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Harry V. Jaffa

Data de nascimento: 7. Outubro 1918
Data de falecimento: 10. Janeiro 2015

Harry Victor Jaffa was an American political philosopher, historian, columnist and professor. He was a professor emeritus at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University and a distinguished fellow of the Claremont Institute. Robert P. Kraynak says his "life work was to develop an American application of Leo Strauss's revival of natural-right philosophy against the relativism and nihilism of our times."Jaffa wrote on topics ranging from Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas to Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and natural law. He has been published in the Claremont Review of Books, the Review of Politics, National Review, and the New York Times. His most famous work, Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, written in 1959, has been described as "the greatest Lincoln book ever."Jaffa was a formative influence on the American conservative movement, challenging notable conservative thinkers including Russell Kirk, Richard M. Weaver, and Willmoore Kendall on Abraham Lincoln and the founding of the United States. He debated Robert Bork on American constitutionalism. He died in 2015.

Citações Harry V. Jaffa

„Nor is its influence by any means at an end“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

Fonte: 2000s, A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War (2000), p. 223
Contexto: This remarkable address conveys, more than any other contemporary document, not only the soul of the Confederacy but also of that Jim Crow South that arose from the ashes of the Confederacy. From the end of Reconstruction until after World War II, the idea of racial inequality gripped the territory of the former Confederacy, and not only of the former Confederacy, more profoundly than it had done under slavery. Nor is its influence by any means at an end. Stephens's prophecy of the Confederacy's future resembles nothing so much as Hitler's prophecies of the Thousand-Year Reich. Nor are their theories very different. Stephens, unlike Hitler, spoke only of one particular race as inferior. But the principle of racial domination, once established, can easily be extended to fit the convenience of the self-anointed master race or class, whoever it may be.

„The events of this story are morally indefensible. But the greed that motivated the human actors—excluding of course the slaves themselves—was so overwhelming as to be irresistible. It is impossible for us today who condemn the slave trade to imagine any effective opposition to it in the 17th century. A parallel in our time would be the unstoppable trade in narcotics. We can't stop the supply because we can't stop the demand. To the limitless demand for labor in the new world the slave trade was a limitless response. Like drugs today, laws against it were powerless, because the profits were so great.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

Opposition to the slave trade did come in time, in the principles of the American Revolution, but not before slavery had formed deep roots in the economy and polity of the United States. The foreign slave trade was outlawed by the United States in 1808, and it was made a capital crime in 1820, but the trade continued right up until the Civil War. It is good however to remind ourselves that no black slave was sold to a white slave trader, on the west coast of Africa, who had not already been enslaved by a black African. Slavery was an equal opportunity employer!
2000s, God Bless America (2008), Slavery and the Human Story

„What led manyness nearly to destroy oneness was the presence of slavery in many of the states.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, Is Diversity Good? (2003)
Contexto: The motto of the United States is "e pluribus unum", or "from many, one." Originally, this referred to the one union formed from the many states. It became the motto of the country because we had to fight a great civil war to prevent the manyness of the states from destroying the oneness of the union. What led manyness nearly to destroy oneness was the presence of slavery in many of the states. The diversity that tolerated the difference between slavery and freedom had become intolerable. A crisis had been reached in which, according to the greatest American, the house divided had to cease being divided. It had to become either all free or all slave.

„But the Fugitive Slave Clause is in the Constitution, and Lincoln thought that any refusal to implement the right clearly defined in the Constitution would justify secession. You can't pick and choose which parts of the Constitution you like. Once you do that, then the Constitution is simply, as Jefferson said once, "a blank sheet of paper."“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, The Real Abraham Lincoln: A Debate (2002), Q&A
Contexto: DiLorenzo thinks that it is a reflection on Lincoln's anti-slavery character that he supported the Fugitive Slave Act. But the Fugitive Slave Clause is in the Constitution, and Lincoln thought that any refusal to implement the right clearly defined in the Constitution would justify secession. You can't pick and choose which parts of the Constitution you like. Once you do that, then the Constitution is simply, as Jefferson said once, "a blank sheet of paper." Jefferson said that when he was contemplating purchasing Louisiana. And having said that by purchasing it he would make the Constitution a blank sheet of paper, he went ahead and purchased Louisiana.

„In no way did such condemnation imply a justification of slavery itself“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

Fonte: 2000s, A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War (2000), p. 211
Contexto: [S]lavery existed among the Americans largely because of the action of the crown. For the king to have been complicit in the importation of slaves into America and then to have attempted to use them in a war against their masters merited condemnation in its own right. In no way did such condemnation imply a justification of slavery itself.

„Slavery was lawful in every one of the original thirteen states. There was accordingly nothing remarkable in the fact that slavery was not abolished immediately on independence. What is remarkable is that a slave-owning nation would declare that all men are created equal, and thereby make the abolition of slavery a moral and political necessity. To accomplish that task would not be easy“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, God Bless America (2008), Slavery and the Human Story
Contexto: But one may ask, how is it that slavery, or any other form of invidious discrimination, has played so great a role in American history? How could a nation, dedicated at its birth to the proposition that all men are created equal, have tolerated slavery and its effects so long? If we look to the long history of mankind, however, we will ask a different question. Slavery was lawful in every one of the original thirteen states. There was accordingly nothing remarkable in the fact that slavery was not abolished immediately on independence. What is remarkable is that a slave-owning nation would declare that all men are created equal, and thereby make the abolition of slavery a moral and political necessity. To accomplish that task would not be easy. We need to see the dimensions of that task to appreciate its difficulty.

