When the South seceded in1861 it formed the Confederate States of America. The CSA banner was hoisted to protect slave owners. They considered themselves aristocrats and believed in their superiority to all men, especially to African slaves. Plantation owners were an arrogant bunch, so if the South had won the war, it is likely that their confederation would have dissolved into warring, mini-kingdoms. These southern "aristocrats” would have eagerly declared themselves kings of the territories they controlled. They could unite about their slaves but not about much else.
According to Dinesh D'Souza, Abraham Lincoln summed up slavery with the following: You work, I eat. Lincoln believed that each person should get to keep the fruit of his labor. Slavery forced one person to labor while another used force to take the fruit of that labor from them. Lincoln was a constitutional originalist. By his reading, slavery was antithetical to the stated aims of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
People throughout history have rebelled against tyrants only to become tyrants themselves. How did our Founders avoid becoming tyrants? By creating a system of checks and balances among the three branches of federal government: the legislative, judicial and executive. The use of the word “branches” was not accidental. I believe it was scripturally influenced. Jesus referred to people as branches of a vine with common roots drawing life from God’s life-giving soil. All of the Founders would have accepted this imagery without question. The Constitution derived its authority by being consistent with scriptural teaching.
Did the Founders live up to the ideals they penned in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? They did not. Thomas Jefferson, for example, was acutely aware of his sins when he wrote that he had good reason to fear a just God. Today, there are many who think that, since some of the Founders owned slaves, Jefferson, for example, anything they penned in our founding documents would be tainted by that. By the omission of language that specifically included African slaves as citizens, that is correct, but the Constitution amendment process was designed to alter or to clarify the original meaning of the Articles. This was a slow, lumbering process and provided no hope for the enslaved in the short-term and little hope for them in the long term. Nevertheless, Abraham Lincoln, understanding the letter and spirit of the Constitution, championed the emancipation of the slaves.
Today, the argument from the Left, that those who want to return to Originalist interpretations of the Constitution are racists, is not supported by historical facts. Like Lincoln, constitutional originalists would have us return to the intent and ideals of our Founding Fathers who agreed that all men are created equal. All deviations from that core belief subvert the intent of our Founders.
According to Christian doctrine, human depravity is universal. No man or woman on the planet is immune to sin. Sinners hungry for power over others have walked the planet since the fall of man. Covetousness is the base motive for seeking power. Members of every race on the planet have engaged in bloodletting for wealth and power. Acutely aware of this, our nation’s Founders, smarting under the yoke of tyranny when they signed the Declaration of Independence, did not want to repeat the mistakes of the English. Thus, our founding documents reflect concerns about the abuse of power.
Did these men understand the implications of their stated ideals or the contradiction between their ideals and their practical lives? I think, to some extent, yes. Jefferson’s rumination over his fate in the hands of a just God gives us some indication of this.
There is a lot of rhetoric in political circles these days about which political party is more corrupt. The old guard of both parties ought not point the finger at each other because manipulation and lies are tools both have used. But in the battles fought from the end of the Civil War to the present, Republicans have been at a disadvantage because they imagined that the opposition party was loyal to the principles of the Constitution and to the rule of law, at least in principle.
The Democrat bosses of our cities have long practiced the art of subverting elections. Stuffing ballot boxes and coercing constituents to vote Democrat has been a long-standing practice. While there have been abuses by both parties to tilt elections in one direction or another, the Democrats have led the field. The latest subversion is the argument that any attempt to ensure that only legally registered voters vote is racially motivated. The fact that everyone from prince to pauper has to show ID to purchase cigarettes or alcohol would indicate everyone who wants an ID can get one, so the claim is not valid. But denying election board workers the ability to verify voter elgibility can be a way to have a person vote several times or to allow unregistered voters to vote. Whether they once suppressed voting to maintain power in the past or fraudulently inflate voting today to remain in power, Democrats are not about democracy, they’re all about power.
In the past Democrats suppressed black voting. Today they falsely accuse Republicans of doing the same thing. They are suppressing the truth of their racist past and cynically taking on the mantle of civil rights activists. If you look at their reaction to blacks who vote Republican, you can hear the echoes of Jim Crow as they condemn them. They still want to control the black vote, and their motives have not changed. They want power and are willing to do or say anything to keep it.