Men are Created Equal – Almost

The United States at the time of the American Revolution (the signing of the Declaration of Independence) had a total population of 2,500,000 people in the 13 original states. Out of those 2.5 million, 500,000 were black slaves. In Virginia alone, there were 200,000 slaves. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both Virginians, owned about 200 slaves each. They were among the richest citizens in the country. John Adams from Massachusetts, a lawyer of modest means in comparison, owned no slaves at all.

The most famous section of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, reads:

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 these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

It would take another 90 years before slavery was abolished after the Civil War and another almost 150 years before women could vote.

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