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the second paragraph of the declaration is one of the most amazing set of phrases ever written it is the Creed of what makes America and now what makes the aspirations of many people around the world let's just read that first sentence which of the second paragraph which is just awesome it's we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness all men are created equal to pared down by their creator with certain unalienable and the pursuit of happiness let's start even with the word we who's we we it says is the the American colonies now gathering as the United States of America but they're basically white males everybody at that convention is a white male most of them landowners so what the arc of American history shows is that word we begins over the course of decades and then centuries to include more and more people eventually it includes freed slaves eventually it includes women but that's a narrative of American history is who are we that have these truths is self-evident that we're all equal now it's also interesting the phrase self-evident you know this is something that comes from the rationality of the scientific era we were in this is an age right after Isaac Newton has made everything in the universe rational through scientific laws and it also comes from some of the philosophers especially David Hume that they're just certain things that are self-evident so that's an important concept that they're not appealing to anybody else to say you know what are these truths they're saying this is just our rationality tells us this is true but then they say all men are created equal now they say man back then men was supposed to be a phrase that was more inclusive than just Mayo or man all right it's like mankind to some extent but then again you know at least Jefferson he owned slaves and women they weren't necessarily given the right to vote so even though they mean men sort of like mankind they also really generally mean men at this point and once again this is where the American narrative starts and fortunately that phrase gets expanded over time as to what they mean right right look at the phrase created equal what does that really mean well first of all it doesn't mean that people are always equal at a certain point in life Jefferson owns a whole lot of property and Franklin is quite rich as a printer and different people have different statuses in life but they're saying that in a fundamental political way we all start off we're created equal we have certain rights that you just can't take away from us whether a rich or poor or whatever those unalienable rights or life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and as I'm guessing it's also doing at the King because when oil tea kind of the one underlying assumption is that it's inherited and that right you are created better off right and Thomas Paine who is a pamphleteer has just written has just written this document common sense and that's helped inspire everybody and at the heart of the document common sense is that there's no Divine Right of Kings Divine Right of Kings was a British concept which meant God made certain people more equal or better than other and the king was you know by divine right had these powers and we're saying no the Kings don't have any more powers Ben Franklin was very much of that way which is he hated the notion of aristocracy that some people were born noble and some people were born hours to Craddock and some people were born royal and whatever but think about it for a moment what was Thomas Jefferson thinking guy who owns a lot of slaves what was he thinking when he writes this amazing phrase all men are created equal you know I think he was very conflicted I mean here's a guy who did not end up even freeing most of his slaves you know in his lifetime and yet he could write these inspiring words and if you read about Jefferson you know that was the fundamental conflict and it's a conflict that we as a nation have been wrestling with here and and and as a slave owner he but he also knew them very well he knew them as as human beings perhaps like well he had died father children was one of the slaves Ben Franklin is interesting because early on in life he had two household slaves who he didn't really treat his slaves but they were his household servants and he has allowed the advertising of slavery in the Pennsylvania Gazette the newspaper that he published but he realized after he writes these words created equal he realizes how a pourraient that he is to his own notions that people are created equal and of course he's all by then freed his slaves but he becomes a president of the Society for the abolition of slavery in Pennsylvania as a way of trying to make up for the fact that he had erred he had he had been wrong when he was young to tolerate the institution of slavery and he becomes an abolitionist of course John Adams from the very beginning was an abolitionist this is important for people to realize you know when you take a American history class it seems like obviously everything comes to a head right leading up to the Civil War but this this was already starting to become an issue a moral issue a philosophical issue even at the founding of the country and a political issue as well because if you want Jefferson and you want Virginia in you know the reason John Adams he was a great abolitionist but there were no plantations there was no cotton been growing in Massachusetts but if you were a cotton farmer or you know a plantation owner in Virginia you tended to own slaves and it becomes a great political issue with the slave holding States have to be brought into this union we see that conflict of the constant when the Constitution is written you know a deck you know eleven years later they're still having this conflict on what do we do about slavery yeah and it will continue for another 70 something years yeah if you want to say that it was totally resolved by the Civil War and there will be some who will say that that was the original stain on this unbelievably beautiful phrase which is that all men are created equal yeah very cool