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Did Jefferson Try to Abolish Slavery in the Declaration of Independence?

Sometimes an article includes such a jarring historical claim that I find myself immediately questioning everything in the piece. That was precisely my reaction when I read a Commonweal piece today which claimed that Thomas Jefferson had originally included language in the Declaration of Independence abolishing slavery:

Jefferson realized that it made no sense to base a new nation on the principle of “liberty and equality for all” as long as some its people were enslaved by others, so the first draft of the Declaration also renounced slavery. Jefferson accused King George of waging a “cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.” Southern delegates representing the interests of slave-holders aligned with northern delegates representing the interests of slave-trading merchants, and together they succeeded in excluding Jefferson’s original language from the Declaration. Their motivation was obvious: eliminating slavery would diminish their wealth. They held up the vote for independence until they got their way.

But the phrase “all men are created equal” remained, and debate about its meaning has dominated American politics ever since.

The rest of the article is a piece of political hackery in which economics professor Charles Clark of St. John’s University goes on to lay out an interpretive framework for American history and the current political situation in which there is always a group of powerful elites which successfully dupes a portion of the ordinary people into supporting the elites’ interests above their own.

The claim that Jefferson (himself a slave holder who never freed his slaves) sought to “renounce” slavery in the Declaration of Independence struck me as wholly implausible, so I researched the question further. The phrase Prof. Clark quotes was indeed in Jefferson’s draft, but he leaves out the crucial second half of the quote:

[H]e is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he had deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

So the argument that Jefferson drafted out here is essentially: First King George enslaved people and sold them in America, and now, having tricked us into owning slaves, he’s encouraging the slaves to rise up against us (their owners) by offering them freedom! How dare he?

Taken as a whole, the passage on the one hand condemns slavery as an evil, but on the other condemns the British offering freedom to slaves who rose up against their (rebel) masters. (Indeed, as the Revolutionary War went on, black freedmen fought on both sides, and both revolutionaries and tories offered freedom to slaves who ran away from owners belonging to the other side.) It most certainly does not unequivocally condemn slavery (otherwise, why the anger at slaves being offered freedom) and even had it been included in the Declaration, it would not have consisted of a renunciation of slavery by the fledgling United States.

One way to see Jefferson’s abandoned passage is as a somewhat incoherent attempt to blame King George both coming and going, but it does at least convey the ambivalent opinions which were common at the time of the American Revolution about slavery, even among slave holders. While many of the Founders were slave owners, the opinion of the time was generally that slavery was an evil and an outdated one at that, which was destined to die out on its own. George Washington freed his slaves in his will, and in the early days of the country the northern states passed laws ending slavery. However, economic and cultural forces began to change opinions of slavery during the first half of the 19th century. The invention of the cotton gin made American cotton a commercially viable product, and the nature of cotton cultivation was sufficiently manually intensive that slavery suddenly became far more economically attractive than it had been in the late 18th century. Combined with this, the rise of “scientific racism” led to the development of a host of rationalizations which by the decade before the Civil War had slavery apologists insisting at times that slavery was a positive good, needed to tame the wild nature of the African.

The distortion of meaning involved in quoting only the first half of the deleted section is so severe, I at first found myself wondering, how did Clark think he could get away with this? However, it’s possible the omission was made primarily through ignorance. Googling around on the passage, I noticed this NY times piece published this summer which also quotes only the first half of the passage:

The library’s copy of the Declaration of Independence, handwritten by Thomas Jefferson, includes a condemnation of slavery. King George III, Jefferson wrote, “has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation hither.” To appease delegates from Georgia and South Carolina, the denunciation was excised.

Clark quotes almost exactly the same amount of the passage (omitting the first two words quoted by the Times) and the explanation he provides of the passage’s removal is fairly similar, though it adds a claim (which I have not been able to find made elsewhere) that northern representatives with the interest of slave traders at heart opposed the passage as well as southern representatives. So it’s possible that Clark read the NY Times piece, drew his own conclusions on it, but never actually consulted the full draft. Though if so, that’s rather sloppy work.

Professor Clark goes on to shoehorn the civil war into his dualistic view of American history:

Each time an elite, whose advantages often entail a disadvantage for someone else, promises to disrupt everything unless their interests are protected. This method of obstruction works only if the elite is able to persuade large numbers of the nonelite that their own well-being depends on preserving the elite’s privileges. So the small landed aristocracy in the South convinced thousands to fight and die to preserve “their way of life” in the Civil War.

This kind of thinking underscores the serious weakness of trying to interpret history through the lens of innocent proles duped by fiendish elites. Aside from the fact that it’s usually not hard to get people to join up in a war that they convince themselves is in protection of their homeland (the Civil War was, after all, though started by the South mostly fought on Southern territory), there was a sense in which the slave system was advantageous to all whites, even the majority who did not own slaves. Status means a lot to people, and so long as slavery and the whole system which saw blacks as clearly inferior remained in place, no white man could be truly at the bottom of society. Threats of social equality and especially of miscegenation were staples of anti-Union propaganda. Poor Confederate whites may look, to strictly economic eyes, as if they had nothing to lose in the abolition of slavery, but even laying aside the feelings of tribal and territorial pride that tied people to their states, the prospect of freeing the slaves, especially if true equality had actually resulted, was a major threat to the social standing of non-slave owners. After all, the rich landowners were likely to still be rich. But if being white no longer made one inherently superior, poor whites might suddenly find themselves with very few advantages over freedmen.

Clark goes on to show the weaknesses of this framework as he tries to apply it to modern politics as well, working from the certainty that conservatives can’t possibly actually mean what they believe (unless they’re rich).

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DarwinCatholic

Now an Ohio Catholic!

73 Comments

  1. Clark should stick to the Dismal Science, Clio is most definitely not his muse. The Declaration of course would not have abolished slavery as you noted, even if the passage hilariously, and ahistorically, blaming King George III for slavery had been left in. The Declaration’s purpose was to declare American independence and to state American aspirations regarding freedom. As Lincoln noted, the Declaration did not end slavery, just as it did not put all white men on a standard of equality, that was not its purpose, and Congress had no power to do so in any case. It gave Americans goals to shoot for, and in that it was quite successful.

    In regard to Professor Clark, some of the comments about him at Rate My Professor are instructive:

    “i hate this class. i like economics but this is far from an economics class. all he does is get off track and preach his dumb, excessively liberal views. i would think someone with a doctorate would know better than to cite information from better sources than msnbc.”

    “he’s the worst public speaker ever. if you like the word “uh” then take him. laugh at his cheezy jokes and you’ll get a better grade. i actually thought his jokes were funny. but some people wouldnt think so. he’s a big liberal who wants to raise taxes though. but what eco college professor isnt?”

    “He isn’t THAT bad. I mean, he does suck. All he does is talk about Ireland and illegal things. His essays are really easy though, just follow the rubric and you’ll get a 100. Don’t do anything in class, just study for the test. I DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN CLASS. gives a lot of extra credit, DO THEM.If you have a choice, don’t choose him but hes ok”

    http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=173141

  2. Jefferson certainly did not intend to free the slaves via the Declaration. And it does seem odd that Jefferson would on the one hand condemn King George for imposing slavery and then turn around and condemn King George for freeing the slaves, but two things are worthy of consideration:

    (1) Joseph J. Ellis does an excellent job of discussing this in his biography of Jefferson, American Sphinx (which is actually more of a character study than it is a traditional biography). Ellis concludes that Jefferson was a contradictory figure for whom it was not out of character to hold contradictory views with equal vigor and not view them as contradictory. Ellis writes that what Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration had to say about slavery “was symptomatic of a deep disjunction in his thinking about slavery that he never reconciled.” Ellis continues:

    With regard to slavery itself, Jefferson’s formulation made great polemic sense but historical and intellectual nonsense. It absolved slaveowners like himself from any responsibility or complicity in the establishment of an institution that was clearly at odds with the values on which the newly independent America was based. Slavery was another one of those vestiges of feudalism foisted upon the liberty-loving colonists by the evil heir to the Norman Conquest. This was complete fiction, of course, but also completely in accord with Jefferson’s urge to preserve the purity of his moral dichotomies and his romantic view of America’s uncontaminated origins. Slavery was the serpent in the garden sent there by a satanic king. But the moral message conveyed by this depiction was not emancipation so much as commiseration. Since the colonists had nothing to do with establishing slaver – they were the unfortunate victims of English barbarism – they could not be blamed for its continuance. This was less a clarion call to end slavery than an invitation to wash one’s hands of the matter.

    (2) Darwin notes ” It most certainly does not unequivocally condemn slavery (otherwise, why the anger at slaves being offered freedom) …” That can be answered by asking the question “What do you suppose was one of the greatest fears of Southern plantation families when they went to bed at night?” It was the fear that their slaves might rise up and kill them in their sleep. Fears of the type of slave rebellion that Nat Turner would eventually organize (but which ultimately failed) were widespread throughout the Southern colonies. Even non-slaveowners were fearful of being murdered in such an uprising. What Dunmore’s Proclamation did was play upon the worst fears of those living in the Southern colonies (even before issuing the Proclamation once hostilities had actually broken out, Dunmore had used the threat of encouraging a slave uprising to get the Virginia colonists to back down from demands that Dunmore return the colony’s gunpowder that he had confiscated).

    In short, it would not have been necessarily inconsistent to be wholly ambivalent about slavery – or even to be an abolitionist on the matter, but still be angry and fearful over a proclamation that made every household in Virginia a target for a slave uprising.

  3. It is not logically incoherent to argue (1) that the introduction of African slaves was a great evil and (2) that the presence of a large, inassimilable population of alien stock makes the maintenance of slavery, or something very like it, a necessary measure of police. This was precisely the argument used for the re-impossition of slavery in the French colonies by the Consulate in 1802, after its abolition by the decree of 16 Pluviôse An II

  4. Thomas Jefferson, like the later Dreamer John Lennon, was an extreme hypocrite and a Deist. I’ve long ago rejected him as having any value at all to my faith, and given the way his words are interpreted in our day and age, consider his philosophy to be theologically incompatible with Catholicism.

  5. @Darwin Catholic: You have done a fine piece of investigative writing.
    Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence defined the sovereign person endowed with unalienable rights by an infinite Creator and made a listing of all infringement of those unalienable rights by King George, as he was asked to do and as was necessary for our fledgling nation. Jefferson busied himself with trying to prevent “The Reign of Terror” as he saw happened in France with independence. The War for Independence was still going on in the valleys and culverts of the rural farms, with Tories, those friendly to King George, killing the colonial farm workers while they worked. Francis Marion, The Swamp Fox, forgave the Tories the property they had stolen for war to heal the nation. Benjamin Franklin broke relations and did not associate with own son who, as governor of New Jersey was a Tory. “We shall all hang together, or we shall all hang separately” said Franklin.
    In the creation of the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson established the college to come when you willed, study what you willed and leave when you willed. However, grades and degrees were not conferred.
    Slavery was not to be abolished in Jefferson’s lifetime, but respect for the human being was a trademark of his character. Let us forgive his short comings and human failings.
    “Each time an elite, whose advantages often entail a disadvantage for someone else, promises to disrupt everything unless their interests are protected. This method of obstruction works only if the elite is able to persuade large numbers of the nonelite that their own well-being depends on preserving the elite’s privileges. So the small landed aristocracy in the South convinced thousands to fight and die to preserve “their way of life” in the Civil War.”
    I thought Clark was talking about the government shutdown. Clark’s first line is not a sentence. The students ought to get their tuition back.
    Ted Seeber: All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights. Not since the Magna Carta were all men’s civil rights inscribe in perpetuity and ratified. I often forget who wrote the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence and imagine the freedom with which they are written and the freedom they bring forth.

  6. Mary de Voe wrote, “Jefferson busied himself with trying to prevent “The Reign of Terror” as he saw happened in France with independence”

    Jefferson’s attitude towards events in France can be seen from his comment on the September Massacres in Paris in the summer of 1792 “Many guilty persons fell without the forms of trial, and with them some innocent. These I deplore as much as anybody. But—it was necessary to use the arm of the people, a machine not quite so blind as balls and bombs, but blind to a certain degree—was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood?”

    Whether one dates the American Revolution from the first agitation in 1761, the outbreak of war in 1775, or the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it ended with the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1783. That is six years before Louis XVI summoned the States General in 1789, the same year that the US Constitution was ratified.

    Now, the Terror began with the Law of Suspects of 17 September 1793, following the defeat and defection of Dumouriez, the loss of the frontier fortresses and revolt in Brittany, Toulon and the Vendée, the Spanish crossing the Pyrenees and the Sardinians crossing the Alps; it ended in the reaction of Thermidor and the fall of Robespierre on the 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) , following the victory of Fleurus on 26 June 1794. Seventy-five per cent of executions were for evading conscription, desertion, hoarding, price-gouging and currency speculation; it was a form of martial law and it was directed by Carnot, the War Minister, with Robespierre as his spokesman in the Assembly. Circumstances in American were so different that a reign of terror was neither necessary nor possible.

