When we declared independence, Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence stated slavery was one of the reasons for our rebellion:
At that writing, the Revolutionary War had been underway for a year, and New York was under siege by the British. The very survival of the revolution and our fledgling nation was at stake. It had been agreed that any stand against Great Britain had to have 100% support by all the colonies for any hope of victory. Eleven of the thirteen colonies were supportive of abolishing slavery, but South Carolina and Georgia refused to sign the declaration if the statements on slavery were included. Therefore, this anti-slavery clause was removed.
We can easily criticise this 245 years later with the hindsight of knowing all the damage slavery caused in this nation, but it’s hard to reject their reasoning at the time. The revolution and any chance for future freedom of slaves or anyone else in the colonies would have been extinguished before it had even gotten started if they could not come into agreement.
America is the only nation to be founded upon the proposition that “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” This has never been carried out perfectly, because people aren’t perfect. However, the seeds of anti-racism and freedom for all were sown through our founding fathers and began to grow.
Abolitionist movements were started as early as 1688 in Pennsylvania and had wide support. Christians were at the forefront of these abolitionist movements, and there are many heroic stories of slaves being freed and protected from the slave trade throughout our early history.
It is true that some Christians twisted scriptures to promote slavery, just as some Christians today are sucked into the “woke” movement and other anti- Bible beliefs. But they were always in the minority nationwide and out of sync with true biblical interpretation. On March 2, 1807, Thomas Jefferson signed legislation that made it illegal to import or
export slaves in the U.S. This legislation went into effect January 1, 1808, at 12:01 a.m. Slavery was on its way out based on the principles of freedom put forth in our Declaration and Constitution, but human nature didn’t submit easily.
The northern states were primarily industrial while the southern states were agricultural. With the invention of the cotton gin, cotton became king in the South and was dependent on slave labour to make that work. There was the Missouri Compromise and other attempts to balance the predominately free North with the slavery-dependent South.
The Democrats were the party protecting slavery. The Republican Party was formed in the 1850s to specifically abolish slavery and the polygamy practiced by the Mormons. Abraham Lincoln’s speeches during the 1859 campaign left little doubt among southern Democrats that slavery was on its way out. This caused eleven southern states to secede when Lincoln was elected, and the American Civil War began.
America is the only nation to fight a civil war in an effort to end slavery, once again showing that it is systemically anti-racist. Over 650,000 American lives were lost, which is the highest number of American lives lost in any war in our history. Certainly, there were other issues besides slavery, but that was the catalyst that brought about the war.
During the decade of reconstruction after the Civil War, sixteen blacks served in the U.S. Congress and 600 more were elected to state legislatures. Congress passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing voting rights and other freedoms to blacks and all Americans. But in the 1870’s, the KKK and a resurgence of Democrats elected to Congress stifled the freedoms those amendments brought. Jim Crow laws, passed by Democrats and opposed by most Republicans, were restrictive to blacks and persisted until the 1950s-60s
Civil Rights movement.
Certainly, there is still racism today, just as surely as human nature is still the same. No one is saying that sin expressed through racism doesn’t exist, but the inequities are being magnified and exploited today to destabilise and overthrow this nation. That is sin. And the re-writing of American history which excludes the godly and only presents the evil is sin too. This is a deliberate attack by the devil with willing participants to destroy all the good that God has done and wants to do in and through this nation.
In the body of Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). This puts an end to ethnic prejudices, slavery, and gender discrimination for those who believe the truth of God’s Word.
The body of Christ should reflect God’s love for all, and so should this nation, which was dedicated to Christian principles. But we aren’t going to get there by magnifying the differences and allowing Marxists and socialists to turn one group against another. For those who hate this nation, burn the flag, take a knee, or turn their backs at the playing of our national anthem, I challenge them to do that in one of the communist nations they love so much. They would suddenly and mysteriously disappear.
A boat may spring a leak, but that’s not time to abandon ship. America is the best ship sailing the world’s seas today, and we need to unite and fix the leaks from inside the ship. The destructive movements surging today are not making things better but worse.
I praise God for the brave men and women who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honour to secure the liberties we have today. They laid the foundation for an anti-racist nation. I am thankful for the millions who have given their lives in sacrifice to preserve these rights, and I am hopeful that America’s best days are still ahead.
John Adams wrote on April 26, 1777:
“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”
Let’s not be the cause of making John Adams repent in heaven, and even more importantly, let’s not squander the “once in the history of the world opportunity” to let freedom reign for all men and women.
This Thanksgiving, think of all the good the Lord has done in and through this nation, and pray that this generation will take our place in this cultural war which is raging, just as surely as our forefathers stood fast against the aggression of their day.
Together, we are going to win this fight.