All Men Created Equal - Stephen Douglas versus Abraham Lincoln

Essay by David BartleUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 1996

download word file, 4 pages 3.7

All Men Created Equal

America has undergone incredible hardships as a nation. No issue has had more impact on the development of the American definition of freedom than the issue of slavery. Did the Constitution specify which men were created equal? Surprisingly enough the phrase 'all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights' did not mean what it does today. The nation was divided on the issue of slavery and the rights of the black man in its early stages as a growing republic. Abraham Lincoln was a brave pioneer who dared to rub his hand against the grain of slavery bringing the original ideals of America's founders to a new light. He was a man who felt he was witnessing a slow decay in the foundation of the American principles. His views were not met with unanimous applause from the American people. He battled against an equally strong constituency - the slave owner's and their presidential candidate, Judge Douglas.

Abraham's grounds for the abolition of slavery were based on the words that were scripted in the Declaration of Independence and the meaning of those words as they related to American citizens and the celebration of the 4th of July.

Many American's argued that the Negroes were not entitled to the same rights because they were not legally citizens of the United States of America. This issue was dealt with in the ruling of the Dredd Scott case. Lincoln points out that the ruling of the case was based on historical fact that was wrongly assumed. Judge Taney, who presided over the case stated that 'Negroes were no part of the people who made, or for whom was made, the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution of the United States.' This statement was later refuted by Judge...