Arthur Milikh exposes the lies and distortions behind the New York Time’s so-called “1619 Project” that seeks to reinterpret the history of America, over at City Journal.
To make America’s Founding contemptible, one must hide, ignore, and distort the Founders’ writings and thoughts. Irresponsibly omitted from this narrative is the fact that not a single major Founder endorsed slavery.
Ample evidence shows that the Founders wished for an end to slavery, contrary to the Times’s assertion that “neither Jefferson nor most of the founders intended to abolish slavery.” John Adams argued, “every measure of prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States.” He hoped that the inequalities of the Old World would eventually disappear. In 1778, Jefferson introduced a bill in the Virginia legislature banning the importation of slavery, which he hoped would lead to the institution’s “final eradication.”
It is true that, in order to ratify the Constitution, the Founders decided to allow the abhorrent practice of slavery to continue for a limited time. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and possibly other states, would never have ratified the Constitution otherwise. This decision was made, however, on what the Founders considered prudential grounds—better to have union than endless wars among the states.
Another often-ignored fact is that America was home to approximately 60,000 free blacks around the time of the Founding; this number tripled in just 20 years. Black Americans voted in several states, which appears to make America the first nation in recorded history where both races voted side by side. Those free and freed persons represented the beginning of our long and strenuous path toward justice.
Black Americans have been treated in a grossly unjust fashion throughout our history. But the Declaration and the Constitution themselves, according to the Founders’ intentions, contain the principles through which justice would come, as Fredrick Douglass and, later, Martin Luther King, Jr. believed. These countervailing facts and statements, should produce a more balanced view of America’s Founding. Why, then, are they so thoroughly and carefully avoided by today’s narrative-creators, who intend to persuade through distortion?
Rather than indulge in recrimination, we should follow Lincoln in seeking “to bind up the nation’s wounds” and “to achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves.” Manipulating the next generation to disdain the American Founding will not accomplish this.
The 1619 Project, by selectively failing to highlight critical facts, is not a project to educate and enlighten, but to destroy and demean, and bury the actual principle that animated America’s greatness: individual rights.
The entire essay, America’s Founding Was Not Defined By Slavery and White Supremacy as NY Times’ 1619 Project Claims, is worth a read.