Saturday, May 3, 2014

Abraham Lincoln recognized the necessity of slavery at the time of the Founding

Slavery is certainly an evil practice, but in no way is it "America's Original Sin".

Abraham Lincoln recognized this. In Lincoln's "Peoria Speech", (speech text) which as far as I know is his first major speech regarding Slavery, he spoke the following in regard to the Founding and the Founding Fathers:

I particularly object to the new position which the avowed principle of this Nebraska law gives to slavery in the body politic. I object to it because it assumes that there can be moral right in the enslaving of one man by another. I object to it as a dangerous dalliance for a free people - a sad evidence that, feeling prosperity we forget right - that liberty, as a principle, we have ceased to revere. I object to it because the fathers of the republic eschewed, and rejected it. The argument of "Necessity" was the only argument they ever admitted in favor of slavery; and so far, and so far only as it carried them, did they ever go. They found the institution existing among us, which they could not help; and they cast blame upon the British King for having permitted its introduction. before the constitution, they prohibited its introduction into the north-western Territory - the only country we owned, then free from it. At the framing and adoption of the constitution, they forbore to so much as mention the word "slave" or "slavery" in the whole instrument. In the provision for the recovery of fugitives, the slave is spoken of as a "person held to service or labor." In that prohibiting the abolition of the African slave trade for twenty years, that trade is spoken of as "The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing, shall think proper to admit," etc. These are the only provisions alluding to slavery. Thus, the thing is hid away, in the constitution, just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time. Less than this our fathers could not do; and more they would not do. Necessity drove them so far, and farther, they would not go. But this is not all. The earliest Congress, under the constitution, took the same view of slavery. They hedged and hemmed it in to the narrowest limits of necessity.

Lincoln continued, by laying out the case step by step:

In 1794, they prohibited an out-going slave-trade - that is, the taking of slaves from the United States to sell.

In 1798, they prohibited the bringing of slaves from Africa, into the Mississippi Territory - this territory then comprising what are now the States of Mississippi and Alabama. This was ten years before they had the authority to do the same thing as to the States existing at the adoption of the constitution.

In 1800 they prohibited American citizens from trading in slaves between foreign countries - as, for instance, from Africa to Brazil.

In 1803 they passed a law in aid of one or two State laws, in restraint of the internal slave trade.

In 1807, in apparent hot haste, they passed the law, nearly a year in advance to take effect the first day of 1808 - the very first day the constitution would permit - prohibiting the African slave trade by heavy pecuniary and corporal penalties.

In 1820, finding these provisions ineffectual, they declared the trade piracy, and annexed to it, the extreme penalty of death.

While all this was passing in the general government, five or six of the original slave States had adopted systems of gradual emancipation; and by which the institution was rapidly becoming extinct within these limits. Thus we see, the plain unmistakable spirit of that age, towards slavery, was hostility to the principle, and toleration, only by necessity.

The Founding Fathers blamed the British King for slavery - Abraham Lincoln, by using the word "necessity", would seemingly be in agreement with the Founders that the British King is to blame for slavery.

Yet American Progressives blame the Founders for slavery. What's wrong with this picture here? If the King is to blame, then it cannot possibly be America's original sin. Let's give credit where credit is due, finally.

In 1854, Historian George Bancroft wrote the following: (History of the U.S., page 413)

"The inhabitants of Virginia were controlled by the central authority on a subject of still more vital importance to them and their posterity. Their halls of legislation had resounded with eloquence directed against the terrible plague of negro slavery. Again and again they had passed laws, restraining the importations of negroes from Africa; but their laws were disallowed. How to prevent them from protecting themselves against the increase of the overwhelming evil was debated by the King in Council, and on the tenth day of December, 1770, he issued an instruction, under his own hand, commanding the Governor, "upon pain of the highest displeasure, to assent to no law, by which the importation of slaves should be in any respect prohibited or obstructed." In April 1772, this rigorous order was solemnly debated in the Assembly of Virginia. "They were very anxious for an Act to restrain the introduction of people, the number of whom already in the Colony, gave them just cause to apprehend the most dangerous consequences, and therefore made it necessary that they should fall upon means not only of preventing their increase, but also of lessening their number. The interest of the country," it was said, "manifestly requires the total expulsion of them."

Benson J. Lossing also wrote about the King's pro-slavery dictate, and documented this section of an early version of the Declaration of Independence as a response: (Harpers, page 206)

The Assembly finally resolved to address the King himself on the subject, who, in council, had compelled the toleration of the traffic. They pleaded with him to remove all restraints upon their efforts to stop the importation of slaves, which they called " a very pernicious commerce." In this matter Virginia represented the sentiments of all the colonies, and the King knew it; but the monarch "stood in the path of humanity and made himself the pillar of the colonial slave-trade." Ashamed to reject the earnest and solemn appeal of the Virginians, he evaded a reply. The conduet of the King caused Jefferson to write as follows in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence: "He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, capturing and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur a 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 and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce."

I see no reasons to be ashamed of THIS! I am thankful for the kinds of people that our Founding Fathers were. Even on slavery, they got it right - by moving toward its destruction.

The only reason why the progressives can make any claims at all to a "original sin" of America, is because they have virtually wiped all of this history off of the face of the Earth. There's not a single history book printed today that contains this information. (excluding some specialty print somewhere) You have to dig into old history books - books which are more honest - to find this information.

We must correct this. Their revisionist ways cannot be allowed to stand any longer.

1 comment:

  1. Original title: "Abraham Lincoln referred to slavery as a necessity"

    I got a real nasty message about that title. I am 100% certain that this person did not read past the title. It took me some time to come up with a similar title which might be as short as possible while still using the word "necessity" - which is Lincoln's word.

    History is not always pretty, sometimes it is very ugly. But regardless of any natural ugliness that may exist on any topic, it is still important to recognize the topic as it actually existed.