The American Founding in Practice

From the IHS Vault: History professor Rob McDonald of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point gives a lecture on the conflict between the ideals of the American Revolution, such as individual liberty, and unfortunate realities of the time, such as slavery. Filmed at the 2006 IHS seminar “Exploring Liberty” at Princeton University. Produced by Inextinguishable Productions.

2 Comments

  1. FlawlessTexan

    "The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. . . .

    The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded who permits one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other. . . .

    And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep for ever. . . .

    The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. . . . The way, I hone [is] preparing under the auspices of Heaven for a total emancipation."

    – Thomas Jefferson

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