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What the Founders Did About Slavery

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

Kyle Murnen
Director of Online Learning
Hillsdale College

Ridgewood NJ, the Left has been busy convincing Americans that our Founding Fathers did not believe in the principle of equality set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

Continue reading What the Founders Did About Slavery

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A House Divided: Personal accounts of family living at the Hermitage during Civil War

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood Public Library in conjunction with the Hermitage present, While Civil War battlefields never reached northern New Jersey, it was a grim and turbulent time for the Rosencrantz family at the Hermitage. As Northern “peace” Democrats with a deep entanglement with slavery, the family was caught between both sides. Drawing from personal accounts of the family spread throughout Virginia, Philadelphia, and Bergen County, this presentation explores their experiences during an era that defined not only the nation, but the Hermitage as well. Guest speaker: Victoria Harty. Register here. Co-sponsored by the Hermitage.

Continue reading A House Divided: Personal accounts of family living at the Hermitage during Civil War

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We Are All in Favor of “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” as long as it Includes Human Sacrifice


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Glen Rock NJ,  According to Mayor Bruce Packer , Glen Rock Borough officials are considering remaining Columbus Day Indigenous Peoples’ Day. For the second consecutive year, Mayor Bruce Packer and the Borough Council discussed the possibility of making the change. Officials received several emails from residents requesting the change.Officials discussed the possible change at a Borough Council work session meeting Wednesday. The scary thing about this is the total absence of any historical knowledge by the Borough of Glen Rock . The Dutch Colony that Bergen County was originally part of was called New Netherlands had relatively cordial relations with the Native Americans , they traded, they worked together , they hired each other and they gave gifts to each other, not perfect but pretty good .

Continue reading We Are All in Favor of “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” as long as it Includes Human Sacrifice

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Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) joines US Dept. of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to launch a new USDOT human trafficking initiative

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog


Washington DC, Special thanks to Secretary Elaine Chao for her leadership in combatting the cruelty of human trafficking both in the eight years she served as Secretary of Labor, and now, at Transportation and for the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking Initiative.

Deep thanks as well to all the assembled leaders—for your commitment and effectiveness in this human rights and humanitarian cause.

Truckers Against Trafficking have written the book on how to discern and disrupt human trafficking networks through training and referrals to law enforcement. You are the eyes and ears on the highways—thank you, Kendris.

Continue reading Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) joines US Dept. of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to launch a new USDOT human trafficking initiative

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On this Day in 1865 the United States Abolished Slavery

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photo  courtesy of the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, on this day in 1865, the United States of America abolished slavery with passage of the 13th Amendment!It was the first amendment to the Constitution in more than 60 years, as the initial 12 amendments occurred shortly after the Constitution was adopted.

There were still approximately 40,000 slaves remaining in Kentucky alone were freed by the 13th Amendment.”Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The 13th amendment, along with the 14th & 15th, is one of the trio of Civil War amendments that greatly expanded the civil rights of Americans.

Today also marks what would have been Jackie Robinson’s 100th birthday. In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the most popular sport in America, and helped change the way the country thought about racial integration.

If is often said the ,Babe Ruth changed baseball , while Jackie Robinson changed America.

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Why Martin Luther King Was Republican


frice | Wednesday Aug 16, 2006 12:00 AM

It should come as no surprise that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. In that era, almost all black Americans were Republicans. Why? From its founding in 1854 as the anti-slavery party until today, the Republican Party has championed freedom and civil rights for blacks. And as one pundit so succinctly stated, the Democrat Party is as it always has been, the party of the four S’s: slavery, secession, segregation and now socialism.

It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860s, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s.

During the civil rights era of the 1960s, Dr. King was fighting the Democrats who stood in the school house doors, turned skin-burning fire hoses on blacks and let loose vicious dogs. It was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who pushed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and sent troops to Arkansas to desegregate schools. President Eisenhower also appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending school segregation. Much is made of Democrat President Harry Truman’s issuing an Executive Order in 1948 to desegregate the military. Not mentioned is the fact that it was Eisenhower who actually took action to effectively end segregation in the military.

Democrat President John F. Kennedy is lauded as a proponent of civil rights. However, Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act while he was a senator, as did Democrat Sen. Al Gore Sr. And after he became President, Kennedy was opposed to the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. King that was organized by A. Phillip Randolph, who was a black Republican. President Kennedy, through his brother Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, had Dr. King wiretapped and investigated by the FBI on suspicion of being a Communist in order to undermine Dr. King.

