Constitutionally, Slavery Is No National Institution

The war settled this central question on the side of Lincoln and Douglass. Yet the myth that the United States was founded on racial slavery persists, notably among scholars and activists on the left who are rightly angry at America’s racist past. The myth, ironically, has led advocates for social justice to reject Lincoln’s and Douglass’s view of the Constitution in favor of Calhoun’s. And now the myth threatens to poison the current presidential campaign. The United States, Bernie Sanders has charged, ‘in many ways was created, and I’m sorry to have to say this, from way back, on racist principles, that’s a fact.’

But as far as the nation’s founding is concerned, it is not a fact, as Lincoln and Douglass explained. It is one of the most destructive falsehoods in all of American history.
— Sean Wilentz

I responded to Wilentz's essay in a brief series of posts on Twitter, beginning here.