Free Term Paper On Declaration Of Independence

Type of paper: Term Paper

Topic: Women, Slavery, Freedom, Democracy, Law, Declaration, People, Independence

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/11/17

Freedom is a concept that that has no universally accepted definition. The definition is fluid and changes from one group to another. The definition of freedom by women in the 18th century entailed having the ability to choose and participate in determining their own rights. The laws as they existed then did not give any allowance for the women to participate in debates about their own rights. The problem was more pronounced with the black women who were battling with being black and also being women.
After they were set free from slavery they would still receive discriminatory treatment akin to slavery. They would be arrested by officers who enforced the slavery laws. They had to work so that they could own property like free women. In their battle for rights the women did not attempt to restructure the political order in which they lived in but instead they fought their battles through petitions and filing of suits they also adopted other like means. They did not manage to achieve all the rights they fought for but they managed to get personal freedom. The black women utilized their personal resources and alliances together with the law to defend their definition of right.
The Declaration of independence of 1776 brought with it numerous declarations that sought to change how the 18th Century society interacted. The declaration is credited for changing the position of women in the society. Laws that were formed after the Declaration of Independence were viewed by women who had been subjugated for a long time as their salvation. Anne Hulton in “letter of a loyalist lady” says, “That in the new laws the government should be more generous with the ladies than their ancestors were.” The freedom and liberty that the women were to experience were to be pegged on the kind of laws that were to be made in the Declaration of Independence. Women argued that the men could not claim that the nation was free and independent while they continued to exercise arbitrary power over the women folk. “They wanted the law to recognize men and women as being equal before it.”
Women agitated for a platform to be able to express their grievances freely and having their voices heard. The traditional position of having women as subordinates whose work was to take care of children, whom at times they were equated to, needed to come to an end and women were ready to sacrifice their resources towards achieving those ends. Men who had defined for a long time the freedom for women by the virtue of being in power were reluctant to give in. The Declaration of Independence, however, had to be all inclusive and the women had to be brought on board. “Petitions were made to the writers of the declarations by several women to have the declaration include freedom of women from a feminist perspective rather from a man’s perspective of freedom”.
Women including those of South Carolina utilized the state legal system which was already tilted to their disadvantage by having it favor the white slave holders and uphold slavery. They found creative ways of maneuvering through the system to achieve their freedom. This showed that the women were ready to go through anything as long as they got their freedom. For the black women of South Carolina the road was marked with many perils and also pitfalls and it took a lot of courage to walk through this dangerous journey. Sometimes the women could be tricked into having a deed that would be drafted in the favor of the slave owners and to the detriment of the slaves. Given all the resistance facing women the Declaration of Independence was seen as that which would come in to save the women folk. The law started to change and things looked up for the ladies.
An 1800 Act came as a relief for the women. Under this Act, provisions that enhanced the freedom of women were made especially for the enslaved women at that time. Previously slave owners thought that the grant of freedom itself was a sufficient gift and nothing more. Now they started bequeathing the slaves some property apart from giving them their freedom. Several women received some financial assistance of some kind while others received substantial inheritances. The gifts were given to those who had sexual relations with the servants. Those masters with wives were, however, careful because they knew that their wives were bound to contest their wills as pertaining to the things left to the freed women slaves
Another Act that came to the aid of women was the 1820 Act. This Act equally made life for female black slaves in South Carolina harder. The Act was brought in place to check the population of the free black people which was growing at an alarming rate. The need of having the population checked was brought about by concerns by the white population who thought that their property was not safe with the population of black people being on the increase. The Act made a provision that before a slave could be freed legally the owner had to petition the legislature for an official manumission.
The process was hard because the legislators themselves thought that the number of black freed slaves needed to be controlled. This dealt a big blow to the progress that had already been made in securing the freedom of the black women. Some slaves were, however, freed by being released out of the State of South Carolina. What that portended to those who were released in that way was that they could not return home because as it were, they had been freed illegally without the consent of the legislator. Many other states like Georgia also came up with laws that sought to discourage the freeing of slaves and this dealt a blow to the progress that had already been done.
