The Fouding Fathers (U.S.) Didn't Care about the Constitution
Debate Rounds (4)
In my argument I will show how our founding fathers violated the very Constitution that they signed, the very document that patriots died for, only to be discarded by our founders in the name of power and American White Supremacy. If our founders were alive today (maybe except Jefferson) they'd turn over in their graves at the sight of our modern day tolerance.
Round 1 will be acceptance, possible definitions, and a brief/general summary of your position.
Can you defend original intent given the intent of our founders?
You say "These men, [our Founding Fathers], served our nation valiantly in the name of freedom and justice." I ask; Freedom and Justice for whom besides themselves?
In the beginning only a small minority of people were recognized as having democratic rights under the Constitution, land owning white men (the sole demographic of the Constitutional Convention). It wasn't until 1840 that "more than 90 percent of adult white men possessed the right to vote."  It took 53 years from ratification (1787) to 1840 for the US to recognize that all white men have the right to vote. 53 years! What does that tell you about the original intent of our Founders? Did they fight valiantly to secure the liberty of their fellow man as you suggest they did? NO! Today the Constitution grants women and non-whites the right to vote, but did the Founders seek to empower these people by recognizing their inalienable right to vote? Second verse same as the first! NO!
Slavery, Racism & White Supremacy:
Although many of our Founders were against it, the Constitution strengthened the Peculiar Institution of Slavery instead of weakening it. It codified blacks as 3/5 of a person which in turn gave more political power to the slave states. George Washington signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, declaring a slave is a slave no matter where they run, and even Free states would be obligated to aid in their capture and return. After ratification of the Constitution it would take another 78 years and a brutal civil war for slavery to be abolished by passing of the 13th amendment (only to again be repressed by unconstitutional Jim Crow laws). If our Founders truly believed that all men were created equal then slavery would have been abolished much sooner.
Make no mistake; our Founders were racist in every respect of the term . At that time "racism" as we know it wasn't even an issue. There was a simple understanding that blacks were inferior to whites, there was no argument against the notion, just a simple acceptance as fact (much like racism today). Evidence for this racist philosophy came from the literature of great thinkers and pseudo science such as phrenology . (For a laugh, see Benjamin Rush's opinion of blacks http://en.wikipedia.org...)
All of our Founders were swayed by the notion of Inherent White Superiority and they believed it was their duty to govern over the lesser races . With this notion of white superiority in mind the Founders saw to it that blacks would not be free in their time. The Southern culture of blatant white supremacy is an echo to the original intent our Founders had in mind when it came to a racial hierarchy. Being an abolitionist did not exclude being a racist. Many Founders and abolitionists, James Madison for example , were members of the American Colonization Society , a group dedicated to sending blacks back to Africa.
I wasn't going to mention the direct acts of the famous influential Founders until round 3 but your thoughts about Thomas Jefferson amused me. Yes TJ was against the slave trade, but this is something not often brought up about him; HE OWNED SLAVES, and unlike Washington he did not free them upon his death . How do you rectify this hypocrisy? A necessary evil? You think a man as honorable and valiant as Thomas Jefferson would go against his own principles and partake in such blatant evil?
Conclusion of Round 2 Argument:
I believe I have made a good first case in pointing out that our founders did not seek the liberty of all people as our Constitution today demands, voting rights and the treatment of blacks during the era is evidence of this. Our Founders were all rich white men and the Constitution they created was not originally intended for any other group but them.
Your argument, though well worded, exhibited numerous flaws that I would like to rebuke. As stated before, I will be arguing that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America valued and supported the terms of the U.S. Constitution.
