Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Goal of the 1619 Project

From Return to Order:
The project’s version of history came as a shock to some of America’s foremost historians. Pulitzer Prize winner Gordon Wood of Brown University, the author of the highly reputed The Radicalism of the American Revolution, recorded his dismay in a recent interview.

“I was surprised when I opened my Sunday New York Times in August and found the magazine containing the project. I had no warning about this. I read the first essay…, which alleges that the Revolution occurred primarily because of the Americans’ desire to save their slaves…. I just couldn’t believe this.

“At the time of the Revolution, the Virginians had more slaves than they knew what to do with, so they were eager to end the international slave trade.”

James McPherson of Princeton is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom – often regarded as the best single-volume account of the Civil War. He registered a similar surprise. “I was disturbed by what seemed like a very unbalanced, one-sided account, which lacked context and perspective on the complexity of slavery, which was clearly, obviously, not an exclusively American institution, but existed throughout history.… And in the United States, too, there was not only slavery but also an antislavery movement. So I thought the account… focused so narrowly on that part of the story that it left most of the history out.”

It is foolish to deny that African slavery is one of the great issues of American history. However, the pretense that slavery is the only relevant issue is as dangerous as ignoring it altogether. This emphasis skews the minds of students in the direction of “social justice.” In this scenario, radical leftists become the only principled actors on the political stage. (Read more.)


julygirl said...

The tragedy of slavery is that it was costly to buy and maintain slaves and would have made more sense to hire cheap labor to do the work. Also, by the time the Civil War came about the Industrial Revolution was right around the corner and machines could have been brought in to do the labor...(of picking cotton which was the primary need for slaves in the first place because it was such hard work.) Thousands and thousands died needlessly in that War not to mention the complete destruction of the South, the assassination of Lincoln and the abandonment of the slave population left to fend for themselves. All the tragic circumstances and repercussions of slavery could have been eliminated if paid workers were used in the first place. Where I reside in Maryland, on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, we have a similar problem in the Crab industry. Picking Crab is an arduous task no one wants to do therefore it falls to immigrant labor. To fulfill this task the Government issues special 'dispensations' to hire immigrants on a temporary basis based on a lottery system. One does not have to look very hard to see all the problems this creates.

elena maria vidal said...

Interesting points!