The President’s (Trump) 1776 commission is a conservative response to the myopic anti-American screed that is Nicole Sheri Hanna Jones’ The 1619 Project.
Hanna Jones’ 1619 project takes the perspective that Americas beginning was with the arrival of the first slave ship from Africa. Hanna Jones’ bio seems to indicate that her entire education and professional career is designed to promote a racial division narrative in the country.
Majoring in history and African American studies, she started writing about the Raleigh N.C. school system in the form of such horrid screeds as this one and this one for three years before moving to Portland OR.
As would be expected, her articles always seem to promote racial tension and division, a tactic used for great influence and profit by the likes of Malcom X, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the progenitors of the cancel culture Red Guard. The latter of those abominable characters is well known for showing up with a full media entourage at every potential race dividing opportunity to insert himself into the episode. These ‘thought’ leaders, Jackson and Sharpton, promote the almost completely incorrect 1619 Project. Malcom X is deceased.
The Project itself published in August 2019 is counterfactual in that America wasn’t even an idea yet and the main characters are European merchants who were buying their cargo from the tribal leaders in Angola, Nigeria, and The Congo. I used the word cargo purposely, not because I think that these people were mere objects or that slavery is a good thing but for the entirety of human history, slavery was a fact of life.
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The most enlightened civilization in history previous to The United States was ancient Greece (roughly 800 BC 197 BC when the Roman legions incorporated them into their growing empire.) Greece is considered the first democracy with citizens having representation in matters of state. Even so, there were classes of slaves and it was an accepted status for people who were on the losing end of a war or people who, unable to care for themselves. These contracted with others to perform work for their subsistence.
In Rome, it was a similar arrangement but there were a lot more people conquered and their status was much less structured. A slave could go from being a household fixture to being the undercard event in the colosseum on the whim of the owner.
The Middle/Dark ages had slaves but they were called serfs. These tended the land, which was the property of the King and they were subjects of his taxation, confiscations and whims. Any shortfall in the kingdoms budget or manpower to fight a war and you were conscripted at the point of a sword to step up and do your part to the exclusion of your survival.
The Enlightenment, a European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition. It was heavily influenced by 17th-century philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, and Newton, and its prominent exponents include Kant, Goethe, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Adam Smith, gave more liberty to individuals but did not abolish ‘rule from above’.
The rule of Kingship persists today in different forms and degrees. England retains a monarch as does Monaco, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, Oman to name some, but their power is somewhat limited due in large part to the reality of the United States. The French Revolution occurred about the same time as the American Revolution and is held up by progressives as a model for change.
But the French Revolution ended in chaos and voluminous with ‘The Reign of Terror’ where many people both guilty of being monarchist and innocents, by the tens of thousands were tortured and killed (beheadings were the favorite crowd-pleasers, as had been the gladiators in Ancient Rome) including Robespierre who started it.
All this to say that the founding of America was in a time and place that had an entirely different context, as was the slave trade. America went through evolutionary changes that widened the gap between accepting slavery for a time to make independence possible to now, when people who never owned slaves are browbeaten by people who never were slaves because people who lived 400 years ago don’t live up to the moral standard of today.
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There was a war fought on this continent by two sides of that debate that killed more than 600,000 men, some were brothers on different sides of the debate, some were innocents caught in the middle of the conflict. There is a school of thought that opines that slavery would have died under its own weight owing to technology and public opinion. But the scholars will have to debate that, I just want to point out that Hanna Jones, convicting everyone in modern America who doesn’t believe that anyone should be denigrated or penalized over something they had no control of is ludicrous.
Who gets taxed and who gets rewarded is a subject she can’t debate because there is no formula that can address it. It is meant as a cudgel for her followers to beat everyone else with. Oh, and to amass power.
In September 2020 President Trump birthed the 1776 commission to promote the true history of the founding of the United States. The full report, which you can read here, was written by Glen Loury, Carol Swain, John McWhorter, Jason Riley and others.
It uses time-honored and long-accepted historical facts to tell the story of America’s beginning. The beginning of this country is very well documented. From both British, French, and American archives, a clear picture can be drawn of the discovery of North America, the populating by British subjects and explorers also French, Spanish, Dutch and, Native Americans histories and stories are told. Africans, brought here both as slaves and freemen also tell a story. That story is also heroic and poignant, although it is not as steeped in glory as that of the Europeans. But, it is nevertheless important in the rise of Independence.
One of the other differences in the two stories is how, from the early 1960’s up until the present, white America and politicians of both parties with both good and bad intentions have tried to repay blacks for the scourge of slavery and Jim Crow.
In my humble opinion, separating by skin color and economic condition has only made both communities dependent on ever larger, big government programs such as the war on poverty. Anyone who knows me knows I believe that the best government is the government that governs least and that the most effective government is the one that is closest to the people it is governing.
This means that your local government knows and can best address the needs of individuals in their defined area. The federal government’s role, if it has a role at all is to encourage churches, non-profits and state and local government to help bridge a gap, not to supply cradle to grave subsistence to people. But politicians learned early that votes can be bought by promising a ‘chicken in every pot’ and collecting as much power as they can for themselves between elections.
If America is to remain America, it must focus on the values of 1776, not the guilt and absolutionary welfare policies that come with the 1619 Project.
By: David Gignac