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Comparison of Eras


Submitted By frodo0509
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Freedom, no matter what era, suggests a vision of endless possibilities with no limitations. To quote Boston King, a slave, “I began to feel the happiness of Liberty…” (B. King). For hundreds of years the citizens of the United States have searched for happiness through the freedoms promised in the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution. The specific rights being sought have changed over time, but the message is loud and clear. It’s as if they are saying “We demand that the freedoms promised by our forefathers be upheld”

An examination of primary sources throughout history reflects these demands. A closer look at sources from the Civil War Era compared with sources from the 1960s reveals some interesting similarities and also some distinct differences in the pursuit of happiness through freedom.

Rhetoric used by Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy during their time in office, declare their support of the Declaration and Constitution. President Lincoln, in the Emancipation Proclamation, declares that "persons held as slaves...shall be...forever free" (Lincoln). In the 1960s, John F. Kennedy referred to "freedom” and "human rights" throughout his inaugural address. In each era, the citizens heard promises of freedom and they were hopeful because it was within reach.

It wasn’t only the Presidents who spoke of freedom and the Constitution. The citizens, themselves, were requesting that their rights be upheld. In the "Petition for Freedom to the Massachusetts Legislature, 1777", the Negroes were appealing to the court that they "be Restored to the Enjoyments of that which is the Natural Right of all men." (Natural and Inalienable…) The petitioners believed upholding their rights would bring them enjoyment.

Like the citizens in 1777, the citizens living in the 60s fought for happiness and satisfaction through their Constitutional rights. In the 60’s

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