Sample Essay

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The American founding fathers were members of the colonial elite. They were all highly educated in the classical tradition and their concepts of freedom and liberty agreed with those of the ancient Greeks and Romans who saw liberty as being the collective right of the free men of a state in determining the policies of the government and their freedom from arbitrary orders issued by heads of government (Constant).

The founding fathers saw their liberties under threat from some pieces of legislation passed in the British parliament regarding the American colonies. Their main beef with the British government was that since the American colonies had no representation in the British parliament, the parliament should have no power to pass any laws concerning the colonies.

The Declaration of Independence starts off with a declaration of belief that all men are created equal and have a right to freedom (Jefferson). Nowadays this declaration is usually understood to mean that Human Beings of all races, nations and creeds are created equal in their humanity and no human should ever be made a slave of another, but in fact there is little evidence that the founding fathers ever adhered to this view. Jefferson himself was a slave owner, and had house slaves as well as slaves working on his plantations in Virginia. Although some of his statements with respect to the institution of slavery show that he disapproved of slavery; however his disapproval was mild and obviously was not of the extent that would force him to free all his slaves (Miller).

Jefferson did not believe that all human races were equal in humanity either. Rather he seems to have believed that Black people were somewhere between White people and orangutans in evolutionary development, as evidence of this idea he makes the claim that male orangutans prefer Black women to female orangutans (Miller).

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