Is the U.S. Constitution racist? How about the Declaration of Independence?
According to the Biden administration, the answer to both questions is yes.
The National Archives has added a “harmful language alert” to online images of the Constitution and Declaration, and Fox News reported that a racism task force has recommended retiring the term “charters of freedom” used in reference to the founding documents.
These changes were to be expected, as the National Archives task force released a report back in June claiming that its own Rotunda — which houses the aforementioned documents — is an example of “structural racism” that “lauds wealthy White men in the nation’s founding while marginalizing [black, indigenous and people of color], women, and other communities.”
The task force also highlighted a number of “slurs” contained in the documents, which is obviously ridiculous — of course the common parlance of hundreds of years ago isn’t going to look good by modern standards.
Even more ridiculously, the task force suggested that words found in the documents such as “elderly,” “handicapped” and “illegal alien” should be considered “harmful language,” WTTG-TV reported.
All of this feeds into a larger narrative pushed by President Joe Biden and the left in general: the idea that racism and slavery are both rooted in the founding documents and that, therefore, America itself was founded on racist principles.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
America isn’t rooted in racism or even slavery. Quite the contrary is true: This country was built on the ideals of freedom and individual liberty.
In fact, as historian Matthew Spalding pointed out in a 2002 report for The Heritage Foundation, many of our founding fathers were anti-slavery and specifically designed the founding documents so that slavery could one day be abolished.
“In order to get the unified support needed for the Constitution’s ratification and successful establishment, the framers made certain concessions to the pro-slavery interests. The compromises they agreed to, however, were designed to tolerate slavery where it currently existed, not to endorse or advance the institution,” Spalding wrote.
Even with those compromises, the founders laid the groundwork for slavery’s eventual abolishment within the Constitution.
For example, the three-fifths compromise — which declared that each free person and three-fifths of “all other Persons” would be counted in the apportionment of representatives — was not supported by pro-slavery delegates. In fact, those delegates wanted each and every slave to be counted as a full person — that way, slave states would have greater representation in Congress.
By counting slaves as three-fifths of a person, slave states were at a disadvantage to free states. That is why the compromise was made — not because the founding fathers considered slaves sub-human.
Additionally, an article in the Constitution that prohibited Congress from blocking the slave trade until 1808 played a vital role in slavery’s eventual abolition.
Because the article only applied to the federal government, states were still allowed to restrict or outlaw the importation of slaves. Also, its temporary nature allowed for the federal government to eventually take action.
This concession may have appeased the pro-slavery coalition at the time of the founding, but anti-slavery founder James Wilson recognized its importance to the abolition movement, as Spalding explained in his report.
“If there was no other lovely feature in the Constitution but this one,” Wison said, “it would diffuse a beauty over its whole countenance. Yet the lapse of a few years, and Congress will have power to exterminate slavery from within our borders.”
A national prohibition on the importation of slaves was signed into law by President Thomas Jefferson and went into effect on Jan. 1, 1808.
Spalding also noted that famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, a former slave himself, believed the Constitution was inherently anti-slavery.
“Abolish slavery tomorrow, and not a sentence or syllable of the Constitution need be altered,” Douglass wrote in 1864.
Indeed, although a constitutional amendment was responsible for the abolishment of slavery, Spalding pointed out that “not one word of the original text was amended or deleted.”
“The slavery compromises included in the Constitution can be understood — that is, can be understood to be prudential compromises rather than a surrender of principle — only in light of the Founders’ proposition that all men are created equal,” Spalding wrote.
“In the end, lamentably, it took a bloody civil war to reconcile the protections of the Constitution with that proposition and to attest that this nation, so conceived and dedicated, could long endure.”
Students today aren’t taught these basic truths about our founding documents.
Instead, thanks to the left, most young people believe our founding fathers were nothing more than a group of racist slave owners.
Now, our very own federal government is pushing those lies.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.