1. Your introduction states, correctly, that the Constitution, written with full intentions by the Founding Fathers, was meant to secure liberty for all Americans regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. However, I would like to counter your argument in that the Founding Fathers did, in fact, believe that the Constitution was a liberating force for all people. Yes, minorities have fought for their rights and freedoms well into U.S. History, however, this denial of liberty is in no way the fault of our Founding Fathers. You will find that most parts of the Constitution relating to freedom are in the Preamble, which was written as follows (no source; memorized):
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Obviously, the Founding Fathers of the United States intended for every person in our nation to receive undeniable freedoms and liberties mentioned within the terms of the Constitution. You might ask - why then, were certain liberties denied from certain groups through out our nation's history? Liberties were denied from certain groups throughout the United States history because of those with unconstitutional ideas. Obviously, though the Founding Fathers intent was to give equal rights to all Americans, the intentions of later Americans were quite different. Anti-abolitionists, male chauvinists, and religious bigots have throughout history, attempted to reserve Constitutional rights to only themselves. However, the Founding Fathers were not among their numbers. Obviously, if the Founding Fathers were to take a trip to the future, they would be disgusted by the attempts of those mentioned above to withhold certain liberties from certain groups, and call for change immediately. The terms mentioned in the U.S. Constitution were written with the full intent of being upheld, however, many who disagreed with the Founding Fathers made liberty impossible for certain groups. Yes, the history of America is bloodied by the battles of those wanting rights and freedoms promised in the Constitution, though the Founding Fathers were definitely among the numbers of these fighters for freedom. They excluded nobody from "We the People", as I shall explain in my later rebuttals.
2. Voting Rights - You claim that only a small number of people (land-owning white males) were able to vote under the terms of the Constitution. This could be no further from the truth. Nowhere in the Constitution (Source 1) is it mentioned that only a certain group of people had the right to vote. In fact, the Constitution did not deny any group voting rights whatsoever. The Founding Fathers' full intention was to allow Americans the right to vote, however, this right was denied by those who did not want African-Americans and women to have suffrage. You must notice that the Founding Fathers were not all-powerful, and that their word was not always America's word. Though the Founding Fathers wanted suffrage to be widespread, those outside their power denied certain groups the right to vote. You claim that it took 53 years to extend suffrage to all white men. However, this in no way means that the Founding Fathers wanted it to take that long. The Founding Fathers did not have the power to tell state governments who to give voting power to, if they did, then the struggle for suffrage would not take nearly as long. Once more, the constitution does not mention anywhere that only a certain group has the right to vote, furthermore, the Constitution does not deny any group this right. In fact, when looking at American history, one can see that the courts who made landmark decisions regarding suffrage deemed the limiting of voting rights 'unconstitutional', implying that the Founding Fathers, with full intent, meant what they said in the Constitution and attempted to allow suffrage for all. My opponent is making false assertions about the content of the Constitution (Source 1) by saying that the document limited voting rights.
3. Slavery/Racism - First of all, the Constitution (Source 1) in no way strengthened the institution of slavery. In fact, the Constitution does not even have the word 'slave' or 'slavery' in it, the only mention of the institution is the 3/5 Clause, which Pro has correctly identified. However, this Clause in no way gave power to slave states. The Clause simply apportioned taxes and the number of representatives given per state. As slaves, contrary to the wants of most Founding Fathers, did not have political power, they did not have to pay taxes or take part in representative political decisions, making their inclusion in the tax and representative apportionment unnecessary. This Clause therefore had no negative effect in the rights of slaves. The Clause in no way implied that a slave did not 'count' as much as a free man, it simply understood that slaves did not have to pay state taxes or make representative decisions. I would appreciate if my opponent stopped making statements about the Constitution's content that are absolutely false, as can be proven if you have a copy. He is making uneducated, false accusations about the document that could be disproved by looking at a copy of the document (Source 1).