„They were breaking from the law of Great Britain“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, The Real Abraham Lincoln: A Debate (2002), The Right of Secession Is Not the Right of Revolution
Contexto: Colonists did not, at this point, claim any privileges under the law of Great Britain. They were breaking from the law of Great Britain. They were appealing instead to the laws of nature and of nature’s God. And it was under those laws that they had the right to resist oppression.

„The central idea of the American Founding—and indeed of constitutional government and the rule of law—was the equality of mankind“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, The Central Idea (2006)
Contexto: According to Abraham Lincoln, public opinion always has a central idea from which all its minor thoughts radiate. The central idea of the American Founding—and indeed of constitutional government and the rule of law—was the equality of mankind. This thought is central to all of Lincoln's speeches and writings, from 1854 until his election as president in 1860. It is immortalized in the Gettysburg Address.

„In the decade from the Declaration to the Constitution every state north of the Mason Dixon line, and north of the Ohio River, either abolished slavery or adopted measures leading to abolition.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

But in 1793 the cotton gin was invented, shortly after the power loom in England. This was the onset of the industrial revolution. Almost overnight, a new industry or rather a series of new industries, proliferating worldwide, was born. It began with the growing of cotton but was followed by its manufacture into a wide variety of products, especially cotton cloth and cotton clothing. Suddenly, slave labor became vastly more profitable. In the decade before the Civil War, the value of slaves doubled. Once again, greed overwhelmed all other motives. From being regarded as a temporary evil, as it was at the founding, slavery came to be regarded as a positive—and permanent—good.
2000s, God Bless America (2008), Slavery and the American Cause

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„You can not have free government if you can not bind the people who participate in the government to accept the results of the election.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, The Real Abraham Lincoln: A Debate (2002), Q&A
Contexto: You can not have free government if you can not bind the people who participate in the government to accept the results of the election. It is the exercise of our inalienable right to life that enables us, and justifies us, in forming legitimate governments. When those governments are formed, we cannot reject them because we don’t like the results.

„But South Carolina does not repeat the preceding language in the earlier document: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

Fonte: 2000s, A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War (2000), p. 231
Contexto: South Carolina cites, loosely, but with substantial accuracy, some of the language of the original Declaration. That Declaration does say that it is the right of the people to abolish any form of government that becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established. But South Carolina does not repeat the preceding language in the earlier document: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'.

„Negroes, whether free or slave, have always seen America itself as the promised land. Both Christianity and the Declaration of Independence embodied promise to all men. They saw no better or equal hope anywhere else, and certainly not in Africa“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

Fonte: 2000s, A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War (2000), p. 164
Contexto: There is a further and deeper reason why colonization failed and why all subsequent attempts to return Americans of African descent to Africa, even those originating solely within the black community, have failed. The reason is that the overwhelming majority of these Americans regard their destiny to be in the United States. They were, after all, sold into slavery originally by black tribesmen, who captured them in order to sell them, and who slaughtered the ones they did not sell. No resent of slavery, however profound, engendered any love of a mythical African homeland. To have asked them to return to Africa was not unlike asking American Jews whose parents or grandparents fled czarist or Stalinist tyranny to return to Russia. However involuntary their emigration from Africa, American Negroes, whether free or slave, have always seen America itself as the promised land. Both Christianity and the Declaration of Independence embodied promise to all men. They saw no better or equal hope anywhere else, and certainly not in Africa. The truth is that the slaves, ignorant and illiterate as they may have seemed, were far from unintelligent. The Bible that they heard about, even if they were not allowed to read it, contained stories that convinced them that the same God that had freed the children of Israel would free them. Jefferson Davis might have thought this to be mere credulity. Yet it certainly compared favorably with his own absurd reading of the story of Noah.

„From that perspective, it was now for never or Southern independence, if slavery was to be preserved“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, The Speech That Changed the World (2009)
Contexto: The South knew that it would never in future possess the same power relative to the North that it did in 1861. From that perspective, it was now for never or Southern independence, if slavery was to be preserved.

„DiLorenzo thinks that slavery was not the real issue in the Civil War, that it was the Whig economic program. Banks, tariffs, internal improvements, and what he calls corporate welfare. And he thinks that the slavery question was really only a sham that was not the real question; it was not the real issue. That's very strange for anybody reading the Lincoln-Douglas debates, since the subject of tariffs was never mentioned.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, The Real Abraham Lincoln: A Debate (2002), The South was a Closed Society
Contexto: DiLorenzo thinks that slavery was not the real issue in the Civil War, that it was the Whig economic program. Banks, tariffs, internal improvements, and what he calls corporate welfare. And he thinks that the slavery question was really only a sham that was not the real question; it was not the real issue. That's very strange for anybody reading the Lincoln-Douglas debates, since the subject of tariffs was never mentioned. The only time the word is used, I think, is when Douglas says that the tariff was one of the questions that the two parties used to discuss. But the only subject discussed in the Lincoln-Douglas debates was slavery in the territories.

