The idea of liberty and freedom has been a dominant feature of Amercian culture since its inception. The United States has been known as the Land of Freedom. This is a place where citizens can live in peace, enjoy their rights and be free from oppression. America has held on to freedom for decades, but freedom has become more of a part of its ideal culture. America’s history is marred by oppression, injustice, and the struggle for freedom. Although the Declaration of Independence was the first step towards freedom, the Declaration of Independence was not finalized.
There have been many obstacles for women as they pursue freedom. Women did not fight for freedom from Britain. Instead, they fought for freedom in their home country. The Declaration of Independence was used as a framework by Elizebeth Cady, Stanton’s founder. Although freedom was still free, the idea of it was used to accomplish a different purpose than that of its founding fathers. Histological circumstances had changed and so has the notion of freedom. The Declaration of Sentiments illustrates not only American beliefs and liberties, but also the possibility that their interpretations can be changed and reused for other purposes. Elizebeth Cady Stanton followed closely the Declaration of Independence’s style. This was to gain sympathy and develop connections between women, the American public and other people. Thomas Jefferson wrote that “we hold these truths in self-evident that ALL men are created equally.” Elizebeth Stone edited that sentence to make it clear that all women and men were created equal. The Declaration of Independence describes the “patient suffering of the colonies”, while the Declaration of Sentiments details the “patient suferance of women under government.”
The Declaration of Independence takes aim at King of England in addressing its grievances. For example, it says “He has obstructed Justice Administration” or “He’s dissolved Representative House repeatedly”. The Declaration of Sediments follows the same format but instead uses “He” to address the King and male oppressors. The Declaration of Sentiments echoes the Declaration of Independence style to show that American women are citizens. The style of the Declaration of Sentiments and the Declaration of Independence are identical, but the Declaration of Sentiments expresses American liberty in a different way. Stanton, on the other hand, was more concerned about the notion of martial freedom. The Declaration of Sentiments refers to the husband as the woman’s master-“the laws giving him power over her liberty.” Stanton further writes, “He has made them, if they are married, civilly dead.”
The times were changing. British monarchy no longer oppressed citizens. Their husbands oppressed them. Elizebeth Cady Stone concentrated on the rights of married women (Lewis) to have their children’s custody and divorce. She views martial equality as an American fundamental freedom. Women were defined as the women they were with, their mothers, sisters, and wives. Barbara Welter says that women should abide by the “four cardinal qualities- piety purity submissionness, and domesticity”. This was not assertiveness, independence, or the desire for self-representation. Stanton included in the Declaration of Sentiments that women were entitled to have their own representation in society, despite the fact that they could not freely represent themselves. Thomas Jefferson believes in fair representation and no taxation. Stanton is a proponent of the idea of representation of all men in the Declaration of Sentiments.
Both the Declaration of Independence as well as the Declaration of Sentiments consider integrity and respect to key elements of liberty and freedom. While they view integrity as an essential element, they have different ways of defining freedom and respect. The Declaration of Independence states that integrity and respect are violated by taxes without fair representation, keeping “in times of war, standing armies without our legislators’ consent” and by keeping “in time of peace,” standing armies without our legislators’ consent. The Declaration of Sentiments says that integrity and respect are violated by denying women equal access to college and lucrative jobs.
The Declaration of Independence holds that citizens must be considered subordinate to the monarch I. The Declaration of Sediments argues that women must be considered equal to men. Stanton’s Declaration of Sentiments states, “He has created an artificial public sentiment by giving to world a different code of Morals Delinquencies which excludes women from society, are not just tolerated, they are also deemed of little consideration in man.”
It is clear that while the Declaration of Sentiments sees gender equality in the Declaration of Independence as a key concept of freedom, the Declaration of Independence views it as a key notion. The ideas of liberty and freedom change as the historical context changes. Although freedom and liberty are always the same, they can be interpreted in many ways. The Declaration of Independence was made in a time of political justice and subordination to British King.