Slavery and the Founders: The Four-Part Series

America's Founding Fathers, admired and revered by generations of grateful Americans, have been increasingly disparaged over the past 100 years. The progressive left would have you believe the Founders were all rich, white, uncaring, racist slave owners --- but the truth is something entirely different. What did the Founding Fathers think about slavery? Were they all slave owners who refused to free their slaves? This definitive four-part series on the Founders and slavery sets the record straight.

Listen to the full series on Slavery and the Founders:

Slavery and the Founders Part I: Thomas Jefferson

Fifty-six Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. Of those 56, we know that 15 owned slaves and did not release them, nor did they want to. This minority of Founders is what we would call, in effect, racist. So what about the other Founders, those who did not own slaves or those who did but wanted to free them? Thomas Jefferson, in particular, has been singled out as a hypocrite who spoke against slavery, but didn't free his own slaves upon his death. Why?

Let's begin with the obvious: America's Founding Fathers grew up in colonial America under English tradition and English rule. The colonies were an extension of Great Britain. It was the British, not our Founders, who brought slaves to this continent, and they did so for about 140 years. Thomas Jefferson, who grew up in 1700s Virginia where landowners owned slaves, began inheriting slaves at 14 years old. Even so, as he matured and considered the issue, Thomas Jefferson became decidedly anti-slavery.

So why didn't Jefferson end slavery in his own home? State law in Virginia was very clear, and Jefferson wrote about it, saying the laws would not permit him to "turn them loose." One law regarding slavery stated that if there was debt, slaves could not be freed and must be held to pay off that debt. Jefferson was, in today's dollars, $2.5 million in debt. So by state law, he could not free his slaves.

Black civil rights leaders from multiple eras --- Benjamin Beneker who personally knew Jefferson, Henry Highland Garnet, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. --- praised Jefferson for his relentless efforts to end slavery.

When he was elected to the legislature of Virginia and took office in 1769, one of the first measures he introduced, along with senior legislature Richard Bland, was to end slavery in the entire state of Virginia. They were severely chastised for the measure with a clear message: You will not speak out against slavery --- but Jefferson continued to do so. He went to court on two occasions and fought for slaves to receive freedom, pointing out that all men were created equal with equal rights under their creator. When he was elected to the Continental Congress, he introduced a measure to end slavery in all of the United States. That measure fell by one vote.

In his diary and memoir, Jefferson lamented that slavery did not end:

Oh, to God, that he would have changed one heart. What one heart, one vote of one man would have done.

Jefferson sought measure after measure, both at the state and national level, to end slavery. He even became involved in international efforts to end slavery. Two weeks before his death, Jefferson was still saying slavery had to end.

Slavery and the Founders Part II: George Washington

America's Founders are often painted as selfish, hypocritical and evil because, while men like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington spoke out against slavery, they both owned slaves. It's forgotten that these men from the 18th century are being judged by 21st century sensibilities. Additionally, slavery was instituted and engrained in colonial society by the British. The Founders were simply recipients of a system that had been in place for well over a century.

It was the British who stopped the original abolition movement in America. In 1773 and 1774, states like Rhode Island and Connecticut and Massachusetts and Pennsylvania passed anti-slavery laws. But in 1774, King George III vetoed every anti-slavery law in America. That's what caused Thomas Jefferson to write a clause in the Declaration which favored ending slavery (three southern states demanded it be removed). When America separated from Great Britain in 1776, those states were the first ones to end slavery. Once America was free from the British empire, the ending of slavery began. By 1800, every northern colony had abolished slavery in America.

George Washington and the other Founders who favored abolition knew they could not immediately end slavery in the United States and still have a United States. They would have instantly lost all of the Southern colonies, weakened the union and wound up without a nation. That's why Washington favored a gradual or, shall we say, "progressive" end to slavery.

