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"The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro"
PBS Africans in America Web site ^ | 1852 | Frederick Douglass

Posted on 07/03/2003 5:16:46 PM PDT by ArcLight

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too ‹ great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory....

...Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart."

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.‹The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."

Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!" To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America.is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery ‹ the great sin and shame of America! "I will not equivocate; I will not excuse"; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, "It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, an denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed." But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian's God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Amercans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their mastcrs? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation's ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival....

...Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. "The arm of the Lord is not shortened," and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from "the Declaration of Independence," the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. -- Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, "Let there be Light," has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. 'Ethiopia, shall, stretch. out her hand unto Ood." In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee The wide world o'er! When from their galling chains set free, Th' oppress'd shall vilely bend the knee, And wear the yoke of tyranny Like brutes no more. That year will come, and freedom's reign, To man his plundered rights again Restore.

God speed the day when human blood Shall cease to flow! In every clime be understood, The claims of human brotherhood, And each return for evil, good, Not blow for blow; That day will come all feuds to end, And change into a faithful friend Each foe.

God speed the hour, the glorious hour, When none on earth Shall exercise a lordly power, Nor in a tyrant's presence cower; But to all manhood's stature tower, By equal birth! That hour will come, to each, to all, And from his Prison-house, to thrall Go forth.

Until that year, day, hour, arrive, With head, and heart, and hand I'll strive, To break the rod, and rend the gyve, The spoiler of his prey deprive -- So witness Heaven! And never from my chosen post, Whate'er the peril or the cost, Be driven.


TOPICS: Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: douglass; frederickdouglass; independenceday; patriotism; slavery
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At the risk of offending some here, I must post one of the great July 4 orations in US history. This bold, radical speech should be taught in every school in the land.
1 posted on 07/03/2003 5:16:47 PM PDT by ArcLight
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To: ArcLight
I too am from a slave family. I'm not of the founding fathers. I celebrate the 4th of July. What other land would we find these freedoms?

2 posted on 07/03/2003 5:21:47 PM PDT by Calpernia (Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.)
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To: ArcLight
Thanks for the post. What I like about this is the sense of proportion stated. That, yes, great injustices like slavery, were a stain on our country's history but that, when all is said and done, only a great country founded on solid principles could overcome these injustices, correct them and move on. (Well, at least, some of us have moved on.)
3 posted on 07/03/2003 5:32:12 PM PDT by plain talk
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To: Calpernia
When I saw the title of the thread, I clicked on it excpecting to find some dissonance contrived by democrats to divide the people along racial lines. What I found was one of the great speeches in our national history. If humankind begins again to smirk at high ideals, what then will pull upon our boot straps, to lift us from our paganhood?
4 posted on 07/03/2003 5:32:50 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: Calpernia
I have no idea where my family came from. But the founding of this nation established the freedoms we enjoy today regardless of our ancestry.
5 posted on 07/03/2003 5:33:56 PM PDT by gitmo (We've left the slippery slope and we are now in free fall.)
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To: MHGinTN
I think I'm lost. I shouldn't celebrate 4th of July because my gramma was a sharecropper?
6 posted on 07/03/2003 5:38:13 PM PDT by Calpernia (Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.)
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To: ArcLight
My family [mother's side] came here as indentured servants [slavery by another name]from Ireland [sorry about the spelling]. But by the Lord God Almighty I am am an American[native born too]
7 posted on 07/03/2003 5:39:35 PM PDT by Knightsofswing (sic semper tranyis [death to tryants!!])
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To: Knightsofswing
Bump! My Gramma (Momma Nome), Great Aunts and Great Uncles (her siblings) where sharecroppers in Capri. Momma Nome and one of her brothers were the only ones that made it here.
8 posted on 07/03/2003 5:41:53 PM PDT by Calpernia (Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.)
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To: ArcLight
Bravo!

A moving speech, indeed.
9 posted on 07/03/2003 5:43:59 PM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: ArcLight
"At the risk of offending some here, I must post one of the great July 4 orations in US history. This bold, radical speech should be taught in every school in the land."

Whatever for?? What did Douglass have to say on any July 4th AFTER the Civil War??

10 posted on 07/03/2003 5:44:03 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
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To: MHGinTN
I bet MLK is rolling in his grave right now, and Jesse Jackboot should get a copy of this.
11 posted on 07/03/2003 5:44:52 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: Calpernia
Well, I don't know about that, but we all ought celebrate the fourth because we now possess the greatest nation in the history of humankind! ... The question is, will we continue to raise the right standards, or sink back into pagan selfishness?
12 posted on 07/03/2003 5:45:24 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: ArcLight
My family has never been enslaved. That's why I find it most offensive for certain segments of the minority population pushing for slave reparations.

