conversation between CNN host, Don Lemon, and British royalty expert, Hilary
Fordwich, has gone viral after Fordwich turned the tables on Lemon’s question
about royal reparations for slavery by pointing out that Great Britain fought
to end slavery when it was still be practiced in Africa, the Middle East, and
most of the world.
Her brilliant answer
demonstrated that assigning social blame for slavery and other past sins is no
simple task. Slavery has been practiced by many peoples and civilizations for
all of recorded history. The unique characteristic of slavery in Great Britain
and America was the moral outrage that arose against it and eventually led to
Not Unique to America
Indeed, slavery had
long been practiced in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and most of the world
when it was introduced to America in the 17th century, where it encountered
fierce opposition. The noted Black scholar, Dr. Thomas Sowell, has written of
Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among
political leaders, until the 18th century–and then it was an issue
only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and other
American leaders. You could research all of 18th century Africa or
Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery
there (Hyatt, Abolitionist Founding Fathers, 9).
This turn against slavery was the fruit of a powerful
anti-slavery movement that emerged out of the Great Awakening that transformed
Colonial America, beginning in 1726. After 1750, these Awakening evangelists
not only called sinners to Christ, but also proclaimed the sinfulness and evil
nature of slavery.
America’s Founders Turn Against
So powerful was this abolition movement that by 1770,
America’s Founders, even those who owned slaves, had begun taking public stands
against slavery. By the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence,
virtually every Founder agreed with John Adams who said,
Every measure of prudence ought to be
assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. I have throughout my whole
life held the practice of slavery in abhorrence (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 101).
This turn against slavery was expressed in the
founding documents they formulated, which contain no classifications based or
race or skin color. Neither are the words “slave” and “slavery” anywhere to be
found therein. Indeed, America’s founding generation understood the founding
documents to be statements against slavery and abolitionists used them in their
fight against that horrible institution.
The Founders believed that they had set the new nation
on a course for the soon and complete elimination of slavery. They did not,
however, anticipate the invention of the cotton gin nor that following generations
would not follow through on the course they had laid out.
Those who have carefully studied history understand
that slavery, Jim Crow, and racial segregation were not the vision of America’s
founding fathers. Frederick Douglass, perhaps the greatest of the
abolitionists, understood this.
Frederick Douglass Lauded America’s
Douglas (1818–1895) lauded America’s founding
documents in a July 4th
speech in 1852. He referred to the U.S. Constitution as “a glorious liberty
document” and praised the Declaration of Independence, saying,
The principles obtained in the Declaration of
Independence are saving principles. Stand by those principles. Be true to them
on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, whatever the cost.
He also spoke highly of
America’s Founding Fathers, saying,
Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers
of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave
men. They were great men too—great enough to give fame to a great age. It does
not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly
great men (Hyatt, Abolitionist FoundingFathers, 52).
Need to Revisit Our Origins
The answer for class, political,
and racial division in America today is not another government program or
handout. There must be a return to the God of our founders, who turned to Him in
their times of need. That is why there were at least 15 days of prayer and
fasting proclaimed by the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. It
is why one of the most iconic paintings of that war is of George Washington on
his knees in prayer.
It is why, in the midst of
the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of humiliation, prayer, and
fasting in which he called on the nation to repent for personal and national
sins and cry out to God for mercy. After this day of repentance and prayer
there was an immediate change in the direction of the war. It soon ended, the
slaves, were free, and the Union was preserved.
God has not changed and if
He can find a core, remnant people who will fulfill the conditions of II
Chronicles 7:14, there is no question that He will visit this land with another
Great Awakening that will probably outshine all those that have gone before.
This article is derived from books by Dr. Eddie Hyatt entitled, Abolitionist Founding Fathers and 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at http://eddiehyatt.com.