1619 project's "Ida Bae Wells" demonstrates a new kind of professionalism for historians

    I think the amount of hate Coleman Hughes gets from people twice his age and 100 times his income suggests a lot of insecurity on his critics' part. https://t.co/oS8G0Cf9H6

    — Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) February 19, 2020

    The photo is substantially more tasteful than her subsequent posts inferring critics of the 1619 project are somehow morally defective.

    Hours of petty + determined trolling isn’t what I’d traditionally expect from a prominent @nytimes contributor, but here we are. https://t.co/nkBgcJDcqm

    — Kmele (@kmele) February 19, 2020


    Queen of the world, certified genius now, can do what I like:

    A history fight. Bob Woodson is spearheading the 1776 project. Black historians are arguing the "true" history of blacks in America. It is a response to the 1619 Project.


    "1776" is an assembly of independent voices who uphold our country’s authentic founding virtues and values and challenge those who assert America is forever defined by its past failures, such as slavery.

    To counter the debilitating and dangerous message of the 1619 Project, we are launching “1776,” honoring the vision of our nation’s Founders who saw beyond their years. Though slavery and discrimination are undeniably a tragic part of our nation’s history, we have made great strides along its long and tortuous journey to realize its promise and abide by its founding principles. People are motivated to achieve and to overcome the challenges that confront them when they learn about inspiring victories that are possible, rather than being barraged by constant reminders of injuries they have suffered.

    In truth, even during the times of the worst oppression, there were blacks who were in slavery but not of slavery, who maintained a strong moral code and a belief in self-determination and mutual support that allowed them to rise. A surprising number of black men and women who were born slaves died as millionaires. Even in the era of legislated segregation and discrimination, blacks tapped an entrepreneurial legacy to launch thriving enterprises, including hotels, banks, hospitals, dental schools, insurance companies, and a railroad. In fact, the black business district of Durham, North Carolina, was widely known as “Black Wall Street.” 

    Another famous black entrepreneurial enclave was the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma. When oil was discovered in Tulsa in the early 1900s, the city underwent an enormous growth spurt. Though African Americans were not allowed to create business ventures in the major district and were not even welcomed as customers in the white business district, rather than taking service jobs and doing domestic service labor for others, many adventurous blacks chose to develop their own business district. By 1921, the business enclave had developed into an impressive array of enterprises. 

    Tragically, in that year, a young black delivery man was falsely accused of attacking a white woman. Tensions rose and erupted into chaos as a mob of angry whites looted stores, shot at blacks in the streets, and torched businesses, homes, and churches. In this violence, 860 African American businesses and homes were destroyed, and, afterward, the Greenwood business section lay in ruins. Undaunted and displaying the same entrepreneurial spirit that initially built the Greenwood section, blacks joined together in a massive effort of rebuilding. By 1938, business enterprises and community organizations, once again, anchored the community.


    The surprising number of black millionaires was six.

    People know of Tulsa's Black Wall Street and its destruction 


    If the 1619 Project and the 1776 Project get people reading, it is all to the good.


    Video of an hour presentation of the 1776 Project is available on C-SPAN


    Ida Bae Wells obviously does not hold the 1776 Project in high regard

    There was a Congressional hearing on reparations . Ta-Nehisi Coates and Coleman Hughes argued the pro and con of reparations. Wells did not find Hughes' argument compelling.


    I think the discussions are important. You cannot improve conditions by pretending race doesn't exist, or by saying that race is discussed too much.



    I guess I'd be a killjoy to suggest more reading in how to create the Black Wall Street of 2025 and 2050 than this continual reflection on the remote past. Fintech, Machine Learning, electric cars, data analytics, robotics, IoT, neural implants, next gen medicine, and good old fashioned smart investing...

    Gen-Z and after doesn't even remember The Wall or the Internet Boom or the Bush years. Time's moving fast - and so are the oligarchs.

    And it's hard to see how discussing the 17th & 18th Centuries creates a direct path to "improve conditions". *Current* education, home and family wealth, health services, use of technology, better jobs, security and equal access to the law... Thomas Jefferson doesn't even know how to type, much less text.

    I want to take what you said further and apply it to what's happening in this specific case. She's acting like a Bernie Bro. That's because she's taking the revision of history and making it political, as if you win something politically by revising history. (I.E., we proved you were lying all along, now we're gonna get reparations or some such.) This is directly contrary to what scholarly history is all about! The whole idea is to de-politicize what happened! You wait until there's no vested interests pushing this narrative or that narrative, until the past is really the past.

    This behavior is really going to hurt the rep of the project if it continues, for that very reason.

    Bernie Bro types will never be respected historians. It's not a fight between conflicting narratives, it's a continual process of revising as new data comes along, a team effort not a competition.

    So yeah, back to the future now. That's where the politicking goes on. You read history, learn from it, move on.

