A Nation Primed To See Racism In Everything Will Think Only About Race

One high school in Oregon postponed a vote last week on whether to change its mascot from the Trojan to the Evergreens over concerns the imagery of lush timber was racist.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School, named after the prominent black activist and journalist who documented lynching in the post-Civil War era, was considering a mascot change to adopt a symbol more representative of its connection to the community. Board members complained, however, that evergreen trees would conjure up imagery invoking the brutal execution of African-Americans.

“I think everyone comes with blind spots and I think that might’ve been a really big blind spot,” said Director Michelle DePass at the school board meeting.

The episode is emblematic of how the country has come to see race, viewing minorities deemed oppressed by the woke left as fragile special-interest groups that Americans must hold a religious commitment to buttress in the moral righteousness of “antiracism.” Everywhere, Americans are explicitly reminded of the racial inequities among minority groups as evidence of their inherent racism and the nation’s irredeemably racist past — and present.

Starting at an early age, Americans are barraged with statistics and anecdotes, about everything from income to health status, that are always broken down by race to highlight disparities that victimize minorities and define their destiny as one determined by racist circumstance over personal responsibility. This ideology of abject victimhood taught in classrooms, newsrooms, and boardrooms after being bred for an entire generation on left-wing university campuses has now produced a nation dangerously constrained by a toxic obsession with race.

Under this doctrine, anything and everything must be vetted by 21st-century standards of cultural acceptance to root out the poisonous racism. This obsession, however, is the root of American demise. A nation primed to think only about race will only think about race.

Americans are now trained to see racism in everything, even where it doesn’t exist. Trees are racist. Hiking is racist. Your cereal box is racist. Your depictions of Santa Claus and Jesus are racist. Claiming otherwise to any of it is also racist.

Minorities are trained to see themselves as hopelessly oppressed and facing endless aggressions at every turn. Every slightest impolite infraction can earn the morally indignant condemnation as racist, wrecking the perpetrator as a villain responsible for deep personal trauma. The so-called trauma, however, is merely a preconception inculcated by years of woke indoctrination.

None of this is to say racism doesn’t exist. Americans can and should recognize there are racial tensions that need to be addressed. The radical obsession with defining every aspect of the modern culture through the exhaustive lens of “antiracism,” however, has only led tensions to new heights while deceiving millions of well-meaning Americans who are terrified of the racist label and roping them into the effort. And “antiracism,” weaponized by the political left to pursue political ends through intimidation of their opponents, has stifled debate, driven division, and merely created a different kind of racism.

The debate over voter ID requirements included in the recent Republican-passed Georgia voting bill provides a perfect illustration of today’s racism infecting woke corporatists and the Democratic Party, which claim — in the name of antiracism of course — that mandated identification requirements for ballot access are too difficult for minorities to comply with.

And then there’s affirmative action and the push for reparations, endorsed by the Democratic Party, which claims minorities aren’t capable of achieving of the American dream without white saviors and billions in special assistance.

Race relations under the mandated lens of antiracism aren’t getting any better. On that, nearly all Americans agree. According to Gallup, in 2008, the year Americans elected their first black president, 70 percent of white adults and 61 percent of black adults said race relations were either “very” or “somewhat good.” Only 46 percent of white adults and 36 percent of black adults said the same in 2020.

If last year’s radical acceleration of antiracism in the culture war has taught us nothing else, it’s that the colorblind approach was likely the right one. The opposite has shown to be an aggressive form of racism featuring the bigotry of low expectations cloaked in the moral righteousness of social justice.

Source

University Of Oregon Paid ‘1619 Project’ Writer Nikole Hannah-Jones $25K To Lecture On ‘Systemic Racism’

The University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication paid New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the writer behind the anti-historical “1619 Project,” for a Zoom lecture in February on “1619 and the Legacy that Built a Nation,” as first reported by Campus Reform.

Hannah-Jones raked in $25,000, evident by a Freedom of Information Request filed by Campus Reform. The Feb. 19 event was co-sponsored by the university’s Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and Division of Equity and Inclusion, among other groups.

