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Saturday, January 29, 2011

 
The Founders Freed The Slaves

by digby


I thought Michelle Bachman's bizarre comments about the founders ending slavery came out of her own fevered brain. Unfortunately, it didn't. Seems the Teabag professor was there first, teaching it to his followers:

BECK: Yesterday -- or was it today? I don't even know. It was yesterday that they read the Constitution in Congress. It was today? Read the Constitution in Congress. And it was -- no, it was -- they edited the Constitution, not for time, but because they didn't want to offend anyone. And parts of it were outdated. You got to be kidding me. This, we're getting from the Republicans. Hmm. Parts of it are outdated and parts of it are offensive.

The three-fifths clause was offensive, and so they didn't do it. This shows such a -- either lack of understanding of our history, who the Founders were, what the Constitution says, or it is just cowardice in Washington. Three-fifths clause. African-Americans: three-fifths in the South, three-fifths of a human being. That's an outrage, unless you know why they put that in there. They put that in there because if slaves in the South were counted as full human beings, they could never abolish slavery. They would never be able to do it. It was a time bomb.

Progressives should love that. It was a way to take a step to abolish slavery. It is a tremendous story about our Founders, about the genius of the Constitution -- but that might offend some people, so they skipped it. They skipped it. That's offensive to me. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 1/6/10]


I'm guessing he actually believes that.

Click the link to find out the truth, if you need to. Many historians (obviously aghast that anyone's uttering this nonsense in public) respond. Here's one:


Beeman: "My Goodness -- Glenn Beck Got It Completely Wrong." In response to a Media Matters email about Beck's comments, Beeman wrote:

My goodness -- Glenn Beck got it completely wrong. They put [the three-fifths clause] there because delegates from the Southern states would never have agreed to the Constitution unless some weight was given to their slave populations in the apportionment of representation. They wanted slaves counted 100%, but when they saw that they could not get that, they settled for 3/5. The practical effect of that, far from making easier to abolish slavery, made it more difficult. It gave added weight to southern political power in Congress, it inflated Southern power in the apportioning of electoral votes, which led to a succession of Southern presidents. Ironically, the best thing that could have been done with respect to making it easier to abolish slavery would have been to have given slaves NO weight in the apportioning of representation.


Well, yeah. it's not like the slaves got 3/5th of a vote.

This makes my head hurt. But keep in mind that Beck is hugely influential in the Tea party --- he is their most admired man. Millions of people are like Bachman and believe him, they home school their kids to believe the same garbage and you finally reach a point where it's open to interpretation as to whether the 3/5th compromise ended slavery.

There's a lot of this going around lately. Recall Haley Barbour has been telling us that Jim Crow wasn't all that bad and that white southerners were the biggest proponents of the civil rights movement. Next thing you know we'll be told that slavery didn't happen at all --- it's just a sob story made up by a bunch of liberals and blacks to demonize southerners. After all, if the founders ended slavery ...


By the way, responding to Chris Matthews uncivil comments about Bachman's ignorance in which he called her a balloon head, Beck had this to say:

"You sir, are a balloon head that was taught by a balloon head and all you did because you're a balloon head was sit in your stupid balloon head Ivy League classroom and be indoctrinated by a balloon head and never ever used your balloon head to ask an intelligent question of the balloon head in the tweed jacket! You self-sanctimonious, self-important balloon head, America has had enough. Do your own homework.
"


Matthews went to Holy Cross, but whatever. Do your own homework anyway.



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