Monday, January 27, 2020

Some Thoughts on the 1619 Project

One of the major items is the idea that the preservation of slavery played a big part in the American Revolution;  The best evidence appears to be

  •  the southern reaction to Gov. Dunmore's offer of freedom to slaves who would fight for/work for the British.  
  • fears that the Somerset decision, outlawing slavery in the UK, was a harbinger of changes in the colonies.
I'm a failed historian and I'm a WASP so my judgments are suspect, but here goes:
  • the Dunmore issue is valid, but the timing makes it less relevant. As I learned in school, the run-up to the revolution took years, going back to the Stamp Act protests.  It comes in November 1775, after  the April Concord/Lexington fighting and months after the siege of Boston began.  It might have swayed Southern planters who were on the fence to decide to support independence.
  • because slavery in the  British colonies in Canada and the Caribbean continued for years after the Revolution, people should not have had major concerns over the effect of Somerset.  But humans are able to worry about things without having a solid basis for it.  I'd like to see an analysis of discussion of Somerset in America between 1772 and 1776.

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