First, They Came for the Confederates….
On Disney’s latest ultra-woke reboot “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder”, the characters immediately roll into a litany of damnable lies about the history of this country.
Intended for an audience of children, the first diatribe declares:
Slaves built this country and we the descendants of slaves have earned reparations for their suffering and continue to earn reparations every moment we spend submerged in a systemic prejudice, racism and white supremacy that America was founded with and still has not atoned for [sic].
Simple historical context and logic easily disprove that initial claim, of course. Slaves certainly didn’t “build this country” — America was nothing resembling the economic juggernaut that it would later become when slavery was summarily abolished in 1865, and one could hardly suggest with any seriousness that the agrarian part of the country where slaves existed was the most substantial driver of America’s eventual economic and industrial might.
Furthermore, if the Founders were truly enthusiastic about exploiting slave labor as a profitable means of “building” their fledgling nation, their first actions might have been to proliferate the practice rather than legislating its limitations. For example, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which created the legal structure for the eventual states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, included an absolute prohibition of slavery in the new territories — “and there was no objection, north or south,” Robert Selph Henry writes in The Story of the Confederacy. In fact, the very first Congress after the ratification of the Constitution included a provision allowing for federal enforcement of the Ordinance — the law passed without objection and was signed by our Virginian president, George Washington.
In 1808, the importation of slaves was likewise prohibited, as the path was made clear for this development in the Constitution. Once again, the Virginians and Southern states didn’t object to this impediment to the slave trade.
In truth, far from being a benefit to the states which allowed it, slavery was known to be a dreadful economic burden of which even plantation owners in the Antebellum South were keenly aware. As Alexis de Tocqueville observes in Democracy in America (1836), the Southern states’ reason for maintaining slavery was not because it was financially beneficial for them to do so. In fact, he writes that many Southern planters would:
…agree with their Northern countrymen, in freely admitting that slavery is prejudicial to their interests; but they are convinced that the removal of this evil would imperil their own existence.
Contrary to popular modern belief, held even among some conservatives in recent decades, Southern states were not only skeptical of slavery’s economic benefits, but had substantial moral objections to it, also.
Robert Selph Henry continues in The Story of the Confederacy:
During this first generation after the adoption of the Constitution, this movement [in the South toward gradual emancipation] made much headway, and would, doubtless, have made more had it not been for difficulties about what to do with the negroes after they were freed – difficulties that meant little to the ardent and sincere abolitionist five hundred miles away, but were very real to the southern planter who had the responsibility of meeting the problem at short hand.
In other words, the moral aversion to slavery was not limited to the North, and the fear of abolishing slavery had little or nothing to do with Southern populations fearing the economic fallout. The fear was far more practical. As de Tocqueville tells his readers, slavery was a “commercial and manufacturing question in the North; for those in the South it is a question of life and death.”
The venerable Dr. Thomas Sowell further explains this element of the slavery question in America’s early years in his 2003 column, “Twisted History.” “Deciding that slavery was wrong,” he writes, “was much easier than deciding what to do with millions of people from another continent, of another race, and without any historical preparation for living as free citizens in a society like that of the United States, where they were 20 percent of the population.”
In the South in 1860, there were fewer than two free citizens for every one slave. This threat of social upheaval and violent revolt resulting from sudden abolition was a very real concern for the Southern states that complicated the slavery question for them, as any honest person could understand.
But, the nuanced complexities and history around that question notwithstanding, the monuments and legacies of great Americans like Robert E. Lee were torn down by the most privileged human beings to have ever lived, who falsely denounced them as racist profiteers who wished to do nothing more than exploit the slave laborers that supposedly “built this country.”
Then They Came for the Founders and Lincoln….
But when the radical progressive revisionists came for the Confederates, we didn’t speak out. After all, we aren’t Confederates, and we certainly didn’t want to be counted in league with the traitorous and racist Confederates whom the progressives told us had no other interests beyond their vast fortunes to be made by exploiting slave labor and the evil satisfaction to be had by subjugating human beings.
For nearly a century-and-a-half, American children were taught that the Civil War was a terrible conflict which cost incomprehensible amounts of American blood. But despite that great struggle, which our ancestors on both sides of that conflict endured, we were strengthened in our resolve to heal, and to continue onward together as a nation.
What was obvious to most of us watching this moment take place was that the insane woke ideologues tearing down Confederate statues would soon go after George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in an attempt to paint them as historical villains for having owned slaves. Their going after the Founders should have shocked no one, but what was a marvel, though, was how quickly they moved to attack the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln.
These attacks now occur regularly. For example, the one factually accurate comment in Disney’s anti-American, anti-White screed on “The Proud Family” still manages to disingenuously smear Lincoln.
“Lincoln didn’t free the slaves,” one character proclaims. While the Emancipation Proclamation marked a crucial shift in that it redefined Lincoln’s purpose for the war, it’s true that it didn’t actually free any slaves. It applied only to states in rebellion that didn’t recognize his authority, and did not apply to any United States territory outside of those states in rebellion.
Lincoln was, however, unequivocally anti-slavery. He routinely argued that slavery was in direct violation of the precepts of the Declaration of Independence, and cited federal interventions such as the Northwest Ordinance as evidence for the right of the federal government to intercede in abolishing it. Sadly, he was assassinated before being able to sign the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery in the United States.
Lincoln was extraordinarily progressive on the matter of slavery in his time, and no one who has spent one hour reading any honest account of American history could ever conclude that he was not, above all other American figures, instrumental in its abolition. It is his legacy, and it is why he stands as a symbol of American greatness for so many.
That is why he, too, needs to be destroyed by the woke leftists that are rewriting our history in order to cast America as worthy of destruction and reinvention rather than reverence and preservation.
And then they came for me….
So, here we are. Abraham Lincoln didn’t hold the same views that modern SJWs do about race relations, so woke progressives and Disney (apologies for the redundancy) have declared him to be just another villain. Washington and Jefferson had slaves, so, despite being among the greatest Americans to have ever lived, they had to be destroyed. And many Americans, even conservatives hoping to score points with the woke left, all cheered along with the cancellation of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and every other Confederate hero who was revered until five minutes ago.
Undoubtedly carried by this momentum, history is being rewritten for our children in real time, and they are being taught that we Americans, and particularly White Americans, are not the descendants of heroes as we all grew up being taught, but that we are the villainous descendants of oppressors.
But these men are not villains, and neither are we that still revere them. These are the men who “built this country.” What is truly owed is our reverence to them for their sacrifices in building this, the greatest and freest nation that humanity has ever known. And while the descendants of slaves who now enjoy life and liberty while pursuing their own happiness likewise owe these men a debt of gratitude, they most certainly are not owed financial restitution for hardships that they never endured.
Image: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.