How did the condition of certain groups, such as women, black people, and Native Americans, reveal a contradiction in the Declaration of Independence?

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The Declaration of Independence states (1776) "that all men are created equal." However, Howard Zinn and some other prominent historians have pointed out that those words were a contradiction to the reality of America at that time. Blacks, women, and Indians were not granted the rights enjoyed by white men.

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The Declaration of Independence states (1776) "that all men are created equal." However, Howard Zinn and some other prominent historians have pointed out that those words were a contradiction to the reality of America at that time. Blacks, women, and Indians were not granted the rights enjoyed by white men.

The vast majority of black slaves were not helped by the Declaration of Independence. Northern states emancipated their slaves during or after the Revolutionary War (1775–1783), but relatively few black slaves lived in the North. Those black slaves in the South were granted freedom if they fought for the British and thousands of them did. Slaves were not freed until the Civil War—some eighty years later.

The legal status of women was not unlike that of children. They could not vote or hold office, and they had to obey their husbands. Abigail Adams, who was married to John Adams (second president of the U.S.), was among the few feminine voices that urged equality for women. The Revolution did not really improve the subservient status of women, though.

The Declaration of Independence did not help Indians either. Tribes chose sides: some fought for the British and others for the Americans. After peace with England was made in 1783, Americans pushed westward with renewed determination, seizing Indian lands with impunity.

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