Debate Magazine

The Founding Fathers and Slavery

Posted on the 21 November 2011 by Mikeb302000
The Founding Fathers and SlaveryI don't know about anybody else, but I get a little tired of hearing the gun-rights crowd so frequently referring to the Founding Fathers. The mere mention of these demi-gods is supposed to trump all arguments of common sense and pragmatism. But. I'm afraid it just doesn't work.
The Founders of The United States, authors of the Constitution, and several presidents who followed in their hallowed footsteps, right up to the Vice President under Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and the Hero of the U.S. Civil War, U.S. Grant, owned slaves. How could people such as these be revered as the paragons and patriarchs of individual rights? It's beyond me.

George Washington owned more than 200 slavesThomas Jefferson owned more than 100 slavesJames Madison owned and sold slaves all his lifeJames Monroe owned 30-40 slavesAndrew Jackson owned about 160 slavesMartin Van Buren owned at least one slaveWilliam Henry Harrison had several slavesJohn Tyler had slavesJames K. Polk had 15 slavesZachary Taylor owned more than 100 slavesAndrew Johnson owned 8 slavesUlysses S. Grant freed his slaves
What's your opinion? Are we to believe that these men were ahead of their time with regards freedom of speech and religion yet bought and sold black Africans? I can't reconcile that. Rather I think they were as self-interested and unscrupulous as our present day leaders. Which makes more sense to you?
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