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Biden Defends American Democracy at Independence Hall

While one ill-mannered moron with a bullhorn screamed obscenities that embarrass responsible parents and patriots, President Joe Biden called America to its senses and its historic mission in a speech televised from Philadelphia, at the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

These two documents and the ideas they embody — equality and democracy — are the rock upon which this nation is built.  They are how we became the greatest nation on Earth.  They are why, for more than two centuries, America has been a beacon to the world.

But as I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault.  We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise.

So tonight, I have come this place where it all began to speak as plainly as I can to the nation about the threats we face, about the power we have in our own hands to meet these threats, and about the incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it [President Joe Biden, “Remarks on the Continued Battle for the Soul of the Nation,” Philadelphia, PA, White House transcript, 2022.09.01].

President Biden made clear that the abnormal threat we face comes from one small faction of the Republican Party led by one loud bully:

Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal.

Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.

Now, I want to be very clear — (applause) — very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans.  Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.

I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans.

But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country [Biden, 2022.09.01].

This bully faction is bent on tearing apart the great project of liberty launched in Philadelphia 244 years ago:

MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution.  They do not believe in the rule of law.  They do not recognize the will of the people.

They refuse to accept the results of a free election.  And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.

MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.

They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.

They look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th — brutally attacking law enforcement — not as insurrectionists who placed a dagger to the throat of our democracy, but they look at them as patriots.

And they see their MAGA failure to stop a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election as preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections.

They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people.  This time, they’re determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people [Biden, 2022.09.01].

We the patriotic majority can beat these bullies if we stay true to our principles and choose voting over violence:

We are still an America that believes in honesty and decency and respect for others, patriotism, liberty, justice for all, hope, possibilities. We are still, at our core, a democracy.

And yet history tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy. For a long time, we’ve told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed, but it’s not. We have to defend it, protect it, stand up for it — each and every one of us.

That’s why tonight I’m asking our nation to come together, unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology. We’re all called, by duty and conscience, to confront extremists who will put their own pursuit of power above all else.

Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans: We must be stronger, more determined, and more committed to saving American democracy than MAGA Republicans are to — to destroying American democracy.

We, the people, will not let anyone or anything tear us apart.  Today, there are dangers around us we cannot allow to prevail.   We hear — you’ve heard it — more and more talk about violence as an acceptable political tool in this country.  It’s not.  It can never be an acceptable tool.

So I want to say this plain and simple: There is no place for political violence in America.  Period.  None.  Ever [Biden, 2022.09.01].

President Biden is not calling an end to dissent and debate. He’s calling for honest, civil debate, which includes accepting the outcome, win or lose, as determined by the voters:

Politics can be fierce and mean and nasty in America. I get it. I believe in the give-and-take of politics, in disagreement and debate and dissent.

We’re a big, complicated country. But democracy endures only if we, the people, respect the guardrails of the republic. Only if we, the people, accept the results of free and fair elections. Only if we, the people, see politics not as total war but mediation of our differences.

Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election: either they win or they were cheated. And that’s where MAGA Republicans are today. They don’t understand what every patriotic American knows: You can’t love your country only when you win. It’s fundamental.

American democracy only works only if we choose to respect the rule of law and the institutions that were set up in this chamber behind me, only if we respect our legitimate political differences [Biden, 2022.09.01].

The President spoke of his confidence in America’s historical resilience, its ability to emerge stronger and freer from adversity. He justified his optimism by summarizing the achievements of his brief tenure in the White House:

MAGA Republicans look at America and see carnage and darkness and despair.  They spread fear and lies — lies told for profit and power.

But I see a very different America — an America with an unlimited future, an America that is about to take off.  I hope you see it as well.  Just look around.

I believed we could lift America from the depths of COVID, so we passed the largest economic recovery package since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  And today, America’s economy is faster, stronger than any other advanced nation in the world.  (Applause.)  We have more to go.

I believed we could build a better America, so we passed the biggest infrastructure investment since President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  And we’ve now embarked on a decade of rebuilding
the nation’s roads, bridges, highways, ports, water systems, high-speed Internet, railroads.  (Applause.)

