Maybe Jim DeMint has never heard of the American Civil War. DeMint, the president of the conservative Heritage Foundation and former Republican senator from South Carolina, was a guest on a radio show last week and told the host that “the conscience of the American people” freed the slaves in the 1860’s, not “big government.” According to DeMint:
Well the reason that the slaves were eventually freed was the Constitution, it was like the conscience of the American people.Unfortunately there were some court decisions like Dred Scott and others that defined some people as property, but the Constitution kept calling us back to ‘all men are created equal and we have inalienable rights’ in the minds of God. But a lot of the move to free the slaves came from the people, it did not come from the federal government. It came from a growing movement among the people, particularly people of faith, that this was wrong. People like Wilberforce who persisted for years because of his faith and because of his love for people. So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God.
Now, there’s always been debate over what the most significant factors were in ending the period of American slavery but few people dispute that the government and the Civil War had a huge impact. Roland Martin and the “NewsOne Now” panel tackled the news Thursday on the show. Listen!