You state yourself that many of the Founding Fathers were against slavery. In fact, when the Constitution was signed, only 12 out of the 55 signers of the Constitution owned slave-operated plantations (Madison, though not a plantation owner, also owned slaves) (Source 2). Obviously, when 55 people are gathered, you cannot expect them all to share a similar, morally correct opinion. I am merely arguing that in general, the Founding Fathers were abolitionists who fought for equal rights for all Americans. Yes, at the time, 13 out of 55 signers owned slaves, 42 did not. This definitely shows something about the major opinion on slavery among our Founding Fathers. Furthermore, a large number of the 13 slave owners were abolitionists, or freed their slaves when they retired or died. You are looking only at the 13 slave owners, not the other 42. Just because Washington or Madison (two of the few Constitution signers who owned slaves) did/said something about slavery, this does not mean that the popular opinion among the Founding Fathers agreed with them. These two men and Jefferson (he didn't sign the Constitution, and is therefore irrelevant to the argument) seem to be the only ones you site during your argument, you do not mention the other 53. Once more, you yourself state that many of the Founding Fathers were abolitionists.
I hate to bring up this next point, but in all due respect, it is necessary - just because a Founding Father was racist, it does not mean he didn't value the Constitution (what this whole debate is about). Yes, quite a few Founding Fathers were racist, though they still valued the terms of the Constitution, as they were abolitionists, meaning they were against slavery and for equal rights. The status of one's racial beliefs is irrelevant to whether or not they valued and carried out the terms of the Constitution. Therefore, your accusations of racism are irrelevant. Many Founding Fathers were racist, though were still for the equal rights of all Americans, and therefore valued the Constitution. This supports my side of the debate. You may keep ranting that the Founding Fathers were racist, though this is a waste of space, as your rants do not prove whether the Founding Fathers valued the document they wrote. Once more, at the time of the signing, 42 out of the 55 Constitutional signers did not own slaves on plantations (this excludes Madison, who owned slaves but no plantation), showing something about their overall position on slavery. However, I have not the time to go through the position of every Founding Father. Overall, we can conclude that the clear majority of Founding Fathers were abolitionists, meaning that they were for the freedom of all Americans, thereby promoting their allegiance to the Constitution.
Finally, we discuss the evading Jefferson and Adams, both of whom did not sign the Constitution, and are therefore irrelevant to the debate (you ask in your introduction if the Founding Fathers truly valued the document that they created; Jefferson and Adams did not create the Constitution). We can confirm, through various sources, that Adams never owned slaves and was strongly anti-slavery, Jefferson, though a slave owner, opposed the slave trade, disliked the effects of slavery on society, and tried to pass an act banning slavery in the new northern/southern territories (Source 3). Jefferson's track record with slavery is contrasting, I encourage we discuss him no more, as he is irrelevant to the debate. However, I will continue discussing Thomas if you want me to. Overall, I hope I have successfully rebuked your arguments and asserted the intentions of our founders. I have run out of my 10,000 characters now, I would continue debating if I could. Please use your next round for rebuttals. Adios!
Source 1: http://www.archives.gov...
Source 2: http://www.archives.gov...
Source 3: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Con's attempt to define our Founders as only the people who signed the Constitution is without merit. One did not need to sign the Constitution to be a Founder; there are Founders that signed the Declaration of Independence, Presidents, and even members of the Constitutional Convention who didn't sign the Constitution. To exclude these Founders whose passion for America's liberty was on par with their peers is a dishonest attempt at semantics.
Evidence of this dishonesty can be shown by Con's own words:
In Round 1 Con says "You might have denied that Jefferson was like the other Founding Fathers in his policy, though he certainly is a founding father and should be included in this debate."
And then in Round 2 states "Finally, we discuss the evading Jefferson and Adams, both of whom did not sign the Constitution, and are therefore irrelevant to the debate (you ask in your introduction if the Founding Fathers truly valued the document that they created; Jefferson and Adams did not create the Constitution)."
Just because TJ didn't sign the Constitution doesn't mean he didn't have a hand in creating it, "Although Thomas Jefferson was in France serving as United States minister when the Federal Constitution was written in 1787, he was able to influence the development of the federal government through his correspondence." .
1. The point made in this section can be summed by Con "The terms mentioned in the U.S. Constitution were written with the full intent of being upheld [to all peoples], however, many who disagreed with the Founding Fathers made liberty impossible for certain groups." That is to say, it was not the Founders who wanted inequality, but others at the state level who wanted and enacted such unjust policies.
My rebuttal to this point will be to show that the Founders did not support the idea of equality among the races as shown by their prejudices, which were fairly common at the time by all . This is a valid point because if the Founders were racist they would have no reason to support inherently inferior people being treated equally; more importantly they would have no reason to prevent the states from discriminating. This has nothing to do with pro-slavery or abolition (both sentiments were simultaneously held by some Founders), as noted before even abolitionists were racist.
My first point of evidence is that many of our Founders wanted to send former slaves back to Africa. Prominent Founders included but not limited to: George Washington , James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, James Monroe  and Benjamin Rush . The desire to send blacks back to Africa shows that they did not intend the Constitution for blacks. They wanted them to return to Africa for a few reasons, none of them philanthropic. Reasons such as a belief the races could not mix, wanting to spread American Christian values to Africa, and fear the freed blacks might rebel against former masters. 
The commonly held desire to literally remove blacks from "the people" in "We the people" shows that they did not care for their liberty in the US, and as such did not care that their rights were trampled.
2. Voting Rights: Con's rebuttal in this section is a continuation of the argument made in point 1 with the emphasis on voting rights. Con purports that the founders wanted universal suffrage, this is a baseless assertion. Con is correct that the Constitution does not directly say who can and can't vote. However before the revolution only the landed gentry of the colonies had political rights, this system was continued by the Founders without mention of universal suffrage . In fact it was the states that eventually decided lead away from the power of the aristocracy (the demographic of the Founders) and gradually expand voting rights to poor whites. Note that  says it wasn't until 1840 that all whites had universal suffrage; by 1840 all of the Founders were dead. This shows that it was AFTER the death of the Founders was the time voting rights expanded.
The Founders wished to establish a Republic similar to Ancient Rome, not a Democracy with universal suffrage. As such the popular vote was discouraged by them. It was James Madison who famously detested mob rule, and the Founders agreed. In the original Constitution citizens could only elect Representatives to Congress, not Senators like today. The Founders gave the states the right to restrict voting rights fully knowing racial attitudes of the day, had they wanted universal suffrage it would have been included. Ben Franklin quote: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." John Adams: "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." Given the mind set of our Founders how could they paradoxically want the Constitution to allow all to vote?
3. I find much fault in the section of my opponent's rebuttal. First he contends that simply because the word "slave" was not used in the 3/5 clause it somehow did not apply to the institution of slavery. It did, the 3/5 clause utterly applied to slaves, if it didn't then there would be no point including it in the Constitution. Slaves were considered property, no better than cows. The idea, as Con says, that the 3/5 clause was meant to state "cows don't have to pay taxes or bother voting" is a distortion of history.
Con thinks that the 3/5 clause did not empower slavery; this is utterly false and ridiculous notion. By allowing slave states to count their property towards the general population slave states were allowed to claim a higher population; meaning the slave states could elect more representatives to Congress than had they not been able to count their chattel as part of the population. It was well understood by the Founders that slavery was not going to be challenged, however by adding the 3/5 clause it tacitly stated that slavery would continue along with added political power in the new Republic. Also the number of slaves drastically grew from the time of ratification until it was abolished.
Con continues to suggest just because our Founders were abolitionists they were not racist and wanted equality. In point 1 I have shown that even abolitionists were racist and therefore would not want equality. Many were against slavery not for moral reasons but practical reasons. Just because they didn't want slaves didn't mean they liked blacks or thought them equal.
Individual Violations: This section will have to be short due to limited remaining characters.
2nd President of the US John Adams (1797-1801): Violated the First amendment of the Bill of Rights involving free speech.
John Adams is responsible for passing the Alien and Sedition acts in 1798. These acts limited the rights of citizen"s right to free speech, especially the Sedition Act. This bill was blatantly passed for the benefit of John Adams and other federalists. "Lastly, the controversial Sedition Act restricted speech which was critical of the federal government. Authored by the Federalists, the laws were purported to strengthen national security, but most historians have concluded they were primarily an attempt to suppress voters who disagreed with the Federalist party. At the time, most immigrants (namely French) supported Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans, the political opponents of the Federalists. This act was repealed in 1802 by the Naturalization Law of 1802." 
3rd President of the US Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809): Exceeded his Constitutional authority by buying the Louisiana Territory w/o prior senate approval violating Art 2 Sec 2. Even though it was for the better and was eventually ratified, it is still an example of disregard for the bounds of the Constitution.
In his own words TJ went beyond his authority as President, "The General Government has no powers but such as the Constitution gives it ... it has not given it power of holding foreign territory, and still less of incorporating it into the Union. An amendment of the Constitution seems necessary for this." TJ's representatives (one being Monroe) in France had exceeded their mandate when they agreed to the purchase.
Due to my old computer breaking, I have had to use an iPad to type. However, apparently iPads do not support some functions of this website, making it a long and strenuous process to type on debate.org. However, I was able to post my argument on a website I made called foundingfathers123.weebly.com. Please go to this website to read my argument for this round. To the voters - do not vote without reading my argument. Please click the above link to access my points, and make sure to read through them carefully before placing your vote. Voting without doing so would be an unfair act due to your lack of overall information on both me and my opponents' views. Thank you!
1. "Racism yet Equality" theory:
My opponent has yet to make this paradox anything less than a paradox. In his theory he admits the Founders were indeed racist, but that they supported equality (social, political etc.). The paradox is as follows: Being a racist requires the belief that one race is superior to another, that they are inherently unequal. If a man in power is racist and under the belief that a minority is inherently inferior, what logic does the racist use to deem the minority deserving of equal treatment? Why would a racist contradict himself by promoting equality?
My opponent continues to conflate abolitionism with equality, every single quote is about slavery, there is no mention of wanting blacks to coexist, be citizens, run for office, or vote or any reference to true racial equality. As noted before, one can be an abolitionist and still be racist, Thomas Jefferson is a perfect example  Warning: VERY racist things are said. Racism (and the abuse that stems from) in the North was just as prominent as racism in the South , the only difference was the extreme of slavery. My opponent has yet to show that the Founders wanted true equality.
The Founders may not have been directly responsible for the oppression, but the Founders agreed with the racist sentiment of inequality and knew that Constitution would not help blacks in their time given the racial attitudes of the day.
Con may wonder "If the Founders were truly racist why would they want to free blacks in the first place?" There were many reasons at the time. The contradiction of liberty for all (except slaves), genuine distaste, fear of slave rebellions (which happened often ), slavery in general was an untenable economic system, and it was bad for foreign relations .
Con's interpretation of the American Colonization Society is off. The goal of the ACS, regardless of the motive, was to send blacks back to Africa. The goal was support by both slave holders and abolitionists. As shown in Round 3, many Founders were members of the ACS, this shows intent (and general feelings of racism). My opponent notes that the goal of the ACS was based on consensual deportation, this is true but irrelevant. Of course it had to be based on consent; it's obvious by the failure of the ACS that blacks did not want to return to Africa. Forcing a mass deportation would have triggered the rebellion and racial vengeance the Founders wanted to avoid in the first place. Con also criticizes the source because it only sites the racist beliefs of Finley, but he disregards the other motives of Finley (which can be said of all of the members, both good and bad) quote:
"[Finley] saw colonization as a charitable work, one that would benefit American blacks and Africans alike through the spreading of Christianity to Africa. He also thought that it would prompt a gradual end to slavery. In keeping with the popular thought of the day, Finley saw the presence of blacks in America as a threat to the national well-being and the quality of life for whites. He said that free blacks were "unfavorable to our industry and morals" and that removing them would save Americans from difficulties such as interracial marriage and having to provide for poor blacks."
