Antifa, BLM, Frederick Douglass, and Defense of the Constitution
By Dennis Jamison – June 30, 2020
The fundamental premise for the morphed, vengeful and vicious creature roaming inner city streets and terrorizing good people is that systemic racism exists today in America. An irony is that this sudden rise or release of anger among the vocal realm of anarchists and Marxists is also responsible for the destruction of property and the vandalism of statues and other monuments devoted to remembering the history of the United States. Another irony in such outbursts is that people who do not really know history, or have no regard for it, are dictating to people what is important about America’s history.
A recent effort to remove the Abraham Lincoln Emancipation Memorial in the nation’s capital, as well as a similar effort targeting a twin-type statue in Boston is now underway because it offends some Black activists. Last Tuesday in Madison, Wisconsin, a statue of abolitionist Col. Hans Christian Heg was torn down. The statue of Heg had stood in front of the Wisconsin Capitol since 1925. The irony is that Heg, an immigrant from Norway, at one time belonged to the Free Soil Party that opposed the expansion of “systemic racism” known as slavery into the western states. He also belonged to an anti-slave catcher militia known as the “wide-awakes.” He also served in the Union Army fighting Confederates and died to defeat “systemic racism” and help free the slaves.
Those responsible for tearing down this statue provide examples of activists who care little for history, yet dictate to American citizens what is important to believe about America’s history. Anarchists, Antifa, and militant BLM operatives are really “Brown Shirts”—useful for terrorizing innocent and law-abiding people. Current rioting is not about “systemic racism.” The recent targeting and destruction of statues is simply a prelude to destroying America’s system of government. The statues are simply symbols. The real targets are the Constitution and the fundamental principles underlying the founding.
Today, Brown Shirts serve the same function as the Ku Klux Klan founded after the Civil War as a necessity for the defeated Democrat Party (the Confederates) to have a means to enforce “systemic racism” over ex-slaves. The Klan served the same function as the “overseer” and his crew who kept slaves obedient and subservient during the “systemic racism” maintained by Democrat state governments from Maryland to Mississippi. Yet, some slaves escaped the plantations into the North where they were relatively safe as the fugitive slave laws were not usually enforced.
One of the greatest of those escaped slaves was Frederick Douglass, who managed to escape from Maryland into Pennsylvania. While a slave, Douglass became quite familiar with the “systemic racism” of the white Democrat power structure justifying his bondage.
From Douglass, those who truly care about history, can know the truth about “systemic racism” AKA slavery. In his autobiography, Douglass reveals that he physically fought three overseers while a slave. But, when he finally escaped from slavery, he eventually realized that abolitionists would use him for their own agendas. And, when he wanted to pursue his own agenda, Douglass had to break free from the mental manipulation of William Lloyd Garrison.
Douglass and Garrison met at an anti-slavery convention on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts In 1841. At the convention, Douglass was impressed with Garrison, who at the time was publishing The Liberator newspaper, one of the most potent abolitionist newspapers in the nation. The men became colleagues, and Garrison became a sort of mentor to Douglass. They gradually developed a symbiotic relationship, and Douglass ultimately joined the American Anti-Slavery Society as a public speaker. He was sent out on lecture circuits because he was able to serve as a prime witness about his personal ordeals as a slave, or speak out against the evils of slavery as an institution.
Yet, as Douglass read and studied more, he ultimately matured in political thought. He became aware of other abolitionists, and he eventually pulled away from Garrison’s orbit of persuasion, especially regarding Garrison’s anti-Constitution views. Garrison, was an ardent abolitionist, but possessed a strong antipathy toward the U.S. Constitution as he believed it sanctioned slavery. He even went so far as to publicly burn copies of the document. At one time, Garrison generated a public resolution denouncing the Constitution because he saw it as a document that sanctioned a criminal activity called slavery. The resolution was adopted by the American Anti-Slavery Society. Additionally, on January 27, 1843, Garrison specifically charged that “The compact which exists between the North and the South is a covenant with death and an agreement with hell.”
Douglass, influenced by Garrison’s opinions regarding the Constitution, had developed a negative view of the Law of the land. Yet, Douglass would break from Garrison’s views as he evolved in his personal position regarding the Constitution. In fact, Douglass made one of the most dramatic changes in position regarding the value of the Constitution in the years prior to the Civil War. Douglass was willing to publicly debate abolitionists in support of the Constitution. He debated specifically with Gerrit Smith and Lysander Spooner.
In 1846, Spooner wrote a book titled The Unconstitutionality of Slavery. In it, he proposed the opposite view of Garrison, and he expressed that the Founders had not deliberately legalized slavery. Eventually, Douglass made public a dramatic change of opinion about the Constitution in his newspaper, and later in a public speech, he proclaimed it as “a glorious liberty document.”
If anyone still doubted the new position Douglass had adopted, he made his views crystal clear in a speech he gave on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York. James Colaiaco, in his book Frederick Douglass and the Fourth of July, makes the point that this speech given to the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society is arguably the most powerful abolition speech of the time. Colaiaco examines this shift in the thinking of Douglass regarding the Constitution, and he dissects the speech in which Douglass made a serious challenge to America to resolve the seeming contradiction between slavery and the country’s founding documents. This speech was powerful and has been dramatically revived and publicly presented in recent years.
Over 150 years ago, America fought with itself over its own identity as a nation, as it is today. The Constitution was essentially at the heart of the struggle, as it is today. The leaders of Antifa and militant BLM gangs want to destroy the bedrock of the nation. If America could survive dogmatists who burned our Constitution long before, it will in this day. In that divisive time, incredible men and women, people like Frederick Douglass, rose to the challenge during a great divisive crisis. Patriots then recognized the weight, substance and power of the Founding Fathers’ words. We would honor them today by reminding one another of the true identity of the U.S.A. Then, they truly fought to carry the promise of the Land of the Free on into the future. As the Constitution comes under attack today, incredible men and women must rise to the challenge.