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Setting the Record Straight – American History in Black and White, Part 1: Did you know much of Black History been left out or misrepresented? Is the Constitution an anti-slavery document? If the Constitution is not pro-slavery, then what about the Three-Fifths Clause? Have you heard about the Democrats Fugitive Slave Law? Click the link to learn some surprising facts as we set the record strait by airing the special series: America’s History in Black and White.
Air Date: 02/03/2022
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and politics! This is WallBuilders Live with David Barton and Rick Green. Thank you for joining us today! Visit us online at WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com. You”re especially going want to go to WallBuilders.com today when the program’s over because you’re going to want to know more about what you’re going to hear about.
Black History Gaps
This is a special program we’re going to bring to you. It’s a series from an incredible DVD and book that David Barton put out a couple of years ago called, Setting the Record Straight, America’s History in Black and White. I’m telling you, you’ve got to watch this video and you’ve got to read this book. The information is incredibly powerful and it will absolutely blow away a lot of the things that you’ve heard and have been taught.
Frankly, what I was taught, I really was amazed at how much I learned whenever this information was put in front of me. So, make sure that you enjoy the program today and over the next few days as we share the DVD with you. Then get the DVD so that you can actually watch those re-enactments, so you can see that powerful information as well. We’re going to jump right in. It’s called, Setting the Record Straight, America’s History in Black and White.
We”re here in an African-American museum to talk about African-American history, so much of which, is truly unknown today. For example, do you about James Armistead, a black patriot spy? During the American Revolution who helped make possible the 1781 Yorktown victory that established America as an independent nation.
Or Peter Salem, a black patriot who was a hero of the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. He also fought as one of the legendary minutemen and was a soldier in the battles of Saratoga and Stony Point.
And in the famous picture of the 1776 crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night two men depicted at the front of the boat which includes Prince Whipple and Oliver Cromwell, two Black Patriots who served with George Washington and the American generals during the Revolution.
Few are aware that many of the soldiers who fought during the American Revolution were black. And unlike the later segregated regiments in the Civil War, many of the units in the American Revolution were fully integrated with black patriots fighting and dying side by side with their white fellow comrades and soldiers.
While this part of our history is unknown today, Americans knew the information in previous generations because of the writings of black historians such as William Nell. Nell was the first black American to hold a post in the federal government. In 1852, he authored this work, “Services of Colored Americans in the Wars of 1776 and 1812.” And three years later, in 1855, he penned this work, “The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution.”
Despite such extensive works, many of our early black heroes and patriots are unknown today. Equally unknown is much of what occurred in black political history. That history will surprise and perhaps even shock you. But as you will see it’s a history based on indisputable facts and documents.
African-American Historians Documented The Full Story
Too often today only a handful of the heroes from black history are presented. Much like showing only a couple snapshots out of several albums and photos. Too much is not seen, and often too much is wrongly assumed just from the little that is seen.
One of the world’s oldest history books, the Bible, offers a good lesson on this point. We all know the Bible story of David’s victory over Goliath. Yet, the Bible also tells a story of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and of his failure with the son Absalom.
If all we learned about David were his failures that would not be the complete story. On the other hand, if all we learned about David were his victories neither would that be the complete story. It takes all of these accounts to present the for an accurate story.
So, from the Bible, and from former writers of black history such as William Nell, Carter Woodson, Benjamin Quarles, Joseph Wilson, Booker T. Washington, Edward Johnson, and others, we learn that you must present the good, the bad, and the ugly to get the full story, not only of history in general but of African American political history in particular.
Although the history of black Americans begins and 1619 with the arrival of the first slaves in America the political history of black Americans actually begins in the year of 1787. The year in which the American political system was constructed. 1787 was the year the Constitution was written. Today, many critics assert that the Constitution was a pro-slavery document.
To prove this they point to the Three-Fifths Clause claiming that the Constitution says that blacks are only three-fifths of a person. One of the earliest black Americans, the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglas, investigated this claim. Douglas had been born into slavery and remained a slave until he escaped to New York. Three years after his escape he delivered an anti-slavery speech in Massachusetts. He was promptly hired to work for the state’s Anti-Slavery Society and he also served as a preacher at Zion Methodist Church.
Bring A Speaker To Your Area
Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. And as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you’ve probably heard a wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, and about all the things that make America exceptional. And you might be thinking, “As incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group.”
