The rebellion here against the king began
in earnest with the document which held
that "life and liberty" were "rights" of "men"
and so was the pursuit of “happiness”,
that word that Jefferson had changed from “wealth”.
Of course, by “men”, it meant a certain class,
of a certain “race” – and women weren't "men",
and even less were those of African
or "Indian" descent. And even "Whites"
would first need land – and only then be "men".
And so it was that men of wealth could vote
and make the laws that others then obeyed.
On "ownership" it rested, all that those
who'd ventured forth from Europe's thrall now built,
the ownership of land, of slaves – and more.
For this, they saw, was how they could pursue
the founders' goal of wealth (read "happiness").
So Africans transported here in chains
would work as slaves to feed the founders’ dreams,
and natives would be massacred, till next
to none remained – in this new paradise.
And shortly after revolution here had won,
the French rose up against their king and court,
but there the banners that they raised declared,
“Liberty, equality – and
fraternity” for all. And so we see
the ends were not the same – except the first,
and “life” for France’s old “nobility”
was not a right, as all that followed showed.
And nor did those, who led the masses here,
consider brotherhood and equal rank
for all as goals for which they fought, believed,
but rather as the very things they feared
the masses might then glimpse and dare to reap.
And this is evident in what they wrote
in letters – or discussed, with records kept,
and less in public documents, unless
one studies how they argued every line.
And so those leaders labored mightily
to keep the greater public in their place.
And till the civil war would pit the North
and Industry against the South, the ones
who owned the land (and plenty of it),
wrote the laws to suit their land-lord-schemes.