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Secaucus Women Charged With “Slavery”

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Secaucus NJ, A Secaucus, New Jersey, woman was arraigned today on charges of holding a Sri Lankan national against her will and for years forcing the victim to work without pay as a domestic servant, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Alia Imad Faleh Al Hunaity, a/k/a “Alia Al Qaterneh,” 43, of Secaucus, New Jersey, was indicted Dec. 4, 2018, on charges of forced labor, alien harboring, and marriage fraud. She was arraigned today before U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler in Camden federal court and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. She remains free on $150,000 unsecured bond.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Hunaity brought the victim to the United States on a temporary visa in 2009 for the victim to perform domestic services. Hunaity caused the victim to overstay the victim’s visa, and the victim remained in the United States illegally, living exclusively with Hunaity for more than nine years. Hunaity forced the victim to work without pay, and limited the victim’s interactions with the outside world. In 2018, Hunaity forced the victim to marry Hunaity for the purpose of obtaining legal residence for the victim so that the victim could continue to work without pay for Hunaity.

Hunaity was arrested on Sept.19, 2018, and made her initial appearance that day before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Cathy L. Waldor.

The forced labor charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and the alien harboring and marriage fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The charges subject Hunaity to a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to others, whichever is greater.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael, with the investigation leading to the indictment.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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This Day in History President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation


The Emancipation Proclamation

September 22,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, On September 22, 1862, partly in response to the heavy losses inflicted at the Battle of Antietam, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, threatening to free all the slaves in the states in rebellion if those states did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863. The extent of the Proclamation’s practical effect has been debated, as it was legally binding only in territory not under Union control. In the short term, it amounted to no more than a statement of policy for the federal army as it moved into Southern territory.

Lincoln Tee via @redbubble

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Kathy Griffin Channels ISIS and New Jersey Still Votes for McClellan

Kathy Griffin Channels ISIS

June 1,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, so far left “comedian”  Kathy Griffin Channels ISIS, and the Democrat Mayor of New York City sponsors a convicted terrorist as grand marshal of the Puerto Rican day parade .

In July of 2016 Democrat critic and Center for Security Policy founder Frank Gaffney said on SiriusXM radio , “I’m sorry for Democrats – I used to be one myself – who are now being completely disenfranchised by a party that is aligned with our enemies, and not with America,” Gaffney declared. “They will doom all of us, if they had their way.”

In Dinesh D’Souza: The secret history of the Democratic Party , D’Souza says Andrew Jackson established the Democratic Party as the party of theft.  He mastered the art of stealing land from the Indians and then selling it at giveaway prices to white settlers.

D’Souza goes on Democrats like Senator John C. Calhoun invented a new justification for slavery, slavery as a “positive good.”  For the first time in history, Democrats insisted that slavery wasn’t just beneficial for masters; they said it was also good for the slaves.

Later the Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee by a group of former confederate soldiers; its first grand wizard was a confederate general who was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.  The Klan soon spread beyond the South to the Midwest and the West and became, in the words of historian Eric Foner, “the domestic terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.”

So I guess it is no surprise that the Democrat party of today represents anti American sentiments of ISIS , supports terrorism, pro illegal immigrant, is anti free speech, pro state-ism, and anti freedom .  While the Democrats along with their union allies are deeply entrenched in New Jersey  it may behoove many readers to remember that New Jersey voted for George B. McClellan for  president and not Abraham Lincoln . Yes in the election of 1864 McClellan won only 3 states , and yes one state was New Jersey.

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The Real War on Women: No Global Conference from the UN?

Yazidi Women

Yazidi Women Tell of Rape and Enslavement at Hands of ISIS


KHANKE CAMP, Iraq — The grandmother lifted her face to heaven and let out a high wail.

“I pray for this hell to end,” the 64-year-old said before crumpling onto the floor of her hut.

Kimy Hassan Sayfo. Yuka Tachibana / NBC News

Kimy Hassan Sayfo’s daughters and granddaughters have been held captive by ISIS. Two daughters recently escaped but extremist fighters have kept her young granddaughters “for themselves,” she said.

Her story echoes those of countless others across this vast tent city full ofYazidis, a tiny and ancient religious minority reviled and persecuted by ISIS.

More than 3,000 women and girls were taken captive when ISIS attacked ancestral Yazidi villages around northwestern Iraq’s Sinjar Mountain in August 2014. Nearly half-a-million people have been displaced since, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Yazidi Affairs Directorate.

Today, community leaders say around 2,000 women and girls are still being bought and sold in ISIS-controlled areas. The young become sex slaves and older women are beaten and used as house slaves, according to survivors and accounts from ISIS militants.


