Living Up to the American Ideals

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, African American, United States Pages: 4 (1384 words) Published: January 23, 2013
“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.” This is how, in 1776, Thomas Jefferson began writing one of the most important documents in the History of the United States. This document is the Declaration of Independence. In these two sentences, Thomas Jefferson introduced a new outlook on the nation based on ideals. Since then, America as a nation has been trying to live up to the 5 American ideals; democracy, liberty, opportunity, rights and equality. People today strive to have the same opportunities as others. Women and African Americans fight for their rights and equality. And, America as a whole tries to live up to the ideal of Democracy. However, no matter how hard America tries, it is somehow still difficult to meet the ideals expressed for the people in the Declaration of Independence. One ideal that America has not reached is equality. Equality is defined as the ideal situation where everyone is treated the same and valued equally. Usually, the people who are affected most by inequality are African- Americans, women, immigrants and people of the lower economical class. Today, some Americans believe that women are having such successful careers, that they are replacing men as the primary source of income in America. While that is somewhat true, the women still make only 70% of what men make. The pay gap only shows women are still not equal to men and progress still needs to be made. African Americans are also not equal. Even after slavery has ended, Jim Crow laws went into effect, which meant that the best of everything was reserved for whites’ only-schools, jobs, neighborhoods, hospitals, etc. This meant that Blacks did not have the same opportunities as...
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