A patriotic salute to our country and to all Americans on the 4th of July!
And now just a little dose of reality to leaven our celebration of the Declaration of Independence:
You probably know this, but let’s mention it anyway—those patriotic Americans who signed the Declaration really didn’t mean it when they said “all men are created equal.”
They certainly weren’t thinking about all of the poor, landless and otherwise disadvantaged white males who didn’t qualify in the various colonies to vote.
They certainly weren’t thinking about the roughly 600,000 slaves in the brand new United States. In fact, many of the signers owned slaves, and Jefferson’s draft paragraph decrying the slave trade was stricken from the officially adopted version of the Declaration.
They certainly weren’t thinking about Native Americans who lived in and west of the British colonies. The First Peoples were not mentioned in the Declaration in any positive way.
They certainly weren’t thinking about women. The prevailing mindset of the time, among men, really didn’t recognize any political role or rights for women. Abigail’s lectures to John Adams were marvelous; also, they were trivial marginalia in the great scheme of things during the Revolution.