Glenn Beck has been looking at the founders of American on “Founders Friday.” This week, he and some historians looked at black Americans who were present at the founding of America and had important roles in our country’s independence.
In the painting of the Battle of Lexington, the people assembled here are members of Rev. Jonas Clark’s congregation. They were a congregation of both black and white Americans. One of those men was Prince Estabrook, a black American.
Remember the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware? Near the front of the boat you will see Prince Whipple helping row the boat, as well as a woman. All Americans were involved in winning our independence.
There is another painting of Marquis de Lafayette, the Frenchman who so greatly helped George Washington with our troops, and James Armistead. Armistead was an American double-spy who helped get information from the British and feed them bad information about us. His service was pivotal to our success at the Battle of Yorktown…which effectively won the American Revolution for us.
One of the guests on Beck’s show was David Barton, founder of WallBuilders and author of “American History in Black and White.” Another was Dr. Lucas Morel, a professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and author of “Lincoln’s Sacred Effort.” Barton goes into greater detail about Armistead’s role in American history, as well as the friendship between Lafayette and Armistead.
Barton also talked about Wentworth Cheswell, who is considered the first black American elected to public office. We all know about Paul Revere’s famous ride warning that the British were coming, but Cheswell rode in another direction to give the same warning.
At one point, Barton points out that obviously at some point in history, since many of these black founders show up in various paintings of the Revolution, we knew about the role of black Americans in our founding. Somewhere along the way, like many historical facts, this has been forgotten.
There is also considerable discussion of Frederick Douglass, who is better known in history and someone Beck calls a “re-founder.” Barton says Douglass once believed the “Three-Fifths Compromise” was a terrible affront to enslaved black Americans and that it rendered the U.S. Constitution totally corrupt. However, when he studied the Constitution along with the notes from the Constitutional Convention, he realized it was an anti-slavery document.
The bulk of the founders recognized that slavery was wrong and was counter to the ideals of freedom upon which the American Revolution was based. However, there were some in the South who wanted to preserve slavery in the United States, and the impasse threatened the union of our fledgling nation. As a compromise, they came up with the idea of counting slaves as “three-fifths” for the purposes of representation and apportionment.
If a slave was not worthy of freedom like any other American, then he should not really be counted for the purposes of representation and apportionment. Of course, the Southern states saw how this would hurt them in the federal government, so they compromised by counting slaves at three-fifths of a free person. It made it harder for pro-slavery states to get as much representation in congress; thus the anti-slavery states would have greater representation in apportionment…and in making laws for the nation in general. This gave the Southern states an incentive to free their slaves so that their overall population numbers would increase and thus give the Southern states greater representation and apportionment.
Of course, the truth doesn’t fit the liberal narrative of America as an evil place, a place founded by evil rich slave-owning white guys (and there is some truth to that: some founders were wealthy, and some did own slaves) that has always been a place of great inequality. The truth doesn’t advance the culture of victimhood promoted by the modern Left in America. The reality of our history–both good and bad–must be sanitized and revised and rewritten, therefore, in order for the Left to fundamentally alter our present and future public policy.
People like Lemuel Haynes (as well as some of these other black American historical figures) throw a lot of water on that revisionist narrative, however. Haynes was a black American, born to a white woman and a black man. He became a minister and pastored a church with a white congregation, and also fought in the militia in the American Revolution. Barton says that he always preached a special sermon about George Washington on Washington’s birthday every year.
There was Benjamin Banneker, a black American who was involved in the planning of Washington D.C. and was said to be very intelligent and involved with building clocks and predicting eclipses.
During the question and answer segment (below), they take on the liberal historical revisionism concerning ethnic issues and the two major political parties in America. While liberals want us to believe the opposite, history shows that it was a Republican president who sent hundreds of thousands of white Americans to die to free black Americans, Democrats who started the KKK and opposed full freedom for black Americans, and Democrats who fought full civil rights for black Americans all the way through the Civil Rights Act. Today’s Democrat Party is definitely unsurpassed in pandering to black Americans (while delivering nothing but empty promises), but history proves their despicable history as enemies of freedom (some things never change).
America’s history is rich, and it took all of us regardless of skin color to make it what it is today. America’s history has not been perfect (no country’s has), and we have not always lived up to our ideals, but our ideals and our struggle to live up to those noble ideals are what sets this nation apart from any other in the world throughout human history.
Let’s take our history straight, with our shortcomings and our glorious successes, and not allow liberals who are hostile to our ideals to rewrite our history in their effort to rewrite our future.
Questions and Answers from the Audience
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