America Can Give Me Chills. Good Chills. And Then Sad Tears.

Thanks to @warnercrocker

Join the Army and Choose Whichever God You Like

Every August, the oldest synagogue in the United States celebrates the fact that George Washington hated tolerance.

In 1790, a couple of months after Rhode Island became the last state to ratify the Constitution, Moses Seixas of Touro Synagogue in Newport wrote his president a nice note about what a relief it was to live in a republic “deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language, equal parts of the great governmental Machine.”

Washington replied to Seixas and his brethren, “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.” Tolerance, he meant, was small, petty and obsolete because they lived in a big new country where citizens stood side by side. For the United States government, he wrote, “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” He added, “Every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Wonderful.

And yet: George Washington and slavery.

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