Chapter

The Declaration in a New Deal State

Alexander Tsesis

in For Liberty and Equality

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780195379693
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949847 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379693.003.0015
The Declaration in a New Deal State

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The Great Depression of the 1930s shattered the era of general prosperity that the United States had enjoyed after the First World War. Labor groups discovered that at a time of great economic distress the principles of the Declaration of Independence informed their efforts for equality. From then through to the Second World War, the proposition that government was created by consent of the people to protect inalienable rights continued to energize disparate social movements. Having moved beyond the nineteenth-century debates over abolition and women's suffrage, which had so often invoked clauses of the Declaration of Independence, reformers turned to new matters. The supporters of economic and social equality began to petition the federal government to be more active in securing the Declaration's guarantees of the people's right to “safety and happiness”.

Keywords: Great Depression; Declaration of Independence; social movements; equality; safety; happiness

Chapter.  6810 words.  Illustrated.

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