“The rallying cry of that emancipation, animating every political act of the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln, would be the five immortal words of the anti-slavery Declaration of Independence—‘All men are created equal.’”


Jefferson drafted the Declaration, a committee reviewed it, corrections were made, and on July 2-4, Congress—in the midst of much other pressing business of fighting a war—edited it into the final form. They made important changes, including deletion of a passage denouncing the king of Great Britain for imposing the slave trade on America. This deleted passage sheds light on the meaning of America’s central idea, that “all men are created equal.”