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Lyly
August 17th, 2010, 12:02 AM
Reviewing Thomas Jefferson's rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, I found a surprise (http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/CreatingtheUS/interactives/declaration/HTML/slavery/index.html). One of the clauses that was not included in the final draft basically calls King George III out for approving of, or at least not disapproving of, slave markets.

The clause reads: "[the] Christian king of Great Britain determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact"

Imagine how different the history of the Unites States might have been had this sentence not been removed from the Declaration of Independence. In fact, yeah, let's imagine that. And talk about it.

- - - - -

Now, to be honest, I imagine this did not make it into the final Declaration for the same reason similar language never really flew on a national level for a long time: the South. Virginia was the biggest state at the time, and the south as a whole wasn't exactly a tiny portion of the new United States. I take it most likely that the nation was not in a position to criticize the slave trade and that is why this clause was removed. Just my two cents.
Still, rather curious to see what would happen if, by all luck and chance, this language were retained in the final Declaration.

CaliBoy1990
August 17th, 2010, 12:20 AM
Reviewing Thomas Jefferson's rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, I found a surprise (http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/CreatingtheUS/interactives/declaration/HTML/slavery/index.html). One of the clauses that was not included in the final draft basically calls King George III out for approving of, or at least not disapproving of, slave markets.

The clause reads: "[the] Christian king of Great Britain determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact"

Imagine how different the history of the Unites States might have been had this sentence not been removed from the Declaration of Independence. In fact, yeah, let's imagine that. And talk about it.

- - - - -

Now, to be honest, I imagine this did not make it into the final Declaration for the same reason similar language never really flew on a national level for a long time: the South. Virginia was the biggest state at the time, and the south as a whole wasn't exactly a tiny portion of the new United States. I take it most likely that the nation was not in a position to criticize the slave trade and that is why this clause was removed. Just my two cents.
Still, rather curious to see what would happen if, by all luck and chance, this language were retained in the final Declaration.

IMHO, Jefferson was a lot more progressive for his generation than what many give him credit for. ;)

Shawn Endresen
August 17th, 2010, 12:30 AM
Well, with that committed to paper and signed, the slave trade is outlawed immediately (at the adoption of the Constitution) instead of 1808. I don't see a commitment to abolish slavery...but with fewer slaves imported, it doesn't spread as far and as fast.

Less widespread slavery probably makes the Civil War a nonstarter. Unfortunately, outright abolition could probably only have been accomplished with the sword...so what we may see is the conversion of chattel slavery to serfdom, with serfdom lasting in some states for a very long time indeed.

CaliBoy1990
August 17th, 2010, 03:08 AM
Well, with that committed to paper and signed, the slave trade is outlawed immediately (at the adoption of the Constitution) instead of 1808. I don't see a commitment to abolish slavery...but with fewer slaves imported, it doesn't spread as far and as fast.

Well, that's a start.

Less widespread slavery probably makes the Civil War a nonstarter. Unfortunately, outright abolition could probably only have been accomplished with the sword...so what we may see is the conversion of chattel slavery to serfdom, with serfdom lasting in some states for a very long time indeed.

Well, unfortunately, that is probably true..........just look at what happened in Jared's DoD{Decades of Darkness} for example. Even going into the middle of the 20th century, serfdom was still alive and well. :(

GreatScottMarty
August 17th, 2010, 03:16 AM
Reviewing Thomas Jefferson's rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, I found a surprise (http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/CreatingtheUS/interactives/declaration/HTML/slavery/index.html). One of the clauses that was not included in the final draft basically calls King George III out for approving of, or at least not disapproving of, slave markets.

The clause reads: "[the] Christian king of Great Britain determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact"

Imagine how different the history of the Unites States might have been had this sentence not been removed from the Declaration of Independence. In fact, yeah, let's imagine that. And talk about it.

