• Category Archives: Slavery and Race

Civil Disobedience

s1Henry David Thoreau in his essay Civil Disobedience discusses the role concerned citizens should take when they feel that laws are unjust.  In the case of slavery, Thoreau believed that he could not be associated with a government that allowed part of its population to be enslaved (Cummings 240). He believed those that opposed slavery “in opinion” but did nothing to end it were more interested in the economic outcomes of the practice than in the cruelties and depravities that the slaves had to endure (Cummings 241).   Thoreau then makes a very interesting point about the American democratic process-he said a vote is only a gamble:

All voting is sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon with a slight moral tinge to it, playing with right or wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. (Cummings 241)

Thoreau believed that it took more than just casting a ballot to affect real change in government, that voting “for the right is doing nothing for it”. (Cummings 241). Unjust laws cannot be changed through complacency. For those that truly believe in an issue, action is required. Thoreau believed that slavery and the Mexican War were wrong and refused to pay his taxes to support the government’s policies and involvement in those issues (Cummings 238). Civil disobedience in his opinion was the only way to bring about change. Decades later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would use civil disobedience to bring attention racial discrimination.  He said:

Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue (Cummings 579)

Civil disobedience forces a community to look at an issue in a different light.  For those that make the choice to stand up for what they believe is important and right, the path is not always easy. I have some of the same questions as Thoreau. Can a person be satisfied with having only their opinion about an issue and not do anything to further the cause?  If a person sees injustice and does nothing, does that opinion have any value?


 

Cummings, Michael S. “Henry David Thoreau-Civil Disobedience (1848) ”.  American Political Thought. 7th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2015. 238-247. Print.

Cummings, Michael S. “Martin Luther King, Jr-Letter from the Birmingham City Jail (April 16, 1963) ”.  American Political Thought. 7th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2015. 578-585. Print.

Image: http://texaspolitics.utexas.edu/archive/html/ig/features/0607_01/slide1.html

 

Rachel Watson Discussion

During Rachel Watson’s discussion, she talked about the crime scene as a sacred space. As most know, there are circulated images of lynching and horrific murders of black citizens that are used as evidence of a murder. For example, as she mentioned, during the Jim Crow era when Emmitt Till was murdered, the killings of Black Americans was normal and almost state sanctioned; the killings were a part of a larger institutional structure allowing for the widespread discrimination against Black Americans. When Till was murdered at 14, his mother decided to have an open casket and circulate his image in order to gain awareness that his death was indeed a murder.

Due to the comfort level most people had during Jim Crow with the murdering of Black Americans, most people did not see it as murder, and if they did, it did not disrupt their daily life. Watson used the example of 12 Years a Slave. Within the movie, Northup was hung by a rope to a tree with just enough room to stand on his tippy toes in order to avoid certain death. While this is happening, the camera pans to different areas and focuses widely on the Northup within his environment; everyone around him continued to go on as if a man hanging from a tree fighting for his life was normal.

Recently, there has been a spike in media coverage about the murders of Black Americans by police officers. Due to the widespread usage and availability of technology, the average citizen is able to film the crime while it’s happening and publish the video for all to see. Watson discusses how before a video or picture is released, there is no accountability for the policeman and the story differs compared to when the video/picture is released. This begs the question – will police only be held accountable when there is visual evidence to invoke the emotion of the viewer to press for change and justice? However, as Watson pointed out, there is an article in The Onion, titled “Nation Hopeful There Will Be Equally Random Chance of Justice for Future Victims of Police Abuse,” that addresses the question very craft-fully:
“As long as a fair-minded eyewitness happens to be passing by at the exact right time; has the inclination to stop and film; an unobstructed view; enough battery life and memory on their phone; a steady hand; the forethought to start filming an interaction with the police before it escalates into violence; is close enough to get detailed footage, but far enough away to avoid being shot themselves or seen by the officer and potentially having their phone confiscated; and it is daytime, then justice would certainly be served.”

