Vincit Amor Patriae. On July 4, 1863, rebel forces surrendered to Grant at Vicksburg, and the Mississippi was now “unvexed to the sea.” The day before, the rebel army was defeated at Gettysburg. The great Civil War to end America’s original sin had reached a tipping point. After more bloody battles, the Union would prevail. Slavery was wrong and incompatible with the idea of equality. According to Republican Senator Carl Schurz, the XIII, XIV and XV amendments that resulted from the war were the “Second Founding,” “a constitutional revolution.” Not only did these amendments abolish slavery, but were, according to their authors, guarantees of Jefferson’s natural laws of equality. Equality for the Black Man. Unfortunately, when Reconstruction ended, freedom for Black men and women disappeared with federal troops and equality was delayed and justice delayed is no justice.
On July 4, 2022, we again celebrate this founding document, but we should remember the words of Lincoln that, “The declara[tion] ‘that all men are created equal’ is the great fundamental principle upon which our free institutions rest….They meant to set up a standard maxim for a free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere.”