Living Up to Our Declaration of Independence
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Grade Level: 6-12+
How has freedom increased within the U.S. to include more groups of people?
The Declaration of Independence contains some of the most powerful words ever written:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
But at that time, the words didn’t apply equally to all. There were people held in slavery. Women, regardless of race, didn’t have rights, either.
Individuals from these groups, like Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglass, seized not only on the ideas in the Declaration of Independence, but also used the powerful words themselves in order to expand liberty and equality for more and more people.
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
According to the Declaration, the government has no power without the consent of the governed. See how the people, the governed, expanded liberty and the pursuit of happiness for themselves and for others.