I believed we could make America safer, so we passed the most significant gun safety law since President Clinton.  (Applause.)

I believed we could go from being the highest cost of prescriptions in the world to making prescription drugs and healthcare more affordable, so we passed the most significant healthcare reforms since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)

And I believed we could create — we could create a clean energy future and save the planet, so we passed the most important climate initiative ever, ever, ever.  (Applause.)

The cynics and the critics tell us nothing can get done, but they are wrong.  There is not a single thing America cannot do — not a single thing beyond our capacity if we do it together [Biden, 2022.09.01].

…and reminding us that he’s working toward other goals to help all Americans and all mankind, the selfish divisiveness of the MAGA anti-patriots be damned:

We’re going to end cancer as we know it.  Mark my words. We are going to create millions of new jobs in a clean energy economy. We’re going to think big.  We’re going to make the 21st century another American century because the world needs us to.

That’s where we need to focus our energy — not in the past, not on divisive culture wars, not on the politics of grievance, but on a future we can build together.

The MAGA Republicans believe that for them to succeed, everyone else has to fail.  They believe America — not like I believe about America.

I believe America is big enough for all of us to succeed, and that is the nation we’re building: a nation where no one is left behind [Biden, 2022.09.01].

President Biden is working for all Americans and all mankind because the equal dignity of every person is our founding ideal:

The soul of America is defined by the sacred proposition that all are created equal in the image of God.  That all are entitled to be treated with decency, dignity, and respect.  That all deserve justice and a shot at lives of prosperity and consequence.  And that democracy — democracy must be defended, for democracy makes all these things possible.  (Applause.)  Folks, and it’s up to us.

Democracy begins and will be preserved in we, the people’s, habits of heart, in our character: optimism that is tested yet endures, courage that digs deep when we need it, empathy that fuels democracy, the willingness to see each other not as enemies but as fellow Americans [Biden, 2022.09.01].

The men who wrote our founding documents in Independence Hall did not perfectly implement that ideal, and our work since has always fallen and will always fall short of perfection. But the perfection of America, the constant march toward liberty and justice for all, is our calling:

Look, our democracy is imperfect.  It always has been.

Notwithstanding those folks you hear on the other side there.  They’re entitled to be outrageous.  This is a democracy.  But history and common sense — (applause) — good manners is nothing they’ve ever suffered from.

But history and common sense tell us that opportunity, liberty, and justice for all are most likely to come to pass in a democracy.

We have never fully realized the aspirations of our founding, but every generation has opened those doors a little wider to include more people who have been excluded before.

My fellow Americans, America is an idea — the most powerful idea in the history of the world.  And it beats in the hearts of the people of this country.  It beats in all of our hearts.  It unites America.  It is the American creed.

The idea that America guarantees that everyone be treated with dignity.  It gives hate no safe harbor.  It installs in everyone the belief that no matter where you start in life, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.

That’s who we are.  That’s what we stand for.  That’s what we believe.  And that is precisely what we are doing: opening doors, creating new possibilities, focusing on the future.  And we’re only just beginning.  (Applause.)

Our task is to make our nation free and fair, just and strong, noble and whole.

And this work is the work of democracy — the work of this generation.  It is the work of our time, for all time [Biden, 2022.09.01].

“So speak up,” said the President last night. “Speak out. Get engaged. Vote, vote, vote.” Do democracy. Make every voice heard, not just the voices of the bullies with bullhorns. Forswear violence and uphold the vote.


  1. mike from iowa 2022-09-02 09:21

    Biden was wrong about vast majority of magats because they vote nearly in lockstep with drumpf’s commands and are clearly enemies of the republic.

    We must sever the head of this treasonous snake and his treasonous minions!

  2. Ryan 2022-09-02 09:25

    Solid talk. I don’t know if biden’s goal is to make the magtards look like a small fraction of republican pariahs… or if he is hoping that they represent a big enough percentage of the gop that pitting them against “mainstream” republicans may tear the party in half for the betterment of the country. Either way, i dig it haha.

  3. Donald Pay 2022-09-02 09:29

    “These two documents and the ideas they embody — equality and democracy — are the rock upon which this nation is built. They are how we became the greatest nation on Earth. They are why, for more than two centuries, America has been a beacon to the world.”

    Historically, he begins with some myth. Don’t we all know this myth (Biden’s “rock”) was built on the reality of slavery? So, when you build your speech on the slippery sand of myth, it has a tendency not to deal with the real world.

    “The soul of America is defined by the sacred proposition that all are created equal in the image of God.” Not really. Thomas Jefferson didn’t believe that, and I don’t think many Americans (particularly MAGA Republicans) believe this today. First, America has no soul. Second, how do you square “equality” with the 3/5ths rule? It has a Constitution which was constructed in such a way that the inequality of slavery could flourish. It was constructed in such a way that the elite would rule. It was the image of God as seen through the eyes the elite Southern landowners, certainly not the God of the Quakers or others who abhorred slavery, or those of us today who value real equality. A bargain with the devil is the only way that the “states” could be “united.” And, so let’s not pretend the United States was some beacon of hope through the ages. It was not. It was a beacon of hate. Only in the last 50-60 years have we started, with lots of fascist roadblocks in the way, to live out the creed that Biden mythologizes. What we can’t do is go backward into the tomb of hate an oligarchy that the MAGA Republicans want to return to.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-02 09:34

    Ryan, I think Biden simply meant what he said. I’m inclined to believe there are more Mitt Romneys than Lauren Boeberts. However, all those quiet Mitt Romenys need to work up their Liz Cheney courage and stand up to the bullies in their own party, for the good of the Republic we all cherish.

  5. Ryan 2022-09-02 09:44

    you are probably right, Cory… i admittedly spend too much time on fox news comment sections telling radical right wingers how ignorant they are, and because there are so many loud morons on fox, i probably have a skewed perception of how many on the right truly are radical.

    biden just used the word “mainstream” enough times for me to think it maybe was a sort of dog whistle to the radicals… because fox blares on and on about the mainstream media being the enemy, so i thought perhaps biden is wanting 10%(?) or 20%(?) of the most radical republicans to lump “mainstream” republicans in with the ENEMY group…

    oh well, i just keep hoping to wake up at 5am some morning and glance at the news and see trump in handcuffs and no makeup hahaha a guy has to have a dream!

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-02 09:59

    Don, you’re speaking some hard truths, which don’t make for a stirring call to the masses for political action…

    Permit me to kick into full Biden defense, and let’s see what we could build out of Don’s and my semi-competing theses:

    President Biden acknowledges the very problems in our national political DNA that Donald cites. The President perhaps underemphasizes our failings by boiling them down to one gentle and quickly but-ted line—”Look, our democracy is imperfect. It always has been”—but he still grabs the words the Founders said and hoists those slave-exploiting, Indian-killing, women-disenfrachising white elitists by their own famous historical petard. President Biden can acknowledge the worst of our founding but call on us to realize the best, the ideals that Jefferson, Franklin, and the gang unleashed on the world with their Revolutionary quills.

    And practically speaking, if I have two months to rally 200 million Americans to get out and vote for someone other than racists, fascists, and idiots, explaining to people what dirty rotten scoundrels the Founding Fathers were in the eighteenth century probably isn’t as pressing or useful as explaining to them why they have to get out and vote right now in 2022 to save the substantial good Jefferson/Franklin/et al. did from today’s dirty rotten scoundrels.

    I say all this with no antipathy toward Donald, with no disagreement with the facts he states about American mythmaking, and with a commitment that I think every reader of this blog has seen to exposing that mythmaking and telling the truth about our nation. I would just make the case that, when faced with a grave threat, the President can focus on saying the things necessary to mobilize Americans to defeat that threat.

    Analogy: Ukraine. Yeah, some Ukrainians collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. But when Russia invades, we don’t need President Biden to lecture President Zelenskyy on the errors of some of his predecessing countrymen. We need praise democracy and the Ukrainian spirit and pass the ammunition.

    Final thought: I’ll even contend that President Biden’s statement about the “rock” upon which this nation is built is not unrealistic quicksand upon which this speech must founder but a defensible moral statement. Even if the Founders didn’t fully mean or live out their founding words, even if they wrought and we continue to wring our economic and military might by the exploitation of minorities, the documents they wrote in Independence Hall laid the foundation for the advances we have made toward realizing our founding idea of equality. Perhaps the fault lies not in the word “rock” but in the past tense, suggesting completion, of “built”. Perhaps the most exactingly correct expression of the President’s argument would be, “These two documents and the ideas they embody — equality and democracy — are the rock upon which this nation is building. They are how we become the greatest nation on Earth. They are why… America can be a beacon to the world.”

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-02 10:02

    No, Ryan, I think your read has some merit. President Biden’s distinction between MAGA and mainstream Republicans may well serve to drive a split within the GOP. President Biden would likely welcome such a split. He likely would agree with me that ending Trump’s unhealthy grip on the GOP depends on Republicans working within their party to reclaim the organization and set it back on track toward conservative sanity and a willingness to at least sometimes work with Democrats to find agreement and pass important, useful legislation. Biden knows from his Senate days that negotiation, compromise, and progress come from working with rational, practical Republicans and that Trump’s hyperpartisan crazies have made such practical work far more difficult.

  8. larry kurtz 2022-09-02 10:11

    Joe Biden is an interim or caretaker POTUS who should serve a single term.

    President Biden struggles for the approval of a majority of America’s voters hovering near 41 percent while Democratic senators are overwhelmingly favored in their own states and Republicans surf the bottom. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are doing great jobs according to pollsters at FiveThirtyEight.

    And although the best choice in 2020 for President of the United States was Al Franken Senator Klobuchar had this columnist’s early primary endorsement to be our party’s nominee. But after it was revealed she had wrongfully prosecuted Myon Burrell when she was Hennepin County’s top prosecutor her aspirations to hold higher office evaporated. In 2020 Minnesota commuted Burrell’s sentence.

    In 2012 Heinrich defeated Republican Heather Wilson, his predecessor in Congress and today thanks to efforts led by Sen. Heinrich bison have become America’s National Mammal, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief is still chugging, the Gila River is no longer in danger of being diverted, Chaco Culture National Historical Park enjoys greater protection from the extractive industry and he is leading the reform of the Mining Law of 1872. He is a smart, telegenic, pragmatic statesman in a state where a Democrat can easily keep the seat.

    Vice President Kamala Harris has yet to prove to this voter that she has the fire in the belly and although I support nearly everything Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders work for they’re simply unelectable.

    So, it is the view of this interested party that Senator Heinrich should enter the primary for the nomination as our party’s choice for President of the United States if President Biden chooses not to run.

  9. Ryan 2022-09-02 10:19

    Jon stewart for president 2024; bernie as VP.

    dream ticket.

  10. Ryan 2022-09-02 11:13

    great link, john. i’ve been spreading this information, from varying sources, all over the internet – mostly on stupid radical right wing outlets… too bad so many of them can’t read…

    it’s nice when people openly defend TRE45ON on the internet, so i know who to avoid or mock.

  11. Donald Pay 2022-09-02 11:14

    “Democracy begins and will be preserved in we, the people’s,habits of heart, in our character: optimism that is tested yet endures, courage that digs deep when we need it, empathy that fuels democracy, the willingness to see each other not as enemies but as fellow

    “Look, our democracy is imperfect. It always has been.”

    These parts of the speech were more in line with what I think. I realize you have to appeal to the crowd of people who don’t know history, and have been fed a BS version (like Noem wants to do).

  12. leslie 2022-09-02 12:04

    mitch mcconnell is strangely silent “letting Democrats get rid of the sob”…. After putting Trump in office over Putin’s known influence, and enabling Jan 6.

    McConnell’s refusal to authorize any action on Garland broke with 150 years of senatorial precedent and practice. The Senate had rejected nominees in the past, but only after debate and a vote.

    The supreme court, of course, was the biggest prize of all. The GOP had failed for 30 years to fashion a court to its liking, largely, it believed, because too many of its appointees – Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, Anthony Kennedy, and even John Roberts – had gone “rogue” on key issues: gay rights, gay marriage, affirmative action, Obamacare and, most of all, abortion.

    [Later] Roberts astonishingly admitted in his concurrent opinion that he thought it wrong to use Dobbs to overturn Roe, even as he was voting to do so. Kavanaugh, meanwhile, laced his own concurrent opinion with the anguish of someone deeply troubled by the affirmative vote for a Roe reversal that he, too, was casting.

    What if Garland was sitting on this court rather than Gorsuch? Roberts, still in command of this court, may well have cobbled together a coalition to preserve Roe.

    Were Garland sitting on this court, in other words, women in America today would still have a constitutionally protected right to reproductive freedom.

    October 2020, [Mitch] did not hesitate to abandon the arguments he made in the Garland case to jam through the Senate Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation, even though Trump was much closer to the end of his presidential term than Obama had been to his in 2016. The ends – a rightwing court –justified the means.

    His 2016 supreme court steal, however, upended a century and a half of accepted senatorial practice. The price for the country has been high: damage to the court’s legitimacy, deepening cynicism about Washington politics, and a growing conviction that America’s ailing democratic system can’t be fixed.

    So the nation has elected a seasoned compassionate elder statesman in Biden and his VP who is more than qualified to step in if necessary. Democrats need to win in 2022 and 2024 to repair GOP’s recent damage to the nation, confront global warming, and deal with economic inequality.

    Only the Republicans can willfully destroy the planet now, and Trump’s bedding w/Putin is extraordinarily dangerous.

  13. leslie 2022-09-02 12:55

    And enabler Thune, Mitch’s mouth-piece, after legislation he likely voted against, passed, for:

    $80 billion over 10 years to help modernize IRS technology systems and provide more effective tax enforcement and collection. Yet already, Republican critics like Sen. John Thune of South Dakota are complaining that the needed funds will do little more than allow the IRS to “spend more time harassing taxpayers around this country.”

    Given that between $500 billion and $1 trillion a year in taxes goes uncollected, perhaps some American individuals [billionaires, millionaires] and corporations deserve to be harassed a little. Especially when you consider that, where middle class American wage-earners have a 95 percent reliability rate for paying their fair share of taxes, the top 1 percent of wealthy Americans consistently fail to report (and are very good at hiding) 20 percent of their income.

  14. LCJ 2022-09-02 14:57

    President Mummy is already walking back everything he said in his strange speech last night. This is expected from a man with severe brain function loss. Do you think Dr. Jill will be charged with elder abuse after Joe resigns? He looked like Hitler with that crazy red backdrop. Why did he need the Marines? Bizarre moment from a bizarre man. Can”t wait for November.

  15. larry kurtz 2022-09-02 15:04

    As an imperative to preserve public spaces the Biden administration has directed nearly $5 billion to steer the country on a path of protecting at least 30 percent of the occupied territory and 30 percent of adjoining ocean areas by 2030 (30×30).

    So, as part of the 30×30 Initiative the Bureau of Land Management has purchased about twenty acres of an old mining claim on unceded Lakota ground just outside the Deadwood city limits. The parcel abuts the Grizzly Gulch burn so visitors can drive up Terrace Street to a future trailhead.

    Horses and mountain bikes will be allowed but off highway vehicles and snowmobiles will still have to access Forest Service and BLM through Spruce Gulch. According to Chip Kimball at the BLM Field Office in Belle Fourche the City of Deadwood wouldn’t grant an easement compelling this acquisition. Black Hills Trails is developing a system of footpaths.

  16. larry kurtz 2022-09-02 15:08

    Attorneys are gathering even more evidence that the Trump Organization committed crimes against humanity throughout Indian Country not only by slow-walking resources to reservations during a pandemic but by undercounting Indigenous populations during the 2020 Census. Trump even killed the White House Tribal Nations Summit because he loathes Native Americans.

  17. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-02 15:42

    Ex President Trump responded to Biden’s speech by promising “to look into” pardons for the Jan.6 vandals, when he is reelected in 2024.

  18. Donald Pay 2022-09-02 16:04

    LCJ has a point. When you are facing down fascism don’t muddy things up with an attempt at production, beyond the historic setting. The color scheme was definitely not helping matters. It was better suited for a Triumpian Nuremberg rally, which, I’m sure, we will see soon enough. One thing about Hitler—he didn’t turn traitor on his country. like Trump did.

    The bad lighting made it difficult for Biden to walk, giving the impression that LCJ thinks is the take away, rather than opposition to the fascist terrorism of Trump and the MAGA crowd. Even though I have my criticism of the speech, it beats any speech Dear Leader gave, or will ever give, except when he has to give his plea for leniency after his convictions on multiple charges.

  19. jerry 2022-09-02 16:12

    Well, there was the Marine Corp Band playing music. Well there was recent Burn Pit legislation passed for Marine Corp as well as all veterans, your two boys here in South Dakota, EB5 Rounds and Duh Thune, voted against that. The helicopter that the president uses is manned by Marines and is called Marine One. Hope that answers your fascist question LCJ, now go back to your mummy’s basement and find your place on the recliner so’s you can tune into fake news.

  20. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-02 17:29

    That the Republican Party is FULLY committed to Trump as their candidate in 2024 is the one big advantage the Democrats have. Let them ride Trump (and candidates like Hershel Walker) to their doom.

  21. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-09-02 18:05

    Cory, you have “no antipathy to Donald?” I KNOW that’s what I read. Of course you don’t; you probably don’t carry heavy iron tools in your vehicle just to shop for food in Aberdeen.
    I’m a focused, experience-driven, foul mouthed (golly, sorry ladies) survivor of one physical and another attempted attack on my body by AVOWED Trump supporters.
    It is NOT wrong of me to wish death upon Trump and his supporters.
    Otherwise? Democrats NEED to get nasty.

  22. DaveFN 2022-09-02 18:33

    Donald Pay

    “It was the image of God as seen through the eyes the elite Southern landowners, certainly not the God of the Quakers or others who abhorred slavery, or those of us today who value real equality.”

    So much nuance is required when it comes to history, as you note. Too many consider nuance and finer details nothing but pedantic, but that won’t deter me.

    I want to address this wide-spread but mistaken notion that Quakers were anti-slavery.

    When Pennsylvania was founded in 1682, William Penn and others used their Quaker connections in Barbados to purchase enslaved Africans. The Quaker 1688 Germantown Protest is often cited was the first document in North America to denounce slavery. While a very small minority of Quakers did reject slavery in the seventeenth century, most did not, and reading the Protest, one finds that the language actually steers away from any active denunciation of slavery, which the term “protest” belies.

    But back to Barbados, the first permanent English colony in the Americas. Quaker missionaries Ann Austin and Mary Fisher visited the island in 1655 and converted a few residents to Quakerism. As little as two decades later, however, there were thousands of Quakers living on Barbados, and all but four were slave owners. Quaker founder George Fox visited Barbados in 1671. While concerned about the slavery he witnessed, he issued no order against it.

    What was radical about the Quakers in Barbados at the time was that they were of the mind that Quakers and slaves should worship together, something entirely revolutionary to Anglican English slave owners, as the caste system of the later considered it moral and legal to enslave “heathens” but not to enslave Christians, a rather reverse logic. It was also believed that converted slaves could rebel against their owners. Quaker missionaries, on the other hand, indeed went so far as to defend slave conversion by arguing that enslaved Christians would be more docile and harder working than their “heathen” counterparts.

    Charles Cuffee, himself believed to have been born into slavery, was the first Black man baptized in 1677 in an Anglican church in Barbados. This ultimately led lawmakers in Barbados to redefine citizenship to include the word “white” as well as “Christian,” were one to be considered a freeholder. In short, Protestant supremacy thereby transitioned into white supremacy. [Catholic colonies, in complete contrast to the Protestants, required baptism as a the very condition of enslavement, another topic with a logic of its own. Quakers believe neither in ritual baptism nor do they offer communion].

    Even into the late 17th century and early 18th century Quaker discomfort with slavery has more to do with a fundamental discomfort with Blacks among the white community. Cadwalader Morgan and Robert Pyle among other abolitionists of the time were more concerned to exclude people of African descent from the community of whites, than they were concerned with anything like equal treatment and freedom. Even though many Quakers came to believe that slaves should be freed, they did not believe they should be freed into the white population and allowed to infiltrate white society. They, in fact, advocated the back-to-Africa movement: once freed, former slaves should go back to their own country. In other words, these Quakers were segregationists, unlike Quakers who actually held slaves and could therefore not be considered segregationists, odd twist of fact.

    It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the Quaker abolitionist Levi Coffin, so-called “President of the Underground Railroad,” came onto the scene.

    To cut it short, Quakers and Quakerism have a long history of slavery.

    Much of this has been detailed by historian of religion Katharine Gerbner in her publications, among them “The Ultimate Sin: Christianising Slaves in Barbados in the Seventeenth Century: Slavery & Abolition.”

    See also the C-SPAN broadcast Slavery and Quakers in 17th Century Barbados:

  23. larry kurtz 2022-09-02 19:08

    Joe’s shot across the bow of the dinghy buoying the extreme white wing of the Republican Party has been a long time coming.

  24. Richard Schriever 2022-09-03 08:23

    Donald Pay – you fall into the backward-looking trap. Go stand on the steps of the US Capital and gaze down the lengthy of the National Mall and tell me it looks backward. Take the documents, the plans the founders built and use their machinations to move forward.

  25. John 2022-09-03 09:01

    Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi are surprising me . . . they finally, belatedly, created some success out the corruption in the legislative branch.

    Biden did well with his speech . . . but skirted or under-whelmed several truths. The English colonies were birthed on violence. The US nation was birthed on violence. After that war about a million either left or were sent back to, or fled to England or English-Canada. The “Civil War of 1812”, as told by Alan Taylor who’s book focuses on the northern tier of the conflict – was violent. Countless US civil struggles resorted to violence: labor, suffrage, civil rights, voting rights, etc, et al. The US people are emotional perpetual selfish adolescents who do not back down from the status quo favoring them.

    The conflicts in the eras cited by Biden, the 1930s, the 1850s, were as rippled with violence as were the 1770s. Every 80-88 years the US Generations – cycle relearns the same lessons. Strauss and Howe predicted the 2020s social conflagration a 30 years ago in their 1992 book. The large sways of our current discontent and social upheaval are only surprises to folks unaware of US history. “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” Harry S Truman

    The US didn’t politely negotiate its way to its present standing. Rather too often negotiations occurred after violence . . . after the entrenched in power recognized the afflicted had some legitimate point and those had to be addressed: labor (wages, work week, safety, etc.), suffrage, civil rights, voting rights. While not 1 MAGA clown in 10 can list their legitimate grievances, here’s a couple: the US congress in basically incompetent and requires reform to represent voters, not donors; SCOTUS is out of touch – requiring term and age limits, and staggered appointments to minimize political influence; too many executive agencies are poorly managed and unresponsive, and sometimes brazenly incompetent – to the public. Government has and can work . . . but it must again begin doing so. Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi took a couple small steps and must find a stride.

  26. Donald Pay 2022-09-03 09:04

    Thanks, DaveFN. I knew about the slave-owning Quakers in Pennsylvania, but you add a lot of depth to it that I didn’t know.

  27. John 2022-09-03 10:08

    Mark Jacob does a commendable job relating how the rise of MAGA republicans are like fascists – using that tiny format. I’ll repost.
    Jacobs reread The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer. Jacobs thread includes book excerpts:

    1. A big lie about treachery is used to foment resentment.
    Nazis: We didn’t really lose World War I. It was a “stab in the back” by Jews and other “November criminals.”
    MAGA: We didn’t really lose the 2020 election. It was a “steal” by politicians and Blacks in big cities.
    2. There’s an obsession with purity of the culture.
    Nazis: “Racial mixture” was a threat to Aryan culture, Hitler wrote.
    MAGA: “Great replacement theory” says immigrants threaten white culture. [me here: NOEM is on this one BIG TIME and OVERTIME via CRT, immigration]
    3. Chaos is something to be exploited, not addressed.
    Nazis: Economic distress is a great political opportunity.
    MAGA: Economic distress is a great political opportunity.

    4. The super-rich bankroll the right-wing seizure of power.
    Nazis: Thanks to I.G. Farben, Deutsche Bank, Thyssen, Krupp, etc.
    MAGA: Thanks to the Mercers, Uihleins, DeVos, Thiel, etc.
    5. Some people think the fascist threat is overblown.
    Nazis: While Hitler posed a major threat, some said he “ceased to be a political danger.” (2 weeks later, he was chancellor.)
    MAGA: While Trump poses a major threat, many people think it’s “just politics,” no worries. [me here, recall Hitler led a failed coup, received light remand, and returned with a murderous vengeance]
    6. There’s a cult of personality.
    Nazis: The German army made a pledge of loyalty to Hitler personally.
    MAGA: Trump’s supporters bill him as “the most moral president” in U.S. history. [me here: trump’s highest value is personal loyalty to him]

    7. Christianity is used to legitimize the movement.
    Nazis: “The party stands for positive Christianity.”
    MAGA: Trump is described as the “Chosen One” protecting American Christianity. [me here: reflect on Barry Goldwater’s “Mark my words” quote about Christian pastors and taking over the republican party]
    8. Books are the enemy.
    Nazis: Any book that “acts subversively on our future” must be burned.
    MAGA: “I think we should throw those books in a fire,” says a Virginia school board member. [me here: Noem’s “social studies standards hits point 8 and others]
    9. An independent news media is the enemy.
    Nazis: Any newspaper that “offends the honor and dignity of Germany” must be banned.
    MAGA: The press is the “enemy of the people.” [me here: virtually no media interviews with the SD executive branch]
    10. Educators are pressured to be politically compliant.
    Nazis: Teachers took an oath to “be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler.”
    MAGA: Florida’s DeSantis accuses teachers of “indoctrination” and pressures them to avoid references to America’s racist history and LGBTQ people. [me here: Noem’s all over this, also]

    “I’m not saying that MAGA will end up as horrifically as Nazism. I am saying that America 2022 feels too much like Germany 1932, and I don’t want to take the risk of watching MAGA cultism play out. We have to stop it now.” – Mark Jacob

  28. John 2022-09-03 10:40

    Side note on Quakers, slavery. It’s wrong-headed being too self-righteous on a human trait that predated recorded time. Human capital and its trade existed since before recorded time. Certainly it was horrific. Slaving was practiced by virtually all cultures at one time or another. Slaves built the great wonders of the world: China’s Great Wall; Egypt’s pyramids; Mayan and Incan temples, Rome’s roads, aqueducts, coliseum; Washington DC; etc. Yes, some strong people rejected the practice despite it being the norm in most cultures and societies for too long.

    The forbears of a plurality of Dakotans and Minnesotans – the Vikings, were HUGE slave traders in the 8th to 10th/11th Centuries. Sacajawea was kidnapped by another tribe as a slave, then sold as a teenage “wife” to a fur trapper. My grief with the 1619 Project isn’t that it’s a story needing to be told and heard. Rather the 1619 Project appears to isolate the western slave, bankster, government industrial complex of the African slave with too little focus on the unfortunate reality that human slavery was an unflattering human condition that spanned ages, cultures, religions, and societies. Critics claim the Project is “putting ideology before historical understanding”. The 1619 Project is, merely, a huge chapter, of an incomplete story.

  29. John 2022-09-03 12:00

    Mo on fascism.
    “The Republican candidate for governor in Wisconsin endorsed by Donald Trump is calling for people to take up “pitchforks and torches” in reaction to a story that detailed his giving to anti-abortion groups, churches and others — rhetoric that Democrats say amounts to threatening violence.”
    “Michels, a multimillionaire, this week reacted strongly to a story published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel detailing charitable giving by he and his wife’s foundation, some of which went to anti-abortion groups and churches that have taken anti-gay positions.”

    “Since the story’s publication, Michels has gone after not just Evers and Democrats, but also the Journal Sentinel and, more broadly, all reporters.
    “I believe people should just, just be ready to get out on the streets with pitchforks and torches with how low the liberal media has become,” Michels said Thursday on a conservative talk radio show. “People need to decide ‘Am I going to put up with this? Am I going to tolerate this, taking somebody that gives money to churches or cancer research and use that as a hit piece in the media?’ I’m appalled. It’s disgusting.””

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