How Globalization Spurs Terrorism: The Lopsided Benefits of "One World" and Why That Fuels Violence

By Fathali M. Moghaddam | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
The American Dilemma
Becomes Global

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created
equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalien-
able rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness …”

These inspiring and immortal words, an essential part of the Declaration of American Independence (1776), are penned by Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), one of the founding fathers of the American nation. Unfortunately Jefferson never acted decisively to resolve what should have been an obvious contradiction: he owned several hundred slaves and did not see fit to free them all, even as a last gesture in his final will (he did free two in his lifetime and five in his will). Clearly, in practice “all men are not created equal” in Jefferson’s world, but this did not prevent Jefferson from preaching equality with sublime passion and eloquence.

When one visits “Monticello,” the home that Jefferson designed and had built for himself in his native Virginia, the brilliance and elegance of Jefferson’s mind come through, but the overwhelming spirit haunting the home is that of the hundreds of slaves who were owned by Jefferson and lived and worked on the grounds of his home and the surrounding countryside—always in captivity. One leaves Monticello with an uncomfortable feeling that the place represents contradictions, between lofty ideals and earthly practices. No amount of grand declarations can wipe away the cruelty and injustice of slavery, and the barbaric system that treated one group of humans like chattel but created luxurious personal benefits for Jefferson and others like him.

-143-

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