13 June 2016

Uncommon Commentary #507: Were the Founders Bounders?

The average person is conservative, by which I mean not that he is right-wing but that he resists change; people tend to assume that the way things are is the way that things ought to be, and so, in the 1700’s, the fact that slavery had been legal for as long as anyone could remember meant that people in general did not question whether it were right or wrong.  The USA’s Founding Fathers, being revolutionaries, might be expected not to have shared in the conservative attitude to which I have referred, but, among them, slaveholding was at least widespread and perhaps universal.  Ownership of a fellow human being certainly is difficult to reconcile with the ideas that all men are created equal and that they have a right to “liberty”, but being a hypocrite is not the same as being a monster.