Many groups over the years have accused America of being a racist, slave nation, and yes, some of the founding fathers owned slaves, and yes, even some presidents were slave owners. But that doesn’t mean that Americans are racist. Only a small percentage of Americans were slave owners and over one-hundred years ago, a very large percentage of Americans went to war to give slaves their freedom.
Before there even was an America, there were thirteen colonies under the rule of the King of England. The King had made a fortune off of the slave trade before it was abolished. British merchants were the largest contributors to the slave trade, taking shiploads of West Africans across the Atlantic to be sold in the New World. In 1807, parliament in Britain outlawed the trade of slaves and the practice of owning slaves ceased in the British Empire by 1843.
During and after the Revolutionary War, most northern states abolished slavery. In 1808 Congress prohibited the importation of slaves. In 1861, several states that had seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy, went to war against the northern states over the right to have slaves. In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves in America were free. It is estimated that somewhere between 640,000 to 700,000 people died in the war that ended slavery in the United States.
The Federalist Papers Project reports:
Derrick Wilburn writes that one of the favorite narratives of angry, America-hating liberals is to bring up the fact that America was once a slave nation and some of America’s ‘founding fathers’ were slave owners.
Surf progressive/liberal social media pages and it’s just a matter of (not much) time before you encounter an angry liberal typing in all caps and using multiple exclamation marks to say, “AMERICA IS A RACIST NATION THAT WAS FOUNDED BY RACISTS WHO OWNED SLAVES!!!”
Or some variety thereof.
While a part of that narrative is true–some of our Constitution’s signers were slave owners–telling that part is only telling one half of the story. If you’re going to scream, “This is a racist nation, founded by racists, steeped in racism and racist to the core!!!” and cite the fact that some of our founders were slave-owners to back the statement up, it’s only fair to tell the other half of the slavery story too — that those supposed racists also ended slavery.