Danielle Allen, a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, is a political philosopher widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America.
Every Independence Day we stand together in rare bipartisanship and celebrate the Declaration of Independence and its defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But why not equality? As we debate the meaning of that concept in modern society, scholar Danielle Allen repositions it at the core of our Founding Document.
In Our Declaration, Allen reminds us that it is “all men are created equal” that immediately follows “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” Yet it is liberty that continues to trump equality in the national discussion over the Declaration’s legacy.
Aware that most adults have never read the Declaration of Independence, Allen sets out to reacquaint all Americans with this most seminal of history documents―arguably the most important document besides the Magna Carta―as well as to demonstrate why it is not only a pact affirming individual liberty (as the right regularly espouses) but an impassioned plea for equality.