„It was a terrible war. The idea that the cost of the war is due to Lincoln is simply absurd. It was a terrible war because the country was deeply divided, and the question of the future of the nation, whether or not it would be based upon principles recognized as principles of individual liberty, or whether the idea of one race dominating another race would be accepted as a means for governance.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, The Real Abraham Lincoln: A Debate (2002), Q&A
Contexto: It was a terrible war. The idea that the cost of the war is due to Lincoln is simply absurd. It was a terrible war because the country was deeply divided, and the question of the future of the nation, whether or not it would be based upon principles recognized as principles of individual liberty, or whether the idea of one race dominating another race would be accepted as a means for governance. Let me just read one short statement here that might interest you. "Since the Civil War, in which the Southern States were conquered, against all historical logic and sound sense, the American people have been in a condition of political and popular decay.... The beginnings of a great new social order based on the principle of slavery and inequality were destroyed by that war, and with them also the embryo of a future truly great America." That has been the position of defenders of the Confederacy from Alexander Stephens through Thomas DiLorenzo. Do you know the man who said that was Adolf Hitler?

„In its first sentence, the Second Continental Congress affirmed without equivocation that the idea of the ownership of some human beings by other human beings was an utter absurdity, and that to think otherwise was incompatible with reason or revelation. Thus from the outset—a year before the Declaration of Independence—the American people were committed to the antislavery cause, and to the inseparability of personal freedom and free government. The American people knew from the outset that the cause of their own freedom and that of the slaves was inseparable. This would become the message that Abraham Lincoln would bring to the American people, and to the world“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, God Bless America (2008), Slavery and the American Cause
Contexto: The Declaration of the causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms, on July 6, 1775, was the very first occasion for the American people to speak to the world with a single voice. In its first sentence, the Second Continental Congress affirmed without equivocation that the idea of the ownership of some human beings by other human beings was an utter absurdity, and that to think otherwise was incompatible with reason or revelation. Thus from the outset—a year before the Declaration of Independence—the American people were committed to the antislavery cause, and to the inseparability of personal freedom and free government. The American people knew from the outset that the cause of their own freedom and that of the slaves was inseparable. This would become the message that Abraham Lincoln would bring to the American people, and to the world, for all time.

„If a Southerner came across from Virginia to Pennsylvania and saw a black man that he thought he would like to have as a slave, he had to say, 'Well, that’s my runaway slave', and this runaway slave would then be arrested and confined, and then there would be a hearing before a federal commissioner. And the would-be slave owner could summon witnesses—as many as he wanted. The man accused of being a slave could summon no witnesses, had no counsel. And if the federal commissioner decided he was a slave, he was paid $10, and if he decided he was a free man, he was paid $5. It’s hard to imagine any law passed in either Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia that was more inconsistent with the principles of civil liberty than the Fugitive Slave Act.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, The Real Abraham Lincoln: A Debate (2002), The South was a Closed Society
Contexto: There were eight of them that had laws trying to protect black people who were free from being kidnapped as slaves, because under the law of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act. If a Southerner came across from Virginia to Pennsylvania and saw a black man that he thought he would like to have as a slave, he had to say, 'Well, that’s my runaway slave', and this runaway slave would then be arrested and confined, and then there would be a hearing before a federal commissioner. And the would-be slave owner could summon witnesses—as many as he wanted. The man accused of being a slave could summon no witnesses, had no counsel. And if the federal commissioner decided he was a slave, he was paid $10, and if he decided he was a free man, he was paid $5. It’s hard to imagine any law passed in either Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia that was more inconsistent with the principles of civil liberty than the Fugitive Slave Act.

„It was nearly inevitable that someone would turn to tribal Africa for some, at least, of this labor. It is paradoxical but true that a large measure of the labor that turned America into a sanctuary for freedom came from slavery. The slave trade that developed between North America and the west coast of Africa is one of the great horror stories of western civilization“

—  Harry V. Jaffa

2000s, God Bless America (2008), Slavery and the Human Story
Contexto: Slavery came to the English colonies in North America in the 17th century because the colonists found themselves in possession of a vast continent, needing only cultivation to make it the homes of millions of free, prosperous, God-fearing human beings. Those who came from Europe would be refugees from the tyranny and oppression of feudalism, divine right monarchy, and religious intolerance. But converting this vast wilderness into cultivated lands required labor. It was nearly inevitable that someone would turn to tribal Africa for some, at least, of this labor. It is paradoxical but true that a large measure of the labor that turned America into a sanctuary for freedom came from slavery. The slave trade that developed between North America and the west coast of Africa is one of the great horror stories of western civilization. It resulted also from the unlimited greed of the African chiefs who enslaved their brother Africans, and then sold them to white slave traders. They in turn sold them, for vast profits, into the new world.

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