Republicans Revise The History Of Slavery to Make Themselves The Party of Equal Rights

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Historical revisionism is a Republican and religious right practice regarding the illegitimate distortion of the historical record so certain events appear in a more favorable light to substantiate their backward positions. One of the most recent phenomena in revisionist history is the insane notion that the Founding Fathers were directed by god to form America as a Christian nation, and that when he wrote the U.S. Constitution he told them there was no need for a federal government because states were the supreme law of the land. Recently, a staunch religious right conservative attempted to revise history again and asserted that people of faith are the true advocates for equal rights to bolster his claim there is no need for a federal government to ensure every American is treated the same.

Jim DeMint, president of the uber-conservative Heritage Foundation and former South Carolina senator was selling conservatism as America’s salvation on a Christian radio show when he claimed that the federal government had nothing whatsoever to do with ending slavery, and credited Christian advocacy for the Constitution with freeing the slaves. DeMint told Jerry Newcombe of Truth in Action Ministries that only by allowing conservatives to return the nation to 1776 and the original conservative intent of the Founding Fathers, is it possible for America to be America again. DeMint said, “This progressive, the whole idea of being progressive is to progress away from those ideas that made this country great. What we’re trying to conserve as conservative are those things that work, and we can change this country and change its course very quickly if we just remember what works.” Newcombe replied, “Let’s say you’re talking with a liberal person and they were to turn around and say, ‘that Founding Fathers thing worked out really well, look at that Civil War we had eighty years later.” DeMint shifted to the topic to slavery to demonstrate how racism permeates the Republican Party, and was incited to claim the government had nothing to do with ending slavery.

According to DeMint’s revisionist history, “The reason that the slaves were eventually freed was the Constitution, it was like the conscience of the American people. Unfortunately there were some court decisions like Dred Scott and others that defined some people as property, but the Constitution kept calling us back to ‘all men are created equal and we have inalienable rights’ in the minds of God. But a lot of the move to free the slaves came from the people, it did not come from the federal government. It came from a growing movement among particularly people of faith, that this was wrong. So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves.” Since Jim DeMint is too much of a coward to have a real debate with a real liberal, it is worth the time to disabuse him of his revisionist history giving credit for ending slavery to the religious right.

There are serious problems, and blatant lies, in DeMint’s offensive historical revisionism about “people of faith” in the Confederacy adhering to Thomas Jefferson’s famous “all men are created equal and have inalienable rights” to bring an end to slavery. First of all, neither the Confederacy nor many, many northerners were harkened back to the Constitution’s guarantee that “all men are created equal and have inalienable rights” because that line is in the Declaration of Independence; not the Constitution. Further, from the nation’s founding through Lincoln’s executive order freeing the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation) and the Civil War right up to the Civil Rights movement, African Americans were never afforded any equal rights without federal government intervention. In fact, the Founding Fathers’ worked out a compromise at the Constitutional Convention to determine African slaves were only worth three-fifths of a white man, and that was about ten years after Jefferson wrote his famous line that meant nothing to the Founders insofar as slavery was concerned.

For DeMint to claim it was the Constitution that granted enslaved African Americans “inalienable rights” is absurd because the Constitution had to be amended by the federal government many times after the Civil War, specifically the 13th and 14th Amendments, to completely end slavery and grant African-Americans equal right citizenship because Confederate ‘people of faith’ were defending slavery as a biblical mandate. African Americans did not secure civil rights, including voting rights, until about 100 years after the Civil War and racist Republicans fought the federal government every step of the way. It is true that Abraham Lincoln used an executive order to free the slaves, but it took the full force of the federal government to free them including fighting the deadliest war in America’s history to guarantee slaves would remain free throughout America.

