When Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, he included this paragraph in the Colonies’ grievance against King George III of England:
He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation hither … And he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he had deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.
This didn’t make it into the final draft. Possibly because it’s contradictory (condemning slavery then condemning slaves for not wanting to be in slavery). And not to mention bit of hypocrisy (the king doesn’t want us to have liberty, and we don’t want the slaves to be free).
So, let’s do away with the idea that the founding fathers held opinions that were sacred and should always be the foundation for avoiding change in the 21st century (Justice Scalia), and let’s remember that despite their flaws, the founding fathers did come up with a document that we nevertheless honor and celebrate 239 years after it was proclaimed to the public.
Oh, and, let’s remember what Jefferson said about the future:
(More on the deleted paragraph at Talking Points Memo.)