Our country will heal the racial divide when racial profiteering has ended.

I celebrate the Fourth Of July because I'm an American and damn proud not be a member of any other country. That's it. It doesn't matter what color skin you have or don't have. If you are proud of America, you will honor her no matter what. That's the essence of America.

13 posted on 07/03/2003 5:46:16 PM PDT by MoJo2001
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To: Calpernia
My family and I are immigrants. We're proud to now call ourselves Americans! There is no other country like it on earth. May God protect her and bless her!
14 posted on 07/03/2003 5:46:35 PM PDT by Beth (Dubya fan)
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To: ArcLight
Our founding fathers were not all sweetness and light with their speeches either. This is an outstanding speech, which I am adding to my bookmarks.

Happy 4th- and may the sins of the past be overcome for all Americans.

15 posted on 07/03/2003 5:47:03 PM PDT by William McKinley (My new blog that no one cares about can be found at http://williammckinley.blogspot.com)
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To: ArcLight
Do the descendants of those who returned to Africa to found Liberia wish they could celebrate the 4th of July?
16 posted on 07/03/2003 5:48:01 PM PDT by satan
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To: Calpernia
No. I think it means that you should remember that the battle for liberty did not end with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
17 posted on 07/03/2003 5:51:12 PM PDT by William McKinley (My new blog that no one cares about can be found at http://williammckinley.blogspot.com)
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To: ArcLight
Don't see how you could offend anybody with that. A great speech by a great man. Taken in the context of the times (1852) in which it was given, the speech rings true. Black Americans had little to celebrate on July 4, 1852. And the United States was already splitting apart over the issue. At that time, we were only two years away from the Kansas-Nebraska Act (which effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise), which set events in motion that ultimately led to the Civil War of 1861-1865 - the bloodiest war in American history.

Today, slavery is a distant memory and racism is on its way to being one (if only the liberals would quit trying to keep it alive). Black Americans are at last on more or less equal footing with their white counterparts. While we can't go back in time and set things right with what was done with their ancestors, I would think that black Americans are for the most part thankful that their ancestors were brought over here to the United States instead of being left in Africa, which even today is a third-world cesspool for the most part.

18 posted on 07/03/2003 5:52:09 PM PDT by SamAdams76 (Back in boot camp! 256 (-44))
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To: MHGinTN
OH! I didn't follow your point! Of course, ALWAYS raise the standard!

It is easier to regress than progress! NEVER GET COMPLACENT!

Happy 4th my friend.
19 posted on 07/03/2003 5:52:33 PM PDT by Calpernia (Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.)
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To: ArcLight
Thanks, great post

Richard F.
20 posted on 07/03/2003 5:54:21 PM PDT by rdf
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To: William McKinley
Nor will it ever end. And I will fight, not sit back and watch others. Freedom is never FREE.
21 posted on 07/03/2003 5:55:20 PM PDT by Calpernia (Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.)
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To: Calpernia; ArcLight
You've got that right.

Hey Arc, why did you think this great piece would offend anyone here?

22 posted on 07/03/2003 5:56:39 PM PDT by William McKinley (My new blog that no one cares about can be found at http://williammckinley.blogspot.com)
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To: SamAdams76
which even today is a third-world cesspool for the most part
An abundance of dictators, tribal lords, and despots will do that to a region.
23 posted on 07/03/2003 5:59:45 PM PDT by William McKinley (My new blog that no one cares about can be found at http://williammckinley.blogspot.com)
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To: ArcLight
At the risk of offending some here,

People speaking about liberty should never be offensive to anyone who loves it.
24 posted on 07/03/2003 6:00:06 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: ArcLight
An excellent book that I would recommend to anyone who is not familiar with all of the myths surrounding slavery, and a review from http://www.thbookservice.com/BookPage.asp?prod_cd=c6186:

Myths of American Slavery by Kennedy, Walter D.

