by Walter Williams (Human Events)
Many of my columns speak highly of the wisdom of our nation’s founders. Every once in a while, I receive an ugly letter sarcastically asking what do I think of their wisdom declaring blacks “three-fifths of a human.” It’s difficult to tell whether such a question is prompted by ignorance or is the fruit of an ongoing agenda to undermine American greatness. Let’s examine some facts about our founders and slavery.
At the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, slaves were 40 percent of the population of southern colonies. Apportionment in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections would be based upon population. Southern colonies wanted slaves to be counted as one person. Northern delegates to the convention, and those opposed to slavery, wanted to count only free persons of each state for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. The compromise reached was that each slave would be counted as only three-fifths of a person.
If the convention delegates had not reached this compromise, the Constitution would have not been ratified and there would not have been a Union. My questions to those who criticize the three-fifths clause are twofold. Would it have been preferable for the southern states to be able to count slaves as whole persons, thereby giving southern states more political power? Would blacks have been better off without constitutional ratification and a Union made possible by the three-fifths compromise? In other words, would blacks have been better off with northern states having gone their way and southern states having gone theirs and, as a consequence, no U.S. Constitution and no Union? Abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise, saying that the three-fifths clause was “a downright disability laid upon the slaveholding states” that deprived them of “two-fifths of their natural basis of representation.”
Patrick Henry expressed the reality of the three-fifths compromise, saying, “As much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids its abolition.” With union, Congress at least had the power to abolish slave trade in 1808. According to delegate James Wilson, many believed the anti-slave-trade clause laid “the foundation for banishing slavery out of this country.”
Many founders openly condemned slavery. George Washington said, “There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it.” John Adams: “Every measure of prudence … ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. … I have, throughout my whole life, held the practice of slavery in … abhorrence.” James Madison: “We have seen the mere distinction of color made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man.” Benjamin Franklin: “Slavery is … an atrocious debasement of human nature.” Franklin, after visiting a black school, said, “I … have conceived a higher opinion of the natural capacities of the black race than I had ever before entertained.” Alexander Hamilton’s judgment was the same: “Their natural faculties are probably as good as ours.” John Jay wrote: “It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honour of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.”
Completely ignored in most discussions of slavery is the fact that slavery was mankind’s standard fare throughout history. Centuries before blacks were enslaved Europeans were enslaved. The word slavery comes from Slavs, referring to the Slavic people, who were early slaves. What distinguishes the West, namely Britain and the U.S., from other nations are the extraordinary measures they took to abolish slavery.
The Founders knew without the South’s vote, they wouldn’t survive as a Republic. And in their genius put this together.
And now, they are being beaten-up for having done so, by people who don’t know history.
Or people who do…
Because forcing that political view is in the anti-constitutional, anti-Republic agenda.
(I remember a sign on the wall of Phoenix’s long-defunct Ed Debevic’s restaurant “Tipping is NOT a city in China!”) (Sorry – had to insert a little humor here before the serious post – Guffaw)
PA: At what point is it legitimate to take up arms against this illegitimate government? I think that armed resistance might be legitimate as a defensive act if several states secede. Just war theory requires a reasonable chance of success? Without secession of multiple states, can armed defense be legitimate?
AB: Well, isn’t that the question du jour? I always snicker at Dennis Miller’s old joke that George Washington started blowing people’s heads off for taxing his breakfast beverage… and it wasn’t even coffee. First, as we discussed earlier, the whole American paradigm was and is deeply, deeply flawed and contained in itself from the beginning the seeds of its own inevitable collapse and destruction as John Adams himself was sure to point out, so we must be careful when citing the American Revolution as a positive example. But, those of us still capable of nuanced thought can tease out useful information from even a Diest-Freemasonic construct.
So, when exactly IS The Tipping Point? Or When? Or as phrased by Brock – HOW do we resist?
(attn Government – this is just a theoretical exercise. Nothing sedition or treasonous should be construed by any writings herein. And the fact I even have to write this caveat in a ‘free’ society says something…)
h/t Brock Townsend
from Bayou Renaissance Man (in part):
The Telegraph’s observation bears repeating. Inequality is not poverty. Furthermore, equality does not consist of, and cannot be measured against, economic factors alone. What the framers of our Constitution sought was equality of opportunity. What the progressive left seeks is equality of outcomes – and they’ll impose that on us by legislative fiat if they can, regardless of its (lack of) truth and the failure of every society in history to accomplish anything of the sort by direction.
It’s a frightening prospect to consider how much damage social justice warriors can do at the helm of every administrative department in the government. That’s yet another reason to reduce the size of that government to the necessary minimum, and ensure that its bureaucrats are aware that they serve in accordance with the Constitution and are subordinate to its requirements. They don’t have the authority, or the right, to ignore it and/or reinterpret it according to their whims.
You should seriously go and read all of Peter’s essay at this link.
