America, Indians, and Mt. Rushmore—a few Thoughts

mount rushmore 510841 As I do every year on the 4th of July, I think not only of our great founding conceived in liberty through great pain and sacrifice but of its long struggle to fully realize the ideals upon which it was founded. I’m also very saddened and angered by the Left's continuous lies and attacks against our great nation. Like judging a dish before it has finished cooking; these liberty-haters judge us by the full height of the radical ideals that we are still struggling to fully realize.
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As I do every year on the 4th of July, I think not only of our great founding conceived in liberty through great pain and sacrifice but of its long struggle to fully realize the ideals upon which it was founded. I’m also very saddened and angered by the Left’s continuous lies and attacks against our great nation. Like judging a dish before it has finished cooking; these liberty-haters judge us by the full height of the radical ideals that we are still struggling to fully realize.

The Promise of Salvation and the American Ideal

In the Bible, after the fall of man, God gives a promise of a savior that would atone for our sin and restore our fellowship with God:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. — Gen 3:15, NIV

Theologians refer to this promise in Genesis as the protoevangelium, the Gospel in seed form. The rest of Scripture may be viewed as the story of God bringing that promise to its full fruition. So, first came the promise and then centuries of human history to fully realize it. America has something very similar to the protoevangelium:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

This famous passage from the Declaration of Independence is the ideal, the vision, the promise that America is founded upon—America in seed form. Just like the protoevangelium, our founding ideals were too radical to be instantly realized in their fullness but would take centuries to come into fruition. Our nation’s founding was unique in that it was not founded upon race, religion, or shared history, but on this radical idea, and in this regard, America truly is exceptional and worthy of celebration by all who love freedom.

Unfortunately, not all Americans love freedom

The Left, of course, hates freedom; they are about power and oppression, supposedly in the name of eradicating the evils of mankind. They claim to be fighting for justice while committing grave injustices against innocent citizens. They claim to be fighting equality while trying to relegate any who disagree with their evil agenda to 2nd class citizen’s status. They claim to be fighting racism, hatred, and fascism, when in reality, they are the most hate-filled, racist, fascists to walk the Earth since Hitler. And most of all, they hate America, that torch of liberty that will not be extinguished. Did you know that the original name of the Statue of Liberty was “Liberty Enlightening the World?” American liberty is not just important for Americans; America is the last bastion of true liberty on the Earth. Many have come to America, fleeing oppression, seeking our liberty, but if America falls, where will we go? We are the freest nation on Earth. No other nation has the breadth of freedoms that we enjoy, including free speech as an absolute, constitutionally-guaranteed right.

Because the Left hates America and the individual liberty she guarantees, they constantly attack and malign its history and the Founding Fathers. Because Trump has been the bull in their ideological china shop and all attempts to take him down have failed, they are desperate. Like typical Marxists, they attack statues, icons, and malign and misrepresent our history, the Founding Fathers, and other great men who played historically important roles in advancing our great nation. They call American heroes evil racists, slave owners, and hypocrites, pulling them completely out of their historical context and judging them by present-day sensibilities.

Lie #1: Indians good, Europeans bad

We are told the American Indians were always good and the Europeans always bad. That the Europeans just showed up, slaughtered the Indians, and stole their land. The truth is that we were friendly with the Indians and that most lands was either legitimately settled, purchased, or won through legitimate conquest. In her book, Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History that Turned a Generation against America, Dr. Mary Grabar writes:

Like Las Casas, the Puritans sought to save and convert the Indians. The converts lived in “praying towns” where they enjoyed “considerable autonomy,” according to Thomas Woods. Missionary John Eliot developed a written language for the Algonquins and translated the Bible for them. Nor did the Puritans use “force”—as Zinn puts it—to steal the Indians’ land. As Woods explains, while “the king had issued colonial land grants,” the “Puritan consensus” was that this “conferred political and not property rights. . . . Roger Williams obtained title from the Indians before settling in Providence,” and “Connecticut and New Haven followed [his] pattern. . . .” In the Connecticut Valley, settlement “was positively encouraged by some tribes in the 1630s, who hoped the English might prove a useful obstacle to the ambitions of the Pequots, a hated tribe that had begun to force its way into the area. Once settled, these New England colonies went on to purchase whatever additional land they desired,” allowing Indians hunting rights on these lands. Although Zinn claims that Governor Winthrop justified the forceful taking of land that had not been “subdued,” Woods explains, “The colonists did believe that deserted or desolate land could be occupied by whoever discovered it, but this idea was never used to dispossess Indians of their lands.

Atrocities were committed, but they were committed by both sides. While we made great Indian friends and allies, there were also very violent, murderous tribes that would slaughter and enslave, like the Pequots who’s name comes from pekawatawog, “the destroyers.” Torture and slavery were commonplace among most Indian tribes; it was not only about cruel revenge but it often served a religious purpose. To show the depravity that peaceful, innocent, Indigenous peoples were capable of, consider the account of an English woman, savagely tortured to death by the Delaware Indians after they destroyed Fort Granville in the Pennsylvania area in 1756. Allan W. Eckert recounts the story in his book, Wilderness Empire:

It was while the Indians were thus engaged that, unable to take the strain any longer, one of the women captives from Fort Granville — a not unattractive widow of about forty named Sarah Lawton — managed to slip away into the woods in a desperate effort to catch up with Armstrong’s party and reach safety. She didn’t make it. Late that evening the Indians had discovered her absence and in the following morning they set out on her trail. Two days passed before they returned with her on a long rawhide tether tight around her throat, her buttocks badly welted from switchings received since her recapture and her nude body badly bruised and bloody from scratches she suffered as she had run and stumbled wildly through the underbrush in her vain attempt to escape.

With methodical brutality, as the Frenchmen and Canadians watched with approval, the Delawares staked her out on her back in spread-eagled fashion and then turned her over to the squaws whose men had been slain in Armstrong’s raid.

It was then about nine o’clock in the morning. Sarah Lawton’s eyes bulged and her mouth worked, but the only sound that issued from her was a weird mewing cry barely audible. For the better part of the first hour then, the squaws amused themselves by placing burning splinters of wood on her flesh and laughed as she writhed and struggled to dislodge them.

Next, while shrill screams issued from her, the squaws shoved knives into the soles of her feet until the points projected through the top of the arch, then ripped them out through the flesh in the direction of her toes. They let her rest for a short while after that and her screams dwindled away to an inchoate croaking while the ragged remains of her feet jiggled from the uncontrollable trembling of her legs. There was remarkably little blood, as if the squaws had known just exactly where to cut so that no major arteries were severed causing her to bleed to death.

The respite was not long. A heavy squaw — wife of the late Chief Tewea — came back to her now, knelt beside her and, as if anticipating what the Indian woman meant to do, Sarah Lawton’ s screams once again rent the air. The squaw leaned over and in turn bit off the captive’s nipples, spitting them into her hand and then forcing them into the mouth of the struggling white woman until she was forced to swallow them.

Hour after hour the tortures continued and, incredibly, Sarah Lawton never lost consciousness. Sometime after noon her screaming ended and only a strangled groaning still issued from her mouth. When at one point she tried to close her eyes to keep from seeing what was coming next, her eyelids were cut off. Her scalp was removed expertly and one by one her fingers were cut off, followed by ears and nose, and yet she lived.

Toward later afternoon her struggles were becoming decidedly weaker and she hardly writhed at all anymore when burning sticks were placed against her skin or bare skull. At last, just as the sun was beginning to sink, Tewea’s squaw took a burning pole from the fire, its end pointed and glowing, touched it to the captive’s crotch and then lunged forward, thrusting it far inside her.

For the last time, Sarah Lawton screamed.

Her body jerked convulsively and her wrists and ankles strained against the rawhide sinews which bound them to stakes. One of the French officers, his face pale and set, now got to his feet, walked to the still-living remains of what had once been a human being, held his musket to her forehead and mercifully blew her brains out.

I’m not trying to suggest that the Indians were all bad; atrocities were done on both sides. I’m only trying to show that the Leftist trope that the Indians were these peaceful, commune living, innocent, hippie types, and the white settlers just murdered them and stole their land is not just a misrepresentation of the truth, but a complete lie. Today, most Indian tribes are great people and are still very proud of their fierce, warrior tradition and prowess, and very patriotic. In both world wars, American Indians volunteered more than any other group per capita. Their great service has been honored by several presidents, most recently by President Trump.

Lie #2: Evil, greedy, white Americans stole the land from the innocent Lakota

Of course, the spotlight today shines on the Lakota Indians and Mt Rushmore. Now it is true that in a treaty, we did promise the Lakota that this particular land would be off-limits in perpetuity, but there’s much more to it than the lying Left and the Lakota are telling you. Originally, the land was occupied by the Crow Indians. The Lakota, along with the rest of the Sioux Nation, was driven off their land by the Iroquois. The idea that Indians had no concept of land ownership is absurd. The Cheyenne invaded the Crow and began to push them out, then the Lakota, seeing that the land had good hunting and fishing, decided to attack both the Cheyenne and the Crow and take the land for themselves. We were friends with the Crow; after the Lakota, killed them and stole their land, Gold was discovered in California and the California Gold Rush was on.

People flocked to California from the East over the Oregon trail that went through the Lakota territory. The Lakota didn’t like the settlers hunting game on their land as they crossed, so they murdered men, women, and children. The gov’t retaliated, and there were atrocities committed on both sides leading to a series of treaties in which, the Lakota signed away more and more of the land that they stole from the Crow.

Here come the greedy white people!

In 1873, a great depression hit, known as the Panic of 1873 occurred. It wasn’t as bad as the Great Depression half a century later, but it was bad enough to cause people to commit suicide. The nation as the name suggests was in a panic. In 1874, rumors that there was gold in them thar hills reached President Grant, who chose an egotistical idiot, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer to go check it out. Custer was supposed to keep his findings secret from the public. When Custer confirmed that there was indeed a ton of gold and silver in the Black Hills, the several reporters this idiot took with him published the news. All hell broke loose. The Left will tell you that people just flooded into the region out of greed. I won’t rule out the possibility that greedy humans existed back then, but for the most part, people flocked into the Black Hills because they were desperate. What was Grant to do then? He couldn’t possibly stop such a flood of miners, but he couldn’t legally allow them either. He tried to negotiate a deal with the Lakota, but eventually, war broke out.

We won the war, and thus, the land is ours by right of conquest. The Lakota uses this exact philosophy to justify their ownership of the land. Now, they cry foul. The money that has been offered through a bad SCOTUS decision sits collecting interest because the Lakotas refuse it as being not nearly enough (they want the land), but I can’t help but wonder what compensation they gave to the Crow, Pawnee, or Kiowa? I think it was likely just a hearty helping of, “Kiss off! We won; you lost.”

Admittedly, this was not America’s finest hour, and there were some pretty egregious policy decisions made, like the Dawes Act, but I think to cry loudly over the taking of the Lakota’s land, that they stole from the Crow and other tribes, is pretty hypocritical, and for the Left, the cry is disingenuous. The Left doesn’t care one lick about the Lakota or any Indian tribe, just like they couldn’t care less about George Floyd or any other black person. In complete violation of the 2nd formulation of Kant’s categorical imperative, they treat everyone as a means rather than an end.

Lie #3: They were just evil, slave owners

Now the other complaint about Mt. Rushmore is about who is carved on it, particularly George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, those evil slave owners. Yes, they owned slaves. So what? They make these accusations like they were slave owners in the 21st century. It was the 18th century! Slavery was ubiquitous all over the world! Washington and Jefferson, like virtually everyone else at the time, had little reason to question it.

As far as slavery went back then, slaves in North America were very fortunate compared to slaves in other parts of the world. Of the 10 to 12 million slaves taken out of Africa during the Atlantic slave trade, only about 388,000 came to North America, yet North America had far more slaves than anywhere else in the New World. Why? Because the North American slaves were relatively well-cared for. The rest were worked until they dropped, requiring continual replacements.

They weren’t just slave owners; they were radical slavery opponents

America in seed form mentioned earlier, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…,” was a relatively new idea; it was radical. As Founding Fathers, like Washington, Jefferson, and others began to be immersed in the ideal of natural rights and freedom, that was central to the American Revolution, they realized that the slaves were also men who were created equal and endowed with natural rights. Washington and Jefferson both greatly opposed slavery and were ardent proponents of abolition. So why didn’t they just run home and free all their slaves? The Left poses this as though it was just that simple. Of course, it wasn’t that simple. There were several reasons they couldn’t just free all of their slaves.

First, it was illegal. A law passed in 1723 required a special act of the assembly to free a slave. This was hard to get; so hard in fact, that only 24 slaves were manumitted between 1723 and the Revolution. In 1782, the Manumission Act was passed allowing owners to free slaves as part of their last wills and testaments. Washington freed some of his slaves on his death, including the aid that served him throughout the war. He stipulated the rest of the slaves be freed upon his wife’s death, but most of them were inherited by their children and freed later.

Second, people were afraid to free a lot of slaves at once. One of the reasons America moved away from indentured servants toward slaves was because of the unrest that went along with releasing indentured servants. Initially, only about 40% of indentured servants survived their contracts because their owners worked them to death. Those fortunate enough to survive and expecting land in compensation found that all the good land was already gobbled up by the rich land developers, leaving only crappy land in the middle of hostile Indians. So, many servants ended up in the streets with little or nothing, feeling cheated. This led to violent unrest, culminating in Bacon’s Rebellion. In comparison, slavery was considered superior in that you didn’t set them free. You might think that they were overreacting but their fears weren’t unreasonable. The Haitian slave revolt of 1791 was a great example of the civil war many feared might occur if too many slaves were freed too soon. The Black Haitians slaughtered the whites; they impaled a white infant on a stick and used them as a standard. Then the black leader told the whites in hiding to come out and they would be granted amnesty. When the whites came, they were massacred. So, yes, they were more than a little leery of freeing large numbers of slaves. Because of these concerns, many people, including Jefferson and Washington and later Lincoln, thought that colonizing blacks back to Africa was the way to go.

Finally, there was a concern for the slaves themselves. What was a field slave, who only knew how to work the cotton or tobacco fields, to do upon being freed—get a job picking cotton or tobacco? They had slaves for that. The same problem existed for house slaves many of whom would go into the towns to find employment as domestic help, and while many of them found work, many people in town also had slaves for that. The only slaves for whom there was real confidence in their ability to take care of themselves were those who knew a desirable trade skill, like a seamstress or blacksmith. Jefferson freed 2 slaves while he was alive and 5 on his death; all 7 had in-demand trade skills.

Jefferson, the abolitionist, and the rise and fall of the Southern abolition movement

Jefferson fought hard and unsuccessfully for laws allowing owners to free their slaves. He also fought for gradual abolition and for banning slavery in the western territories. More and more people’s perception of slavery began to be reformed by the ideals of the Revolution, even in the South. In his book, Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America, Thomas G. West points out that:

Textbooks are virtually silent on the substantial abolition movement undertaken by individuals in the South, where slavery remained legal. Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina changed their laws to make it easier for owners to emancipate slaves. In 1776 the number of free blacks in America was very small. The first census, taken in 1790, counted 27,000 free blacks in the North and 32,000 in the South. Because of the much larger slave populations in the South, by 1810 more Southern blacks had won their freedom through individual manumissions than northern blacks had through manumissions and abolition combined. In that year the census reported 78,000 free blacks (and 27,500 slaves) in the North, but 108,000 free blacks (and 1.2 million slaves) in the South. Delaware owners freed their slaves in such large numbers that it amounted to a near abolition. By 1810, 76 percent of Delaware blacks were free; in Maryland, free blacks numbered a substantial 23 percent.

It seems that abolition was on the rise in the South and gaining momentum. What happened? Why did abolition grind almost to a halt? My answer is that the Democratic Party came into existence, and soon after, a new ideology on blacks and slavery. This new ideology was the same ideology that the Confederacy would be founded on. The idea that all men are not created equal, that blacks are inferior to whites began to resurge. Jefferson believed that blacks were inferior to whites, but only in their faculties, not their humanity, and he acknowledged that their inferiority was likely a result of their captivity and being denied education. But Democrats began to believe that blacks were inferior to whites in their humanity; they were less human than whites, and not only inferior to whites, but that slavery was their natural state. And finally, and this is the truly radical part, slavery was good for them. I know of no other people in history that ever claimed that slavery was good for the slave.

So, what does this all mean? Have you ever wondered why we say the Democrats are the party of slavery when slavery existed long before the Democrats? It’s because slavery was on its way out in the South before the Democrats came into existence. I truly believe that had it not been for the rise of the Democrats in 1828, the South would likely have continued to follow the North’s example and completely abolished slavery in the South as the North had done, and that there would have been no need for a civil war. This would have likely lead to the industrialization of the South much sooner as well.

Conclusion

So this 4th of July, as the America-hating Left continues to spew its hateful lies about the greatest nation to ever grace the Earth, we can proudly celebrate that fact that our nation NOT founded on racism nor murder, nor theft, nor slavery, but on a radical idea that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with natural rights and that this revolutionary idea caused men to question the practice of slavery and abolish it in America and the free world. Happy 4th of July and God bless America and all who love her.

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