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Flaws Of The Founding Fathers Of The United States

1721 words - 7 pages

The Founding Fathers of the United States were wise, intellectual, and brave men. They did much, and saw much. They were not afraid to be at the head of a great revolution, or to be responsible for the creation and stability of this free nation. However, as deific as they may seem, they were still human, and were susceptible to the same sin nature as everybody else. Perhaps the most obvious example of this flaw is slavery, which had been slowly introduced into the New World by European slave traders since the early 1600s. However, it was not until Bacon’s rebellion in 1675 that racism really began to take hold of the hearts of the white settlers and fuel the idea that they were superior to the black slaves. By the time the Founders were forced to confront the issue of chattel slavery in America in the late 1700’s, many people—including themselves—had become comfortable with the use of free labor, and so worked to stifle the abolition movement as quickly as possible. Though they successfully created a free nation, our country’s Founders seemed at a loss for words when it came to answering the question of slavery; they wanted the pride that came with a free and happy nation without the consequences that must follow.
American settlers were by far not the first people to own slaves, but they may have been the first to give racism as an excuse for doing so. Slavery had existed in Africa for centuries before European slave traders arrived. However, most slaves were either prisoners of war, paying for a debt, or being punished for a crime. Also, a slave’s children were not automatically enslaved, and sometimes they could work to buy their own freedom. When Europeans arrived to take Africans to sell as slaves, they paid no heed the laws of traditional slavery, instead subjecting the slaves they sold to the more severe chattel slavery. A chattel slave is owned forever, as are all of the slave’s children, and is treated as complete personal property. He or she could be sold at any time, and there were no restrictions or punishments for mistreating a slave. The European slave traders, slave ship owners and plantation holders did not care about the people that they were enslaving, but instead saw slavery as a golden opportunity, and a way to make a good living.
In 1675, a rebellion took place that jolted the aristocrats’ pride and power and inspired the underprivileged to act, though they would not live to see the fulfillment of their goal. William Berkeley, the governor of Jamestown, had refused to raise an army against Native Americans who were angry at the settlers for ignoring a boundary line set thirty years prior, instead building defensive forts. Nathanial Bacon, a former English aristocrat, organized an army of poor white and black men to fight against the Indians, but his attack strategy failed and he and his men were proclaimed rebels. In return, Bacon attacked and burned Jamestown twice, before dying from dysentery. Bacon’s...

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