Your assignment will be a discussion/analysis of this important section from the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.
As Dr. Igler has stated, the Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most important document in United States history. It was the colonists’ formal notice that they were no longer British subjects–they were Americans.
Over the course of this quarter, we’ve learned about the role of gender and race in Colonial America: between men and women, European settlers and Indigenous peoples, indentured servants and enslaved peoples, etc. etc. You’ve learned how differently people were treated based on their identity.
In 300-400 words, I’d like you to reflect about about the excerpt above, critically thinking about race & gender and the beginning of a “new” nation. Here are some guiding thoughts:
- Consider the type of people who wrote the document (hint: White colonial men)
- Who did they envision would be a part of their new nation?
- Would everyone be treated as “equal,” and be able to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?”
- Consider the position and experiences of Native Americans, enslaved Africans, and women
- Do you think the formation of the United States changed their circumstances in any way? If so, how?
To help you, use the American Yawp textbook, Chapter 5 “The American Revolution,” which was the assigned reading last week. Primary sources #5, #6, #7 might also be helpful to look at. And of course, anything from lecture or discussion.
Please do not use outside sources. Please do not plagiarize. This is not a group assignment. I want to hear your thoughts and insights.
**The American Yawp: A Massively Collaborative Open U.S. History Textbook. Stanford University, 2019. http://www.americanyawp.com
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