Many people were not pleased by the outlawing of owner initiated manumission. They never intended that to happen but it seemed and indeed was what the legislators had done. Petitions were made to the legislature by owners and slaves alike. Many people travelled out to other states where they could be freed. Once free, women labored a lot to be able to free their kin by buying them. The process proved costly and people remained in slavery thanks to the expensive process that was followed in acquiring freedom. There were additional problems in that most of the local authorities were slave owners themselves and since they did not like the 1820 Act they were reluctant to implement it.
The law pushed people to create ways of circumventing it. The slaves were forbidden from owning property but they would come into agreement with white people who would hold land on their behalf. They would have the land registered under the white owner but in the real sense the slaves would own the land; the white people were merely paper owners. The use of trusts also came handy in the transfer of property to the slaves.The extra-legal devices served to accord the slaves economic independence but nothing more than economic independence. There rose a group of slaves who were slaves on paper but essentially free.
Another Act came into place in 1841 because people were not obeying the 1820 Act and there was concern because of the number of propertied slaves which was on the increase. The Act provided more stringent rules for the freeing of slaves and also closed the option of acquiring properties through trusts. The women’s freedom options were thoroughly shrunk. The only option left open for the women was to apply for manumission from the legislator which was not readily given by the body.
The women struggled and were faced with numerous challenges in trying to achieve their freedom. However, they displayed a lot of courage and a strong will power to surmount the challenges they faced. The fact that they were a minority fighting a majority who were well placed with numerous resources at their disposal presented to them a very tough challenge. The laws that were made were geared at making them just mere items to be used and chattels capable of being owned and controlled by fellow human beings.
Women understood that they deserved better than the life of slavery. They also well understood the immense power that their adversaries possessed and the only way to defeat them was through the use of the thin legislations that were in place at that time and also through use of some crafty measures. They were wise not to use direct confrontation or violence as this would never have worked against a powerful enemy who controlled all the resources. Women did not only think about their personal liberty but they also had their families at heart. Once a woman gained freedom even if it was partial freedom, she worked to earn enough to free her kin. Women in this regard can be said to have been a very instrumental engine in securing the freedom of the whole family. The value of hard work runs through the whole struggle of women freedom, it was through hard work and relentless effort that they achieved the freedom of the whole family.
The declaration that all men are equal to women who had for a long period been subjugated in slavery came as a relief. To them it meant that they were going to be released from slavery and are no longer going to be treated as second class citizens. They could now forge ahead with the fight for their own freedom without much struggle if the declaration was to be followed. The declaration served to lessen the hassles and struggles they underwent to become free citizens and even get some recognition as proper human being in the society.
The legislation made under the declaration served to level the playing ground so that the formerly tilted laws that did not favor the women were replaced with more favorable laws. Some prohibiting Acts that had been previously crafted to the detriment of the women were not supposed to have any place with the declaration of all men being equal in place. This heralded a new dawn to women and gave them a voice. This is the time when women started taking their rightful place in society and could even contemplate the thought of being leaders although this would call for a lot of determination and marshaling together of a lot of courage as well as resources.


Eliz, Emery, and Mary Abbot. Letter to my Liberator. New York: Harvard University Press, 1926.
Hulton, Ann. Letters of a Loyalist Lady. New York: Havard University press, 1927.
Myers, Amrita. Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston (Gender and American Culture). Chapel Hill: Univ of North Carolina Press, 2011.

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WePapers. (2020, November, 17) Free Term Paper On Declaration Of Independence. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
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"Free Term Paper On Declaration Of Independence," Free Essay Examples -, 17-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 29-Sep-2022].
Free Term Paper On Declaration Of Independence. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 17, 2020. Accessed September 29, 2022.

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