America was born with political “birth defects” that include: a “racial birth defect, a class birth defect, a gender birth defect, and a religious birth defect. The racial birth defect is manifested in the ideology of white supremacy and slavery based on skin color. Even after slavery, slavery by another name was enforced all the way until the 1960s by putting a few choice words in the 13th Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, . . . .” However, the part that says, “except as a punishment for crime . . .” is what the southern states used to frame blacks for crimes they did not commit and send them back to plantations to be slaves by another name.
All of the southern states would be allowed to continue slavery by passing vagrancy laws, laws that said if you were not employed you were loitering, which allowed southern law sheriffs to arrest blacks and convict them of a crime that carried a monetary fine. Being unable to pay the fine, blacks were sent back to their former plantations to work off the fine. Some blacks were sent to work in Alabama coal mines in the 1900s where they were worked to death, tortured, and abused. This was using convict labor in the most unjust and horrible ways. Blacks would be arrested, or kidnapped by law enforcement, and taken before a judge that would require them to pay a fine, which they could not pay, and then sentenced them to chain gangs for as little as owning a few dollars. The 13th Amendment was structured to appease the former slave owning states by allowing them to enforce slavery through state law.
If one was poor, which included most blacks and even poor whites, there was no such thing as the 14th Amendment. After Reconstruction, there would be no equal protection under the law, or due process, since juries became all-white and required that you own property in order to serve on a jury. This class discrimination was used to undo the 14th Amendment, one of the three Civil War Amendments, which says that state and local government officials cannot deprive persons of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment requires the states to provide equal protection under the law to all of its citizens. All of this was sabotaged by the former slave owners through racist and classist legislation. This is why one cannot allow the states to do whatever they want. The states often did the most ignorant things based on race or class.
Women were treated like property as well, and not allowed to vote until passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Before that, women had no political power and were subject to harsh customs that degraded women. Custom and law allowed for rapists to often go unpunished, would not allow women control of their own bodies, and made it very hard to inherit property or work outside of the home. Though the amendment was passed in 1920, it was violated in all of the southern states in ways that got around the law and did not apply to black women in general. Women could be beaten even after 1920, by their husbands, and would not be charged with a crime.
The religious birth defect has its origins in Europe where for more than 500 years Catholics and Protestants killed each other. This was carried over into the 13 Colonies as there where Puritan colonies, Catholic colonies, Protestant colonies, Quakers colonies, and others that ruthlessly attacked those that would not convert to one denomination or another. Some Quakers were burned alive for not converting to Puritanism. Though we often talk about immigrants coming to America to escape religious persecution many of them suffered religious oppression as soon as they got off the ship. Nowadays, immigrants are still being oppressed because of religion, so nothing new there.
Because of racist beginnings, thousands of blacks fought for the British during the Revolutionary War of 1776 and formed an all black regiment called the Royal Marines. After the war, rather than be returned to slavery many went to Canada. Francis Scott Key clearly regarded “the free and the home of the brave” as white men only in an apartheid-like regime; democracy for whites only. There is proof that the war against the British was more that a bunch of patriots wanting to escape the rule of the king. In fact, it was a war to protect the slave owning class. The problems associated with these past deficiencies in democracy still haunt us today.