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Reflect on If I could be any historical figure within the time period, who would I be and why - Research Paper Example

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Arguably one of the most divisive issues that is ever faced the United States is with regards to the issue of slavery. a microcosm of this divisive issue was evidenced with regards to the way in which the founding fathers chose to integrate with an acceptance, tolerance, or argument against the practice itself…
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Reflect on If I could be any historical figure within the time period, who would I be and why
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Reflect on If I could be any historical figure within the time period, who would I be and why

Download file to see previous pages... Whereas many of the founding fathers were ultimately against slavery, there were several that either did not discuss the issue in any level of depth or did not see it as a vital issue to the strength and continued growth/prosperity of the nation. Interestingly, many of the pro-and anti-slavery statements that were made by the founding fathers varied little throughout their lives. What is meant by this is that individuals such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison retained strong proslavery sentiments and wrote prolifically about the benefits that the institution of slavery had to offer. By the same token, individuals such as James Madison held anti-slavery views throughout his entire life. However, a third group necessarily exists within this seemingly obvious dichotomy. Individuals such as Benjamin Franklin and George Washington initially held proslavery views; however, as they began to integrate with the American experience and formulate a more nuanced and philosophical understanding of the concepts of democracy, self determinism, and freedom of choice, their views concerning slavery began to shift. Whereas it is impossible to trace all of the founding fathers that had an epiphany with regards to slavery, this particular analysis will focus upon Benjamin Franklin and the way in which his political leanings began to shift later in his life with regards to the issue of slavery. In seeking to promote such an understanding of realization, the following analysis will focus specifically on primary that Benjamin Franklin was himself responsible for writing. Like many of the founding fathers, Franklin himself owned slaves in the earlier part of his life. However, as a result of his metropolitan nature and incessant travels, not to mention his polymath tendencies towards reading and writing on topics as broad and diverse as economics, philosophy, and ethics, Franklin came to understand that the practice of slavery was in and of itself abhorrent. As such, he soon released the few slaves that he did possess. However, merely releasing the slaves that he was responsible for was not enough for Franklin. Rather, due to the fact that he saw slavery as such a morbid and horrific societal ill, he began to advocate abolition at a time when abolitionists were far from being in the vote. One of the most famous means through which Franklin was able to affect this was by signing and sending a petition to the first Congress in February 1790. Among other things, the petition requested time devoted towards “devising means removing the inconsistency from the character of the American people and promoting mercy and justice towards this distressed race” (Basker 221). However, before the reader begins to assume that Benjamin Franklin was a champion of human rights throughout his entire life, it must be added that beyond merely owning up to seven slaves in the earlier years, Franklin also worked for the Pennsylvania Gazette and was responsible for the printing and publication of information concerning wanted ads for the sale of slaves as well as rewards for the capture and return of runaway slaves (Franklin 7). Obviously, this information in and of itself must have touched upon the conscience of Benjamin Franklin as a means of promoting him towards a level of abolitionism later years. However, the fact remains that Benjamin Franklin can convincingly be labeled as both a tacit advocate of slavery as well as an abolitionist ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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