Those who could not obtain the dream

In America, most people claim that anyone in America can make it and obtain the American dream of a house and white picket fence (I don’t view myself with a white picket fence); however, there are those in America who would not be able to obtain the American dream because of their skin color, religion, or where you were born. In some cases it even happens today. In the early 1900’s the major cities and much of America was separated between many different ethnic and racial backgrounds. For example, the Irish had one part of the city, while the Italians, Jews, blacks, and other ethnicities had other parts of the city and all had to face prejudices from the protestants (natives) and each other, ironically. When facing discrimination, black people were the most targeted out of all the ethnic groups because they were black. During the 1920’s, the middle class was prospering at great new heights, but black people were mostly left out because of laws that barred them from voting and could not enter certain public places such as restaurants, taxes, and certain neighborhoods. Black entertainers and athletes were mostly left out of the mainstream , and so black communities throughout the United States had to have their own leagues for sports and their own venues for entertainers. One of these entertainers was a Missouri born black writer named Langston Hughes. He wrote plays, novels, poems, and essays about the struggles and celebrations of black people in America. In one of his poems called A New Song where he calls for black people to take more action in their community by the following passage:

“I speak in the name of the black millions

Awakening to action.

Let all others keep silent a moment.

I have this word to bring.

This thing to say,

The song to sing:

Bitter was the day

When I bowed my back

Beneath the slaver’s whip

That is past.”

Even though some black people succeeded in making a life for themselves, many couldn’t live a life poverty. Even if a black person does become successful, they are still stigmatized from the rest of society and were denied admittance from clubs and other social events like parties and dinners of high honor. Today things a little better for black people in society, but society is still not equal for black people.

Even though things are better, we still have discrimination today. Is there example of this discrimination today? Is the future looking better for minorities in America?20s

 

 

“America Never Was America To Me”

Langston Hughes

Black America


In reading “A New Song” and “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes, he discusses the American vision of being the land of opportunity and how it applies to ethnic minorities and people with low socioeconomic statuses; additionally, although America’s history has been deeply drenched in corruption, greed, and horrible atrocities against some, he believes America can see a brighter, more clear vision of opportunity and equality. Although the poems are separate entities, they come together to create a Hughes’ ultimate dream of what America could be. Below, I picked out a few lines from each poem that speaks to this vision:

1. “Bitter/With the past/But sweet/With the dream” (518). In these few lines, Hughes discusses the bitter race relations of the past and the sweet dream of the possible unity between different peoples. He acknowledges that although there has been this tense and unfair treatment of ethnic minorities, specifically Black Americans, there is a brighter, “sweeter” future.

2. “That day is past” “The past is done!” (519). Here, Hughes continues to reference the past, but also acknowledges that the past is over with, which hints toward working on the present and hoping for a better future to come.

3.”America was never America to me/And yet I swear this oath/America will be!” (521). Within these lines, I believe Hughes sums his entire poem. America is branded as the land of the free, land of opportunity, and the home of the brave; however, those ideals are limited to a certain few. This poem is especially important because not only does it mention ethnic minorities, but it also lists immigrants and lower income peoples; he approaches the dream from an intersectional view. In the last line of the above quotation, he once again refers to the American dream being applied to all people.

Do you believe that the past is really done? Or, has the past created new issues for the future of America?

The Equal Rights Association and Discrimination Laws

To me, this meme explains the split that happened during reconstruction between those who advocated for equal rights – mostly Black people and women. Because these two groups were disenfranchised and navigated in a white, male dominant society, they came together for a common cause. However, once the civil war was over and the government began pushing solely for the rights of Black men, the two groups split. Cummings states, “The issue split the Equal Rights Association, the postwar successor to the various antislavery associations, and gave rise to the separate National Woman Suffrage Association, which thereafter opposed the Fifteenth Amendment in Congress” (321). Is some progress good enough, or do you believe the NWSA was right in opposing the 15th amendment?