Now, DeMint’s claim the religious right drove the end of slavery because they thought “that this was wrong” is a blatant lie and as a fundamentalist Christian Southerner he knows it. Christians used the bible exclusively to defend the practice of owning human beings as indentured servants and it was not just from examples of god supporting slavery in the Old Testament.  In fact, throughout the 1860s, Southern preachers were adamantly defending slavery and asking a question 21st Century evangelicals persistently proffer. Who can possibly question the word of god? Especially when Southern clergy cited numerous biblical scriptures such as in Ephesians 6:5 where it says “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling,” or when former Jew the apostle Paul wrote to Titus with instructions to “tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect” (Titus 2:9). For dog’s sake, Mormon Christians adhered to the biblical “Blacks are cursed by god” commandment until the 1970s, so there is no possible way people of any faith were responsible for ending slavery until the federal government stepped in and forced them to grant full equal rights to African Americans long after slavery was officially abolished.

Despite DeMint’s typically Confederate hatred of the federal government and African Americans, some group or other has always needed the full weight and force of the federal government to intercede to make sure African-Americans, women, children, gays, and workers secured their basic rights; for slaves it was their freedom. There are still a large number of Republicans like DeMint who still do not believe that “all men are created equal,” and some Americans may recall that it one of DeMint’s Heritage Foundation cohorts and white supremacist, Jason Richwine, who decried immigration reform because he claimed Latinos and African Americans were intellectually and morally inferior to the great white race. It is a belief that is rampant among conservatives, and the religious right is not speaking out against racist conservatives today any more than they were during slavery. As a matter of fact, today the religious right is at the forefront of denying that “all men (or women) are created equal” as evidenced by their frenzied discriminatory crusade against gays and women that conservatives in the teabagger and Republican movement are more than happy to advance with legislation at the state and federal level.

Jim DeMint is not a fool, and he knows it was not the Constitution or people of faith who ended slavery. It was the federal government that then, as well as now, has to protect Americans whether they are African Americans losing their right to vote in Southern states, gays wanting to marry the person they love, or women demanding to make their own personal reproductive health choices. It is likely true that racist Christian fundamentalists like DeMint really do want to return to late 1700s America to get back to what conservatives think worked so well, but for African Americans, gays, children, and women, it is certain they are thrilled America progressed away from that era. They are also grateful they have a strong federal government that, over the past century-and-a-half, forced religious right conservatives to accept that “all men and women are created equal;” something Southern people of faith have never accepted and are still  working frantically with Republicans to end once and for all.

 

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18 Replies to “Republicans Revise The History Of Slavery to Make Themselves The Party of Equal Rights”

  1. Our Democracy works when all parts of government and the citizens work together to ensure equality.No one part of our Democracy should be in charge. That is its beauty. The government is by the people and elected officials work for the people. The Constitution is our legal guide but can be amended. We allow for mistakes and the ability to correct them but prejudice and discrimination are never okay.

  2. So, the tact the republicans are going to use is religion. The one thing that appeals to the brain dead the most. Not rights, not anything else. Just religion and how this is supposed to be a religious country

    I am still perplexed on this god writing the constitution. Why did he steal it from the Magna Carta? Why did he call Black people “three-fifths of a white man” when he supposedly said all men were created equal? Was that his way if saying Black people were his mistake?

  3. Here is the actual WORST of it all: they believe their own bs revisionism! That’s from their belief of being holy and righteous.

    By the way, how could they have been the party of equal rights THEN if they can’t be NOW?

    F’ing Pharisees!

  4. Willful ignorance and just plain stupidity are sine quibus non for the conservative entertainment complex. Overzealous, extreme gullibility and an actual desire to be fooled are the sine quibus non for their base. The Flat Earth Society has nothing on these guys.

  5. DeMint and those like him don’t believe their own bull. They simply spit it out to whip their small minded faithful into a frenzy and then ask them to donate to the cause. I call them the political Jim Jones revivalists. I am quite sure he knows exactly what the constitution says, but he would rather contort it and use it for financial gain.

  6. The unfortunate thing is that there are a whole bunch of people out there who will buy this nonsense because they don’t know history and, worst of all, they have no desire to learn it for themselves.