Despite having inherited his first ten slaves when he was 11 years old, Washington grew to despise the practice. Upon his marriage to Martha Custis, Washington took possession of many more slaves. Martha was a widow when she married her second husband, George, and she brought to the marriage close to 100 dowry slaves. Washington argued and fought from the very beginning to end slavery, with no success in the legislature. When his and Martha's slaves began marrying and forming families, his hands were further tied, as he refused to sell slaves and break up families. He waited until his death and Martha's to free his slaves saying, "You can't free the slaves till after I die and till after she dies. Because once we're both dead, then you can keep the families together."

Historian David Barton further explains:

He could have made a ton of money if he could have sold his slaves, because he says it takes me twice as much to feed them as I make off the land. But he said, "I refuse to sell slaves. I refuse to participate in that practice of selling slaves. It's wrong." So he goes broke, rather than practice something that goes against his conscience, which is selling slaves. And he would not free his slaves because that would separate families.

And Virginia law, of course, did not recognize slave families or slave marriages, but he did. And that's why he took those families. He paid them for what they raised. He paid them for what they did. He did not treat them like slaves. He treated them like family, which is why, after he released them, the blacks for so long came back and took care of Mount Vernon, took care of his grave, took care of Martha's grave, because they so loved him. He was like a father figure to them.

Phyllis Wheatley, a 22-year-old slave and poet was so impressed with the respect and kindness Washington had shown her that she wrote a poem --- His Excellency General Washington --- to honor the man she so greatly admired when he was made commander in the Continental Army in 1775. Washington responded by inviting Ms. Wheatley to his headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he received her as if she were a visiting dignitary.

In a time when the world was just emerging from languishing in the Dark Ages for over 1,000 years, dozens of enlightened men, certainly not perfect men, but definitely brilliant, inspired and enlightened, laid the foundation for what would become the greatest hope ever offered to mankind. And they dealt with the complicated nightmare of slavery as best they could. There were barriers put in place that had to be chipped away, piece by piece.

It was President George Washington who set the tone and example, leading the way to end slavery.

Slavery and the Founders Part III: Benjamin Franklin

Critics of the Founders point to the three-fifths clause in the United States Constitution, which counted blacks as three-fifths of a person, as proof of their racism. To use this as proof of the Founders' hatred for black people shows a painful lack of knowledge.

The three-fifths clause had nothing to do with the worth of the human being. The argument in question was over the census and counting people in various states for Congressional representation and taxation. Many southern delegates argued that slaves, as their property, should be counted as a full person. Why? Because that would increase their representation in Congress, and thus their power and ability to keep slavery intact. The northern delegates who sought the eventual end to slavery knew that more representation meant more power for the south. And if they allowed that, slavery may never end. The compromise was the three-fifths clause.

During the constitutional convention of 1787, the slavery debate threatened to derail any attempts to form a new government. The southern states would not have entered the Union if slave trade had been abolished. Thus, the delegates agreed to end the slave trade in 1808. James Madison wrote, "Great as the evil is, a dismemberment of the Union would be worse."

The Founders put an end to the slave trade in 1808. From the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791 to 1808, the slave trade lasted a total of 17 years in the United States of America. Ending slavery altogether would take a civil war and the lives of 600,000 Americans, 57 years later.

In the early 1770s, before America declared independence from England, two Founding Fathers --- Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush --- tried to eliminate slavery from the American continent. Franklin's journey towards abolitionism had started ten years earlier with a visit to a school for black children, created by the Reverend Thomas Bray. For Franklin, it was an eyeopener, and he financially backed the Bray Associate School in Philadelphia.

Historian David Barton explains:

While Pennsylvania was still a British colony, Pennsylvania passed an anti-slavery law, but King George III vetoed that law passed by Pennsylvania. At that point in time, in 1774, Ben Franklin joins with fellow Pennsylvanian, also soon to be signer of the Declaration, Benjamin Rush, and they start the first Abolition Society in Pennsylvania. It was an act of civil disobedience against King George III. He said, "You can't end slavery." They said, "Watch us." But Franklin had already taken actions well before that.

