Lincoln Said It Best: The Founding Fathers Opposed Slavery
9:48 AM, Jun 29, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
One gets the sense that some in the media are doing their best to help Michele Bachmann win the Republican nomination by attacking her over ridiculous kerfuffles. The latest example involves her claim that the Founding Fathers "worked tirelessly" to end slavery. On Good Morning America, host George Stephanopoulos told Bachmann that her claim is "just not true":
Pressed on the issue, Bachmann replied, "Well if you look at one of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, that’s absolutely true. He was a very young boy when he was with his father serving essentially as his father’s secretary. He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery."
Citing only John Quincy Adams may have not made for the strongest argument, as Bachmann herself noted that he was a young boy during the revolution. But in arguing that the Founding Fathers worked to end slavery, Bachmann is on solid ground. She follows in the footsteps of the first Republican president.
The Founders put slavery on the path to ultimate extinction, Abraham Lincoln said. But the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 threatened to bring about slavery's resurgence by opening up new territories to slaveowning. In 1854, Lincoln made this argument in a series of speeches on behalf of candidates opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. "In these addresses Lincoln set forth the themes that he would carry into the presidency six years later," writes Princeton's James M. McPherson in the Battle Cry of Freedom. McPherson summarizes Lincoln's argument:
Here's what Lincoln said of the Founding Fathers in his 1854 Peoria speech: