Slavery Was The Reason We Declared Independence From Britain: It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Tune in today as we answer your questions such as, is the National Popular Vote subject to a Constitutional challenge? is there a difference between free enterprise and capitalism? What was the motive behind declaring independence? And so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!
Air Date: 02/21/2019
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
- WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.
- Coupons: Use promo code WBL17 to receive 10% off your entire order on ALL WallBuilders Store Products!!
- Helpful links:
- Send In Your Questions!
- The Founders Bible
- The Founders Bible App
- Constitution Alive
- First Liberty
- The Courageous Leaders Collection
- Heroes of History
- Quotations of the Founders Books
- Alliance Defending Freedom
- Liberty Counsel
- Patriot Academy
- High Point Leadership Camp
- WallBuilders’ YouTube
- Wallbuilders Summer Leadership Training Program
Download: Click Here
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.
Faith And The Culture
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.
It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, which means we’re gonna let your questions drive the conversation, and then we’ll dive into those foundations based on your questions. So, send them into [email protected]. Check out our two websites today WallBuildersLive.com and WallBuilders.com.
It’s About Rebuilding the Foundations
So, that “WallBuilders”term comes from that scripture Nehemiah that says “Arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach.” It’s all about rebuilding the foundations and rebuilding those truths and bringing them back and teaching them to a culture so we can restore that American exceptionalism that made America the greatest nation in the history of the world.
We hope you’ll come alongside us in doing that. You can go to WallBuilders.com and do that today. You go to WallBuilderslive.com today and share the program. It’s a great way to get the word out there and expand our audience.
You can also come alongside us by making a contribution. We’re a listener-supported program, and you can do that right there WallBuilders.com. Make a one-time or even a monthly contribution, and it significantly helps us to spread the good news.
Electoral College Debate
All right, so for our first question today, guys, it has to do with the number of states that it takes to get the electoral college. This is that whole debate between keeping the Electoral College vs. national popular vote, which is what, frankly, the socialist would love to have because then you’d have your big inner cities actually electing the president, and it would not be good. So, we need to protect that Electoral College.
But, a question from one of our listeners talks about how this movement is growing to get this national popular vote. And, then says, “If and when the bill for national popular vote is passed into law in a sufficient number of states to secure 270 electoral votes, would it not instantly be incumbent upon the federal government to raise a constitutional challenge in the courts based on the federal government’s obligation to guarantee a republican form of government to the states? Stated differently, once the office of president is determined by a national popular vote, regardless of the artifice of preserving the Electoral College as an institution, the right of the states to a republican form of government has been breached.”
So, David, Tim, if I could summarize that really quickly. Obviously, we are pro-Electoral College round here; we think the Founders were brilliant in doing that committee of– what was it David? I think eleven at the at the convention that designed this, led by Roger Sherman. I mean, brilliant; and, what they put together served us incredibly well. But, these National-Popular-Vote folks just want it to be no different than how you elect your governor in your state. And, it would be open to ignoring small states; and, the rural areas would have very little representation. It’s a bad deal; this design works well.
And, what this questioner is asking is, “Okay, fine. National Popular Vote acts like it’s still following the Constitution because it’s done without a constitutional amendment. If they do that, and you’ve got enough states adopting National Popular Vote to where those 270 electoral votes get thrown to whoever wins the national popular vote, then haven’t they really abolish the Electoral College?”
National Popular Vote Subject to a Constitutional Challenge?
Even if on its face they’re acting like they’re still following it, would that be subject to a constitutional challenge? Long question, guys, sorry for the long setup there; what do you guys think?
I don’t think it would be subject to a constitutional challenge for a couple of reasons. One is you have to have a republican form of government; and, under republican form a government, that means you elect your representatives to represent you in making policy. And, they have to make policy within the constraints of the Constitution.
So, what does the Constitution say? The Constitution says: “There shall be an Electoral College;” but, it doesn’t tell you how it operates. The Constitution specifically says: “The times, the places, and the manners of elections are done by the states.”
So, the federal government says, “Here’s the end we want. We want the states choosing electors who will choose the president.” Now, how the states choose those electors is up to the states; but, the constitutional requirement, I think, is met simply if the state has the electors.
So, if enough states get together and say, “We’re having electors; but, here’s how we’re choosing our electors. We’re choosing on the basis of what all the other states did.” That’s still done in a Republican manner because it was done by elected representatives of the people not by autocrats or judges or governors that weren’t elected or appointed or whatever.