“Aveen” was among the countless who were taken. She told NBC News how ISIS fighters separated the men from women and children when her village was attacked.

“They took young girls, seven, nine and 10 years old,” said Aveen, whose name has been changed and face hidden to protect her identity.

The women and children were held in a school where, she said, the guards would come at night to take away women and rape them.

Aveen said she spent most of her time with ISIS in Raqqa, held by a fighter who raped and beat her repeatedly. The 23-year-old escaped after nearly a year in captivity.

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Frederick Douglass on Liberty, Slavery, and the Fourth of July


“Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document.”

Damon Root|Jul. 4, 2015 9:15 am

On July 5, 1852, the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass delivered one of the greatest speeches of his long and storied career. Titled “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?,” Douglass’ speech contained both a searing denunciation of American slavery and a rousing defense of the libertarian principles coursing through the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. “Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted,” Douglass thundered from the stage, “the Constitution is a glorious liberty document.”

In my view, there’s no such thing as a bad day to reflect on the wisdom of Frederick Douglass—but July Fourth is perhaps a better day for it than most. So as a way of both honoring Douglass and marking the anniversary of his remarkable July Fourth speech, here are two stories from the Reason archives which examine the life and legacy of this indispensable American hero.

Frederick Douglass, Classical Liberal

It’s true that Frederick Douglass simultaneously championed both civil rights and economic liberty. But the proper term for that combination isn’t Social Darwinism; it’s classical liberalism. The central component of Douglass’ worldview was the principle of self-ownership, which he understood to include both racial equality and the right to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor.

Consider the remarkable 1848 letter Doug­lass wrote to his old master, the slaveholder Thomas Auld. It rings out repeatedly with the tenets of classical liberalism. “You are a man and so am I,” Douglass declared. “In leaving you, I took nothing but what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for obtaining an honest living.” Escaping from slavery wasn’t just an act of self-preservation, Douglass maintained; it was an affirmation of his unalienable natural rights. “Your faculties remained yours,” he wrote, “and mine became useful to their rightful owner.”

Douglass struck a similar note in his powerful 1852 speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” Evoking John Locke’s famous description of private property emerging from man mixing his labor with the natural world, Douglass pointed to slaves “plowing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses” as proof that they too deserved the full range of natural rights. “Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? That he is the rightful owner of his own body?” Douglass asked his mostly white audience. “There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.”

What Frederick Douglass Teaches Us About American Exceptionalism and the Growth of Freedom

Douglass’ genius was not in hailing or excoriating American in hyperbolic terms. Plenty of people before and after him have done that. To simply assert that the United States is the either most perfect or most depraved nation is a form of exceptionalism, to be sure. But it is also an indulgent gesture that presumes that we can’t redeem ourselves or ever be held in error.

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Trump: ‘NBC and Macy’s Support Illegal Immigration’

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Ashley Rae Goldenberg

After Macy’s announced the company will be joining NBCand severing ties with presidential candidate Donald Trump, Trump has responded by issuing a statement declaring, “Clearly, NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration.”

In his statement, Trump writes,

“Clearly, NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration, which is totally detrimental to the fabric of our once great country. Both Macy’s and NBC totally caved at the first sight of potential difficulty with special interest groups who are nothing more than professional agitators, who are not looking out for the people they purport to represent, but only for themselves. It is people like this that are actually running our country because our leaders are weak and ineffective.”

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Six inconvenient truths about the U.S. and slavery


Michael Medved | Sep 26, 2007

Those who want to discredit the United States and to deny our role as history’s most powerful and pre-eminent force for freedom, goodness and human dignity invariably focus on America’s bloody past as a slave-holding nation. Along with the displacement and mistreatment of Native Americans, the enslavement of literally millions of Africans counts as one of our two founding crimes—and an obvious rebuttal to any claims that this Republic truly represents “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” According to America-bashers at home and abroad, open-minded students of our history ought to feel more guilt than pride, and strive for “reparations” or other restitution to overcome the nation’s uniquely cruel, racist and rapacious legacy.

Unfortunately, the current mania for exaggerating America’s culpability for the horrors of slavery bears no more connection to reality than the old, discredited tendency to deny that the U.S. bore any blame at all. No, it’s not true that the “peculiar institution” featured kind-hearted, paternalistic masters and happy, dancing field-hands, any more than it’s true that America displayed unparalleled barbarity or enjoyed disproportionate benefit from kidnapping and exploiting innocent Africans.

An honest and balanced understanding of the position of slavery in the American experience requires a serious attempt to place the institution in historical context and to clear-away some of the common myths and distortions.