Note the words "popular thought" this extends to the Founders too who were members and not. Some members of the ACS genuinely thought it would be better for blacks to go back; this reflects the common form of paternalistic racism "whites know what's best for blacks". It's obvious by the failure of their goal that whites did not know best.
2. Voting Rights:
Con presents a good analysis on this part. The Constitution doesn't say who can and can't vote, they leave it up to the States. However as noted in part 1 the Founders knew the racial climate of the day and they knew their neutrality would continue white supremacy, the first black men in congress were elected in 1870 after the Civil War. However there is a false assumption "Obviously, if the Founding Fathers were strictly against the freedoms of certain people, they would state this in the terms of the document." This is untrue. Art 1 Sec 9 prohibits Bills of Attainder, which in short means the federal government can't pass a law the specifically targets and punishes a group of people. This clause can explain the neutrality of the Constitution. Even in the 3/5 clause is affected by this forced neutrality, as noted it does not mention race, but "those bound to service for a number of years". Even though there is neutral language the Founders knew it would not equate to equality. Art 1 Sec 10 prohibits the States from passing Bills of Attainder too, yet this language did not protect blacks during or after the Founding Era.
As for our Founders being influenced by Rome, here is the evidence "The Founders' political ideas were largely informed by Roman republican and imperial ideas. They sought to create a mixed constitution that balanced monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. (This is why our nation is not technically a democracy.)" . As for Founders quotes against Democracy the source is here . I won't re-quote to save characters, so please look into the source.
3. The 3/5 Clause:
Given that the Slave States had no legal right to count their property as population for electoral purposes (given that slaves had no political rights) the Compromise seems more of a capitulation. You keep mentioning how few of the Founders owned slaves (only 13 out of 55 if I recall); you didn't cite this claim in any round. Yet upon investigation it seems of the 55 delegates at the Constitutional Convention 49% owned slaves or directly supported slavery ! This throws your entire argument for a loop doesn't it, you know, the whole abolitionist intentions of the Founders and what not? You say the 3/5 clause helped slaves by limiting slaves states ability to pass pro-slavery laws in Congress, yet as noted in Round 1 congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 (a bill imposed on the Free North) and the slave owning Washington signed it! Furthermore the Institution of slavery dramatically expanded from almost 700,000 slaves in 1790 to almost 4 million slaves in 1860 . Had the 3/5 clause been a detriment to slavery it sure didn't seem like one. Also this may be insignificant but had it truly been an equal compromise wouldn't it have been called the 1/2 Clause?
George Washington: Violated Art 6 "all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land"
George Washington violated numerous peace treaties with Native Americans that he himself established.
"President George Washington, while addressing the Seneca nation in 1790, publicly pledged to uphold their "just rights" and described the pre-Constitutional defrauding of the Indians out of their land as "evil" ... In March and April of 1792, Washington met with 50 tribal chiefs in Philadelphia ... including the Iroquois ... to discuss closer friendship between them and the United States. Later that same year, Washington stressed the need for building peace, trust, and commerce with America's Indian neighbors. ... In 1795, in his Seventh Message to Congress, Washington expressed that if the US government wanted peace with the Indians, then it must give peace to them, and that if the US wanted raids by Indians to stop, then raids by Whites must also stop" 
"In 1779, George Washington instructed Major General John Sullivan to attack Iroquois people. Washington stated, "lay waste all the settlements around...that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed". In the course of the carnage and annihilation of Indian people, Washington also instructed his general not "listen to any overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements is effected". (Stannard, David E. AMERICAN HOLOCAUST. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. pp. 118-121.)