270 Electoral Votes
So, I think it’s still within that framework. Now, as pointed out, there’s 172 electoral votes that have already been committed through the compact of these twelve states say, “Here’s the deal. We’re committing that if we get 270 electoral votes, if enough states agree with us, then we’re all going to throw all of our 270 electoral votes behind whoever the nation chooses in the popular vote.”
The Popular Vote is a Real Problem
And, we’ve talked a little bit about this before; but, the popular vote is a real problem. There are 35,000 cities in America. There’s enough population in 20 cities to choose the president the United States. And, you look at the states; there is enough electoral votes in four states to choose the president United States.
So, it could be conceivably 46 states against four states under the national popular vote. You would certainly have a polarization there. And, under this compact, you could have a state that voted for a particular candidate; but, because the compact, suddenly all their votes go to the other candidate the state didn’t choose.
So, it’s a problem; but, it’s still a republican form of government and is still done within the constitutional constraints that you will have an Electoral College. But, the states get to choose the time places and manners.
Hey, David, if I could– if I’m understanding this right, what we’re really saying is that with the national popular vote–let’s take our home state of Texas. We’ve got 38 electoral votes; and, right now, those 38 electoral votes go to whoever wins the popular vote in Texas. So, if you win the vote in Texas, you get those 38 electoral votes.
And, if Texas adopted National Popular Vote, then instead of whoever wins the popular vote in Texas getting those 38 electoral votes, it’s whoever wins the national popular vote that gets those 38 electoral votes. So, it would be like your state saying, “It doesn’t matter who the people in our own state vote for; it’s who the rest of the country elects that really matters.
Donald Trump Takes California?
And, I think you’re right, David; that would cause people, once that went into effect, if it ever did, that would cause people to go, “Wait.” I mean, that means California’s votes could potentially go to Donald Trump. Texas’ votes could potentially go to a Hillary Clinton or whoever. I think people would get pretty upset once it was in place.
Well, Rick, let’s just take the 2016 election. Hillary won the popular vote by about 2 million votes; she won the popular vote. If Texas had been part of the National Popular Vote Compact, our 38 electoral votes, even though we voted overwhelmingly for Trump, would have gone to Hillary.
Now, what do you think’s going to happen to Texas voters when they see all their votes that went for Trump being for Hillary? Or Alabama or Arkansas or Louisiana or all these other states–Oklahoma–I mean, all those reds. And, the same on the other side.
Let’s say that Trump won the popular vote and lost the Electoral Vote. Do you think D.C. is going to stand by while all of their votes go for Trump instead of Hillary? I mean, I think that the downrange consequence of this are massive.
I think it’s perceived to be negative only in the sense that we think that a lot of people still believe in and state sovereignty. And, I think so many people have grown up in an education system where we are world citizens. Or, even as a nation, where this notion of the disenfranchised people–I think we’ve lost this idea from the 10th Amendment of “states rights” or “state sovereignty” or even “state values,” to where you certainly see people that are moving the direction at a pretty rapid rate toward the national popular vote.
As you guys already mentioned, it’s utterly ludicrous to think that in Texas who we vote for doesn’t matter because what’s more important is who San Francisco and Miami and Chicago and New York; who they vote for will determine the outcome. No. In Texas, obviously, we we want who we choose to receive those electoral votes because they won the popular vote of our state; therefore, they get the electoral votes from our state.
But, I don’t know that most of the nation will continue to feel that same way because I really do think that in the midst of this education system where the majority of people now think socialism is a great idea–and, by the “majority of the people,” I mean the “majority of young people”–think socialism is a great idea.
I think they’re buying into this kind of populism and even world citizens instead of recognizing state or nation. So, I don’t know that with the next generation this is something that is just a given that they understand this. I think they are going to say, “No, whoever the majority the nation wants, they should get;” because, they’ve never had it explained to them and again, their socialism-loving ideology is going to lead them to think differently than even part of our conversation right now.
Results of Lacking True Civics Courses
And, I think part of that too, as Tim mentioned education, try to find a state or a school that still offers a civics course. So, if you were to do man-on-the-street interviews and say, “Tell me what the Electoral College is.” “Oh, that’s one of the Ivy League colleges with Harvard and Yale and the others and they offer 84 degrees.”
I don’t think anybody would know what the Electoral College is to speak of. And so, what the poor civics we have, I think they would take the Electoral College is literally a college with a NCAA Division 1 college with a basketball team. I think we’re literally at that point.
