Rebutted by Mark Byrnes:
[I]t is complicated, and Bachmann is looking for simplicity. To talk about the movement to end slavery in the northern states inevitably draws attention to the reality that the southern states not only did not follow, but over time grew more committed to maintaining slavery. The reason later generations had to work so "tirelessly" against slavery is that other Americans were working so tirelessly for it. The reason the Founders did not end slavery in their new republic, one born with the phrase "all men are created equal," is that to insist on an end to slavery would have insured an end to the United States.... A truthful account of the Founders and slavery has to acknowledge this fact. They were something today's Tea Partiers say they abhor: compromisers. In the Constitutional Convention, they compromised on everything, most notably on slavery.
Another reason those later generations had to work so tirelessly to end slavery is that the Constitution so well ensconced slavery in the United States. Arguably the Constitution was the largest impediment to ending slavery. The abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison denounced the Constitution as a "covenant with death and an agreement with hell." He burned a copy of the Constitution in protest.
So to speak honestly and accurately of "the Founders" is to confront that messy reality.
Bachmann prefers her Founders simple, god-like, and unchanging. Since the Tea Party ideology deems the Constitution a sacred document, inspired by God (remember, it was Bachmann who enlisted the fraud David Barton to teach Constitution classes to Congress), those who wrote it must be responsible for all that is good. Thus she cannot be accurate. She cannot say some of the founders worked tirelessly against slavery while others defended it....
On this Independence Day, to truly honor their work, we should stop pretending we can lazily rely on them to tell us what to do, and instead take up the challenge of finding what it means in our times to strive for what "of Right ought to be."
Rebuttals to talking-points misinformation that I want to have at the forefront of my brain--for when I am surprised, as I will be, by an unexpected question from an unexpected direction while talking to reporters, phone callers, passers-by, radio interviewers, cable TV interviewers, etc....