American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic
The great politicians and pioneers of human rights George Washington, John Adams or Thomas Jefferson, who succeeded to the White House from 1789 to 1809, could they be allowed to develop a cancer whose proliferation would be stopped that seventy later by a civil war that lasted four years, from 1861 to 1865, and would more than 600 000 dead?
The answer is simple: If the Founding Fathers had not closed the public eye to slavery, states would not unite, and there will be no American Republic. The acceptance of slavery was a compromise as fundamental that guaranteed equality between large and small states. In their heart of hearts, the three presidents were aware of the scandal and the danger posed by the enslavement of blacks. From 1786, Washington wrote to Lafayette that he dearly wanted a series of measures that "would abolish slavery by degrees, so slow, sure and imperceptible." He ordered in his will that the emancipation of the slaves of his Mount Vernon plantation, sale of the plantation and distribution of bonuses to emancipated slaves.
During the debate on the admission of Missouri, in 1819, John Adams, meanwhile, wrote to a friend: "Slavery is an evil black a colossal scale, and I am absolutely against the Authorization slavery in that territory. "But again, there was compromise: Missouri was entitled to slavery, while it was prohibited in Maine, North.
During the debate on the Missouri, he declared himself "terrified by the phenomenon" of slavery. But he also resigned itself to compromise. And while considering the emancipation of black people as a distant dream, he lived for years in with the mulatto Sally Heming.
Another American historian Joseph Ellis, professor at Mount Holyoke College in 2002 published a book in which he pays tribute to those he calls the "founding brothers" (Founding Brothers): the three named above plus James Madison, Alexander Hamilton Aaron Burr and Benjamin Franklin. Ellis devotes an entire chapter in a debate over slavery that took place at the First Congress in February 1790. It was titled "Silence."
The debate was provoked by two Quaker, who presented a petition asking the federal government to immediately end the slave trade, but the die was already loaded. During the "critical period" that followed the end of the War of Independence (1783-1789), the Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, had adopted the Constitution still in force today. However, Article I, section 9, paragraph 1, of the Constitution stated: "The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit shall not be prohibited by Congress before year one thousand eight hundred and eight"The word slavery, Slavic and Negroes were carefully excluded." Silence! "
Parliamentarians of 1790 who attended the Philadelphia Convention could testify that this constitution was never adopted by Southerners without these few lines. In other words, trafficking and slavery had been constitutionally authorized for twenty ...