America’s Founders were Slave Owners
The history of slavery goes back as far as recorded history. America did not create slavery. The founders of this nation inherited it as a human institution but found it inconsistent with their Christian beliefs and the principles in our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Many of our founders, even those who owned slaves, were instrumental in the abolishment of slavery in this nation.
Some who even proposed legislation to make slavery illegal at the state level, owned slaves. Thomas Jefferson in his wording of the Northwest Ordinance forbade slavery in any new state that would apply to admission to our union.
The laws, in some States, in the time of Jefferson did not allow you to just release slaves. In fact, someone, like Jefferson, who had debts to pay, and released slaves, would have those slaves taken into custody by the government and sold to pay his debts. So release of slaves in his case was illegal.
That did not stop Jefferson and others of that day from speaking against slavery and even starting anti-slavery associations.
Also, free blacks and native Americans owned slaves. This land was not a Utopia before the Europeans arrived. Native American tribes owned other native Americans as slaves. In Central and South America perhaps the most barbaric and extensive human sacrifice in history took place among these native civilizations. Towers of human skulls have been uncovered. And human sacrifice was known to be a practice of appeasing the gods of those societies. It was not uncommon to cut out the hearts of the victims.
The first man to legally own a slave in the United States for life was actually another black man. Anthony Johnson had come to America from Angola as an indentured servant. He served his seven years and gained his freedom. He was able to purchase property and bought a slave who was not very efficient. When the slave, John Casor, tried to leave Johnson’s authority, Johnson filed a lawsuit and gained lifetime control of Casor from a judge.
I highly recommend the teachings by William Federer on the history of slavery. There is a link at the end of this section. Also, David and Tim Barton have done extensive historical research into slavery in America. Their information can be found at wallbuilders.com.
It is simplistic and misleading to simply say our founders owned slaves and think you understand the circumstances and mindset of early America and its founders. America within 90 years of its Declaration of Independence had made slavery illegal. That was a major change in world history.
Slavery was horrible. There was inhumane treatment of many black people. They were legally regarded as less than human and considered to be property. But then, hundreds of thousands of mostly white men lost their lives in a war that finally brought an end to legal slavery in this country. Since then changes have been made to change local laws regarding equal access rights to facilities, schools, jobs and many other things. While racism still dwells in the hearts of people throughout America and the world, the system of government as contained in our laws does not condone or promote it.
That progress deserves recognition and celebration. The Gospel of Jesus when lived out will then deal with conditions of the heart. (See section of Equity or Equality).
(Day 3) Understanding the Culture with William Federer – YouTube – William Federer: Understanding Our Culture