Moreover, even though Congress wanted to give Black men rights to help their plight, especially in the South, they also had a large political motive. If Black men had the right to vote, and most of them would vote Republican, then the Republican party would remain in political control. Cummings argues, “Without Republican black votes in the South, the Democratic Party might well have quickly returned to majority status . . . ” (320). He goes on to state that the enforcement clauses in the laws Congress passed to ensure the equal treatment of Black people eventually waned without the lack of support from Northerners, and eventually white supremacy again took control of the south (321). “Congressional power, therefore, did not extend to the control of ‘private’ inns, theaters, and similar establishments did in the way of discrimination against blacks” (321). Currently, there is great debate over discrimination laws and whether or not someone is allowed to discriminate in their place of business. For example, in this opinion article: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/372650/why-bakers-should-be-free-discriminate-alec-torres, an author reasons why it is okay and perfectly legal to discriminate based on moral beliefs.

Where does one draw the line between refusing due to religious beliefs and complete, outright discrimination?

Race, Gender and the Oppression Olympics

In the debate between Frederick Douglass and the various suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone one can observe similar themes that have and continue to mar the progressive politics of the left. The theme is that of identity politics, namely which identity is more important and which oppressed group “wins” the oppression Olympics and deserves to have their grievances addressed first.

Something like this

Something like this

Frederick Douglass:

“I must say that I do not see how any one can pretend that there is the same urgency in giving the ballot to woman as to the negro. With us, the matter is a question of life and death, at least, in fifteen States of the Union. When women, because they are women, are hunted down through the cities of New York and New Orleans; when their children are torn from their arms, and their brains are dashed out upon the pavement; when they are objects of insult and outrage at every turn; . . .then they will have an urgency to obtain the ballot equal to our own.”

Susan B. Anthony:

“Mr. Douglass talks about the wrongs of the negro; but with all the outrages he to-day suffers, he would not exchange his sex and take the place of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.”

Lucy Stone:

“But woman suffrage is more imperative than his own; and I want to remind the audience that when he says what the Ku-Kluxes did all over the South, the Ku-Kluxes here in the North in the shape of men, take away the children from mother, and separate them as completely as if done on the block of the auctioneer.”

This race-to-the-bottom for status as most oppressed and, thus, most deserving group is something which seems difficult to remedy. A quick glance over the more progressive ends of the internet reveal bitter infighting as individual belligerents assert their membership in downtrodden groups to garner sympathy and clout. The irony of this is that by swapping in group identities the individual loses itself in the myriad of intersectional identity politics, and the entire movement for social progress and justice suffers as more broad-based coalitions devolve into factionalism.

Susan B. Anthony shows great wisdom when she remarks:

” . . . Mr. Douglass’s remarks left her to defend the Government from the inferred inability to grapple with two questions at once. It legislates upon many questions at one and the same time, and it has the power to decide the woman question and the negro question at one and the same time.”

Social justice is not a zero-sum game. If the slated objective of all those who agitate reform is the improvement of human lives then there is no contradiction in arguing for broad based improvement rather than factional identity politics.

Lucy Stone somewhat expresses this sentiment:

“Woman has an ocean of wrongs too deep for any plummet, and the negro too, has an ocean of wrongs that can not be fathomed. There are two great oceans; in one is the black man, and in the other is the woman. But I thank God for that XV Amendment, and hope that it will be adopted in every State. I will be thankful in my soul if any body can get out of the terrible pit.”

Are identity politics harmful and divisive to the achievement of progressive goals? Or are certain identities and their grievances too unique and important to compromise?