- - - - -

Now, to be honest, I imagine this did not make it into the final Declaration for the same reason similar language never really flew on a national level for a long time: the South. Virginia was the biggest state at the time, and the south as a whole wasn't exactly a tiny portion of the new United States. I take it most likely that the nation was not in a position to criticize the slave trade and that is why this clause was removed. Just my two cents.
Still, rather curious to see what would happen if, by all luck and chance, this language were retained in the final Declaration.

I certainly like the idea but several historians ranging from David McCullough to Joseph Ellis have seemed to say that it was dropped less for politics than for its own inaccuracy. So opposition and good politics may have led to it's dropping as well as the sheer lunacy behind it. Let's say it gets included, I think perceptually these Colonies are going to look considerably more daft than they did in OTL and this may lead to supply and legitimacy problems later on.

The inclusion of this clause may lead to larger support for earlier abolition but let us face facts. The Founders had no way to measure public opinion nor would they be inclined to heed it would they have been able too. Everything done between 1776 and 1789 was done by a rotating cast of some 50 to 100 property owners, business owners, and lawyers; most of whom came from wealthy families with a long history in the Americas.

I think we may be over estimating the impact of one clause.

Tom Veil
August 17th, 2010, 06:22 PM
I think we may be over estimating the impact of one clause.

Agreed. The Declaration of Independence was just a list of complaints; it had no binding effect on the Articles of Confederation, let alone the Constitution.

GreatScottMarty
August 17th, 2010, 06:33 PM
Agreed. The Declaration of Independence was just a list of complaints; it had no binding effect on the Articles of Confederation, let alone the Constitution.

Which is unfortunate, if the Founders had decided to hearken back to the Declaration in the Constitution's Preamble I think we would have had a better first 60 years of the Republic with a possible peaceful end to slavery. There was a view by some founders (Jefferson, Madison most notably) in 1789 that the Declaration was one of several documents that should be invoked instead it seems the slim majority won out and the Constitution is a disavowal of all that happened previously. Unfortunate IMHO.

Father Maryland
August 17th, 2010, 07:00 PM
IMHO, Jefferson was a lot more progressive for his generation than what many give him credit for. ;)

No he was a lot less progressive then people give him credit for. The guy was willing to talk occasionally about how Negroes might not be cattle but by all of his actions he was just as bad as the rest of them if not worse.

Mr Qwerty
August 17th, 2010, 08:44 PM
I certainly like the idea but several historians ranging from David McCullough to Joseph Ellis have seemed to say that it was dropped less for politics than for its own inaccuracy. So opposition and good politics may have led to it's dropping as well as the sheer lunacy behind it. Let's say it gets included, I think perceptually these Colonies are going to look considerably more daft than they did in OTL and this may lead to supply and legitimacy problems later on.

Aren't several of the Declaration's accusations inaccurate? (I mean, besides ascribing all blame to King George personally, since accusing Parliament wouldn't sound as good;).)

GreatScottMarty
August 17th, 2010, 09:43 PM
Aren't several of the Declaration's accusations inaccurate? (I mean, besides ascribing all blame to King George personally, since accusing Parliament wouldn't sound as good;).)

you are correct this particular clause was one of the more lunatic. And the decision was made to drop this one and heavily rewrite portions of it for instance the original draft included " the pursuit of life, liberty and property" as opposed to " Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" certainly a large change.

As to Jefferson's perceived progressiveness, outside of the occasional comment on slavery and it's evils; he was decidedly backward. The belief in the Yeoman farmer was propaganda since the system he supported (that of property requirement to vote) would have against the yeoman from the start. I would put the most progressive Founders (in no particular order) as being Franklin, John Adams, John Jay, Aaron Burr (if you choose I find his inclusion rather dubious since he had nothing to do with either 1776 or 1789), Alexander Hamilton, Governeur Morris. The list continues but the way the American Right holds Jefferson up as a beacon of freedom is disturbing since he didn't even free his slaves at death. As far as his time is concerned he would be in the middle of the pack, but a leader IMHO no.