  7. the conservative movement has been emboldened by the ownership of the “Robert’s Five” ,this supreme court is now allowing corrupting amounts of money/ voter suppression , diminished affirmative action ,etc… . The hubris displayed by the Ryan budget proves they plain ole’ don’t give a fat rats ass about any one but the rich, and Jim DeMint is more evidence the conservative movement knows “the fix is in” and hiring a dumb ass from South Carolina to head a think tank is a good move for the once renown Heritage Foundation.
    Their base will come out and vote for the hint of reinstating slavery(almost) and guns, guns ,guns or Christian something or other.
    So we wonder how/why would someone say or do such hateful things and not feel that they will lose popularity, well they won’t and if they do they will pass laws to negate any loss

  8. It’s beyond nauseating to see how people are so immersed in the alternate universe they live in that they are impervious to logic or facts. They reside in that morass of self-deception because they are firmly entrenched in an ideology that is regressive and a distortion of history.

  9. This is why we always need a library of books that tell us the truth of what happened. We cannot rely on solely the internet because websites can be manipulated, Wikipedia articles revised with political bias in mind, conservative groups throw money for Search Engine optimization, which drowns out critical voices.

    We also know that Google contributes to ALEC.

    We need to know how to do things the old fashioned way. Face to face meet ups, sharing information.

    The Republicans are trying to rewrite history the same way the Nazis did to manipulate what we think and read.

    America will turn to fascism lightning fast way, WAY before it turns to communism, despite what the right wingers tell you.

  10. The thing that bothers me is how they use the Lord’s name in vain, using religion to advance their own causes which are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christ.

    When will true Christians stand up and expose this masquerade? Jesus specifically warned us about these people.

  11. I agree on all but this important point—

    “the [Founders] worked out a compromise at the Constitutional Convention to determine African slaves were only worth 3/5 of a white man…”

    Race is not mentioned in the Constitution. The liberals protested inserting race in our legal code.

    That is how the Confederate and U.S. constitutions differ. No mention of race in the U.S. constitution, but the CSA document declares:

    “No law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.”

    DeMint’s state led that tyranny. Slavery was the central reason the Confederate states seceded. They were lazy, greedy, despotic, Christian, and conservative.

    Search South Carolina’s Causes of Secession for anything but slavery listed as the cause. Mississippi outright declared that white people were too pansy to work in the southern sun.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp

    If liars were whipped, Demint would cut out his own tongue to dodge his lashes.

  12. Actually it was the constitution that freed the slaves in the 13th amendment. The emancipation proclomation did not free any slaves, because it only applied to those held in confederate held teritory. Though our founders were careful to avoid the apearance of favoring one religon over another, they were for the most part very devout people. Racism was prevelant not only in the south but the north was just as racist. Illinois for example had laws forbiding blacks to reside in their state. The 3 fifths comprimise came about because the northern delegates did not want slaves counted as people at all, the southern slave owners wanted all blacks counted. so they comprimised 3/5. both sides, north and south were racist, just as today many on the right and left are racist.

  13. You might do some reading on the founders.

    The 13th was put in by people.

    They were devout but racists?

    The south wanted the blacks counted so they could have more representatives then the northern states

  14. Neither the democratic nor the republican party were around when the constitution was formed. Both parties share a lot of blame in what is going on in our nation today. I don’t like either party and I hope the rest of you will wake up and see we should not align with either party but start looking for alternative solutions. Both of these parties posture and post about being different and then get in the backroom and screw us all. Wake up people.

  15. Ron I agree with you. You have the best post so far I have read. I have friends in Illinois who will testify there are still laws on the books and enforced if you are black and in town when the sun goes down they will ask you to leave.

  16. The stealth reason for the Jeffersonian Declaration of Independence (there were some 90 different such declarations prior to the so called war of independence. ) was to position the slave holder dominated Continental Congress as central to the rebellion, and the major form of independence they were seeking was independence from the British legal system, foremost because of the Somersett Decision in 1772 by British Law Lord Mansfield in which he declared that any person/human being setting foot upon English soil would have the full rights and privileges of a native born Englishman. Look it up.

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