And, to all you Social Justice Warriors out there –
KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF!
(Remembering originally The Declaration of Independence read Life, Liberty and PROPERTY!)
for nothing, apparently.
The supreme court refused to hearJackson v. City and County of San Francisco. After Heller and McDonald, they don’t seem very willing to take on many more gun rights cases. It’s curious to me why that is. Pre-Heller, it was speculated that the court wouldn’t take gun cases because they weren’t convinced the decision would go the right way. But Sandy resigned. I wonder who the hold out is now?
Too bad the Founding Fathers didn’t see that oath taking would be viewed largely as ceremonial fal-de-ral with no meaning as the nation progressed…
In ALL federal offices requiring it!
Perhaps I should have spelled it fed-er-al…
h/t Say Uncle
Federal Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, an Obama appointee, said in a decision on Thursday that the Second Amendment does not apply to firearms.
You should really go and read the whole thing. Bring your airsick bag.
The judge is an Obama appointee.
Let’s see…The President of The United States, who was previously titled as a ‘Constitutional Law Professor’ (spits at the incredulity), appoints a like-minded sycophant to the bench, who doles out ridiculous tripe like this to further the progressive agenda of civilian disarmament.
I know The President’s school records are sealed. (This from the most open administration, ever!) Have any of his former students come forward to explain that while he was left-of-center, he taught about Separation of Powers, limitations on the Executive, and reverence for the U.S. Constitution?
Or was he so good that he produced 100% sycophancy?
I wonder how this judge ever made it through grade school, much less college and law school!
h/t Maddened Fowl
For years, it was pointed out that Richard Nixon believed he was an imperial president. He even made statements to the press in that regard.
And the Democrats ran with that.
And sometimes won.
Now, we have one of the current President’s closest advisors making this assertion…
Valerie Jarrett: Americans ‘hungry’ for Obama to act like an imperial president
With regard to the State Of The Union Address, Ms. Jarrett stated the following (in part):
On Tuesday, White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Americans are “hungry” for Obama to take unilateral action, bypassing Congress wherever he can to get things done, CNS News reported.
“People around our country are hungry for action,” she said. “And what you’ll hear from the president tonight is going to be all about action — creating opportunity — and it’s going to be a very optimistic speech.”
According to Jarrett, Obama will “set forth very specific, concrete proposals that he thinks will move our country forward — create opportunity for hard-working Americans who want to succeed.”
Although Obama will prod Congress to act on his agenda, Jarrett said Obama “will make clear tonight that he will take action on his own,” bypassing Congress when he sees fit.
Can we invoke Nixon now?
I can only speak for me, but I don’t want a President from any party “bypassing Congress when he sees fit.”
I’m not that hungry.
I mentioned John Locke (author of The Social Contract, philosopher extraordinaire, and unwitting mentor to Thomas Jefferson) in this blog the other day.
Then, quite serendipitously, I took note on an early blog post by Joel…
I haven’t read this blog, The Art of Not Being Governed, very extensively so if it turns out to be a neonazi or everytown front, don’t blame me, okay? But so far I’m enjoying it.
It’s got a recurring feature called Statist Fallacies, basic stuff but pretty good so far. Here’s a lovely take-down on the mossy old “social contract,” which TUAK readers probably know is a particular bugaboo of mine.
Enjoy. I’m going out to play now.
I’d forgotten about Joel’s distaste for ‘the concept of The Social Contract’. So I thought WTH?
Libertarian, statist and sovereign citizen alike – what do you gentle readers think about this?
First a NEGATIVE, in part…
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
From time to time I read about proposals for a national law requiring reciprocity of concealed carry permits between the states. The most recent example is the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, introduced by Senator John Cornyn, R-TX.
Sadly, I have some bad news about this proposal, and about a national CCW reciprocity law in general: It would be unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment. (Fill Yer Hands)
Second, a POSITIVE response, in the comments…
While they certainly do not bring points for the most civil, moral or efficient. Or Constitutionally libertarian. They are definitely not the WORST!
Exhibit One (courtesy of Cato @ Liberty)
The 31st Congress, which passed the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850
The 5th Congress, which passed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798
The 21st Congress, which passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830
The 77th Congress, which passed Public Law 503, codifying President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 authorizing the internment of Japanese, German, and Italian Americans, in 1942
The 65th Congress, which passed the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition), the Espionage Act, and the Selective Service Act, and entered World War I, all in 1917
And let us not forget the rubber stamping of Constitutional Amendments changing election of Senators to popular vote (effectively eliminating State Power and increasing Federal Power) and creation of The Federal Income Tax, AND the National Firearms Act, Gun Control Act and Assault Weapons Ban. AND, The Patriot Act and her illegitimate children.
I could go on. And on.
Why do they insist on being called LAWMAKERS? Shouldn’t they MODERATE and ADJUST for REMOVAL of Laws, not just add to them?