1619 Project, More Lies as History

So the New York Times seems to have started a new (but not really) front in the culture wars with its so-called 1619 Project. You’ll remember that we talked a bit about it here. As we said there, part of this is the outcome of allowing our history to be Zinnified, since that fraud simply lied. But there is some truth in it, like all good lies. Adam Bruno writes on History News Network that:

Jim Geraghty’s National Review article “What the 1619 Project Leaves Out” provides one of the best examples of right-leaning media’s conceptions of America’s past. Geraghty argues that the “1619 Project’s effort to ‘reframe American history’ requires cropping out some significant figures in African-American history,” such as war heroes, national leaders, etc. This response illustrates conservative media’s conceptions of the past as: determined by the actions of “great men,” defined by heroic and noble acts of patriotism from its citizens, and generally memorable for its unifying moments not its shameful ones.

There is nothing inherently incorrect about the Great Men approach to American history, and the idea has long been essential to the right’s discourse about history. Historian Andrew Hartman explained this in The War for the Soul of America, noting that for the right, “there were certain eternal truths, such that America was a beacon of freedom embodied in the great men of the American past.” The stories of great people who exemplified American exceptionalism provide conservative media with a more digestible and glorious version of the country’s history. Geraghty makes this idea a central part of his article; “the number of prominent figures who never even get mentioned or who get only the most cursory treatment is pretty surprising.” Without these figures, conservative powerbrokers lose the icons necessary to uphold a cleaner and more wholesome national history.

And there is some truth in that. It’s also important to remember that it is appropriate that the left quote Geraghty and National Review since it has become obvious that there is nothing conservative about them either. We do tend to the ‘Great Men’ school. I wonder why in a history studded with men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln. Men who did what the clearly perceived as right, without thought of consequence to themselves. It’s interesting that while several of the founders mentioned here were, in fact, slaveowners, they were very uneasy about it, tending toward being abolitionists themselves. That is true of both Washington and Jefferson.

That was not true of almost any of the men that made up the Democrat Party that led the way into the Civil War, and when crushed by Union forces started the first Ku Klux Klan, which then had a comeback as President Wilson, also a Democrat resegregated the country.

Marc A. Scaringi writing in American Thinker gives a much more accurate view when he says:

The New York Times “1619 Project” is being lauded by the media and many Democrats for what they believe is a long overdue discovery of the hidden truth of America — that it was founded on white racism and the enslavement of blacks, and that even today the belief in white racial supremacy is so endemic to America that it’s a part of our national DNA.  […]

Third, the major premise of the Project is based upon a lie. It claims America was birthed in slavery in 1619 when the first 20 African slaves disembarked at Jamestown. It claims America was not a nation, “conceived in liberty,” as Abraham Lincoln intoned, but instead a white, racist state begat through the original sin of slavery. However, Jamestown was founded by a British company over a decade before the introduction of slaves; its purpose was to search for gold and establish trade to enrich its owners, not give freedom to anyone. America was born in 1776 when we declared our independence to free the American people, including blacks, from British rule.

Even the Project’s claim that the blacks at Jamestown were enslaved by whites is based upon a half-truth. It states, “The pirates had stolen [the slaves] from a Portuguese slave ship that had forcibly taken them from what is now the country of Angola.” But these Africans were likely captured and enslaved with considerable assistance from blacks. In 1619, the Portuguese allied themselves with the Imbangala, a fierce African tribe that lived by marauding other villages and enslaving other Africans. The Portuguese used the Imbangala to attack, defeat, and enslave the neighboring Ndongo tribe. The Portuguese then sold the enslaved Ndongo to the Americas.

Concerning the African slaves disembarked in Jamestown, Hannah-Jones writes, “They were no longer Mbundu or Akan or Fulani. These men and women… Just a few months earlier… [t]hey were free.” Yet, it’s highly unlikely that they had been free. The Mbundu were part of the Ndongo kingdom, which had a large slave population. About a third of the population of the Akan states were slaves or serfs. By the late 19th century, slaves still constituted about 50 percent of the Fulani Emirate. In African society, which was based upon the caste system, the upper castes did not sell their sons and daughters to the Portuguese, they sold their slaves.

Me? I think the whole project/conspiracy is an attempt to further transfer the guilt of the slaveholding left, while burying their continued and continuous support for keeping blacks (and Hispanics, Chinese, poor whites) anybody, in fact, that is not a neo-liberal down on the plantation. The term for these people is useful idiots, as Ludwig von Mises termed those fools who joined the Comintern. Some things change very slowly.

The main thing to remember with these NPC’s is that they are intrinsically anti-American and anti-Western Civilization. They want a world where their rule is unquestioned and permanent. Too bad about that, ’cause it ain’t gonna happen on our watch.

Someday, somewhere, probably over the rainbow, one of these scurrilous social justice warriors will screw up and tell the truth, and on that day, pigs will fly through a snowstorm in hell. Don’t hold your breath.

Ferdinand the Saint Prince of Portugal | The Freelance History Writer

Coat of arms of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lan...

I’ve mentioned a few times that Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal was John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster‘s grandson. Recently one of my British friends [Hi Jess :-)] told me she didn’t know that little fact. In truth, I don’t remember where I picked it up, either but it is true. I knew it was through Lancaster’s daughter but misremembered the name, it was Phillipa of Lancaster.

Happens, in this country they don’t teach American history effectively so that my education in English medieval history is defective is probably not to be wondered at. Still, it’s rather interesting.

This article from The Freelance History Writer is about Prince Henry’s little brother, Prince Saint Ferdinand, and it too is a very fascinating story..

Portrait believed to be of Infante Ferdinand the Saint, Master of the Order of Aviz.

Portrait believed to be of Infante Ferdinand the Saint, Master of the Order of Aviz.

Infante Ferdinand was the youngest of the family known in Portuguese history as the “illustrious generation”. Ferdinand and his brothers and sister were raised by their parents to be educated and to lead in various ways, all for the glory of Portugal. But Ferdinand was doomed to have a very sad story.

Ferdinand was born on September 29, 1402 at Santarém, Portugal. He was the sixth and youngest son of King Joao I and Philippa of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt. The chronicler Fonseca Benevides states that soon after Philippa became pregnant with Ferdinand, she became very ill. She struggled but did deliver a boy after a difficult childbirth. Perhaps because of this, Ferdinand was sickly and weak as a child.

Continue reading Ferdinand the Saint Prince of Portugal | The Freelance History Writer.

In other news, starting tomorrow, we are going to start building on the foundation that Chalcedon has provided us on the Ottoman Empire and it’s neighbors and successors, so if you didn’t get the players onto you’re scorecard you might want to. Those articles are here, here, and here, and taken together constitute as good a short history of the are as you’ll find in the blogosphere. I note that this is one of the areas of Chalcedon’s professional interest, he is a historian, and he writes from a deep well of knowledge, which we are quite lucky he is willing to share with us. So stay tuned, class will resume soon. 🙂

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