Whether out of ignorance, or by attempting to rewrite history in order to carry out an agenda, "Progressive Regressives" often utilize the claim that Thomas Jefferson and other Founders were "slave owners."
When countering that claim, it is well to ask those know-it-all 21st Century "elitists" to consider the historical context within which America's Founders found themselves, as well as the enormous contributions they and their generations made toward eradicating slavery from these shores and creating a constitutional republic which could, ultimately, affirm and protect the rights of ALL people:
Of special interest in that regard is Jefferson's Autobiography, especially that portion which states:
"The first establishment in Virginia which became permanent was made in 1607. I have found no mention of negroes in the colony until about 1650. The first brought here as slaves were by a Dutch ship; after which the English commenced the trade and continued it until the revolutionary war. That suspended...their future importation for the present, and the business of the war pressing constantly on the (Virginia) legislature, this subject was not acted on finally until the year 1778, when I brought a bill to prevent their further importation. This passed without opposition, leaving to future efforts its final eradication."
Jefferson also observed:
"Where the disease [slavery] is most deeply seated, there it will be slowest in eradication. In the northern States, it was merely superficial and easily corrected. In the southern, it is incorporated with the whole system and requires time, patience, and perseverance in the curative process."
He explained that,
"In 1769, I became a member of the legislature by the choice of the county in which I live [Albemarle County, Virginia], and so continued until it was closed by the Revolution. I made one effort in that body for the permission of the emancipation of slaves, which was rejected: and indeed, during the regal [crown] government, nothing [like this] could expect success."Below is another quotation, cited in David Barton's work on the subject of the Founders and slavery, which also cites the fact that there were laws in the State of Virginia which prevented citizens from emancipating slaves:
"The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. . . . The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded who permits one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other. . . . And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep for ever. . . . The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. . . . [T]he way, I hone [is] preparing under the auspices of Heaven for a total emancipation."A visit to David Bartons web site (www.wallbuilders.com) provides an essential, excellent and factual written record of the Founders' views on the matter of slavery. One source he does not quote, I believe, is the famous 1775 Edmund Burke "Speech on Conciliation" before the British Parliament, wherein he admonished the Parliament for its Proposal to declare a general enfranchisement of the slaves in America.
Burke rather sarcastically observed that should the Parliament carry through with the Proposal before it: "Slaves as these unfortunate black people are, and dull as all men are from slavery, must they not a little suspect the offer of freedom from that very nation (England) which has sold them to their present masters? from that nation, one of whose causes of quarrel with those masters is their refusal to deal any more in that inhuman traffic?"
He continued: "An offer of freedom from England would come rather oddly, shipped to them in an African vessel, which is refused an entry into the ports of Virginia or Carolina, with a cargo of three hundred Angola negroes. It would be curious to see the Guinea captain attempting at the same instant to publish his proclamation of liberty and to advertise his sale of slaves." Ahhh, how knowledge of the facts can alter one's opinion of the revisionist history that has been taught for generations in American schools (including its so-called "law schools"!!)
Human beings are allotted ONLY A TINY SLIVER OF TIME ON THIS EARTH. (Pardon shouting) Each finds the world and his/her own community/nation existing as it is.
If lawyers and judges cared enough to educate themselves (in this day of the Internet) on the history of civilization and America's real history, and if they used that knowledge and the resulting understanding, to do as much on behalf of liberty for ALL people as did Thomas Jefferson and America's other Founders, the world in the next century would be a better place.
Remember: Thomas Jefferson was only 33 years old when he penned our Declaration of Independence which capsulized a truly revolutionary idea into a simple statement that survives to this day to inspire people all over the world to strive for liberty!
” Remember,Thomas Jefferson was only 33 years old when he penned our Declaration of Independence which capsulized a truly revolutionary idea into a simple statement that survives to this day to inspire people all over the world to strive for liberty!”
Remember, Thomas Jefferson owed close to 700 slaves during his lifetime. Freeing only ten of them. Five were freed while he was alive, the other five after his death.