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The Declaration of Independence Essay

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Updated: Dec 8th, 2019

The Declaration of Independence is one of the most influential laws on which the modern principles of the American civil society are based. The norms which are presented in the Declaration were connected with all the aspects of the development of the American society in the 18th century. One of the most important statements in this document declares that all the men are created equal. Thus, equality is one of the most significant principles according to which the American society should develop.

However, the notion of equality can be discussed from many sides and include many factors. Today it is rather difficult to correlate the idea of equality of all men given in the Declaration with the fact of slavery’s development in the American society of the 18th century. That is why it is necessary to concentrate on the Founders’ vision of equality and its relationship with slavery as the social phenomenon.

To understand the sources of the controversy between the declaration of equality and the development of slavery, it is significant to focus on the Declaration’s words. Working out the text of the Declaration, the Founders accentuated such notion as the men’s equality meaning the human equality or the equality given by God during the creation of people.

Thus, saying that men are created equal, the Founders believe in this equality because all the people are equal in their relations with God. Moreover, the human equality can be considered as the right which is given to all people from their birth. That is why all people are equal in possessing such human rights as life and the pursuit of happiness. Furthermore, because of their equality according to their human nature, all people are equal before the law.

These principles were not associated with the issue of slavery and social and economic inequality of ‘whites’ and ‘blacks’. According to the consideration of equality as a social category, the Founders determined many additional aspects. Thus, the main accent was made on the equality of white people in society. In spite of the fact the Founders criticized the fact of ‘color dominion’ in the American society, the problem of equality was not discussed with references to this issue.

If the Founders developed the idea of the abolition of slavery, they concentrated on the economic issues as the main reasons for the changing the situation. Thus, John Adams focused on the fact that slavery was economically disadvantageous for the development of the states. In his turn, George Washington considered the situation of slavery as the unhealthy one for the American society and hoped for its slow reforming and changing.

Nevertheless, the difference between the natural and social understanding of equality was not developed enough during the period of working out the Declaration. That is why the Founders differentiated between God’s providing equality for all people and the socio-economic aspect of the problem of equality between ‘whites’ and ‘blacks’.

Equality as the natural right was connected with the ethical question and was also discussed by the Founders as required its immediate solution, but the solution of the problem could be developed only on another level, involving socio-economic factors of slavery as the base for the society. That is why even criticizing the fact of slavery, the Founders could present the solution to the problem of inequality only in many years.

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