Whether it be a church, whether it be a Christian school, or public school, or some political event, or activity, if you’re interested in having a WallBuilders speaker come to your area, you can get on our website at www.WallBuilders.com and there’s a tab for scheduling. If you”ll click on that tab, you’ll notice there’s a list of information from speakers bio’s, to events that are already going on. And there’s a section where you can request an event, to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties, and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and bring a speaker to your area.
The Constitution Was An Anti-slavery Document
During his first years in freedom in the north he studied at the feet of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison who taught him that the Constitution was a pro-slavery document. Douglass accepted this claim in his early speeches and writings reflected that belief. However, Douglass later began to research the issue for himself. He read the Constitution. He read the writings of those who wrote the Constitution, and what he found revolutionized his thinking.
He concluded that the Constitution was not a pro-slavery document, rather, it was an anti-slavery document. He explained, “I was on the anti-slavery question fully committed to the doctrine touching the pro-slavery character of the Constitution. I advocated this with pen and tongue according to the best of my ability. However, up on a ladder reconsideration of the whole subject I became convinced that the Constitution of the United States not only contained no guarantees in favor of slavery but on the contrary. It is in its letter and spirit an anti-slavery instrument demanding the abolition of slavery as a condition of his own existence as the supreme law of the land.
Now here was a radical change in my opinions but directly when I first escaped from slavery into contact with a class of abolitionists regarding the Constitution as a slave holding instrument. Now, this is not strange that I assumed the Constitution to be just what their interpretation is. But I was now conducted to the conclusion that the Constitution of the United States was not designed to maintain and perpetuate a system of slavery, especially as not one word can be found in the Constitution to authorize such a belief.”
The Start To Eradicating Slavery
You might ask, “But if the Constitution is not pro-slavery then what about the Three-Fifths Clause? Had Douglass not read that clause?” Yes, he had. “Then how could he conclude what he did about the Constitution?” It was very simple. He understood that the Three-Fifths Clause dealt only with representation and not the worth of any person.
You see, the Constitution had established that for every thirty thousand inhabitants in a state that state would receive one representative to Congress. The southern states saw this as an opportunity to strengthen slavery. Slaves accounted for much of the Southern population. In fact, almost half the inhabitants of South Carolina were slaves. Therefore, slave owners could simply count their slaves as regular inhabitants and by doing so, could almost double the number of their pro-slavery representatives to Congress.
Of course, the anti-slavery leaders from the north strenuously objected to this. After all, slave owners did not consider their slaves to be persons but only property. The slave owners were, therefore, using their “property”, that is their slaves, to increase the power of the slave states in Congress.
The anti-slavery leaders fully wanted free blacks counted but not slaves if counting slaves would increase the power of slave owners. They understood that the fewer the pro-slavery representatives to Congress the sooner slavery could be eradicated from the nation.
Fighting For Citizenship And Voting Rights
Governed Morris, a signer of the Constitution and a strong opponent of slavery therefore argued, “Upon what principle is it that slaves shall be computed into the representation? Are they man? Then make them citizens and let them vote. But, the admission of slaves into the representation comes to this, that the inhabitant of Georgia and South Carolina who goes to the coast of Africa and in defiance of the most sacred laws of humanity tears his fellow creatures from his dearest connections and damns them to the most cruel bondage. He shall have more votes in the government instituted for the protection of the rights of mankind, than the citizen of Pennsylvania or New Jersey who condemn the practice of slavery.”
Morris objected the counting slaves because he did not want to reward slaveholders and increase their power. Another ardent anti-slavery delegate at the Constitutional Convention, Luther Martin, similarly explained, “No principle can justify taking slaves into calculating the number of representatives that a state should have and the federal government. It”s absurd to increase the power of the state in proportion as that state violates the rights of freedom! It encourages a slave trade. And it makes it in the interest of the states to continue in that vile traffic and it will prevent slaves from being considered either men or citizens.”
Several other founders, including James Wilson and Elbridge Gerry, even used the slaveholder’s own arguments against them. For example, Luther Martin proposed, “If slaves are considered property then what renders this property different from any other type of property? That is why should slaves as property be taken into account rather than horses, cattle, mules, or any other type of property.”
Understanding The Three-Fifths Clause
These anti-slavery founders argued that if the South was going to count its “property,” that is as slaves, in order to get more pro-slavery representation in Congress then the North would count its property, that is as houses, cows, and horses to get more anti-slavery representation in Congress.
Of course, the South objected just as strongly to this proposal as the North had objected to counting slaves. The final compromise was that only 60% of slaves, that is three-fifths of slaves, would be counted to calculate the number of Southern representatives to Congress.
