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THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT is founded on the belief that equality should be available to all Americans regardless of race. While the modern civil rights movement is most closely associated with the 1950s and 1960s, its foundations were laid in the late 17th century. By the 18th century, opposition to slavery was widespread. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he included an antislavery provision but was forced to remove it in order to win southern support for independence. In 1787, during the writing of the Constitution, Gouvenor Morris attempted to constitutionally abolish slavery. Again, the southern states refused to agree.

By the 19th century, opponents of slavery banded together in various antislavery societies. William Lloyd Garrison, the founder of the American Antislavery ...

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