This post has been updated.
Jim DeMint, former senator and current president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, insisted last week that it was the U.S. Constitution that ultimately freed the slaves.
"Well the reason that the slaves were eventually freed was the Constitution, it was like the conscience of the American people," DeMint said on "Vocal Point" with Jerry Newcombe of Truth In Action Ministries, as recorded by Right Wing Watch. "Unfortunately there were some court decisions like Dred Scott and others that defined some people as property, but the Constitution kept calling us back to 'all men are created equal and we have inalienable rights' in the minds of God."
DeMint dismisses the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to argue that the Constitution just ultimately led the country in the right direction.
The Heritage chief also seems to confuse the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The line "all men are created equal" comes from the latter.
DeMint added that "big government" did not end slavery, a Republican did.
"So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God," he said.
Right Wing Watch notes that while Lincoln was president, the Republican party was not the states-rights party.
Listen to the audio via Right Wing Watch: