Joshua Lawson is correct — America wasn’t built on slavery:
By reframing America’s founding around slavery, the New York Times’ 1619 Project misreads history along with the role Americans played in realizing the ideals of the Declaration.
It’s there in plain sight. Spelled-out in its mission statement, the New York Times’ 1619 Project seeks to “reframe” American history to mark the year 1619 as the “true founding.” By doing so, the project will “[place] the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center” of the American story.
The year 1619 was chosen for the Times’ “re-founding” to mark when the first slaves arrived in the English settlement of Jamestown. For the Times, this moment irredeemably tainted the nation. Yet viewing the centuries-old actions of men through a 21st-century lens will not solve our present social tensions. Slavery was a heart-wrenching, obstacle during America’s birth, but by no objective analysis was it the central factor of the founding as the 1619 Project claims.
Slavery Is a Blight on All Humanity, Not Just America
During the 17th century, slavery was, sadly, an accepted part of life throughout the world. By A.D. 1619, slavery had existed for more than 5000 years, dating back at least to Mesopotamia. At the time the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown, the Spanish and Portuguese had been enslaving blacks and native peoples in the New World for more than 100 years. Native American tribes had been enslaving each other for who knows how long before that.
Read more: The Federalist
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