Michele Bachmann flubs history of slavery and the Founding Fathers

Don't know much about history.

Don't know much about history.

Michele Bachmann likes to lecture Americans about how they're just not as smart as she is when it comes to understanding the importance of the Founding Fathers and their principles.

But speaking to a group of anti-taxers in Iowa, she got her history wrong.

In extolling the notion that "all men are created equal," she said of European immigrants that, "It didn't matter the color of their skin, it didn't matter their language, it didn't matter their economic status. Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn't that remarkable?"


But the white, male founders didn't consider African slaves fully human. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and many more of the founding fathers actually owned slaves.

"We also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States," Bachmann said.

Wrong again. The Founders didn't use the word "slavery" in the Constitution, but they did enshrine its practice in the notorious Three-Fifths Compromise. They weren't around to see it abolished, either. The Emancipation Proclamation wasn't made until 1862 and the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment didn't take place until 1865. James Madison lived longer than any founder, but he died 1836.

"I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly--men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country," Bachmann said.

Yes, Adams battled slavery and "Slave Power" throughout his years as a politician. He defended the Amistad slave mutineers against deportation.

But he wasn't one of our Founding Fathers. And it would have required his resurrection to see slavery "extinguished." Born in 1767, he died in 1848.

Maybe once she's done lecturing everyone about the Constitution and how we've forgotten about the Founding Fathers, Michele Bachmann can enroll in remedial American history.

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