In other words, it would take 50,000 slaves rather than just 30,000 for slave holding states could get a representative in Congress, thus, greatly reducing the number of representatives to Congress from states with extraordinarily large slave populations.
This then is the Three-Fifths Clause. It had nothing to do with the worth of any individual. In fact, free blacks in the north and the south often were extended the full rights of a citizen and regularly voted, both in the north and the south.
The Three-Fifths Clause had to do only with representation. There was an anti-slavery provision designed to limit the number of pro-slavery representatives in Congress. This is why Frederick Douglass unlike many today who have never taken the time to study the Constitution, could emphatically declare that the Constitution, all of the Constitution was anti-slavery.
In 1789 following the ratification of the Constitution, Congress expanded its fight to end slavery by passing the Northwest Ordinance. That law forbade slavery in any other federal territories than held. And for this reason Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin all eventually came into the nation as free states. On the federal level progress was being made toward ending slavery and achieving full civil rights for black Americans.
Moments From America’s History
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Today, numerous court decisions demonstrate that there’s often a conflict between the courts, the law, and religion. Has this conflict always existed?
Not according to James Wilson. James Wilson was a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He was a law professor as well as an original justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. James Wilson saw no conflict between religion and the law. In fact, just the contrary.
He declared, “Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. Far from being rivals or enemies religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistance. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.”
In the views of Founding Father James Wilson religion and good civil law were inseparable. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.
The Second Turn In Black Political History
Another important point in black political history occurred three years later. In 1792, according to the website of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Party was started by Thomas Jefferson.
The Democratic Party definitely played a role in black political history, a role that will be examined shortly. Some years later, in 1808, Congress continued its fight against slavery by abolishing the slave trade. A famous sermon commemorating the abolition of the slave trade was given by the Reverend Absalom Jones, the first black bishop of the Episcopal Church in America.
His sermon was delivered in the famous St. Thomas Church. Very few today know that an 1808 Congress abolished slave trade or that Bishop Absalom Jones delivered such a compelling sermon. Although slavery still had not been abolished in all the states, things definitely were moving in the right direction.
Yet, a major reversal was about to occur. By 1820 most of the Founding Fathers were dead and Thomas Jefferson’s party, the Democratic Party, had become the majority party in Congress. With this new party in charge, a change in congressional policy emerged.
Recall that the 1789 law prohibited slavery in a federal territory. In 1820 the Democratic Congress passed the Missouri Compromise and reversed that earlier policy permitting slavery in almost half of the Federal Territories. Several states were subsequently admitted as slave states. And for the first time since the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution slavery was being officially promoted by congressional policy.
Several other pro-slavery laws were also passed by Democrats in Congress including the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. That law required northerners to return escaped slaves back into slavery or else pay huge fines. In many instances the law became little more than an excuse for southern slave hunters to kidnap free blacks in the north and carry them into slavery in the south. For if a Black was simply accused of being a slave, regardless of whether he actually was or not, under the Fugitive Slave Law he was denied the benefit both of a jury trial and the right of Habeas Corpus despite the fact that those rights had been explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution.
Blacks Were Enslaved By Democratic Laws
Because the Fugitive Slave Law allowed free blacks to be carried into slavery this law was disastrous for blacks in the north. And as a consequence of the atrocious provisions of this democratic law some twenty thousand blacks in the north completely left the United States and fled to Canada. In fact, the Underground Railroad reached the height of its activity during this period helping thousands of slaves escape from slavery in the south all the way into Canada simply to escape the reach of the Democrats Fugitive Slave Law.
In 1854 the Democratic controlled Congress passed another law strengthening slavery, the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Thus allowing slavery to be introduced into parts of the new territory where it previously had been forbidden, thereby increasing the national area in which slavery would be permitted.
By the way, in 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Territory included not only Kansas and Nebraska but also what is now part of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Therefore, by extending slavery in parts of the Kansas-Nebraska Territory Democrats were pushing slavery westward across the nation, essentially from coast to coast.
Following the passage of these pro-slavery laws in Congress, in May of 1854 a number of the anti-slavery Democrats in Congress along with some anti-slavery members from other political parties including the Whigs, Free Soilers, and Emancipationists formed a new political party to fight slavery and secure equal rights for black Americans.
The name of that party? They called it the Republican Party. They called it that because they wanted to return to the principles of freedom and equality first set forth in the governing documents of the republic, before the pro-slavery members of Congress had perverted those original principles.