Although the Tune Changes, The Lyrics Remain the Same

From the first words spoken in The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions (1838) to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (1865) twenty seven years have elapsed from the more radical Lincoln into a polished speaker and moving president. Although Lincoln can be interpreted as a waffler of sorts, the content of what Lincoln had to say never changed, he just altered the context in which he discussed his opposition for slavery in all and any form.
Lincoln’s opposition to slavery rests heavily within The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions, a speech that he gave in 1838. Within this speech, Lincoln calls for a unification of the people against the abhorrent conditions of slavery and its perpetuation. But what really stands out in the address that he is making is his desire for a nation to stand, unified, against forces that oppose the intent of the founders and the static document of which they bestowed upon the people for their own securities against repression and tyranny. Lincoln says,
“The question recurs ‘how shall we fortify against it?’ The answer is simple. Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher of his prosperity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;-let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap- let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges;- let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;- let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all the sexes and tongues, and the colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its alters.”
– Cummings, P.288
When Lincoln speaks these words, it is almost as though he is speaking with the knowledge of a future not yet destined to be. But within his words, a feeling of absolution resonates. A foresight that one may acquire with knowledge of the past and the destiny of that past to become repetitious. A repetitious force within history is arguable, but systematically feasible. Lincoln understood the repetitious systematic pattern of history as well as the systematic structure of oppression within slavery and took a feat, unattainable by many, to conquer the structure that has perpetuated much misery. 177 years have elapsed from today’s date; Lincoln set his agenda to unify a nation against the tyranny and oppression of slavery and yet, what he said those almost 200 years ago could be repeated to the people of our time, to incite a new revolution against tyranny and oppression that so many face today within this marvelous nation.
Reading Lincoln’s, The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions through the modern lens is astounding. I could not believe the amount of what Lincoln said as still pertaining to the conditions of this nation today. I implore you to take a moment to re-read this moving speech through the lens of our time. Read it out loud. You will hear the power and passion of this sometimes revered, sometimes not, president. Now I know that there are people that will disagree with me, I respect that. People disagreed with Lincoln, but remember that Lincoln did not quit nor become quiet to the problems that the nation faced, but rather he decided to take action, he called for action from others, to improve the conditions of all men and their right to the fruits of the labor that they produce.
I must now take a moment to evaluate the other moments in history that Lincoln shared with the people of this nation, his passion to right wrongs being inflicted upon a population without much, if any, opportunity to escape the perpetual system of oppression. As history unfolds, Lincoln becomes a powerful speaker. Powerful in the sense that he had a way to change the way that he said things to become more palatable and accepted within a nation that did not want to hear what he had to say. Twenty-two years elapse before he takes office as president of the United States and the way that Lincoln spoke to the people changed within that time. He did not become more charismatic, but rather he learned what it was that the people wanted and he used that to his advantage (in my estimation). In the Speech on the Dred Scott Decision (1857), the way that Lincoln spoke to the people is different than that of his revolutionary address in The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions. Although he had not changed his stance on slavery and its abolition, the way that he speaks of abolition has changed drastically. Lincoln says,
I had thought the Declaration promised something better than the conditions of British subjects; but no, it only meant that we should be equal to them in their own oppressed and unequal condition. According to that, it gave no promise that having kicked off the King and Lord of Great Britain, we should not at once be saddled with a King and Lords of our own.
I thought the Declaration contemplated the progressive improvement in the condition of all men everywhere; but no, it merely ‘was adopted for the purpose of justifying the colonists in the eyes of the civilized world in withdrawing their allegiance from the British crown, and dissolving their connections within the mother country.’ Why, that object having been effected some eighty years ago, the Declaration is of no practical use now- mere rubbish- old wadding left to rot on the battlefield after the victory is won.”
Cummings, P.292
The difference that I am pointing to within these different quotations are not as noticeable as one may assume, for there is a distinct difference in the context in which Lincoln presents his position of slavery. In this piece from the Dred Scott decision he regresses historically to present his listeners with a compelling argument to further reinforce that the revolutionary war was not fought to repeat the oppression of Great Britain within this new nation, but rather to build a new nation on the premise that what was held in reverence of the “mother land” are the same conditions that are to be remembered but not repeated within the new country. Lincoln points to liberty as a condition afforded all within this nation and without it we, the people of this new nation, are just the same if not worse than the tyrannical leaders of Great Britain.
In Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address (1861), he remains of the past sentiment. Although his language has changed, he has not deviated from his ultimate goal that he discussed in 1838, in The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions. Rather, Lincoln lays out his presidential aspirations of his newly elected position. He calms the masses, if you will, in regard to the abolition of slavery and the executive order by saying, “… I only impress upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming administration (Cummings, P.296). He’s also reassuring the slave-owning population that he will not become the one to fear in regards to their economic security. This tactic that Lincoln utilizes as a form of reassurance to an uneasy populous is quite impressive. The alteration in the way that he directs his attention, still, to change he uses persuasive measures and some manipulation to convince a nation that his only intent is to uphold the content of the Declaration and Constitution. Lincoln continues to break down what it is that he will be doing while in office as the President of the United States. He wants to unify the nation; to eliminate the division of North and South, for without unity division will precipitate future and further divisions of one nation. The agenda of President Lincoln can be interpreted differently by different perspectives, but he makes his initiative very clear when he states in his First Inaugural Address,
“…And finally in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was ‘to form a more perfect Union.’
But if the destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before the Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity.
It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union: that resolves and ordinances to the effect are legally void; and that acts of violence, within any State or States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.
I therefore consider that, in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken: and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part; and I shall perform it so far as practicable, unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust that this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.”
-Cummings, P.297-298
In this excerpt Lincoln is advocating for a civil and humane method to eliminate slavery and reunify the nation. Although there are some (many) that oppose Lincoln’s presidential goals and aspirations, he decides, through a significant amount of time that what he stands for, abolition of slavery, is of great value. The value of abolition is not only in regard to the instruments that are used to oppress a people that were given no alternative, the of freedom for the slaves their selves is a great value for both slaves and the nation, but a value is also associated to a divided nation that will inevitably crumble when the division becomes more defined if the abolition of slavery does not occur.

