1700 Congressmen Owned Slaves; Shocking US Report Finds

Published January 11th, 2022 - 12:56 GMT
US Congress
US Congress. (Al-Bawaba)
The first congresswomen to serve in the Senate was a former slaveholder.

A Washington post report released on Monday highlighted a list of more than 1,700 congressmen who once enslaved black people. The list contains names of officials who served from the foundation days of the country until long after the Civil War.

The report which covers the 18th, 19th and 120th centuries shows that over 1,700 people who served in the US Congress were either former or current slave owners and owned human beings at some point in their lives.

The 1,715 lawmakers were determined to have represented 37 different states, including states in the South, every state in New England, as well as states in the Midwest and the West, the Washington Post’s analysis mentioned.

Furthermore, it says that for the first 18 years of American lawmaking, from 1789 to 1807, over half of the men picked to stand in the Congress sessions were slaveholders.

Senator Edward Lloyd V of Maryland is estimated to have enslaved 468 people in 1832. In fact, Maryland is the homeland of the African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass who was once a slave.

What was more shocking is that one of the US congressmen, called Sen. Elias Kent Kane, tried to legalize slavery in Illinois state in 1820 and that the first congresswoman to serve in the Senate was a former slaveholder. Rebecca Felton of Georgia took the oath of office on November 21, 1922 and after slavery’s end, she continued to support the lynching of Black men, whom she called “beasts.”

The post also added that the most common political affiliation among enslavers was the Democratic Party revealing that 606 Democrats in Congress were slaveholders.

Furthermore, during the Civil War, the Congress voted on the 13th Amendment, which added a ban on slavery to the U.S. Constitution, nine men who had been slaveholders remained in the Senate and only three of them voted to approve the amendment, while 35 out of 40 non-slaveholders voted yes.

Not only congressmen held people as slaves, the report stated that of the first 18 U.S. presidents, 12 were enslavers, including eight during their presidencies.

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