Founding Fathers

Were you aware of the contradictions in the actions of America’s Founding Fathers regarding slavery? Were you aware that Thomas Jefferson owned 600 slaves and that George and Martha Washington owned 300? That Jefferson’s slaves included several of his children by Sally Hemings? Were you aware that so many Presidents owned slaves, even while they served as President? Were you aware that America’s Supreme Court Chief Justices owned slaves, two while they served as Chief Justice? Were you aware that the Constitution contained the Fugitive Slave Clause forming a basis for slave holders to enter into states that did not permit slavery in order to re-capture fugitive slaves? That the Clause formed the basis for enactment of the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850, requiring officials and citizens in non-slave states to cooperate in the capture of fugitives and their return to captivity ? Were you aware that the Three-Fifths Compromise greatly increased the power of the slave states over the national government in election of additional representatives in Congress, and additional electors for President, and thereby in the nomination and approval of Supreme Court Justices? Were you aware that the Emancipation Proclamation did not purport to free slaves in Union states? Were you aware that slavery continued in Union states even after the Civil War? Were you aware that Abraham Lincoln did not initially pursue the Civil War in order to free slaves? That his views regarding African-Americans evolved?

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