While modern Americans are unanimous in their condemnation of slavery as cruel, unjust, and contrary to our nation's basic creed of individual freedom, it must be acknowledged that, until about 150 years ago, upstanding citizens legally bought and sold other human beings in the United States. This appalling contradiction has inspired a host of incorrect and unjust myths about slavery that have, over time, been widely accepted as fact -- and which are exploited by liberals to advance their agenda. Armed with plentiful historical data, Walter D. Kennedy reveals the truth behind these myths, including:

MYTH: Slavery was an institution operated by white people for the oppression of black people
MYTH: Slavery was a system organized by Christians
MYTH: In America, slavery was uniquely Southern
MYTH: Slavery was a self-evident sin, and so recognized by the Christian Church
MYTH: Slavery was uncommon and very short-lived in the North, and had little economic impact there
MYTH: The North ended slavery because it was offensive to the moral character of Northerners
MYTH: The North offered the black man equality and brotherhood
MYTH: Black slaveholders only owned slaves who were related to them in order to free them from slavery to whites
MYTH: Secession was just a scheme by Southern slaveholders to protect their slave property
MYTH: Lincoln freed the slaves, and was an advocate of racial equality
MYTH: Racial discrimination and/or segregation is a legacy of Southern slavery
MYTH: The lives of modern African-Americans have been irreparably damaged by slavery, and therefore government-backed entitlements and reparations are owed to them

Make no mistake: Myths of American Slavery is not a defense of slavery, but instead a sincere attempt to defeat the spread of misrepresentations that continue to bedevil race relations and contaminate America's political landscape.
25 posted on 07/03/2003 6:14:45 PM PDT by Maria S
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To: Maria S
Who cares about another book that makes excuses for the inexcusable? What's the point? Slavery is over. Anyone with an education knows what happen, what didn't happen, what's truth and fiction. America does not need another excuse monger with a book explaining away American slavery. People will believe whatever they want to believe.

If the North was so terrible just as the South then why on earth did the underground railroad run to the NORTH? Since the quotes emphasis the North so much, I take it this book is written by a Southerner with a chip on his/her shoulder about the North. I grew up in the North but I knew that people had slaves up North. But you can't compare North and South... Boy that's a 5000 post thread waiting to happen isn't it?
26 posted on 07/03/2003 6:26:04 PM PDT by cyborg (I'm a mutt-american)
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To: Maria S
Slavery was a self-evident sin
Um, you may want to move the word MYTH on this line to after the word sin instead of before the word slavery.

It is pretty self-evident that it was a sin.

27 posted on 07/03/2003 6:28:00 PM PDT by William McKinley (My new blog that no one cares about can be found at http://williammckinley.blogspot.com)
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To: William McKinley

...Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?"

Quite a lot, actually. While today both Washington and Jefferson are roundly condemned for owning slaves, it is nevertheless true that they both laid the first seeds for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Their first obstacle was the laws of Virginia Colony which forbade the freeing of slaves. When Jefferson tried to change the laws of Virginia in 1769, he ran into an obstruction in Crown law, which gave the Crown the unilateral and unambiguous power to strike down any and all American laws on any subject whatsoever.

Indeed, one great reason the Revolution was fought was to give liberty to the colonies to free slaves, which many of them did. For example, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1780, Connecticut and Rhode Island did so in 1784, Vermont in 1786, New Hampshire in 1792, New York in 1799, New Jersey in 1804, etc.

Why are we now headed back to the tyranny of others trumping our sovereignty now? We read daily of

So tell me again, why did we declare our independence if we're just going give up our sovereignty? Why should we submit to a absurd gaggle of UN Security Council members like Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, and Syria?

Perhaps we need to declare independence again and tar and feather those who would sacrifice our nation's independence. Or, if we value independence no more than this, let's at least cancel Independence Day! We can't purport to be independent if we allow unelected foreigners in global organizations to nullify our local, state, and national policy. How free Is a country whose social policy is made by striped-pantsers in foreign capitols?

 

28 posted on 07/03/2003 6:31:10 PM PDT by FNU LNU
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To: ArcLight
It is not offensive, outdated, but not offensive.
I actively celebrate the 4th of July, as did my maternal grandmother.
I can not speak for my great grandmother, or her great grandmother, but I doubt they celebrated overmuch.
You see, they were the indigenous people that were conquered, murdered and displaced by the ancestors of those brave men who declared indepence from England.
I celebrate the 4th of July.
I like to think that somewhere, somehow,Frederick Douglas, Martin L. King, and my great, great, great, great grandmother now celebrate the 4th of July with George Washington, Christopher Columbus, Mark Twain and Albert Einstein.
God bless the USA!


