In 1776 America began with the words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal …." These words founded the nation on equality rather than ethnicity, liberty rather than race. But in a little over 80 years, Americans turned on each other in a civil war over slavery and what "created equal" meant. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments emerged from the carnage in an attempt to fix the framers' failure. Each amendment ends with, "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." These amendments set a new and ever higher threshold for individual liberty. But the choice between the two Americas remains as relevant today as ever. Will we be a government by the people, of the people, and for the people or not?
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