"In 1783, Washington's anti-Indian sentiments were apparent in his comparisons of Indians with wolves: "Both being beast of prey, tho' they differ in shape", he said. George Washington's policies of extermination were realized in his troops behaviors following a defeat. Troops would skin the bodies of Iroquois "from the hips downward to make boot tops or leggings". Indians who survived the attacks later re-named the nation's first president as "Town Destroyer". Approximately 28 of 30 Seneca towns had been destroyed within a five year period. (Ibid)" 
I will now create a rebuttal for each of your arguments. First, however, I must remind the voters to read my previous argument if they have not done so already. Voting without doing so would be unfair, as you would lack important information on both myself and my opponent's opinions.
1. My opponent falsely asserts that racists cannot accept equal rights among those they are opposed to. However, this is far from the truth. Let us use a modern-day example of 'tolerance' as evidence. In today's society, a large percentage of Americans are anti-gay (Source 1). However, these Americans still allow homosexuals to vote, hold jobs, and have the same Constitutional rights as others. The same concept applies with those of different races. Though a few of the Founding Fathers may have been racist against non-whites, they still encouraged the rights and freedoms of those of other races (Source 2), as they believed that all Americans were endowed to the same freedoms. As I have stated in my previous argument, almost all Founders were for the abolition of slavery (Source 3). I had provided quotes from many of the Founders to defend their intentions on creating equality between the races (Source 2). As I have stated, 42 out of the 55 Founders who attended the Constitutional Convention were not slave owners (Source 3). An even larger number opposed slavery, and supported equal rights for all. Once more, we must realize that one does not have to support a certain group in order to accept their rights and freedoms. As with the LGBT conflict today, almost 100% of our Founders supported the abolitionist movement, regardless of whether they were 'racist' or not. This debate revolves around whether the Founders valued the Constitution - it is not thoughts, but actions, that matter the most. What the Founders thought about non-whites is irrelevant, rather, their actions supporting equal rights are what truly show whether they valued the Constitution. My opponent himself later admits that 'one can be an abolitionist and still be racist'. The Founders who my opponent calls 'racist' were against slavery and for equal rights, irregardless. The Founding Fathers did want 'true equality' - as seen in the quotes from my previous argument, the Founders were not just against slavery, but also for absolute equal rights for all Americans, regardless of race. A few of my favorite quotes showing that the Founding Fathers supported absolute equal rights and freedoms for all Americans include (Source 2):
Samuel Adams: "But to the eye of reason, what can be more clear than that all men have an equal right to happiness?"
John Witherspoon: "[I]t is certainly unlawful to make inroads upon others . . . and take away their liberty by no better means than superior power."
These founders both show that non-whites should not just be free from slavery, but also have the absolute same rights and freedoms as whites. Witherspoon advocates for the full liberty of blacks, while Adams states that all men (at the time, the term 'men' also referred to women (Source 4)) should 'have an equal right to happiness'. Obviously, my opponent's assertion that the Founders did not want whites and non-whites to access the same liberties is nothing but a blatant lie. My opponent next argues that all members the ACS (Source 5) did not believe that blacks had a place in the United States. As stated in my previous argument, not all ACS members were racist, in fact, a majority were not. Many ACS members, most likely including the Founding Fathers, wanted to give blacks the option to go to Africa, as they were (Source 5) 'genuine allies of free blacks, and were concerned for their welfare'. The Founders realized that blacks would most likely not be able to enjoy the same rights as whites in the near future due to anti-abolitionist activists, and wanted to give them the option to live a better life in Africa. Of course, relocation to an African colony was strictly optional, as my opponent admits. Many members of the ACS wanted the best for the African-Americans, and so let them choose whether to relocate or not, depending on where they thought they would have a better lifestyle. Once more, my opponent solely quotes Rob Finely, an individual member of the ACS who (a) was not a Founding Father and (b) did not agree with many ACS members on the true intention of the organization. Notice that the source my opponent used about the ACS also states that many members of the organization were genuinely concerned for the welfare of blacks and wanted to relocate them to Africa only because they would most likely face persecution from anti-abolitionists if they stayed in the US (Source 6).
