Was Every Man "Created Equal" ?

Posted by Jason W. Michigan

The Declaration of Independence says that "all Men are created equal". Looking at the treatment of minorities during and after of which it was written, that statement says otherwise.

The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. One of the lines states, “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….” (US 1776). Many people see “all Men are created equal” and assume every individual is, or was equal. But many don’t come to the realization that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were slave owners. Minority groups have suffered greatly by the hands of the U.S. government. From slavery, massacres, and denial of entry to the United States.

Starting from the early 1600s to the late 1800s , African slaves were brutally lynched, raped and separated from their families by slave owners. Their names, identities, and human rights were stripped away from them. They were considered “property”, and were bought with money. From 1877 to 1964, African Americans fought for civil rights. EQUAL rights was what they fought for, despite being “created equal” like Declaration of Independence states. African Americans were separated from the Whites, enforced by the Jim Crow Laws. “Colored” sections in public places such as restaurants, offices, schools, and bathrooms were less funded for, and smaller than white sections. African Americans also received little to no schooling. Laws kept black and white schools from integrating. When walking down the street like a regular pedestrian, police officers used dogs and water hoses to terrorize and scare away African Americans. Even centuries after slavery, African Americans were still murdered lynched and murdered. Emmett Till, was a 14-year old African American boy, and killed for allegedly flirting with a white woman. “In 2017, Tim Tyson, author of the book The Blood of Emmett Till, revealed in the book that Carolyn Bryant recanted her testimony, admitting that Till had never touched, threatened or harassed her. “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” she said”, (history.com).


Native Americans were forced and killed off their land starting in the 1700s. They fought relentlessly to survive massacres enforced by the US government. The bodies women and children were scattered all around lands. Tons of Native American resources were destroyed so that Native Americans would die-out and lose power. Stereotypes of being things like savages, and a dirty dealin' Injuns" were placed onto them. During the "The Trail of Tears", the Cherokee tribe called their forced exile from Georgia to Oklahoma. The Cherokee faced hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the forced march. Over 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died.  Before the “Massacre at Sand Creek”, General S.R. Curtis sent a telegram stating, “I want no peace till the Indians suffer more”. Native Americans were a threat to the U.S. government, mainly because of their culture and power. And for those reasons, the slaughters went on for 200 years. 

In 1882, Chinese populations were restricted from entering the U.S. as immigrants through acts such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. They got placed in dirty facilities to live in , and waited for weeks, months, and years to become U.S. citizens, if they were qualified to. “Some advocates of anti-Chinese legislation therefore argued that admitting Chinese into the United States lowered the cultural and moral standards of American society”, (Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs).

Minorities in America have suffered in America ever since the United States of America was established. The line “all Men created equal”, was never directed for non-White Americans. Even if there were minorities that were free of slavery or violence, they still experienced racism, either directly or indirectly. Whether it was murder, racism, discrimination, degradation, or political corruption, minorities have been experiencing these terrors for hundreds of years. America as a whole needs to realize that there can always be a bigger story when it comes to certain concepts. If people knew the negative and dark backstories to the history of America, people could understand the struggle minorities experienced politically, economically, and socially. Currently, severe racism towards minorities has lessened substantially. But knowing the horrible experience brought onto them in the past, may give all Americans an awareness and empathetic attitude towards the topic now, and going into the future.


Overview.", "1600-1754: Native Americans: “1600-1754: Native Americans: Overview.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed, Encyclopedia.com, 2018, www.encyclopedia.com/history/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/1600-1754-native-americans-overview.

Iaccarino, Anthony. “The Founding Fathers and Slavery.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 28 July 2016, www.britannica.com/topic/The-Founding-Fathers-and-Slavery-1269536.

“Writing of Declaration of Independence.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2018, www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/writing-of-declaration-of-independence.

“Emmett Till Is Murdered.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2018, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-death-of-emmett-till.

Published on Jan 5, 2019
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