, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1/ I've noticed lots of good commentary on the National Review response to #1619Project.
2/ An excellent point from @nhannahjones:
3/ Another excellent point from @OsitaNwanevu:
4/ I'd like to make an additional point about the conclusion to the article which, after undermining American exceptionalism, brings it back in.
5/ . . ."None of the other societies tainted by slavery produced the Declaration of Independence, a Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton, the U.S. Constitution, or a tradition of liberty that inspired people around the world for centuries."
6/ Missing here is the important point Edmund Morgan made 44 years ago in American Slavery, American Freedom that ideas and practices of freedom fundamentally rested on enslavement.
7/ Indeed, the STARTING POINT of Morgan's book was the question: How was it that "Virginia slaveholders were the most eloquent spokesman for freedom and equality." And who were the Viriginians Morgan was thinking of? Everyone, maybe even the National Review, knows the answer.
8/ In other words, in order to have liberty for white men, you needed racial enslavement of Africans and people of African descent (I realize Morgan wasn't right about everything, but this central insight holds up).
9/ It is equally important to know that U.S. liberty for white men fundamentally depended on the theft of Indigenous peoples' lands. This was a matter not just of greed or economic development, but of political theory.
10/ The Founders believed that republican liberty required widespread property ownership for white men; the only way to create more private property was to take it from Native Nations.
11/ The idea of "liberty for all" may be something to aspire to, provided it really is liberty for all (which will require responsibility to other humans and non-humans).
12/ But we can't celebrate U.S. liberty when it was founded in white supremacy, enslavement, exploitation, and dispossession and when it remains compromised today. /end
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