Is Jack Hibbs Ignorant or Lying About U.S. Founders and Slavery?

Right-wing pastor Jack Hibbs has been posting a series of “moments in history” videos on his YouTube page in an attempt to demonstrate the role that God supposedly played in the founding of the United States. His videos have been rife with falsehoods and disinformation, prompting professor John Fea—chair of the history department at Messiah College and author of the book, “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?“—to declare that he can’t tell if Hibbs is “just ignorant” or “deliberately lying.”

Hibbs, the Christian nationalist pastor at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills church and a close ally of right-wing youth organizer Charlie Kirk, released another video in the series on Thursday in which he once again put his ignorance on display.

Hibbs kicked off his video by declaring that up until 1925, it was widely acknowledged that God had played a direct role “in the formation of America.” As such, Hibbs declared, “I avoid American history that is written after 1925. I just don’t trust most of the authors because many of them are revisionists.”

That could explain why Hibbs’ videos are so full of nonsense.

For instance, Hibbs rejects the idea that many of the Founding Fathers were “rich white guys who were slave owners,” insisting instead they were forced to own slaves due to inheritance and “took very good care of their slaves” by providing them with food, clothing, and shelter while simultaneously working to abolish slavery.

“The southern states had slaves,” Hibbs said. “Now many of those slaves—not all—many of those slaves were inherited by some of our Founding Fathers. For example, Jefferson inherited his slaves. Washington inherited his slaves from his family. Before you call them rich white guys who were slave owners, you need to finish the sentence: They were rich white guys who were slave owners who clothed, fed, and in many cases took very good care of their slaves, while at the same time juggling two worlds; as ‘I need to take care of these people because if I throw them out, they’ll starve to death and or be captured or killed. But on the other hand, I need to work toward their freedom.'”

Both Jefferson and Washington owned hundreds of slaves, many acquired though marriage and inheritance, but also through their own purchases. As author Ron Chernow wrote in his Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Washington, the first president “purchased slaves aggressively.”

Hibbs’ attempt to explain the origins of the Constitution’s Three-Fifths clause was even worse.

‘You know the argument about, ‘Well, they only believed that a Black man was three-fifths of a human,'” Hibbs sneered. “You need to read why they got that. They agreed to that because the boneheads down south, they didn’t want a Black individual to count at all! So the northern states, the northern colonies said, ‘OK, will you at least give us this?’ ‘All right. We’re not happy about it [but] we’ll give you three-fifths.’ Think about that. You got to start somewhere.”

That is literally exactly the opposite of what happened. During the debate over how to allocate congressional representation during the Constitutional Convention, it was the southern delegates who wanted slaves to be counted when it came to apportionment and northern delegates who objected, insisting that slaves should not be counted at all.

After all, argued northern delegates, since slaves were considered property in the south and had no representation in southern legislatures, why should they be counted when apportioning representation in the federal government?

As Harvard history professor Michael Klarman explained in his book, “The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution“:

Given that they were creating a new government in which representation in the House of Representatives would be based on population, southern delegates wanted the slaves in their states counted because it would increase their presence and power in Congress, while northern states opposed it for precisely the same reason. Eventually, a compromise was reached in which representation as well as direct taxes would be apportioned “by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

Amazingly, after delivering a presentation filled with distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsehoods, Hibbs had the gall to warn his viewers to be careful about who they listen to because “there’s a lot of really stupid people today.”

“They’re really loud,” Hibbs said. “They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

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