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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” This statement from the United States of America’s Declaration of Independence suggests that America is a land of freedom, as “all men are created equal.” Freedom, however, has not historically been available to everyone in America. Originally, it only applied to land-owning, white males, excluding women and non-whites. Some authors, such as Anne Bradstreet and Phillis Wheatley, show in their poetry how America has overlooked certain demographics, such as women and African Americans. Bradstreet and Wheatley take care to do this subtly, as they are representatives of their own restricted demographics and do not have the freedom to afford upsetting the powers that be. Others, such as William Cullen Bryant, romanticize America in their writings, glossing over any of its faults. Bryant attempted to reimagine America’s darker history of dealings with the Native Americans, but in his attempt to depict Native Americans sympathetically, he revealed his Anglo bigotry.


American Literature I