Back in 1768, Ben Franklin had joined with Francis Hopkins, who was also soon to be a signer of the Declaration, and they started a chain of schools across Pennsylvania and across New England for black Americans. And it was to teach black Americans the Bible and academics. Now, that doesn't seem all that notable today, but it was then. Because under British policy, you were not to be educating blacks. Because if you educate blacks, they don't make good slaves.

And, by the way, if you teach them to read, they're probably going to read the Bible because that was the book. And if they read the Bible, they'll probably end up praying. And if they end up praying, you know what they're going to pray for, is an end of slavery. And that's just not a good thing, to have an educated slave. So under British policy, you tried to avoid education for slaves.

Now, that was carried forth in America in the southern states. And at the time of the civil war, it was a capital offense to teach a black to read. If a white person taught a black person to read, you both got kill. That was a capital offense.

Benjamin Franklin, president of the Pennsylvania anti-slavery society, thought differently and wanted to see blacks educated. When the first Congress of the United States convened in 1789, Ben Franklin introduced a petition asking Congress to abolish slavery. He died shortly after in 1790, without seeing his efforts to end slavery come to fruition. But he was one of the many Founding Fathers who worked to end slavery in America, recognizing that civil rights came from God's creation, that all men were created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, including life and liberty.

Franklin realized that being in bondage as a slave, having no free will, being governed by fear, and most likely abused on a regular basis, would take its toll on its victims. So he not only fought to free slaves, but also set up a way to help once they were freed. Franklin and his friends decided to expand the activity of their Abolition Society to include assistance in the immediate post-slavery period, helping former slaves make the transition to freedom by providing advice, assistance in finding jobs, educating children and learning how to exercise and enjoy their new civil liberties. He did all of this with private funds and private effort and without any government interference or intervention.

Slavery and the Founders Part IV: Abolitionists

Just as some Americans refuse to believe that America's Founders built this nation on Christian-Judeo principles, there are those who can't accept they also did their best to set up the eventual abolition of slavery. The laws of the time prohibited owners from freeing their slaves. These men were playing with the hand they were dealt, until such a time they could figure out a way to obtain a new deck of cards, a new set of laws --- without toppling the game itself.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson

Tried to abolish slavery by including abolition in the original Declaration of Independence. Delegates took it out.

Ben Franklin

Opposed the practice of slavery and sought to end it, eventually becoming president of a Philadelphia abolition society.

George Mason

The second largest slaveholder in Fairfax County after George Washington and a long-time abolitionist. At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, 1787, he said, "Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. Slaves bring the judgment of heaven on a country, as nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world. They must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities." Mason, widely regarded as the father of the Bill of Rights, refused to sign the Constitution, in large part because it did not specifically and immediately end slavery.

John Jay

Revolutionary war hero and author of several of the Federalist Papers. He eventually became the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. As governor of New York, he signed legislation to abolish slavery in his state.

Benjamin Rush

Signer of the Declaration of Independence and member of the Continental Congress who was an early advocate for ridding the nation of slavery. He published an influential anti-slavery pamphlet in 1773.

No discussion of slavery, the Founders and abolitionists would be complete without mentioning some of the black heros who were Founders themselves of the anti-slavery movement.

Harriet Tubman

Born into slavery in 1822 in Maryland, she was routinely whipped and beaten by her owner, sustaining a serious head injury that caused health issues for the rest of her life. Tubman was a devout Christian and a fearless freedom firefighter. She escaped slavery in 1849, at the age of 27, and immediately headed back to Maryland time after time to rescue members of her own family and lead them to freedom. Tubman became an important member of the Underground Railroad, a network of blacks and whites who used secret routes and safe houses to help blacks escape slavery. During the Civil War, Tubman joined the Union Army as an armed scout and spy. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, guiding a raid which liberated more than 700 slaves. Harriet Tubman lived to witness the end of slavery in the United States and died a free woman in 1913 on her own property.

