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Historians Tell NYT: Your 1619 Project Is Wrong. NYT: Take A Hike.

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Dec 27, 2019, 11:43:10 AM12/27/19
On Friday, The New York Times, in its inestimable arrogance, published
a response by its editor-in-chief rejecting the claims of five noted
historians that the Times’ 1619 project, which is intended to be used
to inform the education of schoolchildren across the country and is an
attempt to paint the founding of the United States as built on slavery
rather than freedom, contained factual errors.

The historians started by writing:

We write as historians to express our strong reservations
about important aspects of The 1619 Project. The project is
intended to offer a new version of American history in which
slavery and white supremacy become the dominant organizing
themes. The Times has announced ambitious plans to make the
project available to schools in the form of curriculums and
related instructional material.

The historians even recycled the leftist talking point of slavery being
an “enduring centrality of slavery and racism to our history” before
criticizing the “factual errors in the project and the closed process
behind it.” They noted “the project asserts that the founders declared
the colonies’ independence of Britain ‘in order to ensure slavery would
continue.’ This is not true. If supportable, the allegation would be
astounding — yet every statement offered by the project to validate it
is false. Some of the other material in the project is distorted,
including the claim that ‘for the most part,’ black Americans have
fought their freedom struggles ‘alone.’”

The historians continued, “Still other material is misleading. The
project criticizes Abraham Lincoln’s views on racial equality but
ignores his conviction that the Declaration of Independence proclaimed
universal equality, for blacks as well as whites, a view he upheld
repeatedly against powerful white supremacists who opposed him. The
project also ignores Lincoln’s agreement with Frederick Douglass that
the Constitution was, in Douglass’s words, “a GLORIOUS LIBERTY
DOCUMENT.” Instead, the project asserts that the United States was
founded on racial slavery, an argument rejected by a majority of
abolitionists and proclaimed by champions of slavery like John C.

The historians concluded, “We ask that The Times, according to its own
high standards of accuracy and truth, issue prominent corrections of
all the errors and distortions presented in The 1619 Project. We also
ask for the removal of these mistakes from any materials destined for
use in schools, as well as in all further publications, including books
bearing the name of The New York Times. We ask finally that The Times
reveal fully the process through which the historical materials were
and continue to be assembled, checked and authenticated.”

Jake Silverstein, the Times’ Editor-in-Chief, responded to the charges
by claiming, “While we welcome criticism, we don’t believe that the
request for corrections to The 1619 Project is warranted.” He continued
by citing the 1619 Project’s creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, a staff
writer at the magazine.

Silverstein protested, “We did not assemble a formal panel for this
project. Instead, during the early stages of development, we consulted
with numerous scholars of African-American history and related fields,
in a group meeting at The Times as well as in a series of individual
conversations … our researchers carefully reviewed all the articles in
the issue with subject-area experts.”

He admitted, “We can hardly claim to have studied the Revolutionary
period as long as some of the signatories, nor do we presume to tell
them anything they don’t already know, but I think it would be useful
for readers to hear why we believe that Hannah-Jones’s claim that ‘one
of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their
independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the
institution of slavery’ is grounded in the historical record.”

Silverstein spends a great deal of time citing the “landmark 1772
decision of the British high court in Somerset v. Stewart,” which he
claims “caused a sensation nonetheless. Numerous colonial newspapers
covered it and warned of the tyranny it represented. Multiple
historians have pointed out that in part because of the Somerset case,
slavery joined other issues in helping to gradually drive apart the
patriots and their colonial governments.” He quotes one historian
saying, “The black-British alliance decisively pushed planters in these
[Southern] states toward independence.” Silverstein’s contention that
the British were more advanced on the subject of slavery ignores the
fact that not only did the Declaration of Independence pronounce all
men were created equal in 1776, eight states, including Massachusetts
and Pennsylvania in 1780, Connecticut and Rhode Island in 1784, Vermont
in 1786, New Hampshire in 1792, New York in 1799, and New Jersey in
1799, passed anti-slavery acts before Great Britain abolished slavery
in 1833.

Silverstein then cites the 1775 Dunmore Proclamation, issued in late
1775, which offered freedom to any enslaved person who fled his
plantation and joined the British Army, then writes a “member of South
Carolina’s delegation to the Continental Congress wrote that this act
did more to sever the ties between Britain and its colonies ‘than any
other expedient which could possibly have been thought of.’” Yet
Silverstein ignores the obvious point that South Carolina’s delegation
that signed the Declaration of Independence would not do so until
Thomas Jefferson’s original clause, which ripped King George III over
slavery and stated, “He has waged cruel war against human nature
itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the
persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and
carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable
death in their transportation thither,” had been stripped from the

Silverstein rips Abraham Lincoln, snidely remarking the the public
“tends to view Lincoln as a saint,” before noting his evolution on the
subject of slavery, then adding, “To be sure, at the end of his life,
Lincoln’s racial outlook had evolved considerably in the direction of
real equality. Yet the story of abolition becomes more complicated, and
more instructive, when readers understand that even the Great
Emancipator was ambivalent about full black citizenship.” For a clearer
picture of Lincoln’s own opposition to slavery and his own well-thought
out plan to eradicate, Silverstein might want to read Harry Jaffa’s
immortal book, “Crisis of the House Divided.”

Silverstein writes, “And while our democratic system has certainly led
to many progressive advances for the rights of minority groups over the
past two centuries, these advances, as Hannah-Jones argues in her
essay, have almost always come as a result of political and social
struggles in which African-Americans have generally taken the lead, not
as a working-out of the immanent logic of the Constitution.”

Silverstein may not know that the famed abolitionist Lysander Spooner,
who was white, wrote in his 1845 book, “The Unconstitutionality of
Slavery,” that the Preamble of the Constitution supported liberty for
all slaves, arguing that it “does not declare that ‘we, the white
people,’ or ‘we, the free people,’ or ‘we, a part of the people’ — but
that ‘we, the people’ — that is, we the whole people — of the United
States, ‘do ordain and establish this Constitution.’” He continued,
“Because the whole people of the country were not allowed to vote on
the ratification of the Constitution, it does not follow that they were
not made citizens under it; for women and children did not vote on its
adoption; yet they are made citizens by it . . . and the state
governments cannot enslave them.”

But Silverstein must be aware that hundreds of thousands of Union
soldiers, predominantly white, were killed or wounded in the Civil War
in order to eradicate the evil of slavery.. For years, it was assumed
that at least a massive total of more than 360,000 Union soldiers died;
in 2011., historian J. David Hacker wrotein Silverstein’s own New York
Times that the number was likely higher than that.

"We need to impeach the President to find out what crime he committed."
- Nancy Pelosi

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