Sarasota News Leader

07/04/2013

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OPINION THERE IS NO INDEPENDENCE WITHOUT EQUALITY EDITORIAL This year, the annual commemoration of our nation's independence from Great Britain falls only a day after the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. That provides a proper context for us to weigh two important documents on this day: The Declaration of Independence and Abraham Lincoln's eponymous Gettysburg Address. In fact, the Gettysburg Address was yet another expression of Lincoln's feelings about the true meaning of the Declaration of Independence — for we owe him for one of the most progressive and meaningful understandings today of that timeless document. During the 1850s, Lincoln sought to deflect the interpretation — advanced primarily by those sympathetic to slavery — that the phrase "all men are created equal" applied only to white men. In a debate against Stephen Douglas, Lincoln stated: It becomes obvious that the struggle for equality in this country continues because we have not been good students of history or good stewards of the legacy of those who birthed this nation. "I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not mean to declare all men equal in all respects. They did

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