Happy Independence Day

Brooklyn Law Library’s copy of the book For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence (Call # E221 .T74 2012) by Loyola University Chicago School of Law Professor Alexander Tsesis offers a well-researched narrative of the many surprising ways in which the Declaration of Independence has influenced American politics, law, and society. The drafting of the Bill of Rights, the Reconstruction Amendments, the New Deal, and the Civil Rights movement are all heavily indebted to the Declaration’s principles of representative government. The author demonstrates that from the founding on, the Declaration has played a central role in American political and social advocacy, congressional debates, and presidential decisions. He focuses on how successive generations internalized, adapted, and interpreted its meaning, but he also shines a light on the many American failures to live up to the ideals enshrined in the document. Based on extensive research from primary sources such as newspapers, diaries, letters, transcripts of speeches, and congressional records, For Liberty and Equality shows how our founding document shaped America through successive eras and why its influence has always been crucial to the nation and our way of life.

Chapters include: Becoming independent — The nation’s infancy — Youthful republic — Compromising for the sake of expansion — Jacksonian era democracy — Subordination — The unraveling bonds of union — Sectional cataclysm — Reconstruction — Racial tensions — Advancing women’s causes — The changing face of labor — International impact & domestic advance — The declaration in a New Deal state — Independence principles in the civil rights era.