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The Democrats’ Missing History


The Confederate Flag Is the Legacy of Democrats, Not Republicans!

Updated Aug. 13, 2008 12:01 a.m. ET

As Democrats prepare to nominate Sen. Barack Obama to be the first black president, the Democratic National Committee and its chairman, Howard Dean, have whitewashed the party’s horrific and lengthy record of racism. The omission is in the section of the DNC Web site that describes the party’s history. The missing history raises the obvious question of whether the Democrats, unable or simply unwilling to put their party on record as taking direct responsibility for one of the worst racial crimes of the ages, will be able to run a campaign free of the racial animosities it has regularly brought both to American presidential campaigns and American political and social life in general.

What else to make of the official party history as presented by the DNC on its Web site? It is a history so sanitized of historical reality it makes Stalin look like David McCullough.

The DNC Web site section labeled “Party History,” linked here, is in fact scrubbed clean of the not-so-little dirty secret that fueled Democrats’ political successes for over a century and a half and made American life a hell on earth for black Americans. Literally, the DNC official history, which begins with the creation of the party in 1800, gets to the creation of the DNC itself in 1848 and then–poof!–the next sentence says: “As the 19th Century came to a close, the American electorate changed more and more rapidly.” It quickly heads into a riff on poor immigrants coming to America.

In a stroke, 52 years of Democratic history vanishes. Disappeared faster than the truth in the Clinton administration. Why would this be? Allow me to sketch in a few facts from those missing 52 years. For that matter, lets add in the facts from the party history before and after those 52 years, since they aren’t mentioned by the Democrats’ National Committee either.
* * *
So what’s missing?

There is no reference to the number of Democratic Party platforms supporting slavery. There were six from 1840 through 1860.
There is no reference to the number of Democratic presidents who owned slaves. There were seven from 1800 through 1861
There is no reference to the number of Democratic Party platforms that either supported segregation outright or were silent on the subject. There were 20, from 1868 through 1948.
There is no reference to “Jim Crow” as in “Jim Crow laws,” nor is there reference to the role Democrats played in creating them. These were the post-Civil War laws passed enthusiastically by Democrats in that pesky 52-year part of the DNC’s missing years. These laws segregated public schools, public transportation, restaurants, rest rooms and public places in general (everything from water coolers to beaches). The reason Rosa Parks became famous is that she sat in the “whites only” front section of a bus, the “whites only” designation the direct result of Democrats.
There is no reference to the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, which, according to Columbia University historian Eric Foner, became “a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party.” Nor is there reference to University of North Carolina historian Allen Trelease’s description of the Klan as the “terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.”
There is no reference to the fact Democrats opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution. The 13th banned slavery. The 14th effectively overturned the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision (made by Democratic pro-slavery Supreme Court justices) by guaranteeing due process and equal protection to former slaves. The 15th gave black Americans the right to vote.
There is no reference to the fact that Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was passed by the Republican Congress over the veto of President Andrew Johnson, who had been a Democrat before joining Lincoln’s ticket in 1864. The law was designed to provide blacks with the right to own private property, sign contracts, sue and serve as witnesses in a legal proceeding.
There is no reference to the Democrats’ opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1875. It was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses Grant. The law prohibited racial discrimination in public places and public accommodations.
There is no reference to the Democrats’ 1904 platform, which devotes a section to “Sectional and Racial Agitation,” claiming the GOP’s protests against segregation and the denial of voting rights to blacks sought to “revive the dead and hateful race and sectional animosities in any part of our common country,” which in turn “means confusion, distraction of business, and the reopening of wounds now happily healed.”
There is no reference to four Democratic platforms, 1908-20, that are silent on blacks, segregation, lynching and voting rights as racial problems in the country mount. By contrast the GOP platforms of those years specifically address “Rights of the Negro” (1908), oppose lynching (in 1912, 1920, 1924, 1928) and, as the New Deal kicks in, speak out about the dangers of making blacks “wards of the state.”
There is no reference to the Democratic Convention of 1924, known to history as the “Klanbake.” The 103-ballot convention was held in Madison Square Garden. Hundreds of delegates were members of the Ku Klux Klan, the Klan so powerful that a plank condemning Klan violence was defeated outright. To celebrate, the Klan staged a rally with 10,000 hooded Klansmen in a field in New Jersey directly across the Hudson from the site of the convention. Attended by hundreds of cheering convention delegates, the rally featured burning crosses and calls for violence against African-Americans and Catholics.
There is no reference to the fact that it was Democrats who segregated the federal government, at the direction of President Woodrow Wilson upon taking office in 1913. There \is a reference to the fact that President Harry Truman integrated the military after World War II.
There is reference to the fact that Democrats created the Federal Reserve Board, passed labor and child welfare laws, and created Social Security with Wilson’s New Freedom and FDR’s New Deal. There is no mention that these programs were created as the result of an agreement to ignore segregation and the lynching of blacks. Neither is there a reference to the thousands of local officials, state legislators, state governors, U.S. congressmen and U.S. senators who were elected as supporters of slavery and then segregation between 1800 and 1965. Nor is there reference to the deal with the devil that left segregation and lynching as a way of life in return for election support for three post-Civil War Democratic presidents, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.
There is no reference that three-fourths of the opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill in the U.S. House came from Democrats, or that 80% of the “nay” vote in the Senate came from Democrats. Certainly there is no reference to the fact that the opposition included future Democratic Senate leader Robert Byrd of West Virginia (a former Klan member) and Tennessee Senator Albert Gore Sr., father of Vice President Al Gore.
Last but certainly not least, there is no reference to the fact that Birmingham, Ala., Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor, who infamously unleashed dogs and fire hoses on civil rights protestors, was in fact–yes indeed–a member of both the Democratic National Committee and the Ku Klux Klan.

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The Clause Removed : That one was against the institution of slavery


The Clause Removed : That one was against the institution of slavery

In our study of the Declaration of Independence it was pointed out that there were originally 28 grievances though the final draft lists only 27. One grievance was removed. That one was against the institution of slavery.

“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & 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.”

One fact about the Revolution which is not commonly known was that some colonists joined the Patriot cause due to a desire to end slavery rather than a wish to be independent. Laws made by the colonial legislatures to limit the institution had been blocked by the royal governors. Great Britain had no desire to end the lucrative trade in slaves. They were left with but one recourse to end slavery, independence. With this as a motivation, why was slavery then continued in the new country? Why was the grievance against it removed?

Thomas Paine said,

“It is never to be expected in a revolution that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must cooperate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have not a right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly. The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct, not to destroy.”

Because some of the Patriots and Founders had come to the conclusion that slavery was wrong, does not mean that they all had. Slavery was an ancient tradition. During the time of the Founders it was practiced all around the world. The society in which they lived contained multiple class levels from the king and royal family down to the commoner. Slavery was just one more layer. In addition the economy of many colonies was dependent upon slave labor. So is the question really why they failed to end slavery or is a better question how did any of them ever come to decide it was wrong?

Either because not all changed their opinion at the same time or because of the dependence on slavery, during the debates on the Declaration the colonies of the Deep South demanded that the clause be removed. The delegates from South Carolina and Georgia, possibly led by Edward Rutledge, threatened that their colonies would fight on the side of Great Britain if the section remained. This was not an empty threat. The southern colonies had a higher percentage of Loyalists than their northern neighbors, and Georgia was the youngest of the colonies, only 43 years old. Her ties to the mother country had not had much time to loosen. Faced with the possibility of disunited states, Thomas Jefferson had no choice but to remove the clause.

But the demise of the clause was not the end of the idea. Prior to declaring independence all thirteen of the colonies practiced slavery. As the states wrote their new constitutions, many put an end to it within their own borders. Most of the states took a gradual approach. A date was set. Those born after that date were free. That is how it came about that at the time of the Civil War, there were still slaves living in New Jersey, though by then too old to work. Others ended slavery more immediately. When the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled slavery to be illegal under a clause in the states’ constitution all slaves were freed. When Vermont was added to the union, its constitution prohibited slavery. By 1804, every state north of the Mason Dixon Line had outlawed slavery. Even those states that did not ban slavery outright, as Jefferson tried unsuccessfully to do in Virginia, placed limits on slavery such as banning the importation and exportation of slaves. And in 1807 Thomas Jefferson signed into law an act finally ending the importation of slaves into the United States.

Other actions revealed the Founders general views on slavery. In 1787, the Second Continental Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance. This act dealt with the territory north of the Ohio River. One of the most significant parts of it was the prohibition of slavery in U.S. territories. “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory.”

It took 89 years for this particular promise of the Declaration to be fulfilled, but it was. Had the colonies been united at the beginning on the issue of slavery, or had the principles of liberty been followed by the succeeding generations, perhaps the Civil War could have been avoided and emancipation occurred sooner. Disunity and the ignoring of foundational principles had consequences. In our first century as a nation that consequence was war. What is it today?