The Making Of The Republican Party
One of the founders of that new party was U.S. senator Charles Sumner who had taken the seat of the great anti-slavery Senator Daniel Webster. Sumner had a record of promoting civil rights. In fact, he had championed the desegregation of public schools in Boston. Here is his argument before the State Supreme Court on that issue.
In 1856 Sumner gave a two-day long speech in the U.S. Senate against slavery. Following that speech. Democratic Representative, Preston Brooks from South Carolina, came from the house across the rotunda of the Capitol and over to the Senate where he literally clubbed down Sumner on the floor of the Senate, knocked him unconscious, and beat him almost to death.
According to the sources of that day, many Democrats thought that Sumners clubbing was deserved and it even amused them. It was three and a half years before Sumner recovered sufficiently enough to return to the Senate.
Not surprisingly, the first speech he delivered on his return to the Senate was again against slavery. In 1856 the Republican party entered its first presidential election. In that election, the Republican Party issued this, as a first party platform. It was a short document. There were only nine planks in the platform but significantly six of the nine planks set forth bold declarations of equality and civil rights for African-Americans based on the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
The Democratic Platform of that year took an opposite position strongly defending slavery. In fact, it warned, “All efforts of the abolitionists that calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences and all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people. Amazingly, according to Democrats, in 1856 attempting to end slavery would ruin the happiness of the people. Despite such clear differences, Republicans lost that election.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for the truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. And it’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders” library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
Republicans Fought For Freedom From The Start, Contrary To Democrats
The next year, 1857, a Democrat-controlled Supreme Court delivered this, the Dred Scott Decision. It declared that blacks were not persons nor citizens but instead were property and therefore had no rights. In fact, quoting from this infamous decision, Democrats on the court announced, “Blacks had no rights which the white man was bound to respect and the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.”
The 1860 presidential election Republican Abraham Lincoln ran against Democrat U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois. Both parties again issued platforms. The Republican platform of 1860 blasted both the Fugitive Slave Law and the Dred Scott Decision and it announced its continued intent to end slavery and secure equal civil rights for black Americans.
On the other hand, the Democrats and their 1860 platform praised both the Fugitive Slave Law and the Dred Scott Decision. In fact, Democrats even handed out copies of the Dred Scott Decision along with their platform to affirm their belief that it was proper to have slavery and hold African-Americans in bondage.
It is worth noting that for over a century and a half Democrats often have taken a position that some human life is disposable, as they did in the Dred Scott decision. In that instance, a black individual was not a life, it was property. “You can do with your property as you wished.”
Today, Democrats have largely taken that same position on unborn human life that an unborn human is really just disposable property to do with as one wishes. African-Americans were the victims of this disposable property ideology a century and a half ago and still are today.
Taking A Stand For All Lives
Consider, although only 12% of the current population is African-American, almost 35% of all abortions are performed on African-Americans. In fact, over the last decade for every 100 African-American live births, there were 53 abortions of African-American babies. Democrats have encouraged this. In fact, congressional Democrats are almost rabidly pro-abortion and they consistently vote against protections for innocent unborn human life.
For over a century and a half Democrats have wrongly argued that some human life is merely disposable personal property. And black Americans have suffered most under this philosophy. In the 1860 presidential election, there was a split in the Democratic Party, the Northern Democrats and the Southern Democrats.
Both factions supported slavery. But while the Southern Democrats were willing to split the United States to form their own nation Northern Democrats refused to do so. Northern Democrats voted for Stephen Douglas for president while Southern Democrats voted for John C. Breckenridge. With the split in the Democratic vote, Republican Abraham Lincoln was then elected with only 40% of the popular vote and 59% of the Electoral College vote.
Republicans also won a majority in the U.S. House and Senate in that election thus giving Republicans control of the law making process for the very first time. Given the bold anti-slavery and pro-civil rights positions set forth by Republicans in their platforms, it was obvious the Democrats what was about to occur.
We’re out of time today folks. You’ve been listening to American History in Black and White. It”s a special DVD program that David Barton produced. It sets the record straight just as the title says that it does.
We”re sharing it with you over the next few days here on WallBuilders Live. You can find out more at our website WallBuildersLive.com to see the schedule for the airing. Or you can go to WallBuilders.com and actually get the DVD or the book and find out more there as well. Again it’s called American History In Black and White, a wealth of information. We’re just getting started. It”s going take several days to share this powerful information with us. Â So we hope you’ll stay with us here on WallBuilders Live!