By: Aliyah Cofer

How did the Declaration of Independence lay the foundation for abolishing slavery?

Benjamin Franklin (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence), along with other Founding Fathers such as John Quincy Adams and James Otis believed that Great Britain forced the colonist to participate in the buying and selling of human beings from other lands. James Otis, one of the Founding Fathers of Massachusetts said in 1764, “The colonists are by the law of nature freeborn, as indeed all men are, white or black.” (Wallbuilder.com/West)

The Declaration of Independence was written to inform England that the colonies wanted to separate from the rule of Great Britain and it was adopted July 4, 1776. Our Founders were very unhappy with the demands and rules forced on them by the King. They were in fact treated as subjects or slaves to the crown. As a result, they decided to write a document that would free them and allow them to live and work under guidelines that allowed them to be free from enslavement to Great Britain. This action is the beginning of the belief that slavery was wrong and should be abolished.

The second paragraph of the declaration states their belief that all men should be free and equal. Part of that paragraph reads as follows:

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. That to secure [ . . .] (U.S. Hist.org.)

About eleven years after the Declaration of Independence was passed, the Constitution to the United States was signed in 1787 to protect the rights established. A few years later, President Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 in an attempt to abolish slavery. This proclamation declared all persons held as slaves to be free. President Lincoln recognized that the proclamation would not end slavery, but it set out the initial desire to do so. The issue of abolishing slavery is covered in the 13th and 14th amendments to Constitution. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in 1865. It states that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction (Our Doc.gov.). The 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868. This amendment “secures and protects rights against state infringements, grants citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, thereby granting citizenship to former slaves, prohibits states from interfering with privileges and immunities, requires due process and equal protection, punishes states for denying the right to vote.” (Amer.Hist.com)

The Declaration of Independence paved the way for the complete abolishment of slavery. After the colonies achieved independence from England, no southern state actually abolished slavery, but there was a lot of anti-slavery sentiment. The Declaration of Independence created not only a new union, but created a vision that the new union could survive without slavery. In the south, many groups formed that were against slavery. The state of Washington set their slaves free and helped to provide for their well being. Virginia changed its laws to make it easier for slaves to be freed. The delegates gave Congress the power to end slave trade after 20 years. The Declaration of Independence was the first document created that put forth the idea that man has natural rights and should have equality which led to the abolishment of slavery in 1865.

Works Cited
“The Declaration of Independence.” Ushistory.org. Ed. U.S. History.org. 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .
Kelly, Martin. “14th Amendment Summary – What Is the Fourteenth Amendment.” American History From About. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.

“Our Documents – 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865).” Welcome to OurDocuments.gov. Web. 27 Feb. 2011. .

“WallBuilders – Issues and Articles – The Founding Fathers and Slavery.” WallBuilders | Presenting America’s Forgotten History and Heroes, with an Emphasis on Our Moral, Religious, and Constitutional Heritage. Ed. Wallbuilder. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .

By: Nissaba Stover

Crispus Attucks

Integrity, honesty, courageous, inspiring, bold, superb, patriotic, a true martyr. These are all words that can characterize the man that is Crispus Attucks. Attacks was a former slave of two descents (Native American [Wampanoag] and African.) Attucks fell to his death on March 5, 1770 after leading a group of colonists barring wooden clubs on an attack against British Redcoats sent from England to keep colonists in their places. But why would an African American risk his life for a country that was currently doing their best to suppress and take away any pride, dignity, courage, and most importantly freedom from his own people? Three words, equality, freedom, and independence. Attucks died to pave a path that he hoped would lead to exactly that.

Crispus Attucks was born circa 1723 in the colony of Boston, Massachusetts. Attucks was born as the son of a Native American woman by the name of Nancy Attucks and African-born father by the name of Prince Younger[1]. Attucks was born into the world of slavery and lived in the estate of his father’s master. Attucks was later sold to Deacon William Brown of Framingham[2]. Unhappy with his situation, Attucks fled from the Brown estate and became a wanted run-away slave. “Long as in freedom’s cause the wise contend,”

In the Fall of 1768, British soldiers were sent to Boston to control the colonial unrest. Despite the Redcoats’ presence and loaded bayonets, tensions rose within the colonists that opposed the presence of the British Redcoats. The tension eventually became too much to hold internally. Eventually, anything could set off these colonists. Around dusk on March 5, 1770 a group of colonists confronted a guarding Redcoat who had earlier on that same day struck a boy for complaining about an officer being late in paying their bill for the barber[3]. This confrontation led to a gathering of townspeople and soldiers from the British 29th Regiment of Foot that ended in an unsavory dispute. “Dear to your country shall your fame extend;”

Colonists threw snowballs and debris at the soldiers. During this time Attucks lead a group of colonial men bearing wooden clubs toward the Old State House. One of the soldiers was stricken with a piece of wood (some say by Attucks) leading the soldiers to open fire on the rowdy crowd of men and colonists. When the soldiers opened fire Attucks was the first of the colonists to be shot dead during this battle later named,” The Boston Massacre.” The two shots that pierced through the chest of Attucks killed him on the spot. On that day Attucks became a martyr of the American Revolutionary War. On that day Attucks didn’t just fight for the  independence and rights of colonists throughout the colonies, but for the independence and rights of African Americans and Native Americans due to his heritage and background. In 1888, the city of Boston unveiled a bronze and granite statue on the Boston Common to recall Attucks as the “first to die for independence.”[4] “While to the world the lettered stone shall tell,”

A normal run-away slave. Attucks’s motive was simply independence and a sense of fellowship. Attucks, at that turning point did not turn around and leave the British soldiers to do more harm, but instead fight for what belonged to the people of the colonies. Attucks built a road to independence and to this day, African Americans are free, men and women have gone and landed on the moon, and there are presidents of different races, the road has not reached a dead end. Crispus Attucks and the Boston Massacre left four colonists dead and freed a nation more do to its influences. “Where Caldwell, Attucks, Gray, and Maverick fell.”

Citations:

[1]: “Crispus Attucks.” footnotes.com. N.p .n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.

[2]: “Crispus Attucks.” footnotes.com. N.p .n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.

[3]: “Crispus Attucks.” footnotes.com. N.p .n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.

[4]: “Crispus Attucks.” footnotes.com. N.p .n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.

“”: The epitaph on Attucks shared monument

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