Thoughts on the Declaration of Independence and Slavery

It may seem odd at first that the Declaration of Independence doesn't address the issue of slavery. The left, of course, uses this as an opportunity to attack it. How could all men be created equal while slavery still existed? However, the issue was not so cut and dry. Slavery was ingrained into every culture on earth, and ending slavery wasn't something that could be changed in one night, the Civil War proved that. We of course inherited our slavery from the British.

The first draft of the Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson, did make a direct condemnation of slavery:

He has waged 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 … And he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he had deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

This may seem odd at first for someone who himself owned slaves, which he inherited at the age of 14. But what is lesser known is that Virginia laws prohibited Jefferson from freeing his own slaves due to the fact that he was in debt. In any case this paragraph was eventually scrapped because not all of the colonies would have signed off on it, and they needed everyone to sign on if they were to be successful.

The idea was that the issue of slavery would be addressed at a later time. It was a declaration of independence after all, and not a declaration of emancipation. Besides that, they couldn't tackle the complex issue of slavery while trying to fight a war with the British. However, when the founders stated "all men are created equal", it was an indirect assault on slavery, the first shot across the bow. Without the Declaration of Independence there would be no United States. Without the United States the Civil War would have never happened, and slavery may have continued on even longer.

That the United States ended slavery less than a century after conception should be applauded. Other nations held slaves for far longer before ending the practice. In fact, many nations have fought wars to acquire slaves, but the United States is unique in that it fought a war to end slavery. Happy Fourth of July!!!

Views: 46

Comment by Jerseygal on July 23, 2016 at 7:46am

This is an excellent piece, Watchman!  That fact about Jefferson being legally unable to free his slaves is little known.  I only learned of it a few years ago.  

While there will likely always be prejudices in people's hearts, I see each generation, since I was a child, having less and less prejudice against those who are different.  It will never be perfect, but the BLM thugs are not helping it get better either.

Comment by Watchman on July 24, 2016 at 12:38am

Thank you JG, I didn't know it either until I heard Glenn Beck's series on Slavery and the Founders, which is well worth listening to:http://www.glennbeck.com/2016/06/27/slavery-and-the-founders-the-fo...

I agree, we had made great progress from the days of segregation up until Obama became president. He has managed to undo a lot but not all of it. I'm confident things will normalize again once we have better leadership.

Comment by Robin on July 29, 2016 at 10:06pm

Good post and good information, Watchman. Tweeting this out too. 

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