US senator defends remarks on slavery - 2020-07-27
Tom Cotton this weekend managed to insert himself in the middle of the roiling controversy by saying that the nation's founders viewed slavery as a "necessary evil" and put it on a course to extinction - assertions that are both highly contentious.
While some early leaders viewed the continued existence of slavery as necessary, and others saw it as evil, there was little overlap between the two perspectives. And as for ending the practice, while the Constitution allowed the outlawing of the US slave trade in 1808, slavery was woven into the document - most notably in how slaves ("all other persons") were counted for congressional representation.
In the end, it took a war to dismantle the institution of slavery in the US. If the founders had indeed set the practice on a course to extinction, it turned out to be a bloody one whose lasting consequences remain to this day.