National Public Radio (NPR) threw a new twist on its annual reading of the Declaration of Independence last week, decrying it as a document with “flaws and deeply ingrained hypocrisies.”
“[The Declaration of Independence] famously declares ‘that all men are created equal’ even though women, enslaved people and Indigenous Americans were not held as equal at the time,” NPR wrote in an article based on its Friday broadcast of “Morning Edition.”
It said that the document was edited by the Continental Congress after being written by Thomas Jefferson, taking out references to the African slave trade and Scottish mercenaries in order to appease various members of the Congress.
“But a racist slur about Native Americans stayed in,” it added. “The passage charges that King George III ‘excited domestic insurrections’ among the colonists by Native Americans, who the founding document called ‘merciless Indian Savages.’”
NPR included commentary from Native-American author David Treuer, who claimed that a deeper look into history showed that one of the reasons colonists wanted to rise up against the British was over who would have claim over colonizing native lands west of the colonies.
“The crown wanted that money for themselves. The colonists, understandably, would have preferred to have it for themselves. So the whole revolution was in large part fought over who got to take our stuff,” he said, before stating that there are various thoughts and opinions from the peoples making up the 5 million Native Americans living in the U.S. today, many of them “deeply patriotic.”
“The declaration is a document with flaws and deeply ingrained hypocrisies,” the NPR article continued. “It also laid the foundation for our collective aspirations, our hopes for what America could be.”
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