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Word Count: 1,203
All men are created equalthey are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness Thomas Jefferson The Declaration of Independence is to me the founding document of America It is what made America what it is and made Americans who they are But it is also a controversial document in that who were considered men is unclear Today men encompasses just about everyone including women and minorities in most aspects Everyone has a right to liberty unless they give up that right by breaking the law and everyone can pursue a life that will make them happy though that doesnt always happen This was not always true In our nations beginning the men of the declaration only included white property-owning males Where did this leave the rest of America and how did they feel about it Two authors that answer this question are Frederick Douglass in his speech What to the Slave is the Fourth of July and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in her Declaration of Sentiments First the issue of manhood left many to question what the Declaration of Independence was all about Who was a man and what about those who werent Douglass addresses this issue in his speech On page 1888 of The Heath Anthology of American Literature Douglass states The manhood of the slave is conceded It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding under severe fines and penalties the teaching of the slave to read or to write When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave So if the slave was a man shouldnt he be entitled to liberty Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty that he is the rightful owner of his own
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