The Founding Fathers And Their Commitment To Slavery

0 Posted by - January 1, 2017 - LATEST POSTS

Although many of the Founding Fathers acknowledged that slavery violated the core American Revolutionary ideal of liberty, their simultaneous commitment to private property rights, principles of limited government, and intersectional harmony prevented them from making a bold move against slavery. The considerable investment of Southern Founders in slave-based staple agriculture, combined with their deep-seated racial prejudice, posed additional obstacles to emancipation.

Slaveholders among prominent Founding Fathers

slaveholders1
non-slaveholders

Founding Father
state
Founding Father
state

Charles Carroll
Maryland
John Adams
Massachusetts

Samuel Chase
Maryland
Samuel Adams
Massachusetts

Benjamin Franklin
Pennsylvania
Oliver Ellsworth
Connecticut

Button Gwinnett
Georgia
Alexander Hamilton
New York

John Hancock
Massachusetts
Robert Treat Paine
Massachusetts

Patrick Henry
Virginia
Thomas Paine
Pennsylvania

John Jay
New York
Roger Sherman
Connecticut

Thomas Jefferson
Virginia

Richard Henry Lee
Virginia

James Madison
Virginia

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
South Carolina

Benjamin Rush
Pennsylvania

Edward Rutledge
South Carolina

George Washington
Virginia

1Held slaves at some point in time.

In his initial draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson condemned the injustice of the slave trade and, by implication, slavery, but he also blamed the presence of enslaved Africans in North America on avaricious British colonial policies. Jefferson thus acknowledged that slavery violated the natural rights of the enslaved, while at the same time he absolved Americans of any responsibility for owning slaves themselves. TheContinental Congress apparently rejected the tortured logic of this passage by deleting it from the final document, but this decision also signaled the Founders’ commitment to subordinating the controversial issue of slavery to the larger goal of securing the unity and independence of the United States.

Read More At http://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Founding-Fathers-and-Slavery-1269536

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