I have found that through the reading of Lincoln’s famous and moving speeches he addressed the issues of the nation in a progressive fashion.  Not progressive in the notion of change, but rather progressive in his methodology to convince an ideologically warring nation to come to a collective and acceptable solution to abolishing slavery.  Although his words and approach changed through the time progression of these speeches, his message remained very clear and unwavering and he also gave peaceful solutions to the conflict between the North and the South. I must ask, what would this nation look like if we did not have a civil war?  If the people of this time compromised and followed the plan that Lincoln and his administration created to resolve and abolish slavery for good?

 

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

lincolns-second-inaugural-1865In 1865 as President Abraham Lincoln was preparing to deliver his second inauguration address the Civil War was winding down. After four long years of bloodshed the reelected President now had the task of reuniting a broken country. In his Second Inaugural Address Lincoln addresses the issues of war and how the division between the North and South had and would affect the unity of the country.
In the beginning of his speech Lincoln places the power of the events outside the sphere of humanity when he says “And the war came” (Cummings 305). Giving the power to the unseen hand of war places blame neither on the North or South for starting or wanting the war but now it is merely something that just happened. Next, he goes one to acknowledge that both sides had the same expectations concerning the conflict:

Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other (Cummings 305).

Lincoln is attempting to show that both sides have common ground to build on as they attempt to repair the Union. He points out that both sides have suffered in a longer war than anticipated while praying to God for deliverance from their enemy. Lincoln goes to say:

The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. ‘Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!’ If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope–fervently do we pray–that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. (Cummings 305-306).

Lincoln now places the war in the realm of God. He attributes slavery to God, who allowed it to happen. The Civil War is the misery visited upon the North and South as a consequence of the practice.  Although Lincoln delivered a rousing and inspiring speech, his reasoning his flawed. Slavery was not an institution that was thrust upon white Americans without their consent. The slave trade was a prosperous and viable part of the economy since before the founding of the nation. And the issue of slavery had been a hotly debated topic for decades; there were many times that legislation could have been enacted that would have given African-Americans their freedom.