29 posted on 07/03/2003 6:31:45 PM PDT by sarasmom (Punish France.Ignore Germany.Forgive Russia..)
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To: William McKinley
It was self evident, in the context of the 1850's??
30 posted on 07/03/2003 6:49:33 PM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers (The enemy is.......within......)
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To: somemoreequalthanothers
Yes.
31 posted on 07/03/2003 6:52:40 PM PDT by William McKinley (My new blog that no one cares about can be found at http://williammckinley.blogspot.com)
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To: ArcLight
That Frederic Douglas fellow sounds dangerous-someone should watch him...

32 posted on 07/03/2003 6:53:40 PM PDT by GatekeeperBookman
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To: somemoreequalthanothers
I agree with William. Care to offer more?
33 posted on 07/03/2003 6:54:11 PM PDT by Calpernia (Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.)
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To: Calpernia
Well, I don't claim to know the context of thought in the 1850's. How lucky for me I am surrounded with those who do.
34 posted on 07/03/2003 6:56:20 PM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers (The enemy is.......within......)
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To: Wonder Warthog
Despite all the past strife, Black Americans should fall on their knees and thank God their anceastors came her in chains, for this is the land of milk and honey. May God Bless America.
35 posted on 07/03/2003 6:57:36 PM PDT by TJFLSTRAT
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To: cyborg
You are right. This does have the makings of a 5000 post thread :)

I agree and disagree with you. Yes, slavery is still WAY too much out there for the unfortunate benefits of the racial flamers. This makes embracing history hard. Cause people have their hands out.

But, NEVER forget or dismiss the past. Embrace it, learn from it and excel.

I would NOT be who I am today if it weren't from my gramma's stories. Too many citizens in this countries have become complacent from not embracing the past. Too many fall victim to propaganda because of it.

And, btw, you mentioned underground railroads going to the North. I grew up by one of those tunnels. GREAT stories from exploring! But that too is another thread.
36 posted on 07/03/2003 6:59:53 PM PDT by Calpernia (Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.)
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To: MoJo2001
Actually, unless your family sprang out of thin air a couple hundred years ago, if you will trace the geneology far enough back, their ancestors were almost certainly both slave and slaveholder. Which has nothing to do with this most eloquent of speeches. Slavery was the one fatal flaw the founders could not overcome in Philadelphia, and they had to let it pass or let the Union dissolve on the spot. The Civil War, one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history, started our journey back to justifying this nation as being worthy of that oversight. We just may make it yet. Thank you Arc, it has been thirty years since I read Doglass, and it is a timely piece for thoughtful consideration on Independence Day.
37 posted on 07/03/2003 7:03:38 PM PDT by barkeep
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To: FNU LNU
>>>>So tell me again, why did we declare our independence if we're just going give up our sovereignty? Why should we submit to a absurd gaggle of UN Security Council members like Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, and Syria?

I kind of just answered that in my last post. It is NAIVETTE!

Too many citizens in the US don't know better. Their history is just that, history. Knew enough to pass a test, then gone, puff. Most are too far removed from their roots. They are conditioned. Get up, go to work, come home, repeat.

They grew up in decades of nothing happening and don't believe anything is happening. They don't study the news in the paper that doesn't have and immediate affect on their lives.

Not justifying, just explaining.
38 posted on 07/03/2003 7:04:35 PM PDT by Calpernia (Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.)
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To: somemoreequalthanothers
Self evident to many anti-slavery white christians at the time who were sometimes thrown in jail for teaching slaves to read and write, not to mention build the underground railroad.

I know what you MAY be trying to say. That we ought not to look at the 1800s with a year 2000 mindset. Slavery was widely practiced, but that does not make it right. American slavery, especially as practiced in the South, had many features not found in slavery practiced elsewhere. Actually there is so much written from that time period, one can actually know the mindset... from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Tocqueville.
39 posted on 07/03/2003 7:06:33 PM PDT by cyborg (I'm a mutt-american)
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To: cyborg
But was it wrong to them? What are we practicing today that might be considered sin a century and a half in the future? Who among us has the answer?
40 posted on 07/03/2003 7:15:47 PM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers (The enemy is.......within......)
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To: headsonpikes
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass:

http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/bible/slavery.html

I have always found it particularly tragic that Douglass died around 1892 or so, and blacks were less free in the 1890's under Jim Crow than they had been in 1867 right after slavery.
41 posted on 07/03/2003 7:23:50 PM PDT by Zack Nguyen
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To: nutmeg
bump
42 posted on 07/03/2003 7:25:56 PM PDT by nutmeg
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To: Calpernia
But, NEVER forget or dismiss the past. Embrace it, learn from it and excel.