Now, I do think that a lot of the Movement for National Popular Vote is slowed down. It’s in the intensely blue states that have passed this; and, you’re kind of running out of intensely-blue states. There’s a lot of split states and red states; they’re not passing this.
So, I think we’ll have difficulty getting to 270, but it’s still a concern that they’ve gotten to 172.
It’s a huge, huge concern that it’s even that close. Tim, you make great points on the fact that there are a lot of people out there that will end up going for this just because of the way that they’ve been educated. Great question from our listeners, and it’s something we need to really be paying attention to.
And, if it hasn’t passed in your state, that’s one to let your legislators know that you don’t want National Popular Vote. You want to protect the Constitution you the Electoral College. And, even if it has passed in your state, maybe talk to your legislators about reversing that.
Quick break and we’ll be right back with more questions here on Foundations of Freedom Thursday. It’s WallBuilders Live!
Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
Hey, all your patriots out there that would like to see more Americans study the Constitution and understand the source of their freedom. How do you get people to pay attention to patriotism, the Constitution, the importance of being good citizens. Well, the answer is two words: Brad Stine. You make it fun, you make it fun to learn.
My friends, this is Rick Green from WallBuilders live, and Brad and I are bringing the comedy and constitution tour to you. We’re doing a live stream across the nation on March 23rd, 2019. Visit ConstitutionCoach.com, and you can sign up to bring this program to your church. You can stream it into your home or your local club. However you’d like to bring it. It’s an opportunity for you to bring the Comedy Constitution to your community, which will fire people up to study the Constitution. It’ll educate, entertain, equip, and inspire folks to accept protect and purposely pass the torch of freedom. Check it out today at ConstitutionCoach.com.
Be At All Times Armed
Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday today.
Send your questions to radio at WallBuilders.com. This one comes from Brandon.
Free enterprise Vs. Capitalism
He said, “Hey, Rick, David, and Tim, I always thought free enterprise and capitalism were the same thing. I heard somebody mention a difference between the two, and I’m wondering what you guys had to say about it. Is there, in fact, a difference between free enterprise and capitalism?
“Where do the terms come from?” A difference, guys, between free enterprise and capitalism. What say you?
First of all, I think it’s a really interesting question that people are going to fixate on the difference between them. I would think there is a little bit of a difference; however, it’s almost like saying that socialism and communism are totally different things.
Well, no. They actually kind of work hand-in-hand together; and, you really can’t have one without the other in some regards. As far as the specific definitions, I know that you’ve looked this up a little bit, Dad; so, what are the specific definitions?
You hit right on it. Tim. There’s a whole lot more in common than there is different. They’re both supply and demand oriented.
But, the difference is that capitalism deals with the creation of wealth and free enterprise deals with the distribution of wealth.
The exchange of wealth, that’s right. And so, what happens–and, let me back up to say that they are different. The first time you find the word “capitalism” used in 1833, the first time it appeared in dictionaries or anywhere else.
The first time you find “free enterprise” used in 1890. So, there is a 60-year difference that it took to kind of develop it. And, here’s the bottom line of what the big difference is.
The Big Difference
In a free-market system or free-enterprise system, there is no government regulation at all. So, if there’s no government regulation, what happens if I create a monopoly and corner the market and crush my competition and use the wealth that I’ve generated to keep any other competition from being out there.? That’s what happens with capitalism; you can crush the opposition.
And, that’s why the Constitution allows the government to regulate monopolies. I mean, you don’t want that. So, really the Constitution does more to help create a free-enterprise system than a capitalistic system; because, in the capitalistic system, you can literally corner the market on something and have a monopoly. In the free-market system, you really can’t do that.
So, that makes sense. What is the perception of the terms though; because, I mean I’m not a Millennial; I’m a little older and I won’t say how much older. But, even in my generation, I probably heard “greedy” and “pig” on the other side of “capitalist” more than I ever heard “successful capitalist,” meaning that it’s a demonized term even here in America. But, you typically don’t hear that with free enterprise; so, is free enterprise a little bit more acceptable in people’s perception?
Rick, I’m not sure about that; but, I know that years ago I personally went away from using “capitalism” because “capitalism—” to me anything that’s an “ism” sounds like a bad deal; it’s like a disease. Or, it’s like a movement a cult or something else. And so, I’ve been on the free-market, free-enterprise side for a long time because I like the word “free” a whole lot better than I like “ism.”
So, that’s a bit of personal choice; but, I can imagine that there is a difference in the way people perceive those terms.
