“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal,”When the modern Progressive (socialist, liberal, leftist, communist, Democrat) brings up this phrase, they generally bring it up to talk about the hypocrisy of the slave owning dead white men who talked big and lived shallow. Is it ignorance or lack of honesty that makes for this distortion of the historical narrative? Anyone who has looked at the time period would know two things. First, slavery was an accepted part of human society at that time. It always had been and to speak against it put you on the lunatic fringe. Second, the American colonies had a long history of people speaking out against the institution.
An honest approach to this would realize that the Founding Fathers, whether they owned slaves or hated slavery, felt that the slaves were human beings and deserved to be treated that way. Abraham Lincoln repeatedly makes this point in the Lincoln/Douglas debates and later. For instance in the last debate, on October 15, 1858 he says,
“At Galesburgh, the other day, I said, in answer to Judge Douglas, that three years ago there never had been a man, so far as I knew or believed, in the whole world, who had said that the Declaration of Independence did not include negroes in the term ‘all men.’ I reassert it to-day.”It is hard for us to accept because we live in a world that teaches slavery is a great moral evil but that was not the way it was, even in 1858. It was possible for them to accept the existence of slavery and still believe in equality before God and the law. For us it might be similar to accepting a homeless person as still deserving the protection of the law.
We are all human beings. It is a belief that is a part of us as a people.
Lincoln, Abraham. The Writings of Abraham Lincoln - Volume 4: The Lincoln-Douglas
Debates, Amazon Free Edition, Loc. 1070-72.
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