People tell us that the Founding Fathers of the United States were horrible, terrible men. And because they were horrible, terrible men we should dismiss everything they said and everything they did because it was all “tainted” with their being horrible, terrible men.
Were they such horrible, terrible men? Well, by modern standards to a large extent, they were. Many of them were slave owners, and if there was a black mark on the history of the United States, slave owning was it. Some of them were culpable in driving natives from their lands and in the near extermination if not outright extermination of some native peoples. Most of the rest were virulently racist and sexist by modern standards.
Of course, they did not live by modern standards. They did not have the advantage of further centuries of development in philosophical thought. They were near the beginning when people were…
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