A Racial Term
Yes, there definitely is an association with–whether it’s capitalism or the free market. And, Rick, I mean exactly what you’re saying; it is just painted as greedy. And, actually it’s even perceived to be a racial divide where in America, these “rich white people—” which actually, if you start doing the breakdown of economics in America, what’s fascinating is whites actually don’t make as much in America percentage-wise as Asians do.
I mean, you start breaking this down, and what you find is that the free market rewards a work ethic and production. It rewards ability; it doesn’t reward you based on the color of your skin. If you get on your smartphone and you’re gonna buy an app, you are looking for the app that is going to do what you want it to do.
And, I don’t know if I’m buying the app from someone that’s transgender or someone that is Hispanic or is a female; I have no idea. I just know that I’m looking for a product, and this is the best product of what I’m looking for. The point is in the free market, you’re not rewarded based on a class or a skin color or based on however you identify; you are rewarded based on what you produce, your level of productivity, etc.
And so, really it should be perceived as a very positive thing; however, largely, socialism is what is getting many of the good words because it’s fair and we share and we care about people, and capitalism is mean and bad. And, it is something we really should help try to educate the next generation especially that—although we can get into the nuance. There is a difference between capitalism and free market, sure; there is a difference between socialism communism, sure.
But, one side of that equation is very bad, and one side actually has a lot of good things. There can be bad people on a good side, and there can be good people on a bad side. But, we’re talking about philosophy.
The philosophy of socialism and communism is very bad. It has not produced good things or helped people. And, the philosophy of the free market and capitalism has produced great things and helped many people.
Big, big, big difference, but it is not being taught, just like you said. Which is why we do these questions on the program and why we do all the training that we do at WallBuilders. We really do encourage people to check out WallBuilders .com today to check out some of that training and information and education that they can share with others.
Here’s a perfect example. One of the major tenets of our system of freedom and free enterprise has been demonized. And so, we’ve got to turn that tide.
That means that we have to have the terminology ourselves and have this understanding. So, share this program with your friends and family.
Quick break; we’ll get some more questions when we return on WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Greatest Political Privilege
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
Front Sight Training Course
Rick Greens here, from WallBuilders Live. What do Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, Ben Shapiro, Rick Greene, Tim Barton, David Barton, have in common other than the fact that they’re conservative commentators that defend the Constitution?
They’re raving about Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. Go to my website right now at RickGreen.com. You can watch the video of Dennis Prager training at Front Sight, or Larry Elder, or Tim Barton and myself out there. It’s an opportunity for you to learn how to defend yourself and your family. It is a fantastic place to train. They train 30 to 40,000 people a year, and they’re just wonderful to work with. You can go with us. We’re headed back out.
We’re going to have a great time out there, and if you’re a supporter of WallBuilders, we’re going to treat you. If you’re a donor of WallBuilders, you’ll be able to go to this Front Sight class for free. It normally cost a thousand dollars, go to FrontSight.com right now. You’ll see that it’s a thousand dollars to attend their two-day class. You are going to be able to go for free, if you’re a supporter of WallBuilders Live.
So, check out that information at RickGreen.com and join us. We are going once a month for the next three months. You can pick one of those classes. All of our previous classes have filled up. Make sure that you get online today and get signed up. Whether you’ve never shot before, or you’ve shot your whole life, you will enjoy this class. You’ll enjoy the fellowship. We’ll be training on the range during the day and studying the Constitution at night. What a great combination. Check it out today at RickGreen.com.
Questions of Power
Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
Welcome back WallBuilders Live, Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Time for one more segment and probably just one more question. Here it comes; this one’s about the motives for the Declaration.
Karissa asks the question, and she said, “I have been listening to your show for years and so appreciate what you do and the value you contribute to our country.” Thank you Karissa and thank you for listening, by the way. We appreciate it very much; spread the word; share these programs.
Go to WallBuilders.com today, everybody, and donate so that we can continue to do what Karissa is talking about. Here’s the rest of the question.
NPR Announces New History Concerning the Declaration
“Yesterday I heard NPR’s annual reading of the Declaration; and, before the actual reading commenced, there was some discussion about the Founding Fathers’ motivations to declare independence, namely slavery. Britain was on their way to banning it, and the Founding Fathers wanted to keep it. I don’t think I’ve heard this perspective before.
“I am skeptical that this was the main motivation given all that was specified in the Declaration itself. Thank you for reading this question, and I look forward to some clarity on the subject.” Chris a great question; thank you for sending that in.
David, Tim, man I don’t remember any Founding Fathers saying that’s why they wanted the Declaration. But, what do you guys–you guys got the library with all the original documents; so, what do you think? Have you come across anything like that?
The reason you’ve never heard this perspective before is it never existed until NPR announced it.
When they were challenged, they took it back to a book called Slave Nation. In Slave Nation, the writers say that’s the case. However; as you pointed out, Rick, there are actual documents.
And, yes, the question always ought to be when someone makes a claim like this is What proof do you have? What is your source or footnote?
I have no problem with learning something new from history if it is grounded in truth and fact. But, you need to show me the original document or the original source. And so, if you go back to this book, and they make this claim without any proof or document. They really don’t give you the evidence that’s necessary to defend their position, but they just want you to believe what they say.
1773: Banning Importation of Slaves
So, let’s go for a little evidence. In 1773, you had Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts who passed laws to ban the importation of slaves. They’re British colonies, not American colonies, and they’re wanting to stop slaves from coming to America. They want to stop slavery.
King George III vetoed all of those laws. So, the very next year, 1774, two signers of the Declaration soon-to-be, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush started the first anti-slavery society saying, “The King said that we can’t end slavery; watch us do it anyway.”
It’s really an act of civil disobedience against what the king had done. So, as we work our way into the Declaration of Independence and we list the grievances why we’re separated from Great Britain, Thomas Jefferson actually wrote in the Declaration: “We’ve been trying to end slavery and importation of slaves here; the king won’t let us;”
and, he calls out exactly what happened in ’73 and ’74.
Thomas Jefferson Wrote on the Grievance of Slavery
You actually can go back and read the original draft that Jefferson did of the Declaration and can see that there’s very, very strong verbiage that he uses. In fact, of the 27 grievances that ended up being chosen, there were more than that that weren’t accepted by the full committee. However, what is interesting about it is that the biggest—the single item that had the most information where they had the biggest amount to complain about was on the topic of slavery. Jefferson wrote more in this grievance than any other grievance.
Now, it didn’t get accepted because it had to be unanimous. And, there were a couple of states in the south that said, “Whoa, we’re not trying to eliminate slavery; it’s fine. It’s important to our economy; we need to keep it. So, that’s not why.”
And so, they wanted to be unanimous; so, they weren’t going to do something in the Declaration that was not the unanimous consent of the thirteen United States of America. So, it was removed. Nonetheless, go back and read that, because it does highlight what many of these colonies or states had issue with, with the king, in regard to slavery.
And, this was not a position that all Americans were supportive of slavery. In fact, many of them were trying to do things to minimize and limit or even eliminate slavery in their states.
Anti-Slavery Movement Arising in Great Britain
Yes, there’s no question that the issue is the other way round. Now, I also have no doubt that there was an anti-slavery movement arising in Great Britain at the time. And, there were efforts in Great Britain to start eliminating slavery, whether to go back to Wilberforce and other guys like that starting early on to do something.
There were those efforts; but, that was not the king or the policy. It was not the Declaration.
And, point out Wilberforce is a guy largely recognized for helping end slavery over in Great Britain. Wilberforce was long after George Washington. It was long after the Declaration and long after Jefferson drafted that.
He was around during the time the Founding Fathers were alive. However, that was much later than 1776 and the Declaration. So, definitely, you can’t even connect their big anti-slavery guy with the Declaration in America or maybe why we were trying to separate.
NPR Got it Wrong: Many Founders Were Anti-Slavery
So, when you take, not personal opinions, but you take actual fact of what was written in the Declaration of Independence original draft, it makes it really clear that America wants to end slavery, wants to end the slave trade; Great Britain doesn’t, and that’s one of the reasons we’re separating. That’s exactly opposite from what NPR said. And as Tim said, even though that clause was taken out at the demand of three states, which if you’d had a state vote, it probably would have been ten to three [inaudible] in what Jefferson said.
Even though ten wanted it and three wanted it out; it’s not there. That’s still what was written in the Declaration as the reason for separation; so, NPR got that one wrong.
Fantastic question by Karissa. Karissa , great instincts; you knew when you heard it that it wasn’t right. Thank you so much for sending that question and giving us a chance to clarify on it.
Thank you, all of you, that send in questions. Others that would like to have a topic covered, send it to [email protected] This has been Foundations of Freedom on WallBuilders Live!
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country freedom and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against all hazards. And, it our duty to defend them against all attacks.”