  7. Michael Paterson-Seymour :
    What you write I retain. In my (very often not so humble) opinion as an unlearned person, Jefferson was a statesman and patriot and therefore: “Circumstances in American were so different that a reign of terror was neither necessary nor possible” Hindsight is 20 20. Jefferson sought to prevent what he saw in France after Independence at that time. Martial law does not and ought not include the massacre of civilians. My mind is oveshadowed by the Obama administration and Obamcare as your writing so aptly describes what is happening in America right now.
    “Seventy-five per cent of executions were for evading conscription, desertion, hoarding, price-gouging and currency speculation; it was a form of martial law”
    In Hitler’s Germany, if you did not have your papers you went to the gas chamber. Hoarding, price gouging and currency speculation would have put all of Wall Street to the guillotine. These are not capital one offenses demanding execution. Obamacare will send many to the invisible gulag, perhaps even execution.
    Thomas Paine (sp), pamphleteer and supporter of the War for Independence, wrote that constant vigilance is the price of freedom. Colonists fought for freedom, while Jefferson and the patriots watched over the nation. Washington refused to be king and a third term as president. As I wrote, Francis Marion forgave the Tories their taking of farmers’ food and supplies and refused to hear civil lawsuits after the war ended. Efforts to heal the nation ensued, Not so with the Reign of Terror, government made war against the people. Jefferson noted that there was less innocent blood shed in the Reign of Terror than in actual combat with cannons and artiliary, the lesser of two evils.
    Again, I thank you Michael Paterson-Seymour for the history lesson, I found it most edifying because I wondered about the time frame for Jefferson’s stay outside the country and how it impacted his ownership of slaves.

  8. “Thomas Jefferson, like the later Dreamer John Lennon, was an extreme hypocrite and a Deist. I’ve long ago rejected him as having any value at all to my faith”

    With all due respect, that seems to be the flip side of the “X can’t be so bad if ‘basically good’ or ‘nice’ people do it” argument related in an earlier TAC blog post. The other side of that coin is: “X is so evil that anyone who does it or tolerates it is, ipso facto, an entirely evil person and everything they say or do is thereby poisoned as a result.” Ideas must be judged on their own merits; stupid or even evil people can come up with good ideas and good or even saintly people can come up with really bad ideas.

    Also, at the time of the Declaration there seemed to be a general acknowledgement, even among Southerners and slaveholders, that slavery was at best a necessary evil that hopefully would be abolished someday, it just couldn’t be done right now or in one stroke of immediate emancipation (kind of like St. Augustine’s prayer to be made chaste, but not yet). Slavery still existed in some northern colonies/states but was being eliminated through gradual emancipation measures such as freeing all slaves born after a certain date when they reached a specified age, and banning importation of new slaves.

    Only after the invention of the cotton gin and the rise of a cotton-dependent economy in the South did Southerners dig in their heels and begin arguing that slavery was actually a good thing and should be defended at all costs. In 1776, however, I don’t think the Founding Fathers quite comprehended that delaying the abolition of slavery would ultimately make it harder, not easier, to get rid of.

  9. The rest of the article is a piece of political hackery in which economics professor Charles Clark of St. John’s University goes on to lay out an interpretive framework for American history and the current political situation in which there is always a group of powerful elites which successfully dupes a portion of the ordinary people into supporting the elites’ interests above their own.

    A framework he cribbed from Howard Zinn.

  10. @Elaine Krewer: “X is so evil that anyone who does it or tolerates it is, ipso facto, an entirely evil person and everything they say or do is thereby poisoned as a result.” It is said that Thomas Jefferson treated his Negro slaves as family.

  11. Contemporary attitudes to slavery are instructive.

    In Scotland, there was the case of Knight v Wedderburn. In 1762, Wedderburn had purchased Knight, then aged 12, in the West Indies from the captain of a ship engaged in the African trade. In 1769, Wedderburn returned to Scotland, bring Knight with him as a manservant. In 1774, they quarrelled and Knight tried to quit Wedderburn’s service and Wedderburn had him arrested on a warrant from the local justices of the peace. The justices found “the petitioner entitled to Knight’s services, and that he must continue as before.”

    Knight petitioned the Sheriff (who is a judge in Scotland) to suspend the warrant. The Sheriff-Substitute (John Swinton, 27th laird of that ilk) treated it as an open and shut case. He repelled Wedderburn’s answers without a proof in a short interlocutor, stating that “the state of slavery is not recognized by the laws of this kingdom, and is inconsistent with the principles thereof”; that “’the regulations of Jamaica, concerning slaves, do not extend to this kingdom”; and repelled “the defender’s claim to a perpetual service.” Mr. Wedderburn having reclaimed, the sheriff found, ‘That perpetual service, without wages, is slavery; and therefore adhered.” Knight went on to win in the Court of Session, where Lord Kames declared, “we sit here to enforce right not to enforce wrong” and the court emphatically rejected Wedderburn’s appeal, ruling that “the dominion assumed over this Negro, under the law of Jamaica, being unjust, could not be supported in this country to any extent…”

  12. “Contemporary attitudes to slavery are instructive.”

    Contemporary in the Eighteenth Century in Scotland perhaps, although Scots at the time were well represented in the slave trade. Slavery was quite legal in the British Empire and would remain so for some time after this case until Wilberforce and his allies brought about its end.

  13. Donald R McClare

    Public opinion in Scotland, and in Britain generally, at the time of the Declaration of Independence was opposed to slavery. Lord Kames, of course, was a leading figure of the Enlightenment; a bonnet laird, like Swinton was anything but. No one supported it as part of a « mission civilisatrice. » Curiously, the Enlightenment and the Evangelical Revival were united in opposing it. In England, in Sommersett’s Case (1772), a slave who had been brought into England was discharged under a Habeas Corpus by Lord Mansfield CJ.

    Slavery was, as you say, established in the West Indies and a considerable amount of money was invested in slaves and lent on the security of them. The abolitionists adopted a gradual approach, abolishing the slave trade in 1807 (and using the RN to suppress it). Compensated emancipation, on generous terms largely secured by the London bankers, came in 1834. There was opposition from particular interests, but no resistance, either at home or in the West Indies.

  14. In Great Britain slavery long had effective advocates in Parliament, the chief among them Banastre Tarleton, infamous in American histories of the American Revolution:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=lzuEzmO81GwC&pg=PA516&lpg=PA516&dq=banastre+tarleton+slave+trade&source=bl&ots=GCdfm1UVNP&sig=1ZRyiFeDPs_ztJkx3SGR05ETk-o&hl=en&sa=X&ei=64taUoiTD4askAeUx4CYAw&ved=0CE4Q6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=banastre%20tarleton%20slave%20trade&f=false

    The advocates of abolition in Great Britain were greatly helped by the fact that domestic slavery did not exist in Great Britain and London, as the Americans learned and which led to 1776, tended to give short shrift to colonial concerns and wishes in any case. Additionally, with the success of the American Revolution the main slave holding areas, except in the West Indies, were now outside of the Empire. With the ending of the slave trade in 1807, the great merchants of England now had little reason any longer to support slavery. The slavery abolition act of 1833 abolished slavery in most of the British Empire with compensated emancipation.

