Keeping the Liberties of Some People Safe


One of the Mises Institute Daily Articles for Thursday was Gary Galles’s Keeping the Liberties of the People Safe, a short article about Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794), a pro-Independence member of the Continental Congress who later became an anti-Federalist in the debate over the United States Constitution. The body of the article itself mostly consists of a fragmentary list of pull-quotes about liberty, power, and government. But here’s the article summary (which you’ll see if you search for the article in Google, or if you read it in a feed reader):

Keeping the Liberties of the People Safe

Richard Henry Lee is best known for the June 7, 1776, motion calling for the colonies’ independence from Great Britain, which led to the Declaration of Independence. As a consistent advocate of liberty, he also opposed the Constitution.

As a consistent advocate of liberty, Richard Henry Lee also enslaved more than 60 men, women and children on the plantation he governed at Chantilly, Virginia.[1]

Here’s something — quoted approvingly by Gary Galles in the Mises Daily article — that the slave-driving hypocrite Richard Henry Lee wrote about liberty while he was living off the forced labor of dozens of captive black slaves:

[W]e ought not to lodge [powers] as evidently to give one order of men in the community undue advantages over others; or commit the many to the mercy, prudence, and moderation of the few.

Well, yeah.

See also:

  1. [1]Cf. J. Kent McGaughy (2004), Richard Henry Lee of Virginia: a portrait of an American revolutionary (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield), p. 61

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