Don't Know Much

Who Said it? (3/13/2017)

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Another of my wishes is to depend as little as possible on the labour of slaves.

Answer: James Madison, Letter to R. H. Lee, July 17, 1785

Another of my wishes is to depend as little as possible on the labour of slaves.
— James Madison, Letter to R. H. Lee, July 17, 1785

Source: “What the founders said about slavery” George Mason University

James Madison was born on March 16, 1751.

Like many of the Founders, Madison had reservations about slavery as a contradiction to this ideals, but did little to end the institution. He knew that the three-fifths compromise that allowed for the counting of the enslaved would be significant in maintaining the power of the slaveholding states.  Madison hoped that slavery would end after the foreign trade was abolished –in 1808– but believed that enslaved African-Americans should be emancipated and returned to Africa — a policy known as “Colonization.”

Madison’s support of the electoral system and the advantage it gave slaveholding states is laid out in this essay by Yale professor Akhil Reed Amar “The real reason the Electoral College Exists.”

James Madison’s Montpelier has recently posted this article: “Slavery, the Constitution, and a Lasting Legacy.

Read more about Madison in these books:

Don't Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion Paperback-April 15, 2014)

Don’t Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion Paperback-April 15, 2014)

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