Jefferson, Slavery, and The Declaration of Independence
by Pamela J. Adams
For decades, our overwhelmingly progressive education system has been erasing true American history from our textbooks. Documents authored by our Founders and people of the time are scrubbed from the pages and replaced with opinions of our Founders written by recent ‘historians’. Children are only taught very specific aspects and narrow viewpoints of our past while being indoctrinated to believe America is a horrible country because of those heavily regulated issues. Teachers convince students that our Founding Fathers were racist slave owners and did nothing to stop slavery.
However, even a basic, honest study of original sources and writings of our Founders prove how irresponsibly dishonest the curriculum is. These documents prove without a doubt how progressive teachers are purposely, or ignorantly, lying about America. Additionally, these facts make it profoundly obvious they desperately need to erase our history if they want any chance of successfully rewriting it.
When ships started arriving on our shores in the early 1600’s, many included white indentured servants from Europe. Soon, other ships came with African indentured servants, yet for a long time they were far less than whites. In 1654, a former indentured servant named Anthony Johnson sued one of his own servants, accusing him of not fulfilling his contract even though he stayed longer than required. The Court sentenced the servant to lifetime servanthood, thus producing the first legal slave in America. Therefore, Anthony became the first slave owner. He was also an African.
Following Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, in which poor colonists, slaves, and servants of all races rose up against the tyrannical government, the British started increasing African slavery to push racism and prevent another unified rebellion. Many colonies passed multiple laws to end slavery, but the king always vetoed them. However, other territories invoked laws preventing owners from ever freeing their slaves. Instead, they were passed on to descendants, which is how both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson obtained their slaves. This is the atmosphere of slavery as the colonists entered the American Revolution.
Despite common rhetoric denying it, Jefferson did address slavery in the Declaration of Independence. We all are familiar with the following words, but do we understand why those words were chosen?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, That all men are created equal, That they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Progressives focus on “all men are created equal,” claiming he actually did not believe this because of slavery, not knowing how the rest of this phase was written specifically with abolition in mind.
Jefferson borrowed “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” from John Locke, who worded it “Life, Liberty, and Property.” However, Jefferson knew many slave owners considered slaves their property. Fearing those owners would argue slavery was a Constitutional right because of this phrase, Jefferson replaced “Property” with “Pursuit of Happiness”. Logic would ask, if he agreed with slavery, why would he take such efforts to prevent a Constitutional argument for it? The truth is he didn’t approve of slavery, which is proven in his outright chastisement of the king for it.
In Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration, he included a detailed paragraph criticizing King George III for forcing slavery on the colonies. Denouncing the king for enslaving innocent people, Jefferson also condemned the king for prohibiting the colonists’ every attempt to abolish it. Jefferson concluded by rebuking the king for trying to bribe those he forced into slavery into picking up arms against the very people working for their freedom.
Jefferson’s paragraph reads:
“He [the King] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium [infamy] of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable [detestable] commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded [forcefully thrust] them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”
Jefferson capitalized two words in his paragraph, wanting to clearly express some specific points. By emphasizing CHRISTIAN, Jefferson reminded the king that he was performing his actions of warfare and slavery on innocent people while claiming to be a follower of Christ. This is nothing short of calling the king a hypocrite. While many justified slavery by convincing themselves Africans were subhuman, Jefferson did not subscribe to such characterization by capitalizing the word MEN where he did. By doing so, he was professing he believed Africans were definitely human and deserved to be free.
Jefferson and his sounding boards, stern abolitionists John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, realized Georgia and South Carolina were too dependent on slavery to agree to this rebuke. Knowing they needed unanimous support to achieve a “United Colonies” front, losing these southern states would jeopardize their quest for independence. Reluctantly, Jefferson removed the paragraph condemning the king for making the colonies a slave to slavery.
Progressives try to discredit the Founders and the Declaration of Independence for not freeing the slaves when they broke from Britain. Yet, how do you free others when you yourself are chained by a dictatorial government? They needed unity of all the states to accomplish America’s liberty before they could tackle the battle of liberating the slaves. Otherwise, the Patriots would have not only been fighting Britain, but Georgia and South Carolina as well. Common sense rightfully guided them to know that was a war they could not win, yet slavery could be tackled at a later time.
The Founders realized how divisive slavery was and hoped states would outlaw it on their own, which many did. However, they helped it along by including a clause in the Constitution stating the United States could abolish the African slave trade as early as 1808. President Jefferson took full advance of that clause and pushed for such legislation, signing the bill on March 3, 1807, making America the first country to stop the importation of African slaves. It was America’s first steps towards abolition.
The Declaration of Independence, even without Jefferson’s powerful paragraph, represents a significant and unprecedented document. It proclaimed man’s rights are from our Creator and “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The Declaration proclaims certain freedoms are granted by God. Therefore, no man can deny them. This concept alone makes the document historic, revolutionary, and unique.
Until America, people accepted their rights were controlled by whatever government they were under, to be granted and abolished at will. The Declaration broke that chokehold. However, progressives desperately want to replace our Creator with the government and thus ignore the consent of the governed. To do so, they have to hide our original documents and explanations, demonize those who wrote them, and rewrite our past. Progressives have reconditioned our children to accept government as God, placing the government’s noose we ripped off over 240 years ago back around our necks. Actively removing God from our lives and our history, our "solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty” have also been eradicated, once again allowing man to assume the role of ultimate authority.
Because of this destruction of founding, it is imperative we refuse to let our history, both good and bad, die. Unless Patriots stand up and fight back, starting with the education of ourselves and our children, each Independence Day we celebrate becomes more and more in danger of being our last.
But that’s just my 2 cents.
About the Author
Pamela J. Adams was a high school math teacher in an inner city school system but her passion is research and history. Pam has authored several genealogy books along with compilations of her historical blogs, Liberating Letters, which she maintains at her website TheFactsPaper.com. You can find more details about her books on her Amazon Page.
You can follow her current blogs at her Liberating Letters Facebook, Twitter, and Patreon accounts. Her desire is to provide a tool for teachers, parents, grandparents, and citizens to preserve and pass on America's rich history to students, family, and all people who love freedom and liberty. Pamela was also a contributing writer to Constitution.com before joining Mustard Seed Sentinel.
“Read more untold stories and how they still relate to us today at TheFactsPaper.com.”
You can read Pamela’s “I Never Heard That” column on the 2nd Wednesday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.