It is amazing that a political document written 227 years ago could cause such argument, confusion, and pride in its history and still have any value in today’s society. The Declaration of Independence is just that document. The Declaration of Independence is a living document in the sense that its contents have been interpreted throughout America’s history to provide freedom and meaning to life.
When America’s forefathers sat down to write the Declaration of Independence they had no idea they were about to write something of such great importance. In fact John Adams stated that the Declaration was “dress and ornament rather than Body, Soul, or Substance,”. What they had not realized was that this Declaration was going to be a “national icon” to set moral standards to forever to come. Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Benjamin Franklin finished the Declaration of Independence on July fourth, 1776, just two days after America declared it’s independence from Britain. In July, 1777, congress had not thought of celebrating the Independence Day until it had already passed. In order to not let this great day be passed uncelebrated, they celebrated it on the day that the Declaration of Independence was approved and passed out to the new nation. As a result, America has the July fourth holiday.
The Declaration however, did not stimulate an immediate positive reaction from everybody. There was a lot of confusion for a long time about what the Declaration really meant. When blacks started asking for equal rights people argued with them that when the Declaration of Independence stated “all men are created equal” that this did not include blacks. For the most part this was true. Jefferson himself owned slaves during and after the writing of the great Declaration. People argued that equal creation was “a falsehood, and a most pernicious falsehood” and that “the principle, although lovely and beautiful, cannot obliterate those distinctions in society which society itself engenders and gives birth to.” However, a man named Benjamin Franklin Wade was a strong opponent of slavery and persisted otherwise. The “great declaration cost our forefathers too dear” and it was “worth the sacrifice of all else on earth, even life itself”. He also stated that “no man has a right to trample on another” and that all rights be “restored without delay.” Lincoln, who had just served his first term in congress, believed that the Declaration “contemplated the progressive improvement in the condition of all men everywhere.” Lincoln was going to fight for this belief.
Not only did the Declaration of Independence cause a lot of confusion to fresh Americans, but it also paved the way for many great changes that were yet to come. Americans started using the Declaration of Independence to “justify their quest for equality”. Slavery was slowly starting to be abolished in some areas such as in New York and New Jersey, not surprisingly, on July fourth, 1799 and 1804 respectively. The end of slavery was getting closer. On September 22, 1862 Lincoln stated in his Emancipation Proclamation that “slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”. Lincoln looked toward the Declaration for guidance and believed that the Declaration of Independence was the “father of all moral principles,”. The addition of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments into the U.S. Constitution by Lincoln’s party provided a guarantee to the protection and rights of black people in America. Blacks now had their freedom. If the Declaration of Independence was never composed these changes certainly would not have come so soon, if at all.
As a whole, the Declaration of Independence has brought many great things upon this country. Through times of war, conflict and through celebration the Declaration has kept us not only sincere to ourselves and to our fellow Americans, but to people all over the world. The Declaration has inscribed in us all, a true sense of morals.Free essay samples and research paper examples available online are plagiarized. They cannot be used as your own paper, even a part of it. You can order a high-quality custom essay on your topic from expert writers:
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