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Ellis on the American Creation
He said the founding had two tragedies and five triumphs. The tragedies were slavery and the plight of the native Americans. The first he called a Shakespearean tragedy, meaning it could have been avoided by human agency. The second he called a Greek tragedy, meaning it couldn't.
His best insights into slavery were that none of the founders tried to justify slavery as being consistent with the ideals of the founding and that everyone expected the slavery phenomenon to die a natural death to be followed by the expulsion of the Negro. No one foresaw a multiracial coexistence. Ellis argued that the the unforeseen invention of the cotton gin ignited the Southern economy and increased the demand for slaves.