2. My opponent seems to be working against himself in this part of the debate. He first agrees that I have presented a 'good analysis' on the manifestation of the Founders' true Constitutional intentions, and later sites Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution (Source 7), which states that 'No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.' Notice that this section bans laws that discriminate against certain groups of people (Source 8). My opponent admits that the Founders did not want blacks, or any minority group, discriminated against, as provided in the terms of the document. My opponent also establishes the neutrality of the Constitution. The Founders did this solely to prevent conflict. The Founders realized that many Americans would revolt if the document contained terms they disagreed with, and so maintained neutrality in order to maintain peace.
My opponent next compares the Founding Fathers' intentions to those of Rome (Sources 9 and 10). Please note that the sources that my opponent uses compare Rome to America only in terms of geography, nicknames of the Founders, and economic systems. His sources say nothing whatsoever about the Founders encouraging slavery/limiting the right to vote because of Roman principles. The Founders did not want to be like Rome in terms of equality, rather, they looked to Rome for economic guidance. In fact, the sources of my opponent admit that the Founders strayed away from Roman ideas of freedom in that 'empires can injure freedom if there are few checks and balances' (Source 9).
3. You accuse me of not using sources when stating that only 13 out of 55 Constitution signers owned slaves AT THE TIME OF THE CONVENTION - I did, every time. In fact, I will cite the source for this claim again (Source 3). My source specifically states that 12 of the Constitution signers had slave plantations, with one more owning a personal slave. Notice that at the time of the Constitutional Convention, only 13 Founders owned slaves, while more could have owned slaves previously. However, many previous slave owners, who had owned slaves while children on their parents' plantations or as young adults, had recognized the wrong in their ways and freed their slaves. At the time of the Convention, 42 had realized that slavery was wrong (a clear majority). This debate focuses on those who signed the Constitution, and at the time of the signing, much less than 49% of the Founders had slaves. Even if 49% were slave owners, we are looking for a majority, and 49% is not one. A clear majority of the Founders opposed slavery (Source 3), showing that a majority also supported equal rights. Furthermore, my opponent's source for his argument is unreliable, as it comes from a question-answer site that anyone can edit (Source 11). As I have stated earlier, the 3/5 Clause was made to hurt slave owning states and help those who opposed slavery (Source 12). Slave-owning states had to pay more direct taxes because of their slave population, while they got less representation in Congress (Source 12).
4. My opponent seems to want to only criticize four Founders - Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. Apparently, he can find no wrong in the actions of any other Founding Fathers. Notice that 55 Founders attended the Constitutional Convention, while my opponent can find evidence to criticize only two. My opponent, who supposedly has the BoP, would need to provide evidence against a majority of those who signed the Constitution in order to win the debate. He has only managed to find evidence against four, two of which did not even sign the document. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison are not a majority of the Founders, rather, they are a minuscule percentage, not nearly enough to prove that a majority of the Founders didn't value the Constitution. Overall, my opponent has failed to provide evidence against a majority of the Founders, instead citing only four who he thinks were against ideas of liberty and equality.
Finally, I will provide valid reasons for voters to vote for me (feel free to check the validity of my claims):
Sources - I provided 25 sources. My opponent provided 21.
Spelling - My opponent fails to capitalize many proper nouns and makes various spelling mistakes (above).
Conduct - My opponent calls me 'dishonest', 'without merit', etc. I treat him with respect throughout.
Arguments - I provide rebuttals for each of my opponent's claims, he does not do so.
Thanks (I've run out of characters)!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Robert_Weiler 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I have to give PRO a full win for this debate. CON's Round 3 argument posted on an outside website was over 15,000 characters long. That is 50% longer than any argument allowable on this site. I don't know that he posted the argument there for that reason, but it does lead one to wonder.
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