HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Our democracy's founding ...

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:43 AM

Our democracy's founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to

make them true.


Refill your coffee cup and settle in before you start this one. It's long and fantastic.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/black-history-american-democracy.html

For the most part, black Americans fought back alone. Yet we never fought only for ourselves. The bloody freedom struggles of the civil rights movement laid the foundation for every other modern rights struggle. This nation’s white founders set up a decidedly undemocratic Constitution that excluded women, Native Americans and black people, and did not provide the vote or equality for most Americans. But the laws born out of black resistance guarantee the franchise for all and ban discrimination based not just on race but on gender, nationality, religion and ability. It was the civil rights movement that led to the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which upended the racist immigration quota system intended to keep this country white. Because of black Americans, black and brown immigrants from across the globe are able to come to the United States and live in a country in which legal discrimination is no longer allowed. It is a truly American irony that some Asian-Americans, among the groups able to immigrate to the United States because of the black civil rights struggle, are now suing universities to end programs designed to help the descendants of the enslaved.

18 replies, 1435 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Our democracy's founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to (Original post)
WhiskeyGrinder Aug 14 OP
hedda_foil Aug 14 #1
WhiskeyGrinder Aug 14 #2
BadgerMom Aug 14 #5
luvtheGWN Aug 14 #6
trc Aug 14 #9
brush Aug 14 #15
brush Aug 14 #13
WhiskeyGrinder Aug 14 #3
grantcart Aug 14 #4
Kid Berwyn Aug 14 #7
StarfishSaver Aug 14 #8
Hekate Aug 14 #10
StarfishSaver Aug 14 #14
Hekate Aug 14 #18
WhiskeyGrinder Aug 14 #17
Politicub Aug 14 #11
gordianot Aug 14 #12
Glaisne Aug 14 #16

Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:12 AM

1. The portion that most struck me...



Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery. By 1776, Britain had grown deeply conflicted over its role in the barbaric institution that had reshaped the Western Hemisphere. In London, there were growing calls to abolish the slave trade. This would have upended the economy of the colonies, in both the North and the South. The wealth and prominence that allowed Jefferson, at just 33, and the other founding fathers to believe they could successfully break off from one of the mightiest empires in the world came from the dizzying profits generated by chattel slavery. In other words, we may never have revolted against Britain if the founders had not understood that slavery empowered them to do so; nor if they had not believed that independence was required in order to ensure that slavery would continue. It is not incidental that 10 of this nation’s first 12 presidents were enslavers, and some might argue that this nation was founded not as a democracy but as a slavocracy.

Jefferson and the other founders were keenly aware of this hypocrisy. And so in Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence, he tried to argue that it wasn’t the colonists’ fault. Instead, he blamed the king of England for forcing the institution of slavery on the unwilling colonists and called the trafficking in human beings a crime. Yet neither Jefferson nor most of the founders intended to abolish slavery, and in the end, they struck the passage.

There is no mention of slavery in the final Declaration of Independence. Similarly, 11 years later, when it came time to draft the Constitution, the framers carefully constructed a document that preserved and protected slavery without ever using the word. In the texts in which they were making the case for freedom to the world, they did not want to explicitly enshrine their hypocrisy, so they sought to hide it. The Constitution contains 84 clauses. Six deal directly with the enslaved and their enslavement, as the historian David Waldstreicher has written, and five more hold implications for slavery. The Constitution protected the “property” of those who enslaved black people, prohibited the federal government from intervening to end the importation of enslaved Africans for a term of 20 years, allowed Congress to mobilize the militia to put down insurrections by the enslaved and forced states that had outlawed slavery to turn over enslaved people who had run away seeking refuge. Like many others, the writer and abolitionist Samuel Byron called out the deceit, saying of the Constitution, “The words are dark and ambiguous; such as no plain man of common sense would have used, [and] are evidently chosen to conceal from Europe, that in this enlightened country, the practice of slavery has its advocates among men in the highest stations.”

With independence, the founding fathers could no longer blame slavery on Britain. The sin became this nation’s own, and so, too, the need to cleanse it. The shameful paradox of continuing chattel slavery in a nation founded on individual freedom, scholars today assert, led to a hardening of the racial caste system. This ideology, reinforced not just by laws but by racist science and literature, maintained that black people were subhuman, a belief that allowed white Americans to live with their betrayal. By the early 1800s, according to the legal historians Leland B. Ware, Robert J. Cottrol and Raymond T. Diamond, white Americans, whether they engaged in slavery or not, “had a considerable psychological as well as economic investment in the doctrine of black inferiority.” While liberty was the inalienable right of the people who would be considered white, enslavement and subjugation became the natural station of people who had any discernible drop of “black” blood.

