[Content Note: References to slavery; religious supremacy.]

Former Republican Senator and current head of the Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint has no fucking idea what he's talking about:
Well, the reason that the slaves were eventually freed was the Constitution, it was like the conscience of the American people. Unfortunately there were some court decisions like Dred Scott and others that defined some people as property, but the Constitution kept calling us back to 'all men are created equal and we have inalienable rights' in the minds of God. But a lot of the move to free the slaves came from the people; it did not come from the federal government. It came from a growing movement among the people, particularly people of faith, that this was wrong. People like Wilberforce who persisted for years because of his faith and because of his love for people. So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God.
Pretty much every single thing about this is wrong.
DeMint seemed to confuse the US Constitution with the Declaration of Independence and implied that William Wilberforce, a British politician who died almost thirty years before the Civil War, did more to end American slavery than the federal government.

...Of course, the Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment was initiated by the federal government.

Historian Michael Les Benedict notes that Republicans at the time advocated a "nationalist" view of the Constitution, unlike "the largely state-rights Democratic party." Abraham Lincoln's critics, historian Don E. Fehrenbacher points out, pilloried him as a "tyrant" who was "bringing about destruction of the old Union of sovereign states and setting the nation on the road to totalitarianism" by "subverting the rights and powers of the states." Confederate leaders insisted that the Civil War was a "war waged by the Federal Government against the seceding States."

Lincoln, in fact, greatly expanded the role of the federal government and signed into law the first federal progressive income tax.
Also: There is, in fact, a tendency to overstate the role of the federal government (and the personal role of President Lincoln) in ending slavery, to the diminishment of abolitionists—especially black abolitionists—and their activism.

But of course they are not the people of whom DeMint is speaking. He's telling the same old White Savior tale, but crediting "the [white] people" with "freeing the slaves" instead of just one [white] president.

And all the mirthless laughter in the entire multiverse at the idea that "a love in [one's] heart that comes from god" was responsible for ending slavery. While there were absolutely religious people—again: including black abolitionists—who advocated freedom because they believed their faith exhorted it, there were also countless people who advocated against freedom using the exact same religious texts.

This is literally like someone a century from now arguing that President Obama personally engineered marriage equality with the help of straight religious people who had Jesus-love in their hearts.

Which will definitely happen. And I'm glad I won't be around to have to listen to it.

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