The 4th of July is inspired by the situation of 1775–1776; tension between England and the Colonies gave way to the Revolutionary War. John Murray, the Earl of Dunmore, was then governor of Virginia at the time. Rumor had it that he, along with other governors were communicating with the King of England about an uprising among the colonies. They wanted their independence from Britain!
British armies rushed to the colonies. The Revolutionary War began!
Patrick Henry would become governor of Virginia after the war. He is remembered for his famous declaration: “Give me liberty or give me death!”
After the war, just as the founders of the country began to organize the United States as a Democratic Republic, some say that Thomas Jefferson mentioned the issue of freeing the slaves in a meeting in historic Williamsburg.
Jefferson’s proposal was met with resistance based heavily on economic reasons. If the slaves were freed, they felt that the foundation of the country would quickly become economically weak. The slaves were the economic engine in produce, manufacturing, home economics, and more.
Black people made up approximately 52% of Williamsburg by the late 18th century. The rest of the colonies had their fair share of slaves, also. Yet, slaves were not considered people. The colonists maintained the historic sentiment that black slaves were of a race other than the human race. This had been the mindset from early on, when the Englishmen discovered dark skinned Africans.
The mindset that blacks were less than human was handed down for several generations; by the 18th century, it blinded the English colonists from the obvious reality that true freedom was not fulfilled as long as they were holding people in slavery.
The whole concept of “race” was manufactured to locate black slaves in a class within the animal kingdom by themselves – of lower creature status than the Europeans. Both the slave industry and the slave production engine were lucrative enterprises in their eyes. Black slavery was merely the machine to build the white colonists’ developing country.
So, when the colonists declared that “all men were created equal,” most of them where not thinking that such eloquent words included the black slaves.
While I am inclined to believe that those as intelligent as Jefferson, Madison and some of the other founding fathers must have at least thought of the implications of the language “all men are created equal,” there seems to have been a blinder over the general public’s eyes as to the depth of such important statement in the Declaration of Independence. The phrase was prophetic, bearing implications for future eradication of slavery. Nearly a century later, these words were foundational to the Emancipation Proclamation.
Interestingly, the colonists fought incessantly for their freedom from British rule; yet, they seemed numb to the pressure they inflicted and the liberty they forfeited the black slaves. It is mind boggling to imagine how slavery was so engrained in the immoral fibers that weaved the country for so long.
As the country evolved, laws further engrained a culture of the privileged and the underprivileged, systemized slavery, and socialized racial bigotry. The laws of early 1800s prohibited slaves from marrying each other and intensified punishments on slaves if they tried to gain freedom.
Freedom is part of what it means to be truly human. The colonists saw freedom as having such sacred worth when it would benefit them but were blinded to it when it came to those whom they oppressed.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post