By Gary North (www.garynorth.com). February 08, 2020
I have a Ph.D. in American history. My field was colonial American history.
I have just learned something that I was never taught over half a century ago. As a matter of fact, in my subsequent reading in the field, I did not know the following. The American Revolution was fought to keep blacks enslaved in the South.
You see, King George the Third and that other fellow — I think his name was North — were dedicated abolitionists. What they wanted was to bankrupt the plantation system of the South, despite the fact that the South paid more taxes to the British government than any other region of the country. But that didn’t matter. No, sir: Great Britain wanted to free America’s slaves in 1776. So, Jefferson, Washington, Mason, and the other slaveowners got together with those Adams fellows, and John Hancock, and Paul Revere to launch a revolution against Great Britain.
Do you find this narrative unlikely? Well, that’s because you have not been exposed to the new curriculum that is being imposed in every state in the Union. It is promoted by The New York Times, that self-proclaimed paragon of anti-fake news. That is the news outlet whose slogan is “all the news that’s fit to print.” The new curriculum is called the 1619 Project. Think of it as anti-fake history.
What’s that? You say you don’t remember 1619? That was the year that the first blacks were brought to Virginia as slaves. It turns out that, according to the 1619 project, this event was as important as the American Revolution in colonial American history.
You find this hard to believe? That’s because you’re behind the times — or, as the case may be, the Times.
As a voter whose money funds your local schools, you are allowed to find out about this project if — and only if — you are a paid subscriber to The New York Times. The report is here.
One news outlet that you can access without paying has summarized what is going on.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Times’s lead writer on the project, argued in her introductory essay to it, “The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie. Our Declaration of Independence, approved on July 4, 1776, proclaims that ‘all men are created equal’ and ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.’
“But the white men who drafted those words did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst.”
Hannah-Jones went on to contend “that the year 1619 is as important to the American story as 1776.”
Non-Dr. Jones, historian, added this: “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact 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.” I am not sure how conveniently this fact was left out of my training, but it surely was left out. I took a graduate seminar from Douglass Adair, who had been the editor of The William and Mary Quarterly, by far the most prestigious scholarly journal devoted to colonial American history. He never mentioned it.
The amazing thing is this: most of the states north of the Mason-Dixon line by 1783, the year the war officially ended, had voted to abolish slavery. Apparently, by fighting the war against the abolition of slavery by the British, the Yankees became convinced of the legitimacy of British abolitionism. Yet they kept on fighting and dying to win the war to defend Southern slavery.
A group of historians have written to the times to express their dissatisfaction with this narrative. “On the American Revolution, pivotal to any account of our history, 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.” One of these historians is James McPherson, who won the Pulitzer Prize in history. Another is Gordon S. Wood, who is generally regarded as the dean of historians of the American Revolution and its aftermath. He also won the Pulitzer Prize. Another was Princeton University’s Sean Wilentz, who wrote the book: The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln.
It’s obvious to me what the common thread is that links these critics: they are living white males. They don’t understand what is really important about teaching American history. They did not discuss this with non-Dr. Jones. They were not on this panel.
They did not hear non-Dr. Jones: “When my editor asks me, like, what’s your ultimate goal for the project, my ultimate goal is that there’ll be a reparations bill passed.” They also did not hear her say, as she said when she began explaining the background of this project, this is the biggest project that The New York Times has ever done in terms of total media saturation. She said there was no resistance at all. Somehow, this does not surprise me.
So, in order to make certain that the coming generation votes for these reparations, this program is now being taught in 3,500 schools across the United States. That’s just the beginning.
I am waiting for the American Revolution in education, when parents rise up against the school boards locally, and vote all of them out of office. I am waiting for the new school boards then to cut the funding of the local schools by like, you know, 70%, which they could do with online video instruction. They could adopt the Khan Academy, which is free.
I am waiting for parents to figure out what the public schools are doing to their children. I have been waiting for this since 1962, and so far my expectations have proven fruitless.
I wonder what it would take for the schools to teach that would get a comprehensive revolt by American parents. I have not been sufficiently creative to come up with such a curriculum revision. Certainly non-Dr. Jones and her editor have not elicited such a response.