The Lincoln-New York Times Debate

As a piece of malign history, the New York Times 1619 Project is much worse than the effort by the woke community over the years to claim ancient Egypt for black Africa.  DNA testing recently showed what all serious historians knew: that Egyptians, ancient to modern, are essentially of the Near East — i.e., white people, like Rashida Tlaib.

Such historical boosterism for one race or ethnicity is a common and mostly harmless thing in every culture.  What isn't is the NYT's recent wholesale rewriting of America's founding narrative in the face of the unassailable real history — the ultimate object being, with our constitutional principles discredited, that the nation is then free to embrace whatever lefty crap-trap is being peddled today.

The very name of the NYT's effort is a historical falsehood.  As my grade school history text first told me, the black people who were sold into Jamestown in 1619 were not slaves at all.  The English Common Law never permitted chattel slavery.  They were indentured servants — a harsh but temporary form of service, and the condition under which the majority of white settlers came to America before the Revolution.

Actual chattel slavery for blacks began only decades later as colonial legislatures were corrupted into inventing the Slave Codes, much as was done in other European colonies.  Of course, slavery was practiced throughout the world, from the earliest civilizations.  But through the work of the early medieval Church, slavery was ended in Europe, and then primarily by the efforts of devout Protestants and Catholics in the New World, it was eradicated here as well.  Eventually, 19th-century European Christians would insist that slavery be outlawed on every continent.

Our country was hardly established on the idea of slavery — in fact, just the opposite.  The Founders were at the forefront of the movement to curtail and end it.  No less an authority than Mr. Abraham Lincoln devoted one of his most famous speeches to explaining some of this history in detail, given at New York's Cooper Union Hall, just a few blocks away from where the sorry NYT building stands today.  In the famous series of Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1854 and then 1858, up and down the entirety of Illinois, the single topic argued was just that — what did the Founders intend on slavery?  Lincoln said the Founders believed that the phrase "all men are created equal" applied to all races and that they wished to put slavery on its ultimate course of extinction.

Lincoln's audiences knew their American history much better than today's NYT readers.  So Douglas had to argue a constantly shifting theory of his side, emphasizing the need for temporizing the current situation with a constant shower of racial demagogy.

The most famous slavery-supporter of all, John Calhoun, completely agreed with Lincoln's position on the Founders.  He didn't even try to rewrite history; he simply proclaimed in 1848 that the Declaration was wrong, that the Founders' biblical-based belief that all men are created equal had been superseded by modern science.  Experience with negro slavery had shown it was a "positive good."  Over 600,000 Americans would die in a terrible Civil War to vindicate Mr. Lincoln's position.  But even then, at least the opponents of our constitutional system, like John Calhoun, were refreshingly honest about what they were about.

Today's left-wing race-hustlers running the current NYT have no respect at all for truth and have turned journalism into a relentless series of hoaxes.  Devoting three years to hyping the obviously false Russia-Trump non-scandal has only left them wanting more.  Now they are on to weaving a woke fantasy tale about the founding of our country.

Today's Republican Party is not quite the one of 1860, nor does President Trump possess the genius of President Lincoln.  But the NYT's bold challenge to essentially reargue the Lincoln-Douglas debates ought to be confidently accepted.  The sordid race-baiting of today's Democrats should be condemned every day, along with their miserable record of violence and malfeasance in our big cities and public schools.  And we can educate a new generation of Americans through the campaign trail, on the great principles of our Founders, whose ideas represent the very best of Western civilization — something they unfortunately will not have learned about in school, nor from legacy media.

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, Ky.

As a piece of malign history, the New York Times 1619 Project is much worse than the effort by the woke community over the years to claim ancient Egypt for black Africa.  DNA testing recently showed what all serious historians knew: that Egyptians, ancient to modern, are essentially of the Near East — i.e., white people, like Rashida Tlaib.

Such historical boosterism for one race or ethnicity is a common and mostly harmless thing in every culture.  What isn't is the NYT's recent wholesale rewriting of America's founding narrative in the face of the unassailable real history — the ultimate object being, with our constitutional principles discredited, that the nation is then free to embrace whatever lefty crap-trap is being peddled today.

The very name of the NYT's effort is a historical falsehood.  As my grade school history text first told me, the black people who were sold into Jamestown in 1619 were not slaves at all.  The English Common Law never permitted chattel slavery.  They were indentured servants — a harsh but temporary form of service, and the condition under which the majority of white settlers came to America before the Revolution.

Actual chattel slavery for blacks began only decades later as colonial legislatures were corrupted into inventing the Slave Codes, much as was done in other European colonies.  Of course, slavery was practiced throughout the world, from the earliest civilizations.  But through the work of the early medieval Church, slavery was ended in Europe, and then primarily by the efforts of devout Protestants and Catholics in the New World, it was eradicated here as well.  Eventually, 19th-century European Christians would insist that slavery be outlawed on every continent.

Our country was hardly established on the idea of slavery — in fact, just the opposite.  The Founders were at the forefront of the movement to curtail and end it.  No less an authority than Mr. Abraham Lincoln devoted one of his most famous speeches to explaining some of this history in detail, given at New York's Cooper Union Hall, just a few blocks away from where the sorry NYT building stands today.  In the famous series of Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1854 and then 1858, up and down the entirety of Illinois, the single topic argued was just that — what did the Founders intend on slavery?  Lincoln said the Founders believed that the phrase "all men are created equal" applied to all races and that they wished to put slavery on its ultimate course of extinction.

Lincoln's audiences knew their American history much better than today's NYT readers.  So Douglas had to argue a constantly shifting theory of his side, emphasizing the need for temporizing the current situation with a constant shower of racial demagogy.

The most famous slavery-supporter of all, John Calhoun, completely agreed with Lincoln's position on the Founders.  He didn't even try to rewrite history; he simply proclaimed in 1848 that the Declaration was wrong, that the Founders' biblical-based belief that all men are created equal had been superseded by modern science.  Experience with negro slavery had shown it was a "positive good."  Over 600,000 Americans would die in a terrible Civil War to vindicate Mr. Lincoln's position.  But even then, at least the opponents of our constitutional system, like John Calhoun, were refreshingly honest about what they were about.

Today's left-wing race-hustlers running the current NYT have no respect at all for truth and have turned journalism into a relentless series of hoaxes.  Devoting three years to hyping the obviously false Russia-Trump non-scandal has only left them wanting more.  Now they are on to weaving a woke fantasy tale about the founding of our country.

Today's Republican Party is not quite the one of 1860, nor does President Trump possess the genius of President Lincoln.  But the NYT's bold challenge to essentially reargue the Lincoln-Douglas debates ought to be confidently accepted.  The sordid race-baiting of today's Democrats should be condemned every day, along with their miserable record of violence and malfeasance in our big cities and public schools.  And we can educate a new generation of Americans through the campaign trail, on the great principles of our Founders, whose ideas represent the very best of Western civilization — something they unfortunately will not have learned about in school, nor from legacy media.

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, Ky.