Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Society [excerpt]

Source Author
American Anti-Slavery Society
Source Date
December 4, 1833

More than fifty-seven years have elapsed since a band of patriots convened in this place1 to devise measures for the deliverance of this country from a foreign yoke. The cornerstone upon which they founded the Temple of Freedom2 was broadly this - "that all men are created equal; and they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness." At the sound of their trumpet-call, three millions of people rose up as from the sleep of death, and rushed to the strife of blood; deeming it more glorious to die instantly as freemen, than desirable to live one hour as slaves.

....Their grievances, great as they were, were trifling in comparison with the wrongs and sufferings of those for whom we plead. Our fathers were never slaves - never bought and sold like cattle - never shut out from the light of knowledge and religion - never subjected to the lash of brutal task-masters.

But for those whose emancipation we are striving - constituting, ad the present time, at least one-sixth part of our countrymen - are recognized by the law, and treated by their fellow beings, as marketable commodities, as goods and chattles, as brute beasts; are plundered daily of the fruits of their toil without redress; really enjoying no constitutional nor legal protection from licentious and murderous outrages upon their persons, are ruthlessly torn asunder - the tender babe from the arms of its frantic mother - the heart-broken wife from her weeping husband - at the caprice or pleasure of irresponsible tyrants.

This is just an excerpt. The full document is available here.

  • 1. This document was written in Philadelphia as the society was formed.
  • 2. The United States.
DBQ Excerpt