  15. The Commonweal article does seem to be a serious overreach. Yet I think that Mary De Voe is basically correct.

    The concept of a right as being “inalienable” – not subject to voluntary surrender to government or other authority – is something that we tend to forget in the 21st century. Jefferson must have understood at some level that his description of inalienable rights would subvert slavery. He was not a stupid man. If he wanted to remain a slaveowner his only options were to 1) be a hypocrite and think that liberty would come to the slaves, but just not yet, or 2) conclude they were less than human, and so their rights were not inalienable. I don’t know about Jefferson, but it is obvious that many of his contemporaries went with #2.

  16. @Tom D. ” 1) be a hypocrite and think that liberty would come to the slaves, but just not yet, or 2) conclude they were less than human, and so their rights were not inalienable. I don’t know about Jefferson, but it is obvious that many of his contemporaries went with #2.”
    When slaves were freed, they were given the choice of leaving or staying as was their situation. The plantation or estate provided for them and very often they became members of the family. Jefferson may have offered his slaves freedom and they chose to stay. This is a possibility.
    The Catholic Church has always preached the dignity of the human being made in the image of God with unalienable rights endowed by an infinite God. Thomas Jefferson said that: “The rights the state gives the state can take away”. The finite state cannot guarantee unalienable rights simply because the finite state constituted by the unalienable rights of its citizens can and may, and in some cases ought to be coming to an end.
    There are many individuals today who would enslave their neighbors. Those who deny the rational, immortal human soul and “their Creator” endowed unalienable civil rights have theoretically already enslaved the human race by imposing their invalid beliefs of the existence of no God (and/or the world is flat, and the moon is made of green cheese) on man’s response to the gift of Faith from God, called freedom of religion, and speech to God and peaceable assembly with God. Once the principle of separation of church and state is breech, man does not have any chance of survival. The gulag or other form of slavery is imminent.

  17. Mary De Voe: If Jefferson had offered his slaves their freedom, they would not have ended up in his estate sale.

    I was agreeing with you on your view of inalienable rights, and I’d agree with you on future slaveries, but I don’t think I’d agree with you on Jefferson.

  18. Tom D. I believe that Jefferson did offer his slaves freedom and many of
    Jefferson’s slaves chose to stay on with him especially and because they, the slaves, were running the estate as a community with Jefferson’s absence. When Jefferson returned, he was rather a solitary man consumed only with books. Once Jefferson died, of course, inheritance laws took effect and the slaves were legally listed and sold as property. This ought to have been foreseen and ameliorated by Jefferson. Perhaps Jefferson had already been physically and mentally incapacitated by the many cases of wine which he had brought back from France.
    Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th, 1826, only four hours apart, with John Adams saying “Thank God Jefferson still lives.”
    George Washington did free his slaves.

  19. So much for my attempt to widen the conversation to the subject of the vast difference between Jeffersonian definitions of Liberty and the Church’s definitions of Liberty:
    “and given the way his words are interpreted in our day and age, consider his philosophy to be theologically incompatible with Catholicism.”

    Everybody ignored the 2nd half.

    Liberty is not “do what you want”. Liberty is “Do what you Ought, under God”. Deism is philosophically the first, Catholicism is philosophically the second. Slavery is a problem under the first, because it prevents men from doing what they want. Slavery is NOT a problem under Catholicism by itself, unless the slave owner prevents his slaves from knowing Christ and God.

  20. Ted Seeber

    Freedom means, quite simply, the right of self-government. As the Scots told Pope John XXII in the Declaration of Arbroath of 1320, “Quia quamdiu Centum ex nobis vivi remanserint, nuncquam Anglorum dominio aliquatenus volumus subiugari. Non enim propter gloriam, divicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit.” [as long as a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be subjected to the lordship of the English. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself]

    That is why the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen declares, “in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being” that “The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation” and that “Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally eligible to all dignities and to all public positions and occupations, according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents” and that “Society has the right to require of every public agent an account of his administration.”

  21. As for Jefferson “treat[ing] his slaves like family” … well, yeah, some of them he may have been quite … intimate … with. Others, it is said, bore a strong family resemblance to Mr. Jefferson. Not sure that’s what you meant, though.

    For the record: Jefferson did NOT, as a general matter, offer his slaves freedom. Among the only handful of slaves that Jefferson freed were the children of Sally Hemings. (The other two freed slaves were related to Hemings.) It is speculated that this act of emancipation was because of a promise that Jefferson made to Sally Hemings to entice her to return to Virginia with him rather than remaining in Paris as a freed woman (there was no slavery in France, so Jefferson had no way to legally compel Hemings to return with him).

    At Jefferson’s death, he made no provision in his will for any other slaves to be freed other than Sally Hemings’ children. Not even Sally Hemings herself was freed by Jefferson – she was ultimately freed by Jefferson’s daughter, Martha (who was, of course, Sally’s niece) when the rest of the Monticello slaves were put up for auction to pay off Jefferson’s extensive debts.

    Don’t take my word for it, though. This is from the website at Monticello:

    “Jefferson freed two men in his lifetime and bequeathed freedom to five men in his will. All were sons or grandsons of Elizabeth (Betty) Hemings. At least three others were unofficially freed, when he allowed them to run away without pursuit (Beverly Hemings, Harriet Hemings, and James Hemings, son of Critta Hemings Bowles).

    “A single paragraph cannot do justice to the issue of Jefferson’s failure to free more than a handful of his slaves. Some of the possible reasons include: the economic value of his human property (at certain times, his slaves were mortgaged and thus could not be freed or sold); his lifelong view that emancipation had to go hand-in-hand with expatriation of the freed slaves; his paternalistic belief that slaves were incapable of supporting themselves in freedom and his fear they would become burden to society; his belief in gradual measures operating through the legal processes of government; and, after 1806, a state law that required freed slaves to leave Virginia within a year. Jefferson wrote that this law did not “permit” Virginians to free their slaves; he apparently thought that, for an enslaved African American, slavery was preferable to freedom far from one’s home and family.”

    Before anyone takes me as a Jefferson detractor, I am a proud graduate of Mr. Jefferson’s university, and the library in my home contains no fewer than 6 portraits of Mr. Jefferson, a life-size bust of Mr. Jefferson, as well as other Jeffersonian memorabilia (my library could probably qualify as an annex of Monticello – where my mother-in-law works, by the way). But, while I may be a fan of Mr. Jefferson, I see nothing gained by sugar-coating his record on slavery. One of the more recent, and quite harsh, assessments of Jefferson the slaveowner is Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek. It does not paint a pretty picture.

  22. Jay Anderson

    You touch on a very interesting point, namely, the status of the emancipated slave. In Roman law, an emancipated slave automatically acquired citizenship; indeed, one of the forms of manumission was “censu,” enrolling him as a citizen in the Census.

    Laws restricting manumission in the early Empire, like the Lex Furia and the Lex Aelia Sentia did not prevent the slave obtaining his freedom de facto, for the Praetor protected him against his former master, his heirs and creditors and allowed him actions against third parties. They did prevent him acquiring citizenship.

    During the Revolution, the National Convention followed the Roman mode; the Decree of 16 Pluviôse An II. It declared everyone domiciled in the colonies to be French citizens, a sort of manumission censu en masse.

  23. “The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation.”
    The Supreme SOVEREIGN Being WHO is GOD and in WHOSE image man is made endows sovereignty to each and every human soul at creation. Innocent and virgin, the sovereign person comes into being and is visited by the sins of his parents, the sin of Adam, concupiscence. The sovereign personhood of the human being constitutes the nation (state) from the very first instance of his existence and is the state’s compelling interest in the newly begotten. His sovereign personhood makes of him a citizen. That of being a citizen and having a nation is not a requirement of being a sovereign person.
    “Society has the right to require of every public agent an account of his administration.” Every citizen is a public agent and incumbent upon him is the social order, he is not elected, but sent by Jesus to love one’s neighbor as oneself.

    @Jay Anderson:
    “his lifelong view that emancipation had to go hand-in-hand with expatriation of the freed slaves; his paternalistic belief that slaves were incapable of supporting themselves in freedom and his fear they would become burden to society; his belief in gradual measures operating through the legal processes of government; and, after 1806, a state law that required freed slaves to leave Virginia within a year. Jefferson wrote that this law did not “permit” Virginians to free their slaves; he apparently thought that, for an enslaved African American, slavery was preferable to freedom far from one’s home and family.”, ” At least three others were unofficially freed, when he allowed them to run away without pursuit (Beverly Hemings, Harriet Hemings, and James Hemings, son of Critta Hemings Bowles)
    Jefferson did care about the people who lived and served on his estate. There were no whippings, no cripplings, no harsh treatment. Perhaps the condition of the slaves under the law is what caused Jefferson to over indulge. At the time, the law forbade anyone to teach a slave how to read and write. A school teacher broke the law and taught Frederick Douglas how to read and write.

    “Master of the Mountain” was a nickname Thomas Jefferson acquired when he studied on the mountain and later built Monticello there. Jefferson’s lofty expression of the eternal truths of man, that man is created equal (not born equal) and endowed by “their Creator”… and among these rights are the “unalienable” Right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” will not be abridged or abrogated by any finite law. Jefferson still speaks for “We”, the people.

  24. “… There were no whippings, no cripplings, no harsh treatment…”

    I don’t believe that to be accurate. This is from a Monticello historian defending Jefferson against Wiencek’s book (even in defending Jefferson, she acknowledges that whippings took place):

    “Jefferson actually ordered the manager of the nailery to refrain from using the whip, except ‘in extremities.’ And there were no ten-year-olds in the shop at the time; most were fifteen to eighteen, with two others about to be thirteen and fourteen.

    “Whipping boys of any age is terrible to contemplate, but we all know that the whip was the universal tool of slave discipline in Virginia. The more interesting point, which Wiencek does not explore, is that Jefferson was experimenting with methods of discipline that might help minimize use of the whip.”

    http://www.readthehook.com/108605/wiencek-misled-readers-jeffersons-record

    So, perhaps Jefferson was more humane than the average slaveholder in not wanting his slaves whipped indiscriminately, but it would be a stretch to say that his slaves were never whipped and never received harsh treatment.

    Again, don’t get me wrong. I consider Jefferson a great man who, as you say, is the voice of our “National Creed”. BUT, he’s a great man DESPITE his record on slavery, and certainly NOT BECAUSE of it.

  25. @Jay Anderson: “BUT, he’s a great man DESPITE his record on slavery, and certainly NOT BECAUSE of it.” It might be said that Jefferson was a victim of circumstances. I must confess that I am jealous of you intimate knowledge of Jefferson, and I thank you for what I learned.
    Thomas Jefferson understood and inscribed personal sovereignty and national sovereignty, intrinsic freedom and extrinsic freedom into our founding principles: The sovereign personhood of the newly begotten individual of the human species is endowed by “their Creator”, the Supreme Sovereign Being. The first act of the human being’s sovereign free will is to give consent to come into existence as a human being. This first act of sovereign free will in giving consent to be, that is, to come into existence, is made by the human being’s sovereign, rational, immortal human soul, and is, in addition, an act of sovereign FREEDOM. This free will act of sovereign FREEDOM constitutes the sovereign nation. There are no nations who constitute themselves without this free will act of sovereign FREEDOM made by the human soul.

    “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.” Francisco Suarez.

    Francisco Suárez, by name Doctor Eximius, Spanish theologian and philosopher, a founder of international law.
    His principal study in philosophy is the Disputationes Metaphysicae (1597). In this work, which treats especially the problems of human will and the concept of general versus particular phenomena.
    He wrote apologetic works on the nature of the Christian state. Among them were De Virtute et Statu Religionis (1608–09) and Defensio Fidei Catholicae (1613), opposing Anglican theologians who defended the claim of kings to rule as God’s earthly representatives. This theory, the divine right of kings, was advanced in England at the time by James I, who subsequently burned Suárez’ Defensio on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. On the question of man’s ability to effect his own salvation by his works, Suárez, in his De Vera Intelligentia Auxilii Efficacis (1605, pub. 1655), supported the view of the Congruist movement, which held that God gave man sufficient grace to achieve the virtuous conduct congruent to, or in harmony with, his own will.
    Suárez expounded his political theory and philosophy of law in De Legibus (1612; “On Laws”) as well as in the Defensio. Having refuted the divine-right theory of kingly rule, he declared that the people themselves are the original holders of political authority; the state is the result of a social contract to which the people consent. Arguing for the natural rights of the human individual to life, liberty, and property, he rejected the Aristotelian notion of slavery as the natural condition of certain men. He criticized most of the practices of Spanish colonization in the Indies in his De Bello et de Indis (“On War and the Indies”). The islands of the Indies he viewed as sovereign states legally equal to Spain as members of a worldwide community of nations. (Britannica)

  26. @Ted Seeber:
    And who gets to say who is a man with The Rights of Man?
    That is why the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen declares, “in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being” (uses God to bear witness to heresy. The Second Commandment prohibits man from using God’s name in vain.) that “The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. (“This theory, the divine right of kings, was advanced in England at the time by James I, who subsequently burned Suárez’ Defensio on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. On the question of man’s ability to effect his own salvation by his works, Suárez, in his De Vera Intelligentia Auxilii Efficacis (1605, pub. 1655), supported the view of the Congruist movement, which held that God gave man sufficient grace to achieve the virtuous conduct congruent to, or in harmony with, his own will.” This is called man’s sovereignty over himself or discipline, if you like, but the word “sovereignty” and “sovereign personhood” endowed by God, “their Creator” is a more distinct word.) No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation” (personal sovereignty be damned.), (communism usurping the sovereignty of the human soul and the free exercise of the free will.) and that “Law is the expression of the general will.(except when the law is not the expression of TRUTH and the virtue of Justice, a virtue that ought to be expressed in the general will.) Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation.(If the law expresses TRUTH and JUSTICE. and his representative practices TRUTH and JUSTICE. Otherwise the citizen is disenfranchised.) It must be the same for all, (in TRUTH and JUSTICE) whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, (Here, the state makes no distinction between the people who choose to belong and those who choose differently, by giving all the citizens “equality” in the eyes of the law. “Equality the state gives, the state can take away” Thomas Jefferson), being equal in the eyes of the law,(“in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being”), are equally eligible to all dignities and to all public positions and occupations, (to work for the state for free) according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents” and that “Society has the right to require of every public agent an account of his administration.” (No. Society does not have a right to require of every state appointed man as a public agent an account of his administration. A private person serves God alone and does not answer to the state unless he is a subject to the state without freedom. Here the Declaration makes of all people, subjects to the state. The Declaration slips from citizens to society, from the individual person to the group. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen slips from the Rights of Man to the obligations of the citizen to the state, all using the auspices of the Supreme Being, completely ignoring the sovereignty of Man endowed by and under the auspices of the Supreme Being) This Declaration on the Rights of Man sounds like it was written by Lenin. FREEDOM
    “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.” Francisco Suarez.

  27. Michael Patterson-Seymore and Mary DeVoe- yes, the French adopted the Americanist definition of liberty, which is equally heresy from the Catholic point of view, and as such, the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” has no more reason to it than anything Jefferson wrote.

    Freedom to do what one WANTS, instead of what one OUGHT, is nothing more than slavery to sin.

  28. Ted Seeber:“The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” uses God to uphold the divine right of kings and the serfdom of the ordinary man. The Declaration of Independence declares that all men are kings. Jesus Christ true God and true man is King of kings.

  29. Properly ordered, all government should be reporting to the Vatican. God first. Religion first. I am a Catholic American, not an American Catholic.

  30. Well, I’m a Catholic first, which is why I’m an American Catholic. My citizenship is the adjective, my faith is the noun.

    But I’m skeptical of any one world government, even one run by the Vatican, which is what any agency would be if all government reported to it. We should know from history that the Church works better when it is the spiritual guide of governments and institutions, rather than a government itself.

  31. Right now, thanks to Jefferson and his ilk in France, it’s neither. Everything the Pope says, the governments do the opposite.

  32. Ted Seeber: This is the finest definition of the principle of separation of church and state, I have ever read. From John Henry Cardinal Newman.
    ” Lastly, he, (the Pope) is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”
    “…in all things morally permitted” is the cornerstone of a just society, which as you know, has been eradicated from our culture. Human sacrifice in abortion, the lie about human sexuality in pornography, the lie about marriage in homosexual behavior, the lie about love in contraception and on and on. Only TRUTH WHO is Jesus Christ has freedom under our Constitution. Jesus Christ is a sovereign person and a citizen of the world, a citizen exiled, maligned and crucified.

    Israel was a theocracy. The Law of God, the Ten Commandments ruled. Jesus was put to death for blasphemy. The divine right of kings allowed king Herod to put twenty-five innocent children to death. Crime happens when the principle of separation of church and state is violated and citizens are not recognized as sovereign persons.

  33. As Christ said, His kingdom is not of this world. He also said Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar and unto God the things that are God. The Church controlling governments is an impossibility and against Scripture. When the Church was hand in glove with officially Catholic states, it was normally the state that called the tune and the local Church danced to it. The Gallican heresy, which predated the French Revolution, by centuries, is a prime example of this. Additionally, considering that the Vactican has been repeatedly unable to get the Vatican Bank to behave in a way that does not scandalize the faithful and leave the Vatican perpetually teetering on bankruptcy, I’d say there was good evidence that the Vactican simply lacks the expertise to execise secular power.

  34. “Jesus Christ was executed for challenging the power of Caesar, and Herod followed Caesar, not God.”

    That is what His false accusers claimed. Christ challenged no earthly monarchy. His movement did challenge the religious authority of the temple priests and that is what the true motivation behind His execution was.

  35. Jesus Christ was not executed for what he did. And Thomas Jefferson was no Jesus Christ.

    Deists are one step away from atheist. And any government that allows the mass murder of 55 million people in the womb, is not a legitimate government.

  36. Donald R McClary

    There has been an inevitable tension between the spiritual and temporal authorities, for as long as there have been Christian rulers. Theodosius the Great, the last ruler of the undivided empire underwent church discipline at the hands of St Ambrose after the massacre of Thessalonica. In spiritual matters, Theodosius was Ambrose’s subject, just as Ambrose was Theodosius’s subject in civil matters. We see the same thing with Gregory VII and Henry IV at Canossa and with Boniface VIII and Philippe le Bel.

    It is this that underlies the insistence of the “Throne and Altar” conservative that the ruler of a Christian people must be a faithful son of the Church. Chateaubriand was typical of this school, when he described Christian Rome as being for the modern what Pagan Rome had been for the ancient world—the universal bond of nations, instructing in duty, defending from oppression.

  37. P.S. Religious freedom is what Lenin promised the 79 Bolsheviks who assassinated the Czar and executed the Bolshevik Revolt which changed the world into communism for over a century. When the Bolsheviks came to Lenin and requested their religious freedom, Lenin laughed them out of his office. Lenin imposed the divine right of kings using God to repel God just as the atheists do in America. In FREEDOM the individual is acknowledged as a sovereign person with civil rights. In communism, the group or state or “community” is all that matters. When an individual becomes useless to the group, he no longer is recognized or acknowledged. He literally ceases to exist and may be killed or ignored to death. In FREEDOM the individual person is acknowledged. In communism, only the group matters, bringing about death. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen has an excellent video on religious freedom and communism from which I have loosely quoted. My question to you is: With abortion and euthanasia at the gates is any individual really enjoying freedom in America? Wanton disregard of human life does not qualify as FREEDOM. Obama does not qualify as having a divine right of kings, especially since Obama has removed conscience protections from Obamacare. Lenin is still laughing.
    No. Ted Seeber: Atheism and Deism are exactly opposites.

  38. What government has power is the wrong question. I’m for Apostolic government, not government by fallible men who will always disappoint.

    And individualism? How is that different than paganism? All you have done is replace God with yourself- turned the individual into an idol.

  39. Your concept of religious liberty leads to the legitimization of other religions, including Satanism and the Moloch-worshiping eugenicists of Planned Parenthood. I don’t see any good that comes from legitimizing non-Catholic religion. The Protestant Reformation was a mistake.

  40. “I’m for Apostolic government, not government by fallible men who will always disappoint.”

    When the popes were secular rulers of the Papal States they often made a complete hash out of it. Outside of their charism of infallibility, popes are just as fallible as secular rulers, perhaps more so as the average pope, at least today, has no experience with ruling a secular polity.

  41. Really? Outside of moral issues it seems to me that most Vatican proposals regarding secular government tend to replicate European socialism, actually worse than that since it is easy to make proposals when one has no responsibility for carrying them out. The Vatican solution to most secular problems since Vatican II has usually been to call upon government to conjure more money out of thin air and to increase its size. That is not an improvement over the type of government that is leading most of the world off a fiscal cliff. Once again however it is ludicrous to expect secular government expertise from the Vatican. That is like someone going to a carpenter for a legal opinion, or someone asking me how best to fix their leaky bathtub.

  42. I agree, Don. And I would add that ours is indeed a legitimate government insomuch as it operates with the consent of the governed. No government makes perfect decisions, and its imperfections are apt to reflect and resemble those of the governed. Legal abortion is certainly a horrible moral wrong, and I worry that God’s patience with us is limited. But the problem is not our government as such; the problem is citizenry that elects that government.

    For the reasons Don suggests, it is doubtful that government by the Church would improve society generally. It is certain that it would not improve the Church.

  43. ” . . . it is doubtful that government by the Church would improve society generally. It is certain that it would not improve the Church.”

    You are 100% correct on both counts.

    B/C the Church’s mission is to fiercely exercise zeal for the glory of God and zeal for the salvation of souls, not to create a heaven on Earth, which always results in Hell on Earth.

  44. You consider a government that has produced a holocaust of 55 million dead to be legitimate? And you would rather have heaven on earth and hell for eternity than hell on earth and heaven for eternity?

    Truly I say, Americanism is short sighted and incompatible with Catholicism.

  45. You confuse government and religion Ted. Trying to turn a religion into a government is always a tragic error, just as much as trying to turn government into a religion. The idea that abortion delegitimizes the government is as wrong now as was the argument made by the abolitionists in the 19th century that slavery delegitimized government. Government is always a necessary evil since men are not angels. That governments will often commit evils arises from that same fact. Attempting to transform the Church into a government, something that goes against the intent of Christ, would be no solution to the problem and would probably worsen it by adding religious antipathies to partisan disagreements.

  46. Catholicism is unique among religions in that it asserts only ONE holy, CATHOLIC, and apostolic Church. THAT should be our guiding principle for all of mankind; that is, after all, what the word Catholic means. A government that supports the dehumanization of the unborn is no more legitimate than one that supports the dehumanization of the negro or the dehumanization of the Jew. Such a government needs to be replaced with one obedient to the Church.

    The fact that you would support a government which has no right to life, makes me question your theology. There is nothing that is good in such a government. It can only be converted, not supported.

    One cannot serve two masters.

  47. Ted, need we remind you that when Paul told believers to submit to governing authorities it was to a governing authority that legalized infanticide AND slavery? (oh and so much worse)

    And you would rather have heaven on earth and hell for eternity than hell on earth and heaven for eternity?

    But the “heaven on earth…” part is exactly what you’re advocating. 1) Just as in heaven, all will be forced to worship & acknowledge God (because He’s right there!). 2) Yet to force people to worship Him you will transform yourself into such a devil & tyrant that Herod will seem a saint in comparison.

    God calls us to love Him. The only problem is, only by having the freedom to not love can there be real and true love. (thus why there was a tree in the garden) Thus for Christians, only by having freedom of religion can there be true religion. Yes some might abuse that freedom and turn away from where they ought, but take it from them is to reduce the humanity they were created with and make their worship of God a sham. To not bring Him sons, but slaves.

  48. Between 1870 and 1939, the spiritual mission of the Church was gravely hampered, by the open hostility of most Catholics to the Republic, which neatly matched the anti-clericalism of the bouffeurs de curé. Leo XIII had exhorted Catholic to “rally to the Republic,” explaining that a distinction must be drawn between the form of government, which ought to be accepted, and its laws which ought to be improved, only to be accused by the Catholic press of “kissing the feet of their executioners.” In 1940, alas, too many Catholics rallied, not to the Republic, but to Vichy. After the Liberation most of the Catholic politicians were in jail, a few were shot and the rest fled abroad. It was De Gaulle and the Fifth Republic that began to heal the divisions.

    The state of the Church in France today owes much to this bitter legacy of turning faith into faction.

  49. Individual faith is needed for true religion, but that does NOT mean we should tolerate immorality and heresy. Rome was a far more more just government than America is.

    Abandoning justice and morality to achieve freedom is very profitable and easy for the short term- but the billions you would condemn to the everlasting fire becuse you are afraid to preach truth and have the governnment subserviant to God is horrifying.

  50. “As for religious antipathies, there is a simple solution to that: monocultural society. Pluralism is evil.”

    How would you suggest that we deal with the three-quarters of our society who are not Catholic?

  51. “How would you suggest that we deal with the three-quarters of our society who are not Catholic? ”

    That’s why no government, society, or market should have more than 100,000 citizens.

    Let them have their own cities.

    As to the just Roman (pagan Roman) government: Everybody, slave and free, was guaranteed their daily bread, the earliest welfare program. If the rich wanted governmental power, they needed to pay for impressive public works projects to gain the support of the people (some of which are still around today). And at least they didn’t define freedom by killing off the unborn.

  52. That’s why no government, society, or market should have more than 100,000 citizens.

    Yeah, in America it’s called Federalism. aka the 10th amendment.

    As to the just Roman (pagan Roman) government: Everybody, slave and free, was guaranteed their daily bread, the earliest welfare program.

    What, like the EBT card today?

    Of course that’s not even looking whether these programs actually worked or were effective (else, how were there starving people in Jesus’ day?) nor whether that ultimately brought down the Roman empire when the money ran out. (then who had daily bread?)

    If the rich wanted governmental power, they needed to pay for impressive public works projects to gain the support of the people (some of which are still around today).

    In other words, the old world equivalent of billboards. Or pork projects if you’re actually in Congress.

    So nothing different there.

    And at least they didn’t define freedom by killing off the unborn.

    No, they just killed off the already born. In fact, it was christians leading against this practice that led to the creation of orphanages.

    So at best, you’ve merely made the point that Rome was as just as the current USA, certainly far from “more just”.

  53. The state of the Church in France today owes much to this bitter legacy of turning faith into faction.

    About 85% of the members of the French National Assembly voted to delegate plenary authority to Marshal Petain. Marshal Petain was a roue, Pierre Laval was a freemason who made his career in the Radical Party, Pierre Pucheu had no religious affiliation, Jacques Doriot had no religious affiliation, and the Croix de Feu was among the first to take up arms against the Germans.

  54. The 10th Amendment was eliminated by the 14th Amendment, and neither even began to touch Article I Section 10, which makes subsidiarity illegal in the United States.

    Federalism is the problem, not the solution.

  55. By the way, in the general elections held in France in Oct. 1945, the ballots were evenly divided between the Communist Party, the Catholic MRP, the socialist SFIO, and various other parties. There is no Christian democratic party of any consequence in France anymore, just a small incorporated faction of the UPM led by Christine Boutin. You will recall that UPM was the omnibus concoction of crooked hack Jacques Chirac, led for some years by the satyr-popinjay Nicolas Sarkozy.

  56. More Mr. Seeber is demoralized, in despair of ever living under a moral government, and has lost all faith in man.

    Holding Jefferson up to be a hero over Christ is as bad as holding him to be a scoundrel. Give me the Gospel, not utopian visions of “Freedom”. Sacrificing Truth for Freedom leads only to slavery.

    Though, of course, Standford Nutting would agree with you guys:

  57. The 10th Amendment was eliminated by the 14th Amendment, and neither even began to touch Article I Section 10, which makes subsidiarity illegal in the United States.

    This coming from the guy who said that Rome was more just because they didn’t “define freedom by killing off the unborn”. Sorry, I can’t get over that. Let me quote from the linked article:

    But what is most chilling is that it was openly practiced. Pagan society approved of the practice and encouraged it. “Not only was the exposure of infants a very common practice, it was justified by law and advocated by philosophers.” Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity, page 118. See also Durant, op. cit., page 56. In Greece and ancient Rome a child was virtually its father’s chattel-e.g., in Roman law, the Patria Protestas granted the father the right to dispose of his offspring as he saw fit. In Sparta, the decision was made by a public official. The Twelve Tables of Roman Law held: “Deformed infants shall be killed” De Legibus, 3.8. Of course, deformed was broadly construed and often meant no more than the baby appeared “weakly.” The Twelve Tables also explicitly permitted a father to expose any female infant. Stark, op. cit., page 118.

    Leading pagan leaders and philosophers also encouraged the practice. Cicero defended infanticide by referring to the Twelve Tables. Plato and Aristotle recommended infanticide as legitimate state policy. Cornelius Tacitus went so far as to condemn the Jews for their opposition to infanticide. He stated that the Jewish view that “it was a deadly sin to kill an unwanted child” was just another of the many “sinister and revolting practices” of the Jews. Histories 5.5. Even Seneca, otherwise known for his relatively high moral standards, stated, “we drown children at birth who are weakly and abnormal.” De Ira 1.15.

    Federalism is the problem, not the solution.

    This coming from the guy who said: “That’s why no government, society, or market should have more than 100,000 citizens. Let them have their own cities.” That’s LITERALLY what federalism is!

    So… you have a solution, that you then call the problem. Just… you’re mad. You’re absolutely and completely stark raving mad that’s the only answer.

    Or you’re ill-informed and thinking that “federalism” has something to do with the federal government. Which is wrong. Here’s the money quote from the above link:

    “Federalism — the process whereby you push most political questions to the lowest democratic level possible”

    And note: lowest would mean by population. i.e. States would be “lower” than the federal government. Counties would be lower than states, etc.

  58. Article I Section 10 of the US Constitution reserves all economic and military power to the federal government. The 14th Amendment reserves the rest to the Federal government. THAT is your vaulted federalism- not a collection of city states, but a centralized economy and centralized government no different than the Kremlin.

  59. Article I Section 10 of the US Constitution reserves all economic and military power to the federal government. The 14th Amendment reserves the rest to the Federal government. THAT is your vaulted federalism- not a collection of city states, but a centralized economy and centralized government no different than the Kremlin.

    No, that’s not federalism, that’s centralization.

    For someone who claims to be so committed to truth, you’re sure arguing against it. (like if we were talking about a blue pen and you started shoving it in our faces screaming “no, it’s a red pen!”)

  60. Actually the Romans routinely practiced abortion and infanticide. See one of Juvenal’s satires for the details. Christians were noted for not practicing abortion and infanticide. The bread ration was only for the citizens of the city of Rome. The rest of the empire could go hang. The people lost what little voice they had in the State with the coming of the Empire and only the residents of Rome in any case, due to the necessity of being in Rome to vote for the major offices of the State under the Republic, had any realistic franchise, and that was weighted so that the votes of the wealthy usually controlled the elections. The subura slum dwellers in Rome lived in a misery which would appall most moderns and none of our welfare state recipients would wish to change places with them.

    The country is never going to dissolve into city states of 100,000.

  61. The bread ration was only for the citizens of Rome.

    D’oh, another factor I forgot, thanks for the reminder Don. Something we forget in America is that while many were “subjects” of the Roman empire, not everyone was a citizen.

    So Rome provided bread for a fraction of the total population living within its borders. Anyone have estimates on how many this was?

  62. Thanks Don.

    So by my math, that means according to Ted, the Romans were “more just” than us because they provided daily bread to 0.6% of the population?

    So let’s see here… per http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/SNAPsummary.htm the total population receiving USA “daily bread” in 2012 (latest numbers) is 46,609,000. Total US population? A little over 313,000,000. Meaning that the USA provides daily bread to 14.89% of it’s population.

    Just… like I said: madness. By the very standard chosen, the USA is more just than the Roman empire. This would literally be a case where Ted called evil good and good, evil.

  63. Justice is predicated on intent. The intent of the free bread might have been to prevent starving bodies on the streets of Rome, or to get reelected or to prevent riot. “Truth, Justice and the American Way” to paraphrase the Superheroes, requires men of good will and men of good will must acknowledge free will, that part of the sovereign person who accepts eternal TRUTH an seeks the TRUTH of God every instance of his life. This requires the acknowledgement of the rational, immortal human soul. A great government requires great people.

  64. Justice is predicated on intent. I suppose the “intent” of the free bread was so that the city of Rome would not be filled with the starving bodies. The free will of the sovereign person chooses to seek for the TRUTH. The TRUTH may not be indoctrinated as exhibited by Kevin O’Brien and refused by his students. The TRUTH may be found in the hearts of people of good will. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all else will be added”

  65. Mary de Voe

    The free bread is easily explained. As Talleyrand observed, “Governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the mob will hang you from the nearest lamp-post, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the people.”

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