I am not sure if Roy Moore knew what he was doing. Stating that America was at its greatest during slavery because families flourished, opened the door for this historian to point out some inconvenient truths about the perfect southern families implies.
Professor of History and Director of the Black Abolitionist Archive at the University of Detroit Mercy, Roy E. Finkenbine wrote the article titled “Roy Moore Thinks Families Flourished During Slavery. Why Would He Say Such a Thing?” that everyone should read especially Roy Moore supporters.
Moore’s characterization of family life in the Old South is reminiscent of that expressed by southern proslavery apologists at the time. Governor James Henry Hammond of South Carolina, for example, a prominent slave owner, responded in 1844 to abolitionist charges that slavery disrupted southern family life by boasting that “there are fewer cases of divorce, separation, . . . seduction, rape, and bastardy than among any other five millions of people on the civilized earth.” Hammond’s claims are misleading at best. Social conventions and legal practices made divorce nearly impossible in most parts of the Old South; it was legally prohibited in Hammond’s South Carolina. Separation was made difficult by women’s limited legal and economic options and laws that transferred all of women’s property to the husband at the time of marriage. Cases of seduction, rape, and bastardy were seriously underreported because of social conventions and the possibility of public embarrassment. Of course, Hammond doesn’t even allude to the slave community, where marriages lacked legal recognition, families were frequently separated by movement or sale, and women and girls were often raped or coerced into sexual relationships with white men.
Hammond’s sexual misconduct didn’t end with his females slaves. It also extended to his white relatives. Thanks to his voluminous diaries, which were discovered in 1989, we have an extensive record of his transgressions in his own words. In the early 1840s, he became sexually involved with his four “lovely and luscious” nieces, ages thirteen to eighteen.
The entire article is worth a read. Turns out it is clear why Moore feels a comfort in his own immoral skin.