Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America's Founding Fathers

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Revolutionary America was a place of extraordinary paradox. America's Founding Fathers were men
yearning for a nation of individual liberty and unprecedented independence. Thomas Jefferson
expressed this desire for freedom from England in the Declaration of Independence in 1776 by writing:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Indeed the phrase "all men are created equal" is the most powerful ideal that comes out of the
American Revolution. But, at the time of the writing of this phrase, the origins of America were already
seeded with a cruel paradox because many of the liberty-loving Southern Founding Fathers were also
slave owners — including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington James Madison and Patrick Henry.

But in examining this paradox, should we consider the 18th century culture into which the Founding
Fathers were born? Further, why did the anti-slavery Northern Founders compromise with the
slave-owning Southern Founders regarding slavery before ratifying the U.S. Constitution?

Travel with us back in time to better understand the men responsible for America’s greatest victories—
and most heinous sins. Watch as “Liberty & Slavery” explores the paradox of America’s Founding Fathers
being champions of liberty — and yet simultaneously champions of slavery.

Film Runtime: 85 minutes

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Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America's Founding Fathers

Revolutionary America was a place of extraordinary paradox. America's Founding Fathers were men
yearning for a nation of individual liberty and unprecedented independence. Thomas Jefferson
expressed this desire for freedom from England in the Declaration of Independence in 1776 by writing:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Indeed the phrase "all men are created equal" is the most powerful ideal that comes out of the
American Revolution. But, at the time of the writing of this phrase, the origins of America were already
seeded with a cruel paradox because many of the liberty-loving Southern Founding Fathers were also
slave owners — including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington James Madison and Patrick Henry.

But in examining this paradox, should we consider the 18th century culture into which the Founding
Fathers were born? Further, why did the anti-slavery Northern Founders compromise with the
slave-owning Southern Founders regarding slavery before ratifying the U.S. Constitution?

Travel with us back in time to better understand the men responsible for America’s greatest victories—
and most heinous sins. Watch as “Liberty & Slavery” explores the paradox of America’s Founding Fathers
being champions of liberty — and yet simultaneously champions of slavery.

Film Runtime: 85 minutes

2 Videos

  • Liberty & Slavery Teaser Trailer

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  • Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America's Founding Fathers

    1h 25m · Streamable only