Emory University's Outcry Against Its President

George W. Dent

George W. Dent, Jr. is a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He is an NAS Board member and President of its Ohio chapter.

Emory University President John Wagner has been vilified by faculty and students for praising the compromise in the original Constitution between pro- and anti-slavery factions by which three-fifths of slaves were counted for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives. (Emory University's Leader Reopens Its Racial Wounds, N.Y. Times, Feb. 24, 2012) If he had sided with the anti-slavery forces and argued that slaves should not have been counted at all, he would have been vilified for belittling African-Americans. In CL Atlanta one critic charged Wagner with implying that "individual slaves didn't count as whole people." If he had argued that the slaves should have been counted in full, he would have been vilified for siding with slave owners. 

Contrary to the criticism leveled in the article by Emory history professor Leslie Harris, the compromise was a success. In 1786 the North was neither willing nor able to militarily invade the South in order to end slavery. The compromise helped bring the Republic into existence and kept it together until 1861, when the North was willing and able to wage and win the Civil War to end slavery.

It is appalling that some Emory students are so ignorant of American history that they paraded calling for Wagner's ouster. And it is outrageous that the Emory faculty voted to censure Wagner for his statement. 

However, one cannot feel sorry for Dr. Wagner. He got his position by pandering to a political correctness that forbids honest discussion of many serious issues in academia. He reaped what he sowed.

  • Share

Most Commented

May 1, 2017


Binghamton University Responds to NAS’s Report

SUNY Binghamton offers critiques and corrections to Outsourced to China. ...

March 23, 2011


Looking for Answers? Ask a Scholar!

NAS is partnering with Intellectual Takeout to answer questions that call for scholarly judgment and can't be answered by Wikipedia. ...

September 5, 2014


Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

"[PTSS] provides an evidence-proof explanation that lifts away moral responsibility from those engaged in self-destructive, anti-social, and criminal behavior."...

Most Read

January 3, 2011


Estimated 40 Percent of Scientists Doubt Manmade Global Warming

S. Fred Singer said in an interview with the NAS that...

May 15, 2015


Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

May 29, 2013


Ask a Scholar: How Did Women's Suffrage Impact the USA?

Prof. Jonathan Bean assesses the impact of the women's suffrage movement on the American polity....