    To be fair, Blacks have always had to play a bit Bernie Bro to push through some reevaluation of what we like to think of as accepted history - including perceptions & acts of Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson, whether statues are just war monuments vs symbols of slave masters, acknowledgment of achievements and even existence in different eras & events...

    But this 1619 thing is comical and self-defeatung, something akin to an effort to "prove" a Chinese admiral and explorer "discovered" America in 1420, except that would make Chinese first, while 1619 just emphasizes Black lastness forevermore. It's actually an argument *against* reparations, essentially proving nothing will ever move them from that historical low ground, 400 Years A Slave and counting.

    Anyway, there are enough respected Black historians opposing this 1619 nuttiness that I don't have to feel like an old racist bastard for sensing there's something monumentally off with this effort. No, Obama didn't end racism, but he doesn't have "1619 Slave" written all over him either, and he and Michelle have shown these last 3 years that life doesn't even stop even after the White House, they're still working on some new chapter. 

    My first instinct was to say "point taken", but after I had a little time on it: I think not. Having the backing and imprimatur of the NYTimes on this project,including distribution to educational systems, how much higher can one go? She's destroying what was achieved, aiding her enemies. You can either do political agitation or be a historian that's taken seriously by other historians, not both. 

    Edit to add: you're falling into your own trap there of judging by the past, as if things such as power dynamics haven't changed and continue to. You almost convinced me to do the same, that's the thing! Hah.

    Sorry, you lost me on both paragraphs. Try me again?

    (e.g. power dynamics have or haven't changed?
    They kind of have - and haven't, to split the difference.
    "It depends..." if you need some more waffle with that syrup.

    Was I talking about being a *bit* elbows out, rather than
    gonzo overboard? there are certainly lots of cases in academia
    where extremely good ideas are discarded because of politics and
    fight club or simply no one was intrigued enough & it countered
    accepted wisdom, so sometimes shepherding ideas through *is* required,
    though you may have to live with the results & fallout of that effort)

    Re: To be fair, Blacks have always had to play a bit Bernie Bro to push through some reevaluation of what we like to think of as accepted history -

    That's over. It's far from powerless to have one's version of history backed in a major expensive and continuing project sponsored by the New York Times to be broadcast by them around the world and with a huge marketing campaign.

    Edit to add: or go back to my original post, top of the page: Hours of petty + determined trolling isn’t what I’d traditionally expect from a prominent @nytimes contributor, but here we are. Has power, is abusing it., lording it over those with a differing historical narrative.

    I was just saying if she were half as abrasive, it might be about right to make things move (even with the NYT as megaphone). But she's roughly like some of the lame BLM spokespeople who flopped pretty badly, far from strategic or canny, just overassured and annoying and out of her depth.

    Right now the left has the cultural power, the right has the political power:

    I loved this book discussion with Ta-Nehisi Coates. That the right envies the left’s cultural power, and the left envies the right’s political power, and so both sides feel like they’re losing simultaneously, is crucial to understanding politics right now. https://t.co/CR7cssvkdQ

    — Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) February 20, 2020

    And any real scholar of history doesn't cotton to the idea of using the field to wield political power in the contemporary environment. And to even stay out of contemporary cultural power play as much as is humanly possible. The point is to strive to reach an objective truth about what really happened in the past.

    PP, on your point. and also on mine that "it's over". This was tweeted today by NASA (under a Trump administration, mind you.) I saw it because it was retweeted by Rick Wilson.

    We're saddened by the passing of celebrated #HiddenFigures mathematician Katherine Johnson. Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers: https://t.co/Tl3tsHAfYB pic.twitter.com/dGiGmEVvAW

    — NASA (@NASA) February 24, 2020

    But noooo, we have to remain victims and revise the histories to spin our victimization to the max and then gnash and wail and render garments and allow no further input unless it follows the narrative...and there's still those bronze statues that still gotta be torn down...hey, did ya see the honorary NASA tweet about Stonewall Jackson's birthday?

    That was just *Stonewall* - LGBTQ trib @ NASA following MLK day, OK? 

    [we been talking bout Jackson ever since the fire went out...]

    But yes, nice to have Katherine Johnson as part of our lore now. "First Black computer" - sounds like post-robitics, not early 60's.

    and speaking of rehashing and regnashing over ghosts,for chrissakes​:

    Peak Twitter right now is Cubans memorializing their relatives murdered by the Castro regime and hammer and sickle accounts coming around to mock them in the comments (“gusano” = “worm”) https://t.co/OVwMuUoA83

    — Walter Olson (@walterolson) February 25, 2020

    Next up the Armenian genocide, let's pit Turkish-Americans against Armenian Americans. After that we can do the Potato Famine revisionism, with Brexit and all, it's about time, hey it's possible one could even recruit Harry and Meghan to speak truth to powah ?....

