Sunday, December 18, 2022

Only four of the 31 authors contributing to the 1619 Project are historians, and none are experts on the U.S. founding; It shows

As unbelievable as it may sound, one MSM news outlet, Minnesota's Star Tribune, has allowed an alternative op-ed on the 1619 Project to be published, one penned by Robert Maranto and Wilfred Reilly:

 … the project's analysis is in fact highly questionable.

A Pulitzer Prize winning collection of essays and works of art, The 1619 Project proposes to define America by its history of racism and slavery, which allegedly motivated the American Revolution. Factually, this is highly problematic.

Only four of the 31 authors contributing to the project are historians, and none are experts on the U.S. founding. It shows.

Prominent historians such as James McPherson, James Oakes and others have rebutted 1619's central claims. A 1619 Project fact-checker and (sympathetic) professional historian publicly regretted that Nikole Hannah-Jones refused to accept facts that contradicted her simplistic story of unrelenting oppression.

1619's mistakes are many. For instance, Native Americans practiced slavery long before Europeans arrived in the Western Hemisphere, and the first enslaved Africans (and first slave revolt) came to what became the U.S. not in 1619, but in 1526.

Historians agree the founders did not fight the Revolutionary War to save slavery, which continued in British colonies for a half-century after Americans declared independence in 1776.

Plantation owners considered the Declaration of Independence so anti-slavery that in the years before the Civil War, they sought to rewrite the document to impose their view that only all white men are created equal.

The Founders saw the ideals of the American Revolution as advancing freedom. Many (mistakenly) hoped slavery would die out after they banned the importation of enslaved peoples.

Though a slave owner, Declaration of Independence chief author Thomas Jefferson proposed gradual emancipation in his native Virginia. In 1784 Jefferson came within one vote of securing a congressional ban of slavery in the West, including lands that later became Alabama and Mississippi. This might have sent U.S. slavery into a slow death. Jefferson observed bitterly that his failure doomed "millions unborn."

In the first decades of independence, most Northern states incrementally ended slavery, becoming among the first governments on earth to do so. Northern state legislatures often ended slavery in response to petitions from Black Revolutionary War veterans.

The 1619 Project ignores this complicated history. Instead, as scholar Peter Wood writes in 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project, 1619 is in part a case for reparations, but also "an effort to destroy America by teaching children that America never really existed, except as a lie told by white people in an effort to control Black people."

 … 1776 Unites, an ideologically diverse group of Black intellectuals to which one of us belongs, has made a standing offer to debate Nikole Hannah-Jones and other prominent leftists regarding our nation's founding and purpose. Tellingly, none have responded, just as powerful segregationists never debated Martin Luther King. When you dominate major institutions like the New York Times and higher education, why allow dissenters to expose your errors?

For this very reason (that none of the 31 authors contributing to the 1619 Project are experts on the U.S. founding), the New York Times saw one of its top columnists rebel, back in October 2020, against the paper's position on its very own 1619 Project, as reported by the Daily Wire's Ashe Schow:

New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens criticized the 1619 Project lauded by his employer and progressives across the country by calling it a “thesis in search of evidence.”

He spent the first few paragraphs of his latest op-ed lauding the “ambition” of the project, which sought to reframe how Americans saw the country’s origins.

“But ambition can be double-edged. Journalists are, most often, in the business of writing the first rough draft of history, not trying to have the last word on it. We are best when we try to tell truths with a lowercase t, following evidence in directions unseen, not the capital-T truth of a pre-established narrative in which inconvenient facts get discarded. And we’re supposed to report and comment on the political and cultural issues of the day, not become the issue itself,” Stephens wrote. “As fresh concerns make clear, on these points — and for all of its virtues, buzz, spinoffs and a Pulitzer Prize — the 1619 Project has failed.”

Related: The 1619 Project Summarized in One Single Sentence

1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: quite a few contemporary Black problems have very little to do with slavery

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