Judging our founding fathers has become a popular topic since the 2016 election. Outrage and protests are symptoms of the anti-Trump backlash. Some of the examples,
- A white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue resulted in a tragedy due to a violent clash with Antifa. The driver was convicted of hate crimes and murder and sentenced to life plus 420 years.
- A confederate statue in front of the Durham, NC courthouse was pulled down and destroyed during daylight by protesters while police watched. There were no charges for the vandalism.
- “Silent Sam” confederate statue at Chapel Hill, NC was saved from the same fate. During the last year, security costs to protect the statue were $390,000. The cost to relocate the statue to a new building will be $5.8 million-plus $800,000/year security costs.
- In San Francisco, a large mural depicting George Washington needs to be painted over. The cost will be $600,000 in total, $500,000 for the environmental study.
- Most of the Democrat Presidential candidates and members of Congress are in favor of reparations for ancestors of slaves.
- Democrat Presidential candidate, Marianne Williamson, went to a church and asked the white people to apologize to the black people. Here is the clip.
- The Charlottesville, Virginia city council unanimously voted to replace Thomas Jefferson’s birthday with a floating holiday. Charlottesville was Jefferson’s home and is the location of Monticello.
These are just a handful of the many examples across the country related to slavery questions. For decades, including the 8 years that Obama was President, none of these were a problem. But after Trump was elected then racism was everywhere.
This article is not about debating if the above items are right or wrong. The focus of this article is to evaluate the impact of the founding fathers were hardliners on slavery. This discussion includes, what if the South knew that in 70 years there would be a war forcing them to abolish slavery.
During the late 1700s, the 13 original colonies became the first 13 of the United States. In 1789, there were 5 free states and 8 slave states. People are judging the decisions made in the 1700s by today’s standards.
In negotiations for our new country, the North had no leverage over the South as they each sought common ground. In order to rebel against England then the colonies knew that unity required compromises.
If the northern states had demanded that the southern states end slavery, then our country would never have begun. We would still be 13 or more colonies under England’s rule.
George Washington did have slaves but also led our continental army to victory. His character was such that our founders disagreed on many things politically but were unanimous about one thing – Washington would be our President. They agreed again for his second term. He could have served a third term with unanimous support but Washington did not want the Presidency to become a monarchy, so he declined.
Jefferson had slaves but he also wrote one of the most enduring documents in history, The Declaration of Independence. He also served as our third President.
Great men are men and complex. It’s unfair to judge a person on a single issue. If you discount the Apostle Paul and all of his writings because he murdered Christians, then you are oversimplifying his life. The founding fathers should be evaluated the same way. None of us would want our lives to be judged on a single issue.