Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was recently on ABC News in an interview with George Stephanopoulos. During the conversation, Bachmann said that a number of the Founding Fathers opposed slavery and worked to end it, but Stephanopoulos challenged her, “Now, with respect Congresswoman, that's just not true.” But it is true. (Several good articles have been written about Stephanopoulos’ exchange with Bachmann - www.nationalreview.com and spectator.org)
Unfortunately, because of today’s practice of Deconstructionism – that is, pointing out every possible negative in American history and then making the exception appear to be the rule - most Americans can now recite more of what’s wrong with America than what’s right. They can identify every wart that has ever appeared on the face of America over the past four centuries but not identify what has made America the envy of every people in the world – the envy of every people, that is, except Americans.
I regularly see the results of this classroom practice of Deconstructionism. For example, when I speak at universities and law schools across the nation, I commonly display a slide of the famous painting of the “Signers of the Declaration of Independence” that hangs inside the Rotunda of the U. S. Capitol. I usually comment that it is unfortunate that the Founding Fathers were a collective group of racists, bigots, and slaveholders; and almost always, I universally receive nods of sad affirmation from the students.
I then ask students to identify which of the fifty-six signers owned slaves. Everyone immediately points to Thomas Jefferson, but to date no one has ever pointed out a second example. They have been taught that the Founding Fathers were racists; they know that Jefferson owned slaves; apparently that proves that the other fifty-five signers of the Declaration also owned slaves. Yet Jefferson was the exception, not the rule; the overwhelming majority of them were anti-slavery, introduced or passed anti-slavery legislation, or founded or led anti-slavery societies.
We have posted an article on the website giving a few of the many anti-slavery declarations made by Founding Fathers. Far too many today – including George Stephanopoulos – have been educated in a system that attacks traditional American institutions, values, and heroes. We need to become better acquainted with true American history so that we can push back against Deconstructionists, including on the issue of slavery and the Founding Fathers.