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He said that the main objects of all science are the freedom and happiness of man ("Jefferson Digital Archive").Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, Who championed rights and liberation, did not implement his beliefs, especially with his practice of slavery.
Editor's Note: Today's most controversial public policy questions concerning race in the United States--from the debate over affirmative action and racial quotas to financial demands for reparations--ultimately derive from the fact that those who founded this country did not abolish the institution of slavery as part of their project to establish a nation dedicated to the cause of liberty.
Does this mean, as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall said, [America] "was defective from the start"?
If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot signing resolutions of independence with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.
Thomas Day, English abolitionist, 1776 Throughout the revolutionary era, Americans chanted "SLAVERY" as a rallying call to oppose Britain's autocratic rule. To have British troops police them in their cities was SLAVERY.
To the contrary, argues Spalding in this paper adapted from his essay "A Note on Slavery and the American Founding," presented in The Founders' Almanac: A Practical Guide to the Notable Events, Greatest Leaders & Most Eloquent Words of the American Founding (The Heritage Foundation, 2001).
Slavery was the exception to the rule of liberty proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and established in the United States Constitution.To be threatened with trial without jury was SLAVERY.To fail to defend one's God-given natural rights of freedom was succumbing to SLAVERY.The Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, remains Jefferson's best known work.It set forth the position of the American people and their desire to govern themselves.Foreign affairs dominated his day-to-day attentions while president, often pushing him toward Federalist policies that contrasted with his political philosophy (Brodie 209). How could slavery exist in a land where "all men are created equal"?Jefferson felt that "this abomination (slavery) must come to an end.To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.John Adams opposed slavery his entire life as a "foul contagion in the human character" and "an evil of colossal magnitude." James Madison called it "the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man." From his first thoughts about the Revolution, to his command of the Continental army, to his presidential administration, George Washington's life and letters reflect a statesman struggling with the reality and inhumanity of slavery in the midst of the free nation being constructed.Benjamin Franklin thought that slavery was "an atrocious debasement of human nature" and "a source of serious evils." He and Benjamin Rush founded the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery in 1774.John Jay, who was the president of a similar society in New York, believed: the honour of the states, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people.