The organization that was paid by The University of Oregon was the Lavin Agency, as shown by the FOIA. The agency defines itself as “the world’s largest intellectual talent agency, representing leading thinkers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, consulting, and endorsements.” The group also offers the likes of Margaret Atwood, leftist activist Angela Davis, Khan Academy Chief Executive Officer Salman Khan, climate writer Naomi Klein, and other big names.

The “1619 Project” writer discussed why Americans need to “remain vigilant” while fighting for “racial inequality.” A promotional flyer for the event claimed there is a “lasting legacy of Black enslavement on the nation.”

“As the lead writer for New York Times Magazine’s the “1619 Project,’ a major viral multimedia initiative observing the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves arriving in America, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones explores the lasting legacy of Black enslavement on the nation—specifically, how Black Americans pushed for the democracy we have today,” the flyer read.

Last week, Hulu announced it will stream the “1619 Project,” which Lionsgate studios and Oprah Winfrey partnered to fund this summer. Hulu praised the project by Hannah-Jones in a press release as “a landmark undertaking … of the brutal racism that endures in so many aspects of American life today.” Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize for her project — which has been debunked by several historians for its pushing of the false premise that America was both founded in 1619 and that the Revolutionary War was fought to sustain slavery.

“[I]t would not surprise me in the slightest if the university is actively attempting to hide its embrace of radicalism,” Oregon Federation of College Republicans Chairman Ben Ehrlich said to Campus Reform.

John Large, a spokesman for the Lane County Republicans where the university is located, told The Federalist that “The University of Oregon is so damned two-faced that if a conservative went to the campus, they would go ahead and throw them guys out.”

According to a document put out by the university, the event was not permitted to be recorded or redistributed.

Source

Hulu Hops On ‘Systemic Racism’ Train By Streaming 1619 Project Disinfo Docuseries

Hulu will stream a docuseries adaptation of the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which Lionsgate and Oprah Winfrey partnered this summer to fund.

The 1619 Project, a series of articles created by so-called journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, ahistorically claimed the year 1619 was the legitimate founding of the United States due to the importation of slaves.

The speculative project neglects the fact that America was founded as a constitutional republic in 1776 after sparring against the British monarchy. Hannah-Jones’s work went so far as to claim the Revolutionary War was fought to sustain slavery, even though it was factually fought between the 13 colonies and Great Britain over unnecessary taxation and a war for control of America.

A press release put out on Thursday by Hulu praises the 1619 Project as “a landmark undertaking … of the brutal racism that endures in so many aspects of American life today.” Hulu describes Jones in its press release as “one of the nation’s foremost investigative journalists.”

Hulu, majorly owned by the Walt Disney Company, has not yet announced when the project will be available. The first episode will be directed and produced by Roger Ross Williams, who was the first black director to take home an Academy Award for his 2010 documentary “Music by Prudence.” Williams said in a statement that the “systemic racism” the 1619 Project teaches “is an essential reframing of American history.”

“Our most cherished ideals and achievements cannot be understood without acknowledging both systemic racism and the contributions of Black Americans. And this isn’t just about the past — Black people are still fighting against both the legacy of this racism and its current incarnation,” said Williams.

While the New York Times has stood by its verifiably false reporting on the history of slavery, it altered its mission statement for the 1619 Project. The description for the series of articles in August 2019 sought to represent “1619 as our true founding,” while a description published on Sept. 18, 2020, deleted this phrasing.

Jones, who not shockingly won a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 by the left-leaning institution, claimed we need to “deprogram … millions of Americans, almost all white, almost all Republicans.”

Then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order in November 2020 to establish a “1776 Commission” to “instill patriotic education” and teach foundational American history. Moments after taking office, President Joe Biden removed the report from the official White House website and revoked the commission to guide civics education. School districts across the country have said in recent years they will use the flawed 1619 Project in schools.

The docuseries aims to communicate that America is systemically racist and comes at a time when the Marxist critical race theory is on the rise.

Source

Scott Walker on YAF’s ‘Long Game’: Sponsor One Million Students, Sue Schools Violating Free Speech, Launch Tip Lines Exposing Leftism

Former Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), president of Young America’s Foundation, explained his organization’s “Long Game” strategy — including constitutional lawsuits, partnerships with other conservative organizations, and use of a tip line to expose leftism in the educational establishment — on Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow, author of Breaking the News: Exposing the Establishment Media’s Hidden Deals and Secret Corruption.