* I agree with you. The problem is that many times history or topics of history is presented in such a way as to attack one group of people, or make another group feel guilty,bitter,etc. I went to a Catholic school that never taught black history separately from American history. It was all included together. Personally, I have two of the most awesome parents that told me both their entire family histories. Both my parents came here with nothing, came from families with nothing, but made themselves into something.

I would NOT be who I am today if it weren't from my gramma's stories. Too many citizens in this countries have become complacent from not embracing the past. Too many fall victim to propaganda because of it.

*Good point. My mother and father had the most awesome stories to tell. I definately would not be the person I am today if my parents did not nuture my mind, my intellect. They raised me knowing culture and talking about HOME which for them were Trinidad and Sicily... and of course the value of an education.

And, btw, you mentioned underground railroads going to the North. I grew up by one of those tunnels. GREAT stories from exploring! But that too is another thread.

* Okay this may sound bad, but when I feel especially lazy or something at work, I try to put myself in my grandparents' shoes. My father's family had the typical early century immigrant horror stories. My grandmother on my mother's side chopped sugar cane and broke her back selling in the market. Stories like the underground railroad ought to inspire people, or stories of ex-slaves after the Civil War teaching themselves to read and write. A person should not have to be black to get inspired by these things as motivation could come from anywhere.

Longwinded post I apologize!
43 posted on 07/03/2003 7:27:10 PM PDT by cyborg (I'm a mutt-american)
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To: ArcLight
I had seen quotes from this before, but had never read the whole thing.

Good, timely post, thanks.

44 posted on 07/03/2003 7:28:36 PM PDT by StriperSniper (Frogs are for gigging)
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To: ArcLight
Marking Bump

Regards

alfa6 ;>]
45 posted on 07/03/2003 7:32:02 PM PDT by alfa6 (GNY Highway's Rules: Improvise; Adapt; Overcome)
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To: somemoreequalthanothers
Was it wrong to them? Probably not because when you are raised to think something is the way it is, you rarely question it. Plus if you see it working for everyone else, and no else has a problem with it, then you may go...hmmm. Personally I believe that slavery would have played itself out, between the christian guilt trip and the negative economics of owning human beings. Slavery=bad Freedom=good
We have freedom now and I'm enjoying as much as possible before I die. Live free or die as they say.
46 posted on 07/03/2003 7:33:23 PM PDT by cyborg (I'm a mutt-american)
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To: Zack Nguyen
Thank you. I'd heard of the man, but wasn't aware that he was such a powerful rhetorician.

;^)
47 posted on 07/03/2003 7:36:34 PM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: cyborg
That is what some people fail to consider, that we are fortunate to live where we do, albeit recognizing that some terrible prices were paid to achieve all this. Happy 4th!
48 posted on 07/03/2003 7:49:33 PM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers (The enemy is.......within......)
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To: somemoreequalthanothers
But was it wrong to them?

Yes. And they knew it (they explicitly called it barbaric). But regardless of the revisionist history taught to the current generation; the founders did not ignore the issue in the Constitution. Nor did they embrace the heinous act of slavery. Knowing that such an issue would divide and destroy the new nation; they did the only thing they could do to insure its ultimate dissolution, by creating a system that would ban the slave trade after 1808. To quote the author of the Constitution (Federalist #42):

"It were doubtless to be wished, that the power of prohibiting the importation of slaves had not been postponed until the year 1808, or rather that it had been suffered to have immediate operation. But it is not difficult to account, either for this restriction on the general government, or for the manner in which the whole clause is expressed. It ought to be considered as a great point gained in favor of humanity, that a period of twenty years may terminate forever, within these States, a traffic which has so long and so loudly upbraided the barbarism of modern policy; that within that period, it will receive a considerable discouragement from the federal government, and may be totally abolished, by a concurrence of the few States which continue the unnatural traffic, in the prohibitory example which has been given by so great a majority of the Union. Happy would it be for the unfortunate Africans, if an equal prospect lay before them of being redeemed from the oppressions of their European brethren!

49 posted on 07/03/2003 8:01:52 PM PDT by Technogeeb
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To: Calpernia
You too, dear Lady! Cook something scumptuous for your wonderful family.
50 posted on 07/03/2003 8:02:24 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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