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Madison Mackay

History 2700-Moore
Document Paper 2

America has always been focused on the ideas of freedom and liberty, but even
with these ideals forms of oppression have also found their way into Americas
foundation. Through the constructs of slavery, the tyranny of the majority, and the
growing gap between the rich and the laboring poor, we find that America was not only
built on freedom but also on the backs of those who were constantly oppressed. In three
different articles we can see specific examples of this oppression and how the democratic
republic flourished from them.
Alexis de Tocqueville was a French aristocrat searching for democratic lessons in
America that he hoped could profit Europe (Industrial Aristocracy). He wrote down his
findings and discovered that democracy is directly linked to the advancement of an
industrial aristocracy. He acknowledges how the factory worker becomes an expert in a
certain skill while the master casts his eye over a more far-reaching ensemble, and his
mind extends as the workers shrinks (Industrial Aristocracy). The masters gain all the
credit needed for an empire through the hardworking laborer who is slowly becoming
less of a man. This shows that through the oppression of one individual leads to the rise
of another.
Another place we see this is through the idea of the tyranny of the majority. The
decisions of a society are being made exclusively by the majority while the minority is

left behind. In an excerpt from Tyranny of the Majority is explains how the American
government praised those of the majority and criticized those of the minority.
You are free not to think as I do; your life, your goods, everything remains to you;
but from this day on, you are a stranger among us. You shall keep your privileges
in the city, but they will become useless to you; for if you crave the vote of your
fellow citizens, they will not grant it to you, and if you demon only their esteem,
the will still pretend to refuse it to you. You shall remain among men, but you
shall lose your rights of humanity.
Though the American government had its flaws it also became very powerful.
Opinions of the people were the driving force behind the democratic republic, but
because of this many thoughts of the minority went unnoticed.
Finally we look at the argument of Salmon P. Chase who was deemed the
attorney general of the fugitive slave (Constitutional Limits of Slavery). He argued that
slavery was unconstitutional and that it didnt agree with the original policy of the
government. He states that slaves were spoken of in the Constitution as persons held to
service, not as persons held as property (Constitutional Limits of Slavery). He also
acknowledges the fact that no power is conferred on Congress either to establish or
sustain it so in doing so he states that it only up to the State to handle slavery
(Constitutional Limits of Slavery).
Through all of these documents we can see a pattern of oppression within the
United States. Though it focused on freedom and focused on the liberty of the individual
it still held some hypocritical flaws through slavery and aristocracy. We still have
problems in our society today, but the ideals of freedom are still present.