Frederick Douglass

Born into slavery as well in 1818, Douglass experienced the horrors of slavery during his youth and young adulthood before finally escaping from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 1838. He became a licensed preacher and began honing his oratory skills, for which he would later become famous. During his first years of freedom, Douglass studied at the feet of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison who taught him that the Constitution was a pro-slavery document. Once Douglass read the Constitution himself and studied the words of the Founding Fathers, his entire outlook on the document and America changed. Douglass said, "I became convinced that the Constitution of the United States not only contained no guarantees in favor of slavery, but on the contrary, it is in its letter and spirit an anti-slavery instrument, demanding the abolition of slavery as a condition of its own existence as the supreme law of the land." Frederick Douglass went on to become a best-selling author, diplomat and a member of a fledgling anti-slavery, pro-abolition political party named the Republican Party.

While the Founding Fathers and courageous black leaders brought the United States to the brink of ending the evil of slavery, it was the great emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, with his steady hand, inspired leadership and resolute commitment that pushed the nation over that edge. Many say that Lincoln's willingness to go to war had little or nothing to do with slavery, but that simply isn't true. During the Civil War, Lincoln said he had always believed slavery was unjust and couldn't remember a time in his life when he thought differently. He didn't necessarily have all of the answers about what the nation would look like after slavery ended, but he did want to end it.

When virtually everyone in his administration and life insisted that he abandon the pursuit, Lincoln forged ahead. In 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation which states: That all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states are and henceforward shall be free.

View all serials at glennbeck.com/serials

Chances are, you've noticed that many large companies have decided to become woke activists, despite the fact that alienating half your customer base is a terrible business strategy.

This woke shift isn't being driven by the usual market forces. It's the Great Reset's ESG score system at work, Glenn Beck said on "GlennTV." Under the “environmental, social, and governance” score system, companies will no longer make decisions based on what you, the consumer, want. Now, it's all about what those in power deem society should want. And it's not just businesses that are affected, he explained.

Watch the video clip below or find the full episode of "GlennTV" here:


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11 things you can do to help stop the Great Reset

Photo by Arthur Franklin on Unsplash

The foundation of the American way of life is freedom from tyranny, which can only exist in a nation that defends the rights, powers, and property of individuals and families. Over the past two centuries, the greatest threats to liberty have come from governments, both foreign and domestic. And from the beaches of Normandy to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Americans have repeatedly conquered the challenges placed before them by those seeking to extinguish or limit individual rights.

However, over the past few years, a new, potentially catastrophic danger has emerged, but not primarily from the halls of Congress or state capitols. This threat to freedom has largely emanated from the board rooms of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful corporations, large financial institutions, central banks, and international organizations such as the United Nations and World Economic Forum.

In an attempt to secure vast amounts of wealth and influence over society, corporate CEOs, bankers, and investors, working closely with key government officials, have launched a unified effort to impose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards on most of the industrialized global economy. ESG standards are also referred to as “sustainable investment” or “stakeholder capitalism.” According to a report by KPMG, thousands of companies, located in more than 50 countries, already have ESG systems in place, including 82 percent of large companies in the United States.

ESG standards are designed to create a “great reset of capitalism” and to “revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.” ESG supporters plan to enact these radical changes by using ESG schemes to alter how businesses and investments are evaluated, so that instead of focusing on the quality of goods and services, profits, and other traditional economic metrics, companies — including financial institutions — are evaluated largely on their commitment to social justice and environmental causes and then assigned scores so that companies can be compared, rewarded, or potentially punished.

Supporters of the movement for a Great Reset also plan on using technology to limit free speech and privacy rights, and they support creating vast new government programs that are designed to transform the Western economy via the Green New Deal, European Green Deal, a federal jobs guarantee, and basic income programs.