The Supreme Court enshrined this thinking in the law in its 1857 Dred Scott decision, ruling that black people, whether enslaved or free, came from a “slave” race. This made them inferior to white people and, therefore, incompatible with American democracy. Democracy was for citizens, and the “Negro race,” the court ruled, was “a separate class of persons,” which the founders had “not regarded as a portion of the people or citizens of the Government” and had “no rights which a white man was bound to respect.” This belief, that black people were not merely enslaved but were a slave race, became the root of the endemic racism that we still cannot purge from this nation to this day. If black people could not ever be citizens, if they were a caste apart from all other humans, then they did not require the rights bestowed by the Constitution, and the “we” in the “We the People” was not a lie.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hedda_foil (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:13 AM

2. Yes! It was all so good, it's impossible to find an excerpt.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hedda_foil (Reply #1)


Response to hedda_foil (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:44 AM

6. It's always, ALWAYS about the money, isn't it?

To hell with dealing with real working lives.........

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hedda_foil (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:11 PM

9. I believe that most American colonists considered non-whites to be inferior

and as such, were not considered in the "all men are created equal" concept of "Americanism" because they were not equal.
This concept that the American colonists broke away from England to protect slavery is not supported historically. The American revolution was seen very differently in the northern colonies, middle colonies and southern colonies. The north wanted economic growth not afforded them in the Mercantilist system the colonies were forced to operate under. The middle colonies were more about growing food and other cash crops, but had some interest in manufacturing just like the northern colonies. The southern colonies did not in fact want a separation from England because the Mercantilist system worked very well for them. They produced crops that were sent to England to be manufactured into other goods for sale globally. They maintained bank accounts in England, they sent they children to England to be educated, and they looked to England as a source of culture and refinement. So, if it were true that the colonies wanted to break from England to preserve slavery (even though slavery was not abolished by England until 1833), why would the most slavery dependent set of colonies not want to separate from the very threat to their way of life and economic stability?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to trc (Reply #9)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:54 PM

15. Did you read the essay? Doesn't sound like it. They first tried to blame Britain for slavery, then..

refuse to "own" it by trying to hide their advocacy of enslavement with vague phrases like "property rights". And the property referred to, let's not try to fool ourselves, were enslaved people.

Please, what's the reason for trying to justify it?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hedda_foil (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:34 PM

13. So the "esteemed" founding fathers first tried to blame slavery on the British then tried to hide...

their advocacy of it in the very high-sounding, founding documents of this nation by using vague terms like "property rights" of owners. Justification of it came with racist pseudo science and literature and it was even codified in writing by the Supreme Court with the Dred Scott Decision.

Although I've known of this for years, I mean the general thrust of it, not the particulars as put forth here in this excellent piece, it is still disheartening that there is no wiggle room, none at all, to exonerate the "esteemed" founding fathers as their intent is obvious. They manipulated everything to maintain their ability to keep others enslaved even though they knew it was wrong, a sin and an abomination.

They were hypocrites all to the extreme even in the drafting of the declaration of independence and the constitution. I literally have much diminished respect for those documents and their ratifiers now and when I hear exalted references to them from now on I will just shrug my shoulders as they do not really mean what they say.

The founding fathers were no heroes, even a clear majority of the first 12 presidents were enslavers.

The real heroes are African Americans of the civil rights era who fought to make the country live up to the high-sounding words of it's founding documents.

Ironically the preposterous, ridiculous, orange racist ass in the White House now has ripped off the scabs and re-exposed the nation for what it has always been.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:31 AM

3. Midmorning kick.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:11 AM

4. The ideals were noble and true the mythology about them were never

True.

The greatest renunciation of the founding ideals which asserts naked nationalistic self interest over self evident truths that support universal human rights.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:49 AM

7. Crispus Attucks died in the Boston Massacre of 1770



There wouldn’t be a United States of America without African Americans.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:56 AM

8. Let's not even talk about the benefits white women have gotten from the black civil rights movement

Which, in all too many cases, they offered little help in obtaining yet now too many white women exploit to the hilt and actually use to suppress the black people who paved the way for them.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #8)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:14 PM

10. Then let's not talk about the female abolitionists who so very much wanted the vote themselves...

...and the legal equality that went with it, but saw black slavery as the worse evil, and devoted their attention to that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hekate (Reply #10)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:50 PM

14. The existence of some white female abolitionists in the 1800s is completely irrelevant to my point

Unless one is into the not ALL white women and ALL lives matter defensive deflection and believes that because some white women were so benevolent to black people that no other white women thereafter can ever have their shit called out for taking full advantage of a movement they did little or nothing to assist 100+ years later.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #14)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 01:38 PM

18. Not what I said. Just that human history is a long and complicated thing.

Cheers

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #8)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 01:28 PM

17. TRUTH.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:20 PM

11. Amazing essay!

Everyone should read this.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:34 PM

12. The founding ideals were a tease.

If some can get the good stuff why not everyone can pursue happiness? As I had it explained to me the flaw with the founders was they baked in what made them happy at the time which became increasingly archaic. You do not get free labor or land. There is the age old dilemma of all Democracies when Freedom and Liberty clash. Your pursuit of happiness is limited when it clashes with others and is why wwe need a social contract such as the Constitution. As flawed as it is the Constitution is all we really have and it has evolved. Pursue your happiness but do so with recognition others have rights. Unfortunately that is not easy and takes a lot of effort. Human animals are by nature and evolution a hierarchical species as apparently were all homonids.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:54 PM

16. Thanks for this

I added it to Instapaper to read later.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread