The Struggle for Equality

The American Revolution Museum of Southern New Jersey will also examine the promise of the Declaration of Independence’s statement that “All men are created equal”, and the struggle for equality to the present day. As a new museum in 2026 dedicated to the American Revolution in 2016, we understand the present debate regarding the origins of our country related to 1619 as compared to 1776.

We need to tell a more balanced and fair history of the American Revolution. The Declaration’s intention was for the equality of men, but in reality it was for taxpaying and/or land-owning white males which were about 6% of the populations. 

Our museum will address the issue of equality as an ever-evolving struggle as explained through milestone Constitutional amendments, laws passed by Congress, Presidential Executive Orders and Supreme Court decisions including:

The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal”.
US Constitution preamble states “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…and to secure the blessings of liberty”.  
Slave population was counted as 3/5th of a person.
US Constitution “Bill of Rights”
for citizens, generally property-owning or tax-paying white males. (6% of population)
Naturalization Act
limits naturalization of immigrants to free white people of good character.
Alien and Sedition Act
made it harder for immigrants to become citizens.
Dred Scott v. Sanford
free and enslaved Americans of African descent were not considered American citizens.
Civil Rights Act
Congress passed law that declared African Americans born or brought to the United States as citizens and entitled to equal protections under law except for American Indians.
US Constitution’s 14th Amendment
Gave citizen rights and legal protection of laws for former slaves. Also the 13th amendment (outlawed slavery) and 15th Amendment (African American males can vote) passed simultaneously.
Civil Rights Act grants access to public accommodations.
Chinese Exclusion Act
10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration.
Plessy v. Ferguson
Validates the principle of “separate but equal” which ushers in the Jim Crow era laws.
US v. Wong Kim Ark
Supreme Court rules that 14th Amendment granted equal protection to all persons born in the US regardless of race or ethnicity.
Lochner v. New York
Supreme Court ruled that 14th Amendment cannot be used by a State to limit work hours (legislated 60-hour maximum).
19th Amendment gives women right to vote
American Indians granted citizenship and the right to vote.
Korematsu v US
Supreme Court ruled that the detention of Japanese during World War II was a military necessity not based on race.
President Truman ends segregation in the US military.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
Supreme Court overturns principle of “Separate but equal”. Rosa Parks begins the Montgomery Bus Boycott
President Eisenhower sends US Troops to Little Rock, AR to enforce desegregation of schools.
Civil Rights Act
Reaffirms voting rights for all Americans.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans take part in the March on Washington to call for racial equality.
Civil Rights Act
Outlaws discrimination in public accommodations and by employers.
Loving v. Virginia
Supreme Court rules that sixteen states laws banning interracial marriage violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated, Civil Rights Act
outlaws discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.
University of California v. Bakke
Supreme Court upholds affirmative action, allowing race as one of several factors in college admission policies.
The Americans with Disabilities Act
A civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
Romer v. Evans
Supreme Court addresses sexual orientation and state laws.
Obergefell v. Hoges
Challenges state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
US v. Windsor
Supreme Court provides federal recognition of same sex marriages which is a violation of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment.