Here is a video of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg telling a room full of children that “the people who wrote the Constitution did not know that slavery was a bad thing.”
No one can claim that Buttigieg is uneducated. He reminds everyone ad nauseam that he was a Rhodes scholar. But despite receiving the best education money can buy, he is a profoundly stupid individual who frequently says things that are objectively untrue for no other reason than they serve his woke, fundamentally emotional worldview.
Any serious student of history would know (and explain) that slavery was a passionate subject of debate even when the Constitution was being drafted. Colonial America was not a philosophically monolithic place. Not everyone involved in the cause of liberty was rich. Not everyone was white. Not everyone was a slaveholder. The Founding Fathers cared about consensus as a political goal, but that does not mean they had uniform beliefs and lifestyles. That fact is why we have the system of government that we have.
The man who drafted the final text of the US Constitution was Gouverneur Morris, who represented New York in the newly created US Senate and served as Minister to France under George Washington.
According to James Madison, who took notes at the Convention, Morris spoke openly against slavery on 8 August 1787, saying that it was incongruous to say that a slave was both a man and property at the same time: He [Morris] never would concur in upholding domestic slavery. It was a nefarious institution. It was the curse of heaven on the states where it prevailed. Compare the free regions of the Middle States, where a rich & noble cultivation marks the prosperity & happiness of the people, with the misery & poverty which overspread the barren wastes of Va. Maryd. & the other States having slaves. … Proceed southwardly, and every step you take, through the great regions of slaves, presents a desert increasing with the increasing proportion of these wretched beings.Upon what principle is it that the slaves shall be computed in the representation? Are they men? Then make them citizens, and let them vote. Are they property? Why, then, is no other property included? The Houses in this city [Philadelphia] are worth more than all the wretched slaves which cover the rice swamps of South Carolina.
According to Madison, Morris felt that the U.S. Constitution’s purpose was to protect the rights of humanity and that to promote slavery was incongruous with it:The admission of slaves into the Representation when fairly explained comes to this: that the inhabitant of Georgia and S. C. who goes to the Coast of Africa, and in defiance of the most sacred laws of humanity tears away his fellow creatures from their dearest connections & damns them to the most cruel bondages, shall have more votes in a Govt. instituted for protection of the rights of mankind, than the Citizen of Pa. or N. Jersey who views with a laudable horror, so nefarious a practice.
I honestly doubt that Buttigieg even knows who Morris is. If he had known anything about Morris, he would have known that the Constitution was literally written by a man who was so devoted in his opposition to slavery that he used his personal wealth to purchase slaves only to set them free.
But what Buttigieg is saying falls neatly in line with recent propaganda efforts on the left like the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which aims to rewrite American history in a way that makes the Founding Fathers seem ignorant, if not downright evil, all in the service of removing any notion of American Exceptionalism from the minds of future generations.
What is astounding about these events is that these people have been told repeatedly by authorities on the subject that the things they are saying are factually wrong. They don’t care. What they care about is how it makes people feel to hear a new story.
These are dangerous individuals. And I think it says a lot not only about politics now, but the state of US higher education and public schools. Buttigieg has received all the rewards that only the most aggressive ass-kissers in education receive, and so this is the kind of person that teachers and professors now regard as the best of what they can produce. A person who cannot tell you who drafted the US Constitution or what he believed.
What is it about the Founding Fathers that these folks find so threatening, such that they are willing to invest immense effort in smearing and slandering them?
I say this all the time, but it is up to parents to make sure their kids grow into well-informed adults. That they read quality, honest history books and consult primary sources. That they understand the mechanics of how our government operates and where to find reliable information.
Our institutions are bent on making sure they become useful idiots like Buttigieg.