Q: So, what do you think?  Was this a really great example of a politically motivated speech to unify a nation?  Or did Lincoln really believe that God was punishing the nation because of slavery?

cbnweather

Q: Do we still hear  talk about God punishing America for the sins of the people?


 

Cummings, Michael S. “Second Inaugural Address (1865)”.  American Political Thought. 7th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2015. 305-306. Print.

Lincoln and the Case for a Living Constitution

 

Its Alive

Early in the semester, we had discussions regarding whether the U.S. Constitution should be considered a “living document,” i.e. one that may be interpreted differently over time to reflect the values of a changing American society, or whether it should only be interpreted according to what the framers intended.  This debate comes up in many topics of political discourse, such as the debate about homosexual marriage, abortion rights, corporate personhood, etc.

In his opinion in the Dred Scott v. Sanford case, in which Scott sued for his and his family’s freedom based on his travels through anti-slavery territory, Chief Justice Taney advocated for a strict founder’s intent reading of the Constitution and the Declaration.  The court held that, because Scott and his family were of African descent, the founders did not mean to include them when they said that “all men are created equal” and, therefore, they were not citizens of the United States with standing to sue.  In his “Speech on the Dred Scott Decision,” Lincoln quotes Senator Stephen Douglas:

No man can vindicate the character, motives and conduct of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, except upon the hypothesis that they referred to the white race alone, and not to the African, when they declared all men to have been created equal-that they were speaking of British subjects on this continent being equal to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain  (Cummings 291).

Lincoln condemned this interpretation as a bastardized version of the concept of “all men are created equal.”  He mocked Douglas’ position, arguing that, if the wording in the Declaration was intended to apply only to equality among the British, it would have read “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all British subjects who were on this continent eighty-one years ago, were created equal to all British subjects born and then residing in Great Britain.”  He further counters Douglas’s reasoning by asserting that, if the only way we can interpret the Declaration is by the framers’ intent at the time of its writing, then the Declaration serves no purpose now because that intent–independence from Britain–was accomplished.  “That object having been effected some eighty years ago, the Declaration is of no practical use now…”  Clearly, Lincoln is arguing that, in order to rely on the Declaration in the present, it must be interpreted in light of contemporary societal values.  In other words, the Declaration is a living document.

Because the Declaration is the primary source for interpretation of the Constitution, Lincoln’s argument can be extended to the Constitution.  Therefore, it is logical to conclude that Lincoln would view the Constitution as a living document, too.

What do you think?  Do you find Lincoln’s argument persuasive?

Through the Looking Glass: What Slavery REALLY Looks Like

The presentation of historical material can and/or will be distorted through time to make it more palatable.  When taking a quick look back into the history of our nation and what I was taught at an early age, a quick comparison to the stories of colonization and construction of our nation have a different picture painted to masque the truths of the horrors that accompany a “great nation” such as this.  So many look to the founding fathers for guidance today through the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but to me I see their pen quills scrolling the “Fathers” good intentions onto parchments with the blood of other nations people, their lives, and their work.  Reading William Lloyd Garrison’s piece opened the door a little wider to an already cracking door to the animosity that I carry with the founding of this nation.

The Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Society starts with,

“More than fifty-seven years have elapsed…  (Since running from the tyrannical rule of Brittan)

…At the sound of the trumpet call three millions of people rose up from the sleep of death, and rushed to the strife of blood; deeming it more glorious to die instantly as freemen, than desirable to live one hours as slaves.”

It blows my mind that a people running from oppression and persecution of their “masters” refer to their lives lived as lives lived in slavery.  What really bothers me is that once the people (this nations founders) were free from their shackles of oppression they turned to different men and women and enslaved them for their own gains.  When taking a critical look at the slavery that occurred before the escape to a “new land” and the slavery that occurred within the new land it appears as though the “New Americans” needed to do it bigger and better…

SO I must ask.

Why was it intolerable to  feel like a slave under Brittan’s rule but engage in the acceptable practice by these once “enslaved people” to turn and kidnap, torture, murder, and steal another mans labor and life for personal gains of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness?