There is an interesting tidbit in the Alexandar Stephen’s speech…

Posted: April 8, 2010 by datechguy in Uncategorized

that I referred to in my earlier post that upon reflection, is even more significant that the excerpt quoted by Rich Lowry and myself to the country at large today. It concerns the state of mind of the founding fathers concerning slavery. All emphasis that follows is mine:

First he acknowledges that slavery was the immediate cause of secession:

The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted.

He notes that Jefferson saw slavery as big trouble for the future. Stephens then makes a statement that is was not controversial at the time but would be a bombshell to anyone reading a 21st century history book in a high school:

The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically.

Remember that this speech was given in 1861. The enactment of the constitution was in LIVING MEMORY. He states without hesitation that most of the founding fathers thought slavery was wrong in every sense of the word. This would shock a lot of people in the race bating business. He then drops bombshell #2:

It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error.

He not only states clearly that the men of the time considered slavery evil but states they ignored it because they thought it would die out through time and the will of God (providence). He then explicitly states that this rested on the assumption of the equality of races. He is stating this as a member of congress for 16 year, a political man for a quarter of a century, top man in his class in college, and as a man known for his knowledge and intelligence. A man in a position to know .

Moreover he says it as a simple matter of fact, as a person who would have reason to know this. The concept that the men of the day, the founders, rested their opinion on racial equality was not odd to him, he just thought they were wrong.

Print out that paragraph of this speech and carry it with you. Whenever you hear someone going on about the “racist founders of the nation” or “a nation founded on racism” take it out and read it aloud to the person ranting in your face and see what they have to say. It should be very interesting.

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