concept of a new nation. Declaration of Independence also played a pivotal role in many revolutions around the world, which occurred after American revolution.        Jefferson's document is popularly regarded as being fundamental in stating the rights of citizens. Americans, even today, believe that the phrase "all men are created equal" stated in the document is their fundamental right, and the document itself is the foundation for American equality. But Declaration of Independence (O’Brien) largely addressed to the American society and depicted only the moral rights of white free men. The rights of freedom and equality remained a dream for the women, Native Americans and African Americans of the eighteenth century American society. This paper is based on the Thesis Statement that Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia and Declaration of Independence depict his understatement of the African race.        The central theme of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence itself is against the African race that existed in America. Jefferson, as his central theme, holds that the purpose of the Government is to secure the rights of its ‘men’. ...
He was raised according to the infiltrating morals and values of the patriarchal society. According to the moral beliefs of the eighteenth century, in which Jefferson was born and lived, practicing slave holding and being dependent on slaves and slave labor were not morally wrong. Jefferson, who inherited the fortune of slave holding, did not free the slaves even after declaring his thoughts on "equality and freedom”. Though Jefferson identified slavery as morally wrong and emancipated for the freedom of slaves and abolition of slavery in his Notes, he continued this practice till his death. Jefferson, by calling his slave population as ‘blacks’, exposed his thoughts against racial integration. Though Jefferson is believed to be in favor of general emancipation, he considered slaves as sub-human and "inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind" (Voelker 2).       Though Jefferson holds the rights of a man for freedom and equality, we can see contradictory remarks about African race in his Notes and Declaration. Jefferson holds 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" (Jefferson). In Declaration we see him decrying slavery as a "“cruel war against human nature itself,” which violated “sacred rights of life and liberty”. He called slavery an “abominable crime,” a “moral depravity,” a “hideous blot,” and a “stain” that distorted “what nature had bestowed on us of her fairest gifts" (Boyd). But in Notes he held fast to his views that they are in "memory … equal to the whites; in reason much ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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