If you haven’t heard of the 1619 project, it’s time to learn a little bit about the project itself and why it’s so dangerous.
The project, published by the New York Times in 2019, won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2020. Among the claims this “project” makes is that America was founded in 1619 when the first slaves were brought to the colonies.
In case you’ve forgotten your U.S. history, we were still colonies at that point and wouldn’t become a sovereign nation until 1776 — more than a century and a half later. The project claims that the U.S. came about as an endeavor by the Founding Fathers to protect their slave holdings, and that the cry for independence from England was a mere smokescreen to hide their true goals.
The project maintains that everything “wrong” with America today is the result of the nation’s “original sin” — slavery. The project doesn’t simply imply that racism is one part of the American experience. The project insinuates that it is the sum total of the experience.
Let’s break down the major claims made by this insipid project.
Claim 1: The American Revolution was About Preserving Slavery
The truth is that there were many reasons the Founding Fathers sought to separate from England. This included taxation without representation, the Stamp Act, debt conflicts arising from the French and Indian War, Intolerable Acts, the Boston Blockade, and other reasons. Of course, you can’t rule out the important role that a desire to be free to chart their own destiny as a nation as defining roles as well.
Claim 2: Slavery made America Rich
That is hardly the case. While slavery did make some Americans rich, it actually slowed the economic development of the states that relied on slave labor.
This is actually pretty common in historical slave economies. Aside from the actual population being enslaved, it’s the free working class that suffers the most. After all, how can a worker sell his labor when he has to compete with free labor?
Claim 3: Racism is an Unchangeable Part of America
This is a short-sighted claim that implies the country can never overcome the flaws of the past. While progress has not always been easy and there have been bumps in the road, it’s undeniable that America has made incredible progress. Within generations, the country went from segregation to electing a black man to serve as president — twice.
The 1619 Project is a dangerous threat to American identity. Here’s PragerU with more details.