Slavery and Our Founders Part I: Thomas Jefferson

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.

Time after time, Americans have taken to the streets to defend our constitutional rights, whether it was our livelihood at stake -- or our lives. But, what was the point of all the civil rights movements that came before, if we're about to let the government take our rights away now?

On his Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck argued that Americans are tired of having our rights trampled by "tyrannical" leaders from state and local governments who are ignoring our unalienable rights during this pandemic.

"Our nanny state has gone too far. The men and women in office -- the ones closest to our communities, our towns, our cities -- are now taking advantage of our fear," Glenn said. "Like our brothers and sisters of the past, we need to start making the decisions that will put our destiny, and our children's destiny, back into our hands."

It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable, but some Americans are fighting back, risking losing their jobs and businesses or even jail time, as they battle to take back our civil rights.

Here are just a few of their stories:

After New Jersey's Atilis Gym reopened in defiance of the governor's executive order, the Department of Health shut them down for "posing a threat to the public health." Co-owner Ian Smith says somebody sabotaged the gym's toilets with enire rolls of paper to create the public health "threat."

Oregon Salon owner, Lindsey Graham, was fined $14 thousand for reopening. She said she was visited by numerous government organizations, including Child Protective Services, in what she believes are bullying tactics straight from the governor's office.

77-year-old Michigan barber, Karl Manke, refused to close his shop even when facing arrest. "I couldn't go another 30 days without an income," he said. But when local police refused to arrest him, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) office suspending his business license instead.

Port of Seattle police officer Greg Anderson was suspended after he spoke out against enforcing what he called "tyrannical orders" imposed amid coronavirus lockdowns.

Kentucky mother-of-seven, Mary Sabbatino, found herself under investigation for alleged child abuse after breaking social distancing rules at a bank. After a social worker from child protective services determined there was no sign of abuse, he still sought to investigate why the Sabbatino's are homeschooling, and how they can give "adequate attention to that many children."

Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail after she defied the state-mandated stay-at-home orders to reopen her business.

Watch the video clip from Glenn's special below:


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It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable. Leaders from state and local governments across the U.S. have flattened the curve of some of our most basic constitutional rights, but some Americans are fighting back — and risking jail time or losing their businesses.

On Wednesday night's GBTV special, Glenn Beck argued that we're witnessing the birth of a new civil rights movement — and it's time to build a coalition of common sense to keep America as we know it free.

Watch the full special below:

Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

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 multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

Watch the video below for more details:


Listen to the released audiotapes in full here.

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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 multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

A recently declassified email, written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and sent herself on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, reveals the players involved in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Rice's email details a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan 5, 2017, which included herself, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama. Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, fully declassified the email recently amid President Trump's repeated references to "Obamagate" and claims that Obama "used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration."

On Glenn Beck's Wednesday night special, Glenn broke down the details of Rice's email and discussed what they reveal about the Obama administration officials involved in the Russia investigation's origins.

Watch the video clip below: