George Stephanopoulos to Michele Bachmann:
The Pulitzer Prize winning Web site, Politifact, has found that you have the worst record of making false statements of any of the leading contenders. And I wondered if you wanted to take a chance to clear up some of your past statements. For example earlier this year you said that the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence worked tirelessly to end slavery. Now with respect, Congresswoman, that’s just not true. Many of them including Jefferson and Washington were actually slave holders and slavery didn’t end until the Civil War.
Perhaps Mr. Stephanopoulos would be interested to read Mr. Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence, which said of King George:
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 & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them by murdering the people on 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.
Note that the rage is against both slavery and the slave trade ('this execrable commerce'). The Declaration committee thought this passage was, in the words of John Adams, the Declaration's finest. But perhaps Mr. Steph..(etc). doesn't understand the words 'opprobrium' and 'execrable'. Bet he knows 'prostituted', though....
(BTW, Jefferson's will freed his own slaves and Washington's will freed his upon the death of his wife. No small progress, but they were hypocrites, no doubt.)