How long did slavery last in America – two centuries? How long will legal abortion last there, or any place that has decided that the unborn child has no rights in the face of a woman’s desire to be rid of it? Will it take another 200 years for the powerful “reproductive rights” movement to dissolve before the plain fact that what is destroyed by abortion is a human being, with same intrinsic rights and dignity as any other?
These are the questions raised by Miles Smith’s powerful essay showing the striking similarity between the mentality of die-hard defenders of slavery in America and that of the organisations and individuals that today are urging women to “shout their abortions” and their absolute right to decide whether a child they have conceived is to live or die.
That Hillary Clinton is their flag-bearer is the reason why her probable election will be, not a victory, but a colossal moral defeat for women and America. - Carolyn Moynihan Deputy Editor, MERCATORNET
by Miles Smith
In February 1837, South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun changed the tone of the cultural, religious, political, and social war over slavery by declaring human bondage a “positive good.” Most members of the generation of Americans who created the United States government, by contrast, saw slavery as an unfortunate legacy of the colonial period. A few in Georgia and South Carolina were indifferent to its moral status but committed to its economic benefits. Many others hoped that the new government might eventually put slavery on the road to extinction.
During the debates over the federal constitution, even members committed to allowing the retention of slavery argued against provisions that might affirm the morality of human bondage. William Paterson of New Jersey, for example, opposed representing slaves in the Congress because it might afford “an indirect encouragement of the slave trade,” an institution seen as wicked even by many slaveholders. And in 1790, when Quakers presented a petition to Congress arguing for the abolition of the slave trade, Virginia planter Josiah Parker thanked them for “attending to matters of such momentous concern to the future happiness and prosperity of the people.”
Parker, like Washington, Adams, and scores of the revolutionary generation, hoped eventually to eradicate chattel slavery from the new United States. Richard Henry Lee, another slaveholding Virginian, called slavery a moral blight. Even as late as 1820, when Congress argued over slavery’s expansion into federal territories and the new state of Missouri, South Carolina’s virulently pro-slavery Senator William Smith could only offer an anemic moral defense of slavery when he called it a “necessary evil.”