Together, the proposals that make up the Great Reset represent the most serious threat to freedom in the West since the fall of the Soviet Union and perhaps since World War II. But there is hope. We can stop the Great Reset, but only if we act quickly and with great conviction.

Below are 11 steps you can take to push back against the Great Reset. These steps represent a powerful bottom-up, grassroots approach to the Great Reset’s top-down plan to remake the world. Although many of these steps won’t be easy for everyone to take, they are essential for ensuring that our children and grandchildren will grow up in a world that protects the rights of individuals and empowers families, rather than wealthy special interests, financial institutions, and large corporations.

1. Live Not by Lies: The time for remaining quiet is over. When you hear or see something that you know to be false, speak up. Be kind, generous, and compassionate, but do not, under any circumstances, allow lies to infect your life. Further, do not support organizations, publications, politicians, schools, or any other institutions that regularly promote false claims.

2. Buy Local: The reason the Great Reset is so powerful is because so many of us have become totally dependent on large multinational corporations. They can be easily manipulated in a way that small, local businesses cannot. Learn to buy local, whenever possible, even if it means spending more money on your purchases. Yes, big corporations offer conveniences and low prices that many small businesses can’t compete with, but those benefits come with a great cost: your freedom.

3. Bank Local: Big financial institutions and banks are driving much of the Great Reset movement. They have started to use their incredible wealth and power to alter society by financing only those businesses who agree to the terms of the Great Reset. This problem is going to get worse, so it’s important to find local banks and credit unions you can trust and who refuse to utilize ESG scores and other discriminatory schemes.

4. Support Local Farms: If you live in an area that has local farms and farmer’s markets, consider buying as many of your groceries as possible from farmers. In the future, food production and distribution are going to change dramatically. It’s important that you support local farmers and build relationships with individuals who can provide you with the goods you need in a time of crisis. One of our main goals must be to make local communities as self-sufficient as possible, and that cannot happen unless we support local farms.

5. Be Vocal: After starting to shop and bank locally, be sure to tell big financial institutions and corporations why they have lost your business. They need to know that their decisions have serious consequences.

6. Run for Local Government: Local and state governments will soon be our most important defense against the Great Reset. Consider running for your local school board, zoning board, or even for a state legislative office. If you don’t feel qualified for these positions, find someone who shares your values and help them run for office. If we don’t have control of our local governments, we won’t be able to halt the Great Reset.

7. Demand That Your State Pass Laws Against ESG Scores: In America, states have a tremendous amount of power to slow the Great Reset and protect their citizens from abuses by large corporations, banks, and international institutions. They can do this by passing laws that make the use of ESG metrics and other, similar systems by financial institutions illegal, when used as a precondition for banking services, financing, investment, etc. ESG scores are, by definition, discriminatory and should be made illegal by state lawmakers who care about protecting their citizens’ rights.

8. Make Responsible Spending a Key Issue for Politicians: In recent years, politicians on the ideological left and right have totally abandoned responsible fiscal policy in favor of vast money printing and loose monetary policies. The many trillions of dollars that have been “printed” in recent years put our economy at risk and are being used to fuel the Great Reset. Without these trillions of dollars of printed money, it would be exceptionally difficult for governments and financial institutions to buy off corporations.

9. Organize Anti-Great Reset Groups: No matter where you live, there are Americans in your community who do not support the Great Reset — Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. Find like-minded neighbors and organize a local, peaceful resistance. Find people you can trust and agree to support one another when times get tough. Now, more than ever, we need to develop dependable communities.

10. Buy Property and Diversify: Property ownership is going to become increasingly more difficult in the months and years to come. It’s important that you work with a qualified financial adviser to help you figure out the best way to buy property and diversify your investments. Buying hard assets, including real estate and precious metals, could be a good way for you to protect against the Great Reset and a possible financial collapse. If you already own property, resist selling it to large corporations and financial institutions, whenever possible. (This is not financial advice, and I’m not a financial adviser. Talk to an expert you trust before taking action!)

