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Slavery and Democracy

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I deeply regret the tone and the thrust of an article by Ulrich Boser that appeared in the January 24, 2005, edition of U.S. News & World Report, entitled "The sorry legacy of the founders", which started out by informing us that George Washington hired a dentist to implant nine teeth into his jaw taken from the mouths of his slaves, that Sally Hemings, a slave, was the mistress of Thomas Jefferson and had at least one child by him, and that Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, and James Monroe also had slaves that they treated in a manner that was customary at the time.   My regret over this story raises to the level of alarm when I also consider the fact that a question asked on the TV game show Hollywood Squares recently was something like, what did Patrick Henry, who is famous for his quote, "give me liberty, or give me death", have fifty of?   The answer: slaves.

Before proceeding let's make it perfectly clear that I do not believe such information about our founding fathers should be suppressed.   I also fervently agree that slavery was a black mark upon the history of this nation.   This being so, I will accept at faced value the validity of the statements made in subject article.   However, I do question the timing of the release of these new revelations concerning the moral turpitude of our Founding Fathers.   Beyond this, what really upsets me is the quote by Rutgers University historian Jan Lewis added as a conclusion to his article, which was, "Understanding the early leaders' severe lapse in judgment over slavery, say Lewis and other historians, makes their ability to found a new and democratic nation all the more incredible".   I am upset by this quote because of the realization that this is the kind of revisionist historical claptrap that is being taught to the future leaders of this nation throughout the nation's educational systems.

"To entrust the government with the power of determining the education which our children receive is entrusting our servant with the power to be our master." -- David Nasaw

The first thing wrong with the quote is that it perpetuates the great establishment lie of omission; that the Founding Fathers found a "new and democratic nation".   This is only one-half the story and the far more important half is missing.   Our Founding Fathers found a new democratic republic; a democracy because of an elected leadership and a constitutional republic because that leadership was bound by sacred oath to religiously abide by the provisions of our constitution.   This is why we pledge allegiance to a Republic and not to a Democracy.   It is the Republic that must be preserved because our rights and freedom depend upon its preservation.   The Republic is the only thing that limits the freedom of action of those who lead us and thereby it is the only thing that stands between us and tyranny.

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." -- John Quincy Adams

Our present leadership, drunk with power and motivated by greed, shun the concept of a Republic.   Therefore, through time they have slowly weaned Americans away from the notion of a "republic" and replaced with the concept of "democracy".   To be sure, you will never ever see the word Republic used by the media or politicians any more.   The word is anathema to them for two reasons; they have destroyed the one we had and because obeying the supreme laws of our nation limits their power and control over us.   Concerned primarily with advancing their careers, the historians of today, now follow the party line and set aside the truth and expound the myth.   Like Judas, for a few pieces of silver, they have sold their soles and have become willing participants in the great "con".

The second thing wrong with Mr. Lewis' quote is that it states that Founders had a sever lapse in judgment over slavery and that this makes their ability to found a new and democratic nation all the more incredible.   From this statement, one is forced to conclude that there was nothing special about the Founding Fathers.   In fact, not only were they not very special people, they were capable of sever lapses in judgment and the nation they founded was more of an accident than the result of ideals and tried-and-true principles of governing.   The unsaid implication being that the government we have today is far superior to the one we first had because no one in a position of leadership today ever advocated owning slaves and abusing them.   What pure unadulterated claptrap.

There was something very special about our Founding Fathers.   The were men of intelligence and good will who came together and, to a man, put petty self-interest aside and attempted to create the best of all possible governments for themselves and more important for their fellow citizens whom they distrusted as much as they distrusted the government they were attempting to create.   True, they were human to a fault.   They had mistresses, they beat their wives, and they owed and abused slaves, but this does not make what they did incredible.   What was incredible was that they put all of their petty and major faults aside and came together to create an ideal government.   Not only did they accomplish this, but they succeed far beyond their wildest dreams.   This is evident in the fact that the nation they created grew to be the greatest in the history of the world.

Those in power today would have us believe that the Republic disappeared because similar the ideals of the Founders, it was seriously flawed.   Furthermore, it was the ascendancy of democracy in America which allowed a former race of slaves to break their chains of bondage and take their rightful place as true equals in a multi-racial society.   Again, nothing could be further from the truth.   The Founding Fathers created the best of all nations for its people and by doing so laid the seeds for the eventual emancipation of the slaves and their rise to full equality as citizens of this great nation.   Evidence of this is that fact that nowhere in the constitution is "slaves" or "slavery" mentioned.   They were intelligent enough to know that human bondage was incompatible with the document they were creating and all that was necessary to turn things around was to substitute the word "citizen" for "property" when talking about slaves.   Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation did just that, placing former slaves under full protection of the Constitution and setting the stage for achieving full equality under the law.   This result, though won at a great cost, was inevitable.   No man is free unless all men are free.   Our constitution held the promise of freedom and under it, despite the transgressions of our Founding Fathers; blacks have taken their rightful place in the body politic of this nation.

If anyone tells you or implies that democracy is the reason blacks hold equal status with whites today under the law, ask him if at the end of the Civil War, if this issue were put to a vote, would the blacks be free?   If at the turn of the previous century in 1899, if a vote were taken, would the blacks be free?   Similarly, if a vote were taken in 1950, would the blacks be free.   Granted, the deeper we go into the 20th century the stronger the case would be for freedom, but where does that line really fall?   More importantly, where would it fall today if we were a pure democracy and all Americans were free to vote their fears and prejudices?   The answer to this question is obvious.   If it was up to the general population of white America, blacks would still be "choppin cotton"; if not as slaves then as indentured servants.   The Constitution was the vehicle by which blacks earned their rightful place in our society.   True they were helped my plethora of intelligent and well-meaning whites, but the truth of the matter is that throughout our history, your average Joe American liked thinking he was superior to somebody and would have voted to keep blacks in the dreadful place that fate had bestowed upon them.

It was our Constitution that set black America free, not Democracy, but the leadership of this nation would have you think otherwise because the stronger your belief in democracy is, the more freedom they have to rule us and the less freedom we have as citizens.

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Al Adaschik was born in New London, Connecticut, on June 27th, 1943. He was raised in Brooklyn, New York and attended Franklin K. Lane High School. Upon graduation, he was accepted as an engineering student at the University of Michigan in its (more...)

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