If you listen to the political left, particularly those in the liberal “squad,” you’ll hear sentiments claiming that reparations for America’s past sins should be paid to those living now. Missouri’s Representative Cori Bush is one such corrupted soul.
According to one of her recent tweets, “The Declaration of Independence was written by enslavers and didn’t recognize Black people as human. Today is a great day to demand Reparations Now.”
The Declaration of Independence was written by enslavers and didn’t recognize Black people as human.
Today is a great day to demand Reparations Now ✊🏾
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 4, 2023
However, as usual, she is completely ill-informed.
Any simple search of the signers of the Declaration of Independence proves that most, if not all, actually had a very poor opinion of slavery in the United States. In fact, most actively tried to end it.
If you don’t remember from history class, the five signers were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston.
John Adams never owned slaves and noted the whole thing as a “foul contagion in the human character.” He also once referred to blacks as “our fellow creatures” when discussing the possibility of abolishing slavery.
Sherman similarly never owned a slave. And as biographer, Mark David Hall wrote of him, he “consistently opposed slavery because he believed all humans were made in the image of God and must be treated with dignity.”
As you likely know, the other three signers did, in fact, own slaves at one time. But for at least two, that wasn’t their preference.
Franklin, for instance, changed his opinion on slavery during the Revolutionary War. By the end of the war, he no longer owned slaves and actually became president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.
Similarly, Jefferson also worked hard to end slavery, attempting to push no small number of legislations through Congress to abolish it, both in his home state of Virginia and nationwide. He was crucial in passing the Northwest Ordinance, which banned slavery in the newly acquired territory that is now Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
And later, as president, he banned the importation of slaves into the country.
Clearly, Cori Bush forgot to do her homework again.