Wow. Want to watch a lefty pull out his hair and and foam at the mouth? Declare that the Founding Fathers were against slavery. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) did, and judging by the spittle that’s been flying ever since, you’d think she’d declared something really incendiary, like evil capitalists didn’t cause global warming or God created us or that blobs don’t magically transform into babies at moment of birth or some other gosh-awful forbidden speech.
Here’s something fun: Watch this clip of Chris Matthews flipping out and pretend that it is Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly. Then listen to all the liberals NOT shrieking for a boycott of MSNBC.
I guess if you don’t have the facts, you don’t have the luxury of engaging in courteous debate, but instead must resort to name-calling, ridicule, verbal bullying, and then center your entire rebuttal around piddly, quarrelsome, hair-splitting nonsense, like whether John Quincy Adams was a “Founding Father” or whether stating that the Founders worked toward ending slavery makes you an idiot because they weren’t alive when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Why do lefties go crazy when they hear someone praise the Constitution and the founders? If this keeps up I’m going to think that they don’t like them very much. Nineteenth Century African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass did. He called the Constitution a “glorious liberty document.” And he was right. Douglass recognized that the three-fifths clause which Matthews went into conniptions over was a compromise that reduced the representation in the pro-slavery southern states of South Carolina and Georgia so that they wouldn’t have enough votes in the congress to impose pro-slavery laws upon the entire nation. They would have preferred not to have the slaves represented at all, because counting the slaves meant more pro-slavery votes for slavery. The slave owners were the ones pushing to count their slaves as a whole person, does Matthews want to call them anti-slavery heroes?
There are more anti-slavery sentiments written by our Founding Fathers than I have time to copy down or you probably have time to read. I will excerpt some, however. For example, Thomas Jefferson, who Matthews maligned and slandered during his diatribe, had embedded a blistering indictment against slavery right into the Declaration of Independence (later removed through the objections of the representatives from South Carolina and Georgia). Here is a sample:
he [the king of Britain] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold…
He was not alone, as historian David Barton has carefully documented:
Other prominent Founding Fathers who were members of societies for ending slavery included Richard Bassett, James Madison, James Monroe, Bushrod Washington, Charles Carroll, William Few, John Marshall, Richard Stockton, Zephaniah Swift, and many more.
In fact, based in part on the efforts of these Founders, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1780; Connecticut and Rhode Island did so in 1784; New Hampshire in 1792; Vermont in 1793; New York in 1799; and New Jersey in 1804. Furthermore, the reason that the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa all prohibited slavery was a federal act authored by Rufus King (signer of the Constitution) and signed into law by President George Washington which prohibited slavery in those territories.
It is not surprising that Washington would sign such a law, for it was he who had declared:
“I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it [slavery].” —George Washington
John Adams — Notice a few additional examples of the Founder’s strong antislavery sentiments:
“[M]y opinion against it [slavery] has always been known… [N]ever in my life did I own a slave.”
—John Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. President. The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1854), vol IX pp. 92-93. In a letter to George Churchman and Jacob Lindley on January 24, 1801.
“[W]hy keep alive the question of slavery? It is admitted by all to be a great evil.” —Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Kate Mason Rowland, Life and Correspondence of Charles Carroll of Carrollton (New York and London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1898), Vol. II, pg. 231.
“As Congress is now to legislate for our extensive territory lately acquired, I pray to Heaven that they …[c]urse not the inhabitants of those regions, and of the United States in general, with a permission to introduce bondage [slavery].” —John Dickinson, Signer of the Constitution and Governor of Pennsylvania. Charles J. Stille, The Life and Times of John Dickinson (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1898) p. 324.
“That men should pray and fight for their own freedom and yet keep others in slavery is certainly acting a very inconsistent as well as unjust and perhaps impious part.” —John Jay, President of Continental Congress, Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Governor of New York. Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York and London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1891), Vol. III, pp. 168-169. In a letter to Dr. Richard Price on Sep. 27, 1785.
“Christianity, by introducing into Europe the truest principles of humanity, universal benevolence, and brotherly love, had happily abolished civil slavery. Let us who profess the same religion practice its precepts… by agreeing to this duty.” —Richard Henry Lee, President of Continental Congress and Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Memoir of the Life of Richard Henry Lee and His Correspondence With the Most Distinguised Men in America and Europe (Philadelphia: H.C. Carey and I. Lea, 1825), Vol. I, pp. 17-19. The first speech of Richard Henry Lee in the House of Burgesses.
“[I]t ought to be considered that national crimes can only be and frequently are punished in this world by national punishments; and that the continuance of the slave trade, and thus giving it a national sanction and encouragement, ought to be considered as justly exposing us to the displeasure and vengeance of Him who is equally Lord of all and who views with equal eye the poor African slave and his American master.”
—Luther Martin, Constitutional Convention Delegate. James Madison, The Records of the Federal Convention, Max Farrand, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. III, pg. 211.
“Domestic slavery is repugnant to the principles of Christianity… It is rebellion against the authority of a common Father. It is a practical denial of the extent and efficacy of the death of a common Savior. It is an usurpation of the prerogative of the great Sovereign of the universe who has solemnly claimed an exclusive property in the souls of men.” —Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Minutes of the Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates From the Abolition Societies Established in Different Parts of the United States, Assembled at Philadelphia, on the First Day of January, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Four… (Philadelphia: Zachariah Poulson, 1794), p. 24. “To the Citizens of the United States.”
“Slavery, or an absolute and unlimited power in the master over life and fortune of the slave, is unauthorized by the common law… The reasons which we sometimes see assigned for the origin and the continuance of slavery appear, when examined to the bottom, to be built upon a false foundation. In the enjoyment of their persons and of their property, the common law protects all.” —James Wilson, Signer of the Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court Justice. James Wilson, The Works of James Wilson, Robert Green McCloskey, editor (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967), Vol. II, pg. 605.
“It is certainly unlawful to make inroads upon others… and take away their liberty by no better right than superior force.” —John Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration of Independence. The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), p. 81, “Lectures on Moral Philosophy.”
I could go on. But I gotta go to the store. It makes you wonder, though, doesn’t it? Why did Bachmann hit such a nerve just by saying something nice about some dead guys who sacrificed a lot to provide a pretty wonderful legacy of freedom to us all.