11. Make the Great Reset a Litmus Test for Politicians: Before supporting politicians, find out if they know what the Great Reset is and what they plan to do to stop it. If they aren’t familiar with the Great Reset or don’t have a plan to halt it, then demand that they learn about the Great Reset and develop a proposal to prevent it. Political leaders who refuse to take the Great Reset seriously do not deserve your support. This is the key issue of our generation.

Scott Quiner was transferred over the weekend to a hospital in Texas after doctors in Minnesota threated to terminate life support measures as he battled severe complications from COVID-19. Scott's wife, Anne Quiner, appealed to the courts for a restraining order to prevent the hospital from pulling the plug as she sought a new facility to provide medical care for her husband. Scott was unvaccinated when he tested positive for COVID-19 in late October, 2021.

Anne and her attorney Marjorie Holsten joined "The Glenn Beck Program" Thursday to describe their frantic efforts to halt the hospital's decision to turn off Scott's life support — allegedly because he was unvaccinated — and just how difficult it was to get him the medical treatment he needed.

"It was absolutely stunning," Holsten told Glenn. "[Anne] came in and she has this order, I saw the screenshot from the [online medical] chart that said [Scott] is basically scheduled for execution at noon the following day."

According to Holsten, the Minnesota hospital responded to her appeal for a restraining order by claiming that the "position" to keep Scott alive "is not supported by medical science or Minnesota law. As a result, Mercy will ask the court to issue an order that Mercy has the authority to discontinue Mr. Quiner's ventilator and proceed with his medical care plan."

"The 'medical care plan' was the plan to discontinue the ventilator at noon, which leads to death very shortly. So that was at 10 o'clock, but then at 11 o'clock, before the 12 o'clock execution, the judge did, in fact, sign an order saying the hospital is restrained from pulling the plug," she added.

Anne told Glenn that doctors in Texas were shocked by Scott's condition after he arrived from the Minnesota hospital. Not only had he been given dangerous drugs, he was also found to be “severely malnourished."

"The doctor [in Texas] spent two hours with Scott and when he came back out, he said, 'I don't know how he even made it, how he even survived that other hospital ... but I will do everything I can to try to save his life,'" Anne explained.

"And the doctor [in Texas] said Scott was the most undernourished patient he has ever seen," Holsten added.

"Glenn, we are first bringing this battle to the court of public opinion," Holsten continued. "What we are showing the world is that Scott was near death because of the protocols used in that [Minnesota] hospital, but now he is recovering. He is getting better.... Now, we're not planning a funeral, we're planning for his release."

Watch the video clip below for more details.

If you'd like to help support the Quiner family, please consider making a donation to GiveSendGo.com/Anne.


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The Great Reset is not just an elitist idea — it’s not even a socialist utopian concept. It’s a real-world fascist threat to every American from Wall Street to Main Street. It’s happening now in policies and cultural shifts big and small, obvious and subtle, from environmental promises to corporations going woke. But the mainstream media, global elites, and politicians brushed off the Great Reset as “nothing to see here.” Another myth they push: “The World Economic Forum is just a conference for elites who have no REAL power.”

Glenn Beck first exposed the Great Reset almost two years ago, and the globalist cries of "conspiracy theorist" soon followed. They said he believed the WEF was a “master cabal calling the shots from some evil underground lair.” But Glenn Beck never said that. Instead, he uncovered the true intentions of global leaders in finance and politics by simply highlighting their own words.

This week, the same global elites are doubling down on their agenda at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda virtual event. But still, the global elites — like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey — are trying to downplay the WEF’s influence to stop people like us from interfering with their plans. The oligarchy will prosper in the new world order they’ve designed. You will not.

So Glenn unveils a master chalkboard based on his best-selling new book to outline the threats from globalists and why we must stop their agenda if we hope to keep the precious freedoms we still have.

Watch the full episode of "GlennTV' Below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.