    The NYT 1619 Project is hosting a discussion of the role of slavery in the Revolutionary War on March 6th. at the Times Center

    The panelists include two Pulitzer Prize winning historians, Annette Gordon-Reed and Alan Taylor. The chair of the history department at University of New Hampshire and Gerald Horne will also be on the panel. Hopefully, it will be live streamed or available after the event.



    The 1619 Project


    Slavery and the American Revolution:
    A Historical Dialogue








    What inspired the American Revolution? Was it a fight to secure freedom for all or bondage for some? Did the Patriots struggle for liberty or property? How should contemporary Americans regard the causes, character and legacy of the war that led to the nation’s founding? In recent months, some questions about the role of slavery in the American Revolution have been at the center of a raging debate triggered by The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project. To dig more deeply into the history of this period, The Times has convened an evening of informed discussion with leading scholars of the era, historians with a range of views who have done primary research on the Revolutionary Era and slavery in early America and will speak to the evidence and source material underlying the debate.

    Arguments about the nation’s founding are nothing new. Almost since the moment the first bullets flew, 250 years ago in March 1770, debates about the causes of the Revolution have proliferated. Every decade since, Americans’ understanding of the war has been deepened by new sources and new historical scholarship. Today in an age of disinformation and propaganda, it is critical to understand not only our history, but our historiography, the complex and contentious ways that American historians have built on the work of their predecessors, revising and clarifying the story of our nation’s past.

    Join us on March 6, 2020, for a spirited conversation with historians whose original research has helped us understand the complicated moment that gave birth to our republic. 




    This video clip I just noticed is actually a followup to one critical of Bloomberg and stop-and-frisk and his treatment of women etc.BUT it's much bigger picture from Timothy Synder, professor of history @ Yale. I like this in the context of both the political shit going on here as noted on this thrad AND the bigger context of the ongoing grand project of the history of the U.S.:



    The latest 1619 Project article was published on 02/12/20. The article focused on 12 sites that were used for slave auctions. These sites have quietly blended into the scenery. Perhaps the buildings should be marked to remind us of the role they played in the past. We have Confederate sites maintained. Reminding us of the selling of human beings that the Confederates supported is also important. 


    The 1619 Project is not a joke The 1619 Project is strong enough to debate the published articles in public. As noted in a post above, a public discussion on the role of slavery in triggering the Revolutionary War will be held in NYC on 03/06/20. Included in the panel will be Gerald Horne who argues that blacks fighting for freedom along side of the indigenous people and the Spanish created a fear of armed blacks in the colonists. In addition, Virginia Governor Lord Dunsmore threatened to arm enslaved men to counter the rebel colonials.


    Here is editor Nikole Hannah-Jones speaking at UVA


    I guess the laughter is from a guy on Twitter

    1619 Project Fact-Checker Says The New York Times Ignored Her Objections

    A history professor disputed some of Nikole Hannah-Jones's claims about slavery and the American Revolution.

    By Robby Soave @ Reason.com | 3.6.2020 1:52 PM

    Leslie Harris is a Northwestern University historian who helped fact-check the 1619 Project, The New York Times's recent package of articles that recast chattel slavery as a foundational aspect of America. The project has been praised for drawing attention to underscrutinized racial inequities throughout American history. But has also attracted criticism from historians who say that some of the project's claims are false. Harris is one of those critics—but when she raised her objections with Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Times reporter who spearheaded the 1619 Project, she received no response.

    "On August 19 of last year I listened in stunned silence as Nikole Hannah-Jones, a reporter for the New York Times, repeated an idea that I had vigorously argued against," writes Harris in Politico.

    When a fact-checker asked Harris to verify some of the project's statements, Harris "vigorously disputed" the claim that protecting the institution of slavery was a major reason the American colonies rebelled against British rule:

    Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies. Lord Dunmore's Proclamation, a British military strategy designed to unsettle the Southern Colonies by inviting enslaved people to flee to British lines, propelled hundreds of enslaved people off plantations and turned some Southerners to the patriot side. It also led most of the 13 Colonies to arm and employ free and enslaved black people, with the promise of freedom to those who served in their armies. While neither side fully kept its promises, thousands of enslaved people were freed as a result of these policies….

    Despite my advice, the Times published the incorrect statement about the American Revolution anyway, in Hannah-Jones' introductory essay. In addition, the paper's characterizations of slavery in early America reflected laws and practices more common in the antebellum era than in Colonial times, and did not accurately illustrate the varied experiences of the first generation of enslaved people that arrived in Virginia in 1619.

    Hannah-Jones has tended to be extremely dismissive of the project's critics, who include The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf and the American Institute for Economic Research's Phil Magness. Perhaps she will have a more difficult time discounting criticism from a historian whose expertise her project drew on.

    In any case, these ongoing issues with the project's accuracy are a good argument against school districts' swift mandates that it be taught in seventh-grade history classrooms.

    A clearer picture painted by Harris in Politico:

    The 1619 Project, in its claim that the Revolution was fought primarily to preserve slavery, doesn’t do justice to this history. Nor, however, does the five historians’ critical letter. In fact, the historians are just as misleading in simply asserting that Lincoln and Douglass agreed that the Constitution was a “glorious liberty document” without addressing how few other Americans agreed that the Constitution’s protections should be shared with African Americans. Gradual emancipation laws, as well as a range of state and local laws across the antebellum nation limiting black suffrage, property ownership, access to education and even residency in places like Ohio, Washington and California, together demonstrate that legally, the struggle for black equality almost always took a back seat to the oppressive imperatives of white supremacy. And racial violence against black people and against those few white people who supported ending slavery and supported black citizenship undergirded these inequalities—a pattern that continued well into the 20th century.

    The five historians’ letter says it “applauds all efforts to address the enduring centrality of slavery and racism to our history.” The best-known of those letter-writers, however, built their careers on an older style of American history—one that largely ignored the new currents that had begun to bubble up among their contemporaries. By the time Gordon Wood and Sean Wilentz were publishing their first, highly acclaimed books on pre-Civil War America, in the early 1970s and mid-1980s, respectively, academic historians had begun, finally, to acknowledge African American history and slavery as a critical theme in American history. But Wood and Wilentz paid little attention to such matters in their first works on early America.


    She further notes how Wood and a Wilentz have problems dealing with slavery. At any rate, the issue will be added in the 1619 Project book.



    Students have been taught crap history including the Lost Cause

    Now there is outrage because of the 1619 Project.

    Crocodile tears.

    Harris was concerned that Conservatives would use the "controversy" to blow up the entire 1619 Project.


    Retweeted by Coleman Hughes:

    Now can we remove Lost Cause textbooks from the classroom?


    The 1619 statement

    Today we are making a clarification to a passage in an essay from The 1619 Project that has sparked a great deal of online debate. The passage in question states that one primary reason the colonists fought the American Revolution was to protect the institution of slavery. This assertion has elicited criticism from some historians and support from others. 

    We stand behind the basic point, which is that among the various motivations that drove the patriots toward independence was a concern that the British would seek or were already seeking to disrupt in various ways the entrenched system of American slavery. Versions of this interpretation can be found in much of the scholarship into the origins and character of the Revolution that has marked the past 40 years or so of early American historiography — in part because historians of the past few decades have increasingly scrutinized the role of slavery and the agency of enslaved people in driving events of the Revolutionary period.




    This is total bullshit. While the Brits had rulings limiting slave ownership in England in 1774, it wasn't until 1807, 31 years after the Declaration of Independence, that the African slave trade triangle started to be curtailed, slowing down slavery in all the British colonies, but more ending in 1836. It was more the colonists who limited slave import to a few states in 1773/4.

    Ever heard of Jamaica?


    WTF. This is historical fact. To keep the colonists in line, the British were ready to offer freedom to enslaved blacks who sided with Great Britain.

    Lord Dunsmore, Governor of Virginia made it clear in a proclamation 

    This historic proclamation, dated November 7, 1775 and issued from on board a British warship lying off Norfolk, Virginia, by royal governor and Scottish aristocrat John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, offered the first large-scale emancipation of slave and servant labor in the history of colonial British America. It grew out of Dunmore’s efforts to counter an impending attack on his capital of Williamsburg by patriot militia in the spring of 1775, when he several times threatened to free and arm slaves to defend the cause of royal government.  By the time he retreated offshore he was already gathering slaves seeking refuge; his November proclamation commanding Virginians to support the crown or be judged traitors now formally offered freedom to all slaves and indentured servants belonging to rebels and able to bear arms for the crown. Within weeks, several hundred slaves, many with their families, had joined him. They enlisted in what Dunmore christened his “Ethiopian Regiment” and formed the bulk of the royal troops that first defeated patriot forces but then fell victim to disease and attack, evacuating the Chesapeake Region for New York by August 1776.


    When the British lost, they took about 3,000 black people to fend for themselves in Nova Scotia


    Similarly, both also have served as sources of free labor and were, for a time, denied the right to own land and deprived of basic humanity in their respective adopted countries. Fortunately, both also managed to transcend racism and built strong community foundations through historic black institutions like churches and schools.

    Nova Scotia also served as a destination of refuge for blacks escaping the brutalities of American slavery and served as a point of migration for an estimated 3,000 Black Loyalists, free blacks and enslaved Africans who accepted the British invitation to fight on their side during the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.




    There was a threat that more enslaved blacks would escape to the British side.


    So a British response to a Colonist revolt was the cause for the Colonists revolt. Got it. Cart? You go here, in front of horse.

    Classic way to practice faux history according to pre-determined narrative. You got your story and you just switch a few things around in the chronology of the plot and voila, great story! (Ratings maybe too!)

    The British were ready, in places, to offer freedom to enslaved people. Dunsmore used enslaved people as a threat. This did help build anti-British sentiment.

    Dunmore long believed that slaves would rise up against their American masters and come to the aid of the British. In a 1772 report to Lord Dartmouth, the British Secretary of State for the colonies, Dunmore told Dartmouth that the colonies feared foreign powers could use the large number of American slaves against them. In Dunmore’s words, “[the colonies] trembled at the facility that an enemy would find in procuring such a body of men.” He believed that the slaves would readily take arms against the Americans as a way to enact vengeance, “and therefore are ready to join the first that would encourage them to revenge themselves.” 9 Lord Dunmore went as so far as to assume that he could rely on “all slaves on the side of the [British] government.” 10 In reality, the governor’s decree only turned more colonists away from the British. Colonists saw Lord Dunmore’s action as another increase in British power and they rallied against it.


    The argument is that Dunmore helped the colonial cause.

    No, Lord Dunmore made a desperation offer late 1775 as he was exiled to his ship - he was well hated to begin with, and he only survived 1 month more, getting maybe 1000 slaves to believe him, then pissed off to Bahamas where he invigorated the slave trade and sugar harvesting, slavery surviving to 1834.

    You can read all about the buildup to the Revolutionary War starting Apr 1775, and there's damn little worry about British freeing the slaves, and why exactly would they since British royalty owned huge pieces of the slave business at the highest levels.

    Not sure what all this ahistorical revisionist history buys you.



    Two days after the patriots’ military leader banned African-Americans from joining his ranks, however, black soldiers proved their mettle at the Battle of Kemp’s Landing along the Virginia coast. They captured an enemy commanding officer and proved pivotal in securing the victory—for the British.


    Enslaved people fought for the British

    Colonists were not pleased by the proclamation 

    WHEREAS Lord Dunmore, by his proclamation, dated on board the ship William, off Norfolk, the 7th day of November 1775, hath offered freedom to such able-bodied slaves as are willing to join him, and take up arms, against the good people of this colony, giving thereby encouragement to a general insurrection, which may induce a necessity of inflicting the severest punishments upon those unhappy people, already deluded by his base and insidious arts; and whereas, by an act of the General Assembly now in force in this colony, it is enacted, that all negro or other slaves, conspiring to rebel or make insurrection, shall suffer death, and be excluded all benefit of clergy: We think it proper to declare, that all slaves who have been, or shall be seduced, by his lordship's proclamation, or other arts, to desert their masters' service, and take up arms against the inhabitants of this colony, shall be liable to such punishment as shall hereafter be directed by the General Convention. And to that end all such, who have taken this unlawful and wicked step, may return in safety to their duty, and escape the punishment due to their crimes, we hereby promise pardon to them, they surrendering themselves to Col. William Woodford, or any other commander of our troops, and not appearing in arms after the publication hereof. And we do farther earnestly recommend it to all humane and benevolent persons in this colony to explain and make known this our offer of mercy to those unfortunate people.


    The proclamation was a factor as the 1619 Project suggests.

    The Pulitzer committee agrees that the 1619 Project is worthy of praise



    Note also

    Both the British and the colonists believed that slaves could serve an important role during the revolution. In April 1775, Lord Dunmore (1732-1809), the royal governor of Virginia, threatened that he would proclaim liberty to the slaves and reduce Williamsburg to ashes if the colonists resorted to force against British authority. In November, he promised freedom to all slaves belonging to rebels who would join "His Majesty's Troops...for the more speedily reducing the Colony to a proper sense of their duty...." Some eight hundred slaves joined British forces, some wearing the emblem "Liberty to the Slaves." The British appeal to slave unrest outraged slave holders not only in the South but in New York's Hudson Valley. Later, Sir Henry Clinton (1738-1795) promised protection to all slaves who deserted from the rebels. Clinton's promise may well have contributed to the collapse of the British cause in the South. By suggesting that the Revolution was a war over slavery, he alienated many neutrals and even some loyalists.


    You're in good company - Trump thinks the 1918 Spanish Flu helped push World War I to a close starting in 1917.

    CreatedNovember 7, 1775RatifiedNovember 14, 1775Author(s)John Murray, 4th Earl of DunmorePurposeTo declare martial law, and to encourage slaves of rebels in Virginia to leave their masters and support the Loyalistcause

    Dunmore's Proclamation, is a historical document signed on November 7, 1775, by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmoreroyal governorof the British Colony of Virginia. The proclamation declared martial law[1]and promised freedom for slaves of American revolutionaries who left their owners and joined the royal forces.

    Formally proclaimed on November 15, its publication prompted a flood of slaves (from both patriot and loyalist owners) to run away and enlist with Dunmore; during the course of the war, between 80,000 and 100,000 slaves escaped from the plantations.[2] It also raised a furor among Virginia's slave-owning elites (again of both political persuasions), to whom the possibility of a slave rebellion was a major fear. The proclamation ultimately failed in meeting Dunmore's objectives; he was forced out of the colony in 1776, taking about 300 former slaves with him


    The colonists did fear enslaved people gaining freedom 

    Edit to add:

    I am in good company, the Pulitzer committee who awarded the 2020 honors.

    War started April 1775. Hard to see how a Nov 1775 proclamation after being run off to his ship in defeat could've motivated a war begun 7 months earlier. Wishful magical thinking?

    • January 1776: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense published 

      In late 1775 the colonial conflict with the British still looked like a civil war, not a war aiming to separate nations; however, the publication of Thomas Paine’s irreverent pamphlet Common Sense abruptly put independence on the agenda. Paine’s 50-page pamphlet, couched in elegant direct language, sold more than 100,000 copies within a few months. More than any other single publication, Common Sense paved the way for the Declaration of Independence. 

    • July 4, 1776: Declaration of Independence adopted

      After the Congress recommended that colonies form their own governments, the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson and revised in committee. On July 2 the Congress voted for independence; on July 4 it adopted the Declaration of Independence.



    Man, super-revisionist apologist

    The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War.[9] The battles were fought on April 19, 1775 in Middlesex CountyProvince of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of LexingtonConcordLincolnMenotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge. They marked the outbreak of armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in America.


    The Second Continental Congress met on May 10, 1775 to plan further responses if the British government had not repealed or modified the acts; however, the American Revolutionary War had already started by that time with the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the Congress was called upon to take charge of the war effort.

    For the first few months of the war, the patriots carried on their struggle in an ad-hoc and uncoordinated manner. Even so, they had seized numerous arsenals, driven out royal officials in various colonies, and besieged Boston in order to prevent the movement by land of British troops garrisoned there. On June 14, 1775, Congress voted to create the Continental Army out of the militia units around Boston and appointed George Washington of Virginia as commanding general.[5] On July 6, 1775, Congress approved a Declaration of Causes outlining the rationale and necessity for taking up arms in the Thirteen Colonies. Two days later delegates signed the Olive Branch Petition to the king affirming the colonies' loyalty to the crown and imploring the king to prevent further conflict. However, by the time British Colonial Secretary Lord Dartmouth received the petition, King George III had already issued a proclamation on August 23, 1775, in response to the news of the Battle of Bunker Hill, declaring elements of Britain's continental American possessions to be in a state of "open and avowed rebellion". As a result, the king refused to receive the petition.[6]

    Do note that the July 1775 Declaration of Causes does not seem to mention slaves or slavery except as the white Colonists feeling slaves of the British King and Legislature.

    Go ahead, dig a bit deeper, I'll put on more popcorn.

    Your popcorn is burnt. From the first historical view of the Revolutionary War.

    “Every great revolution is a civil war,” as David Armitage has recently remarked. That insight could change the way we think about the American Revolution. Contemporaries understood it that way—or at least, they did at first. David Ramsay, the first patriot historian of the war, held that the Revolution was “originally a civil war in the estimation of both parties.” Mercy Otis Warren wrote that the fires of civil war were kindled as early as the Boston massacre. But in the narratives of these historians, the moment the United States declared independence was the moment the conflict stopped being a civil war. It was no longer being fought within a single imperial polity. Now it was a war between two nations.


    Edit to add:

    There were Loyalists siding with the British. They were terrorized after the war. That is why the black Loyalists headed to the uncertainty of places like Nova Scotia.


    Black Loyalists also went to Bahamas and Barbados and thereby spent another 60 years in slavery (Maryland or better PA would've been a better choice)

    I noted that the British used enslaved people as pawns.

    Blacks fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War and still lost.

    You, like 1000s of other people, noted that the British used enslaved people as pawns.
    Blacks fought in small numbers on both sides of the Revolutionary War, and were not likely to gain much in the end.
    (Romania switched to the winning side at the end of both World Wars - them's the guys you want to learn from)

    Thanks for repeating what I said.

    There were small numbers of blacks who used the Romanian option and were freed by the colonists and others by the British. Romanians probably got the idea from black people.

    Huh? The Romanians switched sides twice to come out winners both times, certainly weren't slaves - they were independent countries and they knew when their side was losing & when to switch. Hey, my Mom was fixing pancakes and then decided to have mushroom soup instead - guess she chose the Romanian option, just like those black guys in the Revolutionary War.

    I'm laughing at you, not with you.

    Sound of 1 brain cell clapping

    Good one! she says because there's no damn "like" button

    Edit to add, re: Tue, 05/05/2020 - 3:18pm <nod,nod> just like Trump. magical thinking, magical history. except Trump has no patience to cherry pick internet to create narrative. He does it the old-fashioned way, like a patent medicine salesman

    You did not include this part of the quote that you quoted.

    If the scholarship of the past several decades has taught us anything, it is that we should be careful not to assume unanimity on the part of the colonists, as many previous interpretive histories of the patriot cause did. We recognize that our original language could be read to suggest that protecting slavery was a primary motivation for all of the colonists. The passage has been changed to make clear that this was a primary motivation for some of the colonists. A note has been appended to the story as well.

    In addition to what motivated the supporters of Independence on the America side were the arguments on the England side. The interest in not having just one set of motivations explain every thing is key to having the motivation to preserve slavery kept in view. It was an important element for Empire and Colony but was not a simple issue for either.

    The baby and the bathwater.

    What is clear is that what permitted so much hypocrisy from all sides is the way that black slaves were generally accepted to be property. There were no white slaves. You have to be accepted as a human being before you have human rights. The freedom given to black people back then was as conditional as a hastily scrawled IOU on a bar napkin.

    This isn't outrageous because the 1619 Project was a left-wing ideological push, it's outrageous because all serious historians that have examined it (including far-left ones) agree that it's pseudohistory https://t.co/6lnY7yPJ2z

    — Robert Mariani (@robert_mariani) May 4, 2020

    Demeans every journalist committed to facts and liberal values. https://t.co/tDX6Zui5og

    — Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) May 4, 2020

    Edit to add:


    Congratulations to Nikole Hannah-Jones 

    The commentary award went to Nikole Hannah-Jones, a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, for her essay that served as the leading piece in The 1619 Project, a series centered on reframing United States history by focusing on the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans. The project, led by Ms. Hannah-Jones, included a broadsheet section, a podcast and a curriculum.


    Edit to add:

    Trump thinks they won a Nobel Prize

    2nd Edit to add:

    Ida B. Wells, the acclaimed civil rights era journalist whose investigating reporting inspired Hannah-Jones herself, was also given a posthumous Pulitzer Prize citation.

    Some historians, espousing what we might call the establishment view, insist that it is anachronistic to see slavery as central to our understanding of the decades-long revolutionary period. According to this view, the Revolution was in fact fundamentally antislavery, since it led to what Bernard Bailyn called in his 1967 study The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution a “contagion of liberty” that made it possible for Americans to think critically about ending the institution. Such accounts emphasize that various Northern states restricted the slave trade and began to institute gradual emancipation during and after the Revolutionary war, and that enslaved people used the ideals of equality voiced during the Revolution to press their own case for freedom. Although a civil war was fought over what the government could and could not do about slavery, these historians say, Lincoln and other members of the Republican Party envisioned a path to emancipation under the Constitution and made it happen.

    According to the establishment view, the Revolution was in fact fundamentally antislavery, since it led to what Bernard Bailyn called a “contagion of liberty” that made it possible for Americans to think about ending the institution.

    This is the accepted orthodoxy underwriting the contention, made in the letter sent to the Times, that it is just wrong—as well as bad politics—to tell schoolchildren that some or many or even any American revolutionaries fought to defend their property in slaves from a powerful imperial government. Hannah-Jones wrote that defending slavery was a primary motivation for independence in 1776, but the pushback from Wood and Wilentz was far more absolute. This was not surprising to academics who have followed the work of these historians. Wilentz argues in his latest book, No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding (2018), that the Constitution was antislavery in its essence and most of its subsequent workings, and has repeatedly gone out of his way to attack those who emphasize the proslavery politics of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Andrew Jackson. And for his part, Wood, a student of Bailyn, called talk of slavery and the Constitution in Staughton Lynd’s pathbreaking work “anachronistic” in his 1969 book The Creation of the American Republic and has never let up. According to his view, the founders belonged to a “premodern” society and didn’t talk or think about slavery or black people. In response to Silverstein’s response, he wrote, “I don’t know of any colonist who said that they wanted independence in order to preserve their slaves. No colonist expressed alarm that the mother country was out to abolish slavery in 1776.”

    On the other side of this debate is a growing number of scholars—Woody Holton, Annette Gordon-Reed, Michael McDonnell, Gerald Horne, and myself, among others—who question the establishment view of the Revolution and the founders. These historians, most of them younger than Wood or Wilentz, see a multi-sided struggle in an American Revolution that was about colonizing and winning power and authority. They see slavery as more than a peripheral matter. They do not take for granted that the story is primarily one of uncovering the motives and beliefs of the founders. Their work has considerably undercut the glass-half-full version of the narrative, which sees the end of slavery as a long-term consequence of American idealism and independence.


    On the critic's letter to the NYT

    Wilentz reached out to a larger group of historians, but ultimately sent a letter signed by five historians who had publicly criticized the 1619 Project in interviews with the World Socialist Web Site. He told me that the idea of trying to rally a larger group was “misconceived,” citing the holiday season and the end of the semester, among other factors. (A different letter written by Wilentz, calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, quickly amassed hundreds of signatures last week.) The refusal of other historians to sign on, despite their misgivings about some claims made by the 1619 Project, speaks to a divide over whether the letter was focused on correcting specific factual inaccuracies or aimed at discrediting the project more broadly.


    Nell Irvin Painter, a professor emeritus of history at Princeton who was asked to sign the letter, had objected to the 1619 Project’s portrayal of the arrival of African laborers in 1619 as slaves. The 1619 Project was not history “as I would write it,” Painter told me. But she still declined to sign the Wilentz letter.

    “I felt that if I signed on to that, I would be signing on to the white guy's attack of something that has given a lot of black journalists and writers a chance to speak up in a really big way. So I support the 1619 Project as kind of a cultural event,” Painter said. “For Sean and his colleagues, true history is how they would write it. And I feel like he was asking me to choose sides, and my side is 1619's side, not his side, in a world in which there are only those two sides.”


    Hannah-Jones has a Pulitzer. The academic debate will continue. Wilentz's view of true history will be challenged.

    Books already out

    Forced Founders

    Woody Holton uses social history to reinterpret a major topic in political 

    history, the causes of Virginia’s entry into the Revolutionary War. Eschewing 

    the traditional story that the great land-owning elite (e.g. George Washington 

    and Thomas Jefferson) led the revolutionary movement, Holton argues that 

    “Indians, merchants, slaves, and debtors helped propel free Virginians into 

    the Independence movement” (p. xviii). Holton’s analysis is Marxian, or, in 

    the lingo of historians, “neo-progressive.” For Holton, the Revolution was as 

    much about “who would rule at home” as “home rule” (p. 161). “Emerging class 

    conflict,” he argues, forced the elites to proclaim independence (p. 42). 

    Although thrust into the Revolution by the actions of nonelite groups, the 

    elites gained the most from the conflict. Indeed, Holton goes so far as to 

    argue that slaves and Indians were not just denied the benefits of the 

    Revolution, they “were the fruits of independence” (p. 211, original 

    emphasis). For Holton, the American Revolution was a thoroughly bourgeois 



    A Slaveholder's Union

    In this powerful book, George William Van Cleve demonstrates that the Constitution was pro-slavery in its politics, its economics, and its law. He convincingly shows that the Constitutional provisions protecting slavery were much more than mere “political” compromises—they were integral to the principles of the new nation. By the late 1780s, a majority of Americans wanted to create a strong federal republic that would be capable of expanding into a continental empire. In order for America to become an empire on such a scale, Van Cleve argues, the Southern states had to be willing partners in the endeavor, and the cost of their allegiance was the deliberate long-term protection of slavery by America’s leaders through the nation’s early expansion. Reconsidering the role played by the gradual abolition of slavery in the North, Van Cleve also shows that abolition there was much less progressive in its origins—and had much less influence on slavery’s expansion—than previously thought.



    The Common Cause Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution


    When the Revolutionary War began, the odds of a united, continental effort to resist the British seemed nearly impossible. Few on either side of the Atlantic expected thirteen colonies to stick together in a war against their cultural cousins. In this pathbreaking book, Robert Parkinson argues that to unify the patriot side, political and communications leaders linked British tyranny to colonial prejudices, stereotypes, and fears about insurrectionary slaves and violent Indians. Manipulating newspaper networks, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and their fellow agitators broadcast stories of British agents inciting African Americans and Indians to take up arms against the American rebellion. Using rhetoric like “domestic insurrectionists” and “merciless savages,” the founding fathers rallied the people around a common enemy and made racial prejudice a cornerstone of the new Republic.


    The books argue for a larger than previously understood role of slavery in the lead up to the Revolutionary War. There is also a reminder that the Constitution was pro-slavery.

    The British did not care about enslaved blacks, but were willing to use them as pawns. The colonists were willing to use the threats of black insurrection to solidify a base against the British.

    This part of the ongoing debate among historians.








    A Marxian reinterpretation of history - who woulda guessed. My favorite was Founding Father's anticipating cotton farming on the moon, starting the Need African Slave Astronauts program right under the eyes of unwitting abolitionists.

    The Brits also offered to free slaves in the War of 1812, which is considered one of the major causes of the Revolution, along with the need to grow cotton along the Ohio River which promoted the French-Indian War (though if crops didn't work out, the Founding Fathers anticipated car factories and steel mills as a "Plan B"

    Whee, ain't history fun! Look, Ma! No hands!


    New research into the facts. You are stuck and predictable.

    Wilentz sent out a letter asking for backup and was rejected by most.

    One posted his objections on a Socialist website


    Oh, the horror

    You are just a guy standing on the lawn yelling, longing for the past when views of history were mostly whitebread, as Painter pointed out.

    John McWhorter:

    quote from the above:

    McWhorter and Glenn Loury discuss Hannah-Jones Pulitzer here:

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