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Little Known History On Slavery
by romacox
April 7, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Judge Napolitao posted the following comment and video on facebook today.

"Did you know: The Declaration of Independence was almost never signed because the Southern states demanded the right to keep slavery institutionalized. The slaves were almost freed in 1776."

Here are more interesting facts:

 Few people today realize that many of our Founding Fathers and Revolutionary heroes were women and black men.

· Wentworth Cheswell, a black man, rode with Paul Revere that famous night in 1775.

· State constitutions protecting voting rights for blacks included those of Delaware (1776), Maryland (1776), New Hampshire (1784), and New York (1777). (Constitution signer Rufus King declared that in New York, “a citizen of color was entitled to all the privileges of a citizen. . . . [and] entitled to vote.”) Pennsylvania also extended such rights in her 1776 constitution, as did Massachusetts in her 1780 constitution.

· Between 1775 and 1807, the state constitution Of New Jersey permitted all persons worth over fifty pounds to vote. Free blacks and single women were technically enfranchised under this provision. In 1870 the 15th Amendment was passed that gave former slaves the right to vote. It was education and the ability to read that advanced voting rights proving the importance of a good education.

· Joseph Hayne Rainey, a black man, served in the House Of Representatives from 1870–1879. In fact we had several black representatives, and revolutionary heroes.

Article I Section 2 refers to slaves as "three fifths of all other Persons".

At first glance one can easily make some false conclusions unless they know the history which I share with you here. During the creation of the Constitution, Article I (Section 2) was not about slavery. Check it out: it is all about State's representation in the House of Representatives. Slavery only entered the discussion as a result of an attempted power grab. Each State wanted to make sure they had ample voting powers.

The non-slavery States were in a very heated discussion with the slave holding States. The latter insisted on a representation strictly according to the number of inhabitants, whether they were slaves or free persons. It was the non-slave holding States that wanted representation according to the number of free persons only (slaves not to be counted at all).

As one can see, the former version would have given the slave holding States a big advantage, and encouraged more slavery. By simply importing more slaves, a State could have easily increased their representation, and power in the House Of Representatives. The disagreement was so volatile that it nearly ended the creation of the Constitution of these United States.

After much discussion, a compromise was reached which was that three fifths of the slaves were counted as part of the number of free persons, as the basis of the appointment of Representatives. Interesting note: They purposely did not use the word slaves for reasons to be explained below. But it was well understood that "other persons" referred to the slave population.

Note: The word slavery was never used in the original Constitution for a reason. The framers did not want the Constitution to enforce or endorse slavery. In fact; George Mason, said: [Slavery is a] slow Poison, which is daily contaminating the Minds & Morals of our People. Every Gentleman here is born a petty Tyrant…. And in such an infernal School are to be educated our future Legislators & Rulers.

Article I Section 9: "The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person."

"James Madison, who is known as the architect of the Constitution said, "Twenty years will produce all the mischief that can be apprehended from the liberty to import slaves. So long a term will be more dishonorable to the American character than to say nothing about it in the Constitution"

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, in his book "The Familiar Exposition Of The American Constitution", writes "This clause as is manifest from its language, was designed solely to reserve to the Southern states, for a limited period, the right to import slaves. It is to the honor of America, that she should have set the first example on interdicting and abolishing the slave trade, in modern times." (pg 185).

He further writes (on page 186): "And it ought be considered as a great point gained, in favor of humanity, that a period of twenty years should enable Congress to terminate, in America (as Congress in fact has terminated the African slave trade) a traffic, which has so long and so loudly upbraided the morals and justice of modern nations." It is interesting to note that his book was written well before the Civil War.

The source of this information is from Joseph story's book, A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States: Containing a Brief Commentary On Every Clause, Explaining the True Nature, Reasons, ... and General Readers. with an Appendix, Conta Joseph Story was Justice of the U..S. Supreme Court from 1811 to 1845. He was a child of the American Revolution, born three years after the Declaration of Independence.

Note: Visiting a black college had a profound effect on Ben Franklin. Several years later he joined an abolition Society. Franklin came to believe that slavery should be ended, and eventually freed his own two slaves.

The video below explains even more, and tells you what Frederick Douglas, who was a scholarly black man, and himself once a slave, had to say about the Constitution and slavery.

American history is not perfect. We had Founding Fathers who practiced slavery. But why do we no longer hear about those who opposed it, and participated in the "Underground Railroad" to free the slaves?



  • Alyson121
    April 10, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Yes, you really have to do your own research. Many of the things I learned were gathered from my parents EXTENSIVE personal library, which would the lead me to other texts. It's been a out 20 so I don't have any of the notes, lesson plans or papers I'd printed (the Internet wasn't widely used back then so not much info online).

    a good place to start though is the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me. They have a wealth of references to other books. I spent allot of time I libraries for sure.  From Slavery to Freedom is another good one and it has other book resources as well.

    Those 2 books, with all the cross references to other books will have you busy researching until the end of the year. 

    Quoting romacox:

    Words of wisdom from Alyson121.  Teachers are too often blamed for what they had little control over (inaccurate text books).  I am not a teacher, but I have worked closely with them, and have seen the garbage thrown at them (blame and bureaucratic  control of textbooks and classrooms).

    Alyson121, It would be much appreciated it, when you have the time) if you would post some of the accurate history that you researched.  Many of us want our kids learning truth instead of the garbage in our text books.

    Anyone's posting of accurate information would be appreciated. 

    Quoting Alyson121:

    Here's a link to some additional info.  It's a pdf, so i can't copy it and paste it here.  Talks about global slavery and it's existence today . . .so it kinda answers your question about slavery today.

    p.s. i used to teach American History as well. I typically has to rely on resource outside of the history books provided as they were not always accurate and truthful about many things. 

    Quoting wunderwifey:

    I didn't mean any offense t you or anyone else. I have random thooughts like this all the time. I wonder what life would be like if certain things like electricity were never invented or if the suffrage movement had never happened. I'm not saying any of it would be good, just what ifs.
    I've lived in SC and TX nearly my entire life. I've seen the cotton fields and cattle ranches. I've picked cotton. I don't wish that on anyone! But when you need work you do what's available.
    That information I gave was stuff I learned from my mother who is a history teacher. She's one of the few teachers I trust. I saw the research she did even going on some of the trips around SC with her. Yes there is a lot of misinformation out there. But I believe I can trust what I've learned. I'm not saying life on a plantation was glamourous but not all slaves were beaten within an inch of their lives everyday. How would any work get done or profit made?

    Quoting Alyson121:

    Quoting wunderwifey:

    One of the biggest slave owners in SC was a black man, William Ellison.and not all slaves were black. Most slave owners did not treat their slaves as poorly as history books would like you to believe. They were valuable members of the plantation and not so easy to replace (monetarily). Those that beat their slaves unfortunately gave all slave owners a bad name. The topic of slavery is a tough one. I don't agree with it but at the same time biblically it was condoned. I was actually just thinking about this topic yesterday wondering what the US would be like if slaves still existed here.

    My great great grandfather, Almonte Moore was an African slave in the Southern area of Texas. From sh own words, he never mentioned how valued e felt as a slave, his parents were also slaves as well as his siblings and his grand parents. 

    I for one am glad chattel slavery is over, since I am of African decent if it were still around,I wouldn't be typing on this forum as I would be a slave as well as my 5 children. That's an awful thing to wonder, really and truly.

    also you may want to check out the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me as there is a TON of wrong info put out about ALL history to con-fuse the masses and people are falling for it without doing research. 

  • QueenCreole313
    April 11, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    This is a picture of my 3rd great-grandmother Julie. She spent the first 20+ years as a slave in Louisiana. Her owners was also her father.  

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