Via Instapundit, Jeffrey Lord is having fun lecturing George Stephanopoulos by mentioning Founding Fathers who opposed slavery, contra Stephanopoulos’ rather ignorant statement here to Rep. Michele Bachmann:
For example earlier this year you said that the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence worked tirelessly to end slavery. Now with respect Congresswoman, that’s just not true.
We can go ’round and ’round about whether John Quincy Adams counts – I personally would have him count as one, or at least not quibble overmuch over it – but let’s talk about some non-Virginians, shall we?
- Benjamin Franklin. If Ben Franklin isn’t a Founding Father, then the term is meaningless anyway. Long sympathetic to abolitionist views, he spent the last years of his life (and the first years of the public) as an open advocate for abolition and integration.
- John Adams. Also on every list of Founding Fathers that there are. Balance his reluctance to push for too-public a dispute over slavery with his writing the Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts portion of the Massachusetts Constitution.
- John Jay. Likewise on the lists (also, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court). Despite being a slaveowner himself, Jay pushed for abolition and manumission in New York for over twenty years; he finally succeeded in passing manumission legislation as Governor.
Lord also brought up Alexander Hamilton, who was definitely down on the practice; and of course southern Founders like Jefferson, Madison, Washington, and others were certainly not unaware of the contradictions between slavery and the founding principles of the Republic. But what we seem to be having from Stephanopoulos here is yet another example of a pundit who is so eager to score a ‘Gotcha!’ moment off of a conservative politician (particularly a female conservative politician) that said pundit ends up saying something that’s even more dunderheaded. Frankly, I’d rather be known for arguing that JQ Adams was a Founding Father, than have it suggested that I thought that Ben Franklin was not one…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: If you think that this entire post was a bit nit-picky, well, take it up with Stephanopoulos. I’m just following the ground rules that he set up.