The United States has not always lived up to the beautiful sentiments of equality expressed in its founding documents. That many Americans owned slaves went against the ideals that we express. The Trail of Tears, Jim Crow laws, Japanese internment, and a host of other policies have treated people like they are less than what the Declaration says they are. The United States has often failed to live up to its self-evident truths. Yet, in many ways, the American story is the tale of a nation learning to be what it says it is.