America Was Not Founded on Slavery - Granite Grok

America Was Not Founded on Slavery

America was not founded on slavery.

The idea that America founded on slavery is an ignorant misrepresentation. Ben Shapiro addressed this leftist talking point and it bears repeating.

Not only is it a misrepresentation but its uses include justification of myriad complaints and ills. It is a citation in reference to affirmative action and federal transfer payments to low income minorities. It is used as a scapegoat for higher levels of black crime.

This misrepresentation is also used as a smokescreen for black educational underperformance. It is a gross overstatement to shock the sensibilities. And it deflects attention from valid issues and the need for personal responsibility.

Some history

Slavery was and is a grave moral evil. Humans are not and should not be treated as chattel property. It was also common practice worldwide at the time of the American founding. The states did tolerate slavery. The southern states fought for the continuation of slavery during the civil war. However, virtually all countries in human history also supported slavery during that time. This is not to say that doing it because everyone did it is an excuse. It is not.

But the countries in Africa were part of the slave trade. They started the logistics chain of slavery. Much of the slave trade originated in Africa. It was there that free people were captured and enslaved. They were then bundled, sold and shipped around the world.

The first European country to ban the importation of slaves was Denmark in 1803. Britain only outlawed the practice in 1807. The United States passed legislation banning further importation of slaves in 1808. Britain passed gradual abolition of slavery in 1833. Denmark abolished slavery in 1846, France in 1848, Brazil in 1851 and the United States in 1862.

Points in US history

Pretending the United States is unique with respect to slavery is historically ignorant. Many nations continued to practice slavery well into the 20th century. Islam allows it to this day. Saudi Arabia abolished slavery in 1962. From its founding, the United States tried to come to grips with slavery and phase it out. The state of Vermont was the first to abolish slavery in 1777.

During the debate over the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson wanted to include a provision to condemn King George for:

“… waging cruel war against human nature itself, … violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people, who never offended him… captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation hither.”

Removal of this provision was a demand of the southern states. The removal was in exchange for their joining the revolutionary cause. Having no choice, removal was done by Jefferson.

The constitution of the United States is frequently seen as enshrining slavery. But the “three-fifths clause” was actually an attempt to do the opposite. The whole question of popular apportionment rests on whether to count slaves fully for representation. Doing so would have put the slaveholding south at a particular advantage. They would count slaves in their population, then not allow them to vote, and use their increase in  representation as a way to re-enshrine slavery.

America’s foundation was freedom not slavery

Slave importation could occur under our constitution until 1808. Congress, however, chose to act in 1807 to end the practice then. Then the states fought a massive and bloody civil war to free the slaves. In the civil war over 620,000 Americans lost their lives settling the question. Putting that in perspective; more than half the total number of Americans to die in all our wars fell in the civil war. Frederick Douglass, former slave, abolitionist and a leader of the day supports the U.S. Constitution. He saw it as a plank of freedom not slavery.

The economy of the United States did not rely on slavery. The south’s economic power was dismal in comparison with that of the north. That is the reason why the north was able to outlast and overcome the south to win the war. America came into being not because of slavery, rather, it came about in spite of slavery. We fought the bloodiest war in our history to end it. America was not perfect at its founding. It is not perfect now. It is just way better than whatever comes in second. America was not founded on slavery. No one came here for the slavery. People come for the freedom and opportunity.