Founded on Slavery, or on Ideals to Overcome It?

Founded on Slavery, or on Ideals to Overcome It?


The United States was founded at a time when slavery was common practice around the world, as it had been for thousands of years. That doesn’t make it right—slavery is an abomination—but it is a historical fact.

The peoples of Central America used slaves to build their cities and pyramids, and even as sacrificial offerings. All kinds of slavery existed throughout Asia, and some forms there continue today. African tribes enslaved members of other tribes pervasively throughout the continent, and many of the slaves shipped to America were already enslaved in Africa. At roughly the same time that Europeans brought African slaves to North America, more than one million white Europeans were enslaved throughout North Africa and the Ottoman Empire.

What makes the United States unique on the issue of slavery is two-fold:

  1. Half of the country (primarily the North) abhorred the practice, and from the very beginning organized to reduce or abolish the system.
  2. The United States is the only country in recorded history where free, enfranchised citizens went to war with each other to abolish slavery and free the disenfranchised.

If the U.S. is “founded on slavery,” then so is almost every other country that existed before the 20th century, including many indigenous peoples across Africa and the Americas. What makes the U.S. truly unique is the ideals, and resolve, to shed its own blood to abolish slavery.

Founded on Slavery, or on Ideals to Overcome It? (Continued)


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