Visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy finalist Thomas Krannawitter visited campus Tuesday to lecture about what he said were misconceptions in Americans’ attitudes toward slavery.
In his talk, titled “The Problem of Slavery in the American Founding,” Krannawitter argued that Americans should be proud of America’s past regarding slavery because the Civil War, the long and bloody conflict, was fought to end it.
“The problem of slavery, rather than being something of which America should be ashamed, should be considered something that makes America great,” Krannawitter said.
He said Americans should focus on the bright side, the efforts of the founding fathers to rid the country of slavery, rather than the fact that America used to be a place where owning people was accepted.
“The period from 1776 to 1800 was the greatest anti-slavery movement in all of human history,” Krannawitter said.
The existence of slavery contradicted the ideals the USA was founded on, Krannawitter said, and right away the founding fathers set out to rectify the situation.
“Before the ink was dry on the Declaration of Independence, slavery became a problem,” Krannawitter said. Slavery was “abhorrent” and there is no moral defense for it, so Americans should be proud of abolishing it.
“[The Civil War] is remarkable. Nowhere else in the world had anything like that happened,” Krannawitter said. Americans’ negative attitudes toward slavery have affected the modern political and social spheres.
“In the political world, references to slavery occur about as often as the rising and setting of the sun,” Krannawitter said.
Combining justice with consent, as in the case of America consenting to end slavery, is the fundamental political problem of the modern era.
“It is hard for some Americans to look at people and see them as people rather than races—and making all kinds of social and political judgments about them,” Krannawitter said.
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Sam Klomhaus at Samuel.Klomhaus@Colorado.edu.