YAF plans to establish chapters across all the nation’s college and university campuses, Walker said.

“We support students in more than half of all the campuses in America,” he noted. “That’s over 2,000 campuses, but we’ve got to be in all 4,000, because the left is.” He added, “We need to start sooner — not just in college — but in the high school and even junior high, so we’ve got aggressive programs [to do this].”

The former Wisconsin governor shared YAF’s intentions to expand into elementary, middle, and high schools. He described the composition of curriculum as another front in the political battle against the left.

LISTEN:

“We want to get a million new students involved as participants in our program,” Walker remarked, listing the first goal of YAF’s new plan.

YAF launched a tip line through which students, teachers, and other stakeholders can share information about leftist policies in education.

Walker stated, “We’ve got this aggressive tip line that often exposes radical and out-of-control professors. We’ve exposed  — sadly — many situations where increasingly campuses are segregating students, even in terms of training and even living circumstances.”

The YAF tip line led to revelations of a local school district in Iowa pushing the “Black Lives Matter” campaign on children as young as four. “Among the ideas forced on students—aged four to eighteen—are ‘queer affirming,’ ‘transgender affirming,’ ‘globalism,’ and ‘disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics,’” reported YAF.

The local Iowa school district pushed “transgender” narratives to students, framing sex as an arbitrary social construct, denying human sexual dimorphism and rejecting family as a universal human institution.

“Last month for black history month, [an Iowa local school district] partnered with BLM for a BLM ‘Week of ‘Action,’” Walker recalled. “It had literally nothing to do with black history, and in fact went from preschool all the way ’til 12th grade, and what we found was they were giving out coloring pages. [They were] telling kids that they could pick their gender. Now, these are preschoolers and kindergarteners.”

He continued, “This makes no sense. They were saying the father didn’t have to be a part of the family structure anymore. These are radical ideas. Instead, maybe we should be teaching kindergarteners and young kids in elementary school how to read and how to write, and appreciation for American history instead of the 1619 Project.

Walker identified hatred of America as a component of leftist pedagogy. He said YAF would provide patriotic materials to parents and students to “counteract all this nonsense about hating America.”

“We’re going to lift up our American icons,” Walker remarked. “We’re going to lift up our Americans founding principles. We’re going to lift up our Judeo-Christian values. Those are things that are timeless [and that] we need to get back to to get this country back on the right track.”

YAF also intends to expand its digital reach as part of its vision, Walker added.

“We found in our research and polling, the number one place that young people get their information is on YouTube,” he stated. “So we created a YouTube channel, YAF TV. We’ve seen a tremendous jump this past year with the shutdowns because people want to gravitate to real content and watching our speakers.”

Walker added, “We want to have five million subscribers [on YouTube] under the Long Game plan and one billion views on our YouTube channel.”

YAF will assist in lawsuits to combat violations of the First Amendment, Walker held. The organization said it will be “holding schools accountable in court for free speech violations [and] fighting back across the country against anti-conservative bias and discrimination.”

Walker remarked, “When it comes to free speech … we’re going to be aggressive, take it to the campuses, [and] take it to the liberals. [We will] not just wait until someone complains to us and asks us to get involved in the lawsuit, but we’re going get involved.”

“I don’t like to typically litigate, but the Constitution’s on our side when it comes to free speech,” he added. “We’ve won big cases, even at places like UC Berkeley, but we’ve got fights to fight everywhere across America. We’re in a fight right now in Florida, we’re involved with our students — College Republicans, Turning Point, others — who are unfairly targeted. We need to do more things to back up our students on every campus, whether they’re in our chapters or our members or not. We’re going to back up conservative students with the law and fight for what’s right, for free speech.”

Walker called for an end to “turf battles” between varying conservative groups.

“We want to partner with other organizations,” he expressed. “It’s not enough just to have YAF doing it … The left gets this. They unite. They form together. They don’t fight each other. We need to get beyond turf battles and say, ‘We’re in this together.’”

Walker identified “critical race theory” as a neo-Marxist ideology designed to sow seeds of discord between Americans.

