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The Biggest Lie in CRT
CRT is full of lies, and having been raised with a history teacher for a father, it really irks me when I hear schools teaching lies, disguised as ‘history.’ That those lies having a clear political ideology behind them only makes it worse.
Of all the lies in CRT – and it is chock full of them – the biggest is the one CRT is based on⏤that our nation was built on slavery.
Slavery existed in the American colonies when Europe colonized America. Slavery also existed in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and every other part of the world where people lived. Slavery was so common, everywhere on Earth, that when Thomas Jefferson coined the phrase, “all men are created equal,” that phrase became a far louder ‘shot heard around the world,’ than was anything that happened at Lexington or Concord.
The notion that all men (today we would say ‘people’) could in any way be equal, was something no one had ever considered before. The Greeks and Romans had invented the concepts of democracy, and created the first republics, but both the Greeks and the Romans also practiced slavery.
Before the Declaration of Independence, no society in human history thought that all people even within their own society were equal, and the concept that all people in other societies were created equal as well? Such a thought was unheard of, anywhere on Earth.
What was the impact of the phrase, ‘all men are created equal’? For the first time in human history, people began to question slavery.
It is somewhat ironic that a slave owner coined the phrase that ended slavery, but that is the nature of history. If someone is ‘teaching’ simplistic history (such as that America was built on slavery), they are not really teaching history at all, but are, at best, cherry-picking facts to support a given ideology. If you have to cherry-pick to support your ideology, that is a pretty good indicator that your ideology is false.
Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner, but he was also an abolitionist. To people alive today, this sounds contradictory, but Jefferson inherited a giant plantation, and that giant plantation included slaves. Southern plantations would borrow heavily early in the year to plant their fields, and they would hope to pay their debts off after harvest. Usually, they had to carry some debt from year to year, so really, for the most part, they just hoped to reduce their debt at the end of the year, to something less than it had been the year before.
Debt required collateral, and land was relatively cheap (you could always move a little farther West), so the primary property a plantation owner had to borrow against was their slaves.
People make a big deal about Thomas Jefferson not freeing his slaves at the end of his life, but Thomas Jefferson was in debt at the end of his life, and had no legal authority to free his slaves, as they were owned by his creditors in the same way a mortgage holder’s house is also owned by their bank.
Thomas Jefferson understood that the only way to end slavery was altogether. He tried to end slavery throughout Virginia, but his efforts failed. As President, one of the first things he did was to end the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which was a huge step toward ending slavery altogether.
Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. That is 100% true. But he was also the catalyst for ending slavery, and it is entirely possible that without Thomas Jefferson, we might still have slavery today. Certainly, it would be more common in third-world countries than it is.
Jefferson’s draft of the Constitution, prior to the Continental Congress amending it, went even further. Here are Jefferson’s words, before amendments were introduced:
“We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.” The text was changed primarily because the phrase ‘& independent’ was a direct rebuke of slavery, and the Southern States were not willing to go that far.
If it sounds like I am defending Thomas Jefferson, I am not. He was still a slave owner who participated in a horrendous institution, and who did some very bad things. The fact that he also did some very good things (and I just scratched the surface) does not eliminate the bad that he did any more than the bad that he did eliminate the good. The truth is that Thomas Jefferson was a mixed bag who did a lot of both good and bad things.
If we are honest, we would say that virtually everyone is a mixed bag. We are all capable of both good and evil, and though I think most people work very hard to do good, none of us are perfect.
History is full of nuance.
But CRT does not like nuanced views that paint a full portrait. CRT painted a portrait before it ever looked at facts – historical or otherwise. CRT wants to paint Thomas Jefferson as a wholly bad person, supporting the narrative that the United States is a wholly bad nation.
The truth is that we have had three united countries. The first was born when the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence, and fought England. The second was the nation formed under the Articles of Confederation. By the time the Constitution was drafted, a number of Northern states had taken the Declaration of Independence to heart, and banned slavery.
The truth is that though the Constitution of the United States recognized the existence of slavery, it did not endorse it, and many of the men who fought over its exact language wanted slavery abolished. The draft James Madison turned in that was then debated and amended made no reference to slavery at all. When the question of representation in the House of Representatives came up, the Northern states wanted only free people counted, which would have given the Northern (free) states a whole lot more power than the Southern (slave) states.
When Southern states balked at that idea, many Northern delegates told the Southern delegates that they could increase their representation very easily, by setting all the slaves free. The Southern States were not willing to do a test, and we ended up with the 3/5ths compromise instead.
The point is that there has never been a time in the history of this country where all states allowed slavery, and the Federal Government has never endorsed slavery. Slavery was a question left to the states, until immediately after the Civil War, with the Northern states wanting it banned on day one.
There was slavery in many of the early states, but far from being unique for having been built on slavery, the United States is unique for having been built on ending slavery. And the notion of our country being built on slavery is just one big lie.
There are a good many more. Take, for example, the notion that the United States was founded in 1619 when the first slave was brought to the New World. What about 1607, when the first colony was founded? How about 1620, when the Pilgrims arrived? How about 1490, when the first slaves were brought to the New World (but not the parts that became The United States)?
How about when Native Americans began taking other Native Americans as slaves? Slavery was in the New World long before anyone even knew there was a new world (or from the perspective of the Native Americans, an old one) – the notion that the white man brought it with him is a lie…
Only one of the thirteen colonies had been founded in 1619 (Virginia), so what makes 1619 the relevant year?
Because it fits the anti-American narrative CRT adherents want. If it did not, they would pick a different date, as that is what liars do.
CRT is no more based on truth than is a KKK pamphlet, and really a KKK pamphlet and CRT have a lot in common. Both pretend to provide accurate facts and accurate histories – but both cherry-pick facts to create a pre-arranged narrative. And both narratives are overtly racist. Really, the only difference between CRT adherents and the KKK is the group they want to be put in charge of. Mirror images are always reversed, so consider them the same.
I was raised by a history teacher, and a love of history runs deep in my family – the top award for history in Canada is literally named after an ancestor of mine (the Garneau Award). I believe history should be taught factually, without bias. We don’t need to tell people the Nazis were terrible, for example. Just teach what happened, and people will figure that out all on their own.
CRT is not based on history. It is based on lies masquerading as history, and We the People – a people of ALL races – will cast CRT into the dustbin of history, moving on as a United people, without it.
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