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Beto O’Rourke has taken the measure of America and found it wanting.
“This country, though we would like to think otherwise,” he intoned last weekend, “was founded on racism, has persisted through racism and is racist today.”
Sentiment - Party - Bernie - Sanders - Year
This is now a mainstream sentiment in the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders said earlier this year that the United States was “created” in large part “on racist principles.”
The New York Times has begun its so-called 1619 Project, marking the 400th anniversary of the importation of slaves from Africa.
Series - Nothing - Country - History - Founding
The series seeks nothing less than “to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
It is certainly true that an American nation existed prior to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and slavery was its great sin, with permutations still felt today. But to pretend that racism is the essence of America and constituted one of the country’s founding principles is an odious and reductive lie.
Reference - Slavery - Constitution - James - Madison
It doesn’t explain why any reference to slavery was kept out of the Constitution. James Madison, per his notes during the drafting convention, “thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men.”
The careful avoidance of the term was subsequently used to buttress the position of opponents of slavery from John Quincy Adams to Abraham Lincoln to Frederick Douglass. The great black abolitionist asked, “If the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave-holding instrument,” how could it be that “neither slavery, slaveholding nor slave . . . be anywhere found in it?”
Notion - Slavery - Principle - Passage - Northwest
The notion of slavery as a founding principle doesn’t explain the passage of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, prior to the adoption of the...
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