Tuesday, July 06, 2004
American Revolution & Slavery
I was up late last night, couldn't sleep - so I googled a few things in research for church this Thursday. Pastor preached on "Keeping America Great", taking his text from 1 Timothy 2:1-4, challenging the congregation to pray for our leaders (regardless of party affiliation), to live in holiness as Christians, and to share Christ with those around us. One of the leaders spoke to him afterwards about some of the "founding fathers". She's an African-American, and said that while she appreciated references to Thomas Jefferson and others, her teaching and upbringing had made all of these guys look like racist bigots, that they all owned slaves and that they were responsible so many of their continuing problems as slaves in this country. She wants to learn more from another perspective, and I frankly want to learn more from hers. So our Thursday nights this month are set up as forums to discuss things like this - and that's what I was researching.
I found some personal writings from Washington, various collected quotes from Franklin, excerpts of the exchange between John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun over the Missouri Compromise, and a few other pages I printed out to read through this morning. From a very superficial reading, it looks like most of the leaders at that time were actually against slavery, but they also condradicted those developing beliefs by owning slaves. "It was the thing to do", but many of these men were uncomfortable fighting for freedom while keeping some people in bondage, and each person & estate was at different places along the line between total slavery and total emancipation. It was a transitional period that would blow to a head in the 1860s, and again in the 1960s through to today.