‘We’re gonna push back even harder on things like critical race theory,” he stated. “[Critical race theory] is not about peace amongst the races. This is part of a larger plan. It started decades ago, even before I was born, with Marxists trying to impose Marxism and communism and socialist tendencies on the United States. That didn’t work, because we’re not in a class-based society in America.”

He concluded by highlighting the American Dream as contrary to communist visions of egalitarianism.

“You can come out of the poorest-of-the-poor households and succeed and do well, whether it’s in business or politics or anywhere else in life, and the opportunities are endless and boundless to people who come to America or were born here. Critical race theory [and] the BLM efforts and others are really about coming at Marxism from a different direction. In fact, the three founders of BLM flat out acknowledged that they are Marxist-trained sympathizers, and in the end, they want to use race and sex and gender as new ways to pit groups of Americans against others to try to reestablish the economy.”

Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

Source

Illinois Teachers Shamed For Color Of Their Skin In Taxpayer-Sponsored ‘Antiracist’ Training

Educators at a public high school in Illinois were astonished to learn when they showed up for work one day that everything from the color of their skin to snow shoveling indicates “systemic racism.”

On Feb. 26, Naperville 203 Community Unit School District hosted a systemic racism training for faculty and staff, bringing in “antiracist” coach Dena Simmons for a keynote speech. The Countywide Equity Institute featured 10 speakers lecturing on “equity and inclusion” practices for “marginalized and/or underrepresented” students, as well as implicit bias and microaggressions.

A whistleblower who reached out to The Federalist, a teacher at Naperville Central High School, claims Simmons told attendees that “our education is based on a foundation of whiteness” and that Americans “are spiritually murdering” students. Simmons also reportedly said that if you are not an “antiracist” you are a racist, even if you believe “you are treating people with respect.”

Simmons has delivered two TEDx talks on institutional racism. In one speech to educators that has more than 230,000 views on YouTube, the Yale University graduate said “white supremacy” is the outcome in all schools that do not embrace “racial justice” and “antiracism” training for students.

In an article titled “How to Be an Antiracist Educator” published in Oct. 2019, Simmons praises The New York Times’ “1619 Project” as a “comprehensive opportunity to learn and discuss history and race with colleagues and students.” The 1619 Project claimed America is systemically racist and that all of modern society and injustices are directly linked to slavery. It has been the target of much criticism by scholars for inaccuracy.

The whistleblower said Simmons’ lecture was “all over the place” and “hard to follow” content-wise. Simmons reportedly said “snow removal” indicates systemic racism, presumably referencing a viral Feb. 3 column published by the Los Angeles Times in which the author condemned her Republican neighbor for plowing her driveway.

“At one point she was talking even about how snow removal is affected by systemic racism. She totally lost me on that one. I even texted that to my [partner],” said the whistleblower.

“It’s almost time for an amazing day of learning in @Naperville203! So excited for our lineup, discussions, reflections, and ACTIONS that will make us better together. #BeTheSpark @brightmorningtm @DenaSimmons @SaraKAhmed @pgorski @chrisemdin,” the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Naperville, Jayne Willard, who organized the Feb. 26 “antiracist training,” tweeted that morning.

The Federalist contacted the district for a transcript or video of the training. An employee at the district office claimed Simmons did not permit any recording or redistribution of her discussion that day.

“The Naperville Community School District 203 has given a platform to the toxic and divisive ideology of critical race theory. Ms. Dena Simmons is one of the many prophets of this cult-like ideology that looks at children by the color of their skin, not the content of their character,” Asra Q. Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter investigating critical race theory in education, told The Federalist. “As parents, we need to ask the bottom line questions. How much was Ms. Simmons paid? Was there a competitive bidding process to get speakers on the topic?”

Simmons is the founder of LiberatED, a group “focused on developing school-based resources at the intersection of social and emotional learning (SEL), racial justice, and healing.” She posts a reported speaking fee of $10,000 to $20,000 to essentially discuss the redistribution of wealth and social prestige by race.

A teacher at Naperville Central sent The Federalist several PowerPoint slides from the virtual training hosted by speaker Valda Valbrun, who presented on the topic “Leading for Equity: Efficacy and Action in Schools.” The PowerPoint image below obtained by The Federalist alludes to a broad conspiratorial network of interconnected systems of “structural and institutional racism.”

Below are additional pictures that teachers in the Valbrun training took, one of which