It was easy enough to laud the Declaration's signers. Of greater moment was the need to live up to its dictates. Speaking at a Civil War veterans' reunion in 1875, Sen. Oliver Morton of Indiana happily proclaimed, “We are now a united country, and the great doctrines of the declaration of independence ... are now in operation.” Despite this rosy picture, the document's symbolic value did not change the fact, as William Lloyd Garrison put it, that although constitutional amendments had nominally bestowed on blacks equal privileges as citizens, the “Declaration of Independence still” had yet “to be carried out” in reality. Garrison also denounced the states for granting women less political power than the British had given the colonists.
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