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  1. Understanding Independence: The Declaration of Independence and its legacy

  2. The Declaration of Independence “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.”

  3. What was “independence”? Who was “independent”? Who was “equal”?

  4. What was “independence”? Goals for today: Show how “independence” and “equality” changed in meaning during last 200 years

  5. What was “independence”? Goals for today: Show how different groups of Americans made claims to “independence” and “equality” using the Declaration of Independence

  6. What was “independence”? Groups Examined: Ordinary white men Slaves/African Americans Women

  7. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation

  8. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Revolutionary-era Americans had very specific ideas of who was “independent” and “equal” when it came to citizenship and political rights

  9. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Ideas came from European debates about ideology of “republicanism”

  10. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation What was republicanism?

  11. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Republicanism was a set of ideas about what it took to create a healthy republic

  12. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Republicanism was a set of ideas about what it took to create a healthy republic Based on lessons of failed past republics (Greek, Roman)

  13. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Why had past republics failed?

  14. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Why had past republics failed? Concentrations of wealth and political power

  15. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Healthy republic required citizens to be politically equal and independent

  16. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Healthy republic required citizens to be politically equal and independent BUT: to be politically “independent” one had to be economically “independent”

  17. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation What did it mean to be economically independent?

  18. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation What did it mean to be economically independent? Own property and especially LAND

  19. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Who was NOT economically independent (“dependent”)?

  20. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Who was NOT economically independent (“dependent”)? Children, women, slaves, men without land and property

  21. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Dependents considered a threat to the republic: they would vote as parents, owners, husbands, employers, etc. directed

  22. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Would lead to corruption: wealthy men dominating politics through control of dependents

  23. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation In colonial period, voting rights linked to land ownership (property)

  24. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation In colonial period, voting rights linked to land ownership (property) 2/3 to 3/4 of white families owned land

  25. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation In colonial period, voting rights linked to land ownership (property) 2/3 to 3/4 of white families owned land 50-75% of adult white males could vote

  26. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation New Revolutionary governments continued linking citizenship and voting rights to economic independence

  27. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Wealth standard for voters, even higher standard for political leaders

  28. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Property requirements for office holding

  29. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Property requirements for office holding In many new states, only wealthiest 10 percent could hold office

  30. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Property requirements for voting

  31. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Property requirements for voting Lower requirements than colonial period, so expanded voting

  32. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Property requirements for voting Lower requirements than colonial period, so expanded voting PA dropped property requirements altogether

  33. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Most white men could vote

  34. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Most white men could vote Black male property owners could vote in most northern states

  35. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation Most white men could vote Black male property owners could vote in most northern states Single women/ widows with enough property could vote in NJ

  36. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation The disenfranchised: Propertyless white men

  37. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation The disenfranchised: Propertyless white men All slaves

  38. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation The disenfranchised: Propertyless white men All slaves Most Free Blacks

  39. “Independence” for Revolutionary Generation The disenfranchised: Propertyless white men All slaves Most Free Blacks Nearly all women

  40. C19: White Man’s Democracy

  41. C19: White Man’s Democracy In Jacksonian period, “independence” changed:

  42. C19: White Man’s Democracy Now to be independent, one had to be a white man

  43. C19: White Man’s Democracy White men used Declaration of Independence as a way to claim equality among white men regardless of wealth

  44. C19: White Man’s Democracy New push was related, in part, to the growing wealth inequality of the 19th century in countryside and cities with industrialization and the rise of capitalism

  45. C19: White Man’s Democracy In many places, a majority of white men were landless (even on the frontier)

  46. C19: White Man’s Democracy Led to universal white manhood suffrage

  47. C19: White Man’s Democracy Led to universal white manhood suffrage Elimination of property requirements to vote in most states

  48. C19: White Man’s Democracy At the same time, state constitutions were rewritten to bar voting by everyone who was not a white man

  49. C19: White Man’s Democracy New Jersey eliminated voting for propertied single women and widows Other states rewrote constitutions to specify only men could vote (even though women never had voted)

  50. C19: White Man’s Democracy Constitutions banned Black voters