The Constitution and Slavery

One of the most difficult issues for modern Americans to understand was that of the issue of slavery.  While modern society abhores slavery, we are left, as Americans, with a fundamental grappling with how to make peace with our own history.  Slavery was brought to the United States by Great Britain, as mass labor to cultivate Southern Colonial cotton fields.  Slavery had been a part of every human society around the world for thousands of years, and Colonial America was no exception.  Many Americans wonder how our Founding Fathers could be so “enlightened” when it came to civil liberties for some, but not address such a fundamental issue across the whole land.  Some of the Founding Fathers actually owned slaves, including Jefferson and Washington (though Washington inherited his slaves from his parents and subsequently freed them)  Read the attached article and answer this question:  Were the Founding Fathers hypocrites?  Could/should a government have been founded which banned slavery outright?  Was their failure to act on this issue a cause of the Civil War, or an inevitability? Banning slavery from the inception of our country, would have precluded the forming of a “United” States.  The colones were under no obligation to join each other, or anyone else in founding a nation.  Any colony could have opted out, and some did! (the colonies in Canada did not receive their independence until almost 100 years later).  There would have been, at a minimum, two nations founded in 1783.   The Founders of the country made the decision to not address this issue, in the effort to form a country that was large enough to stand against colonial European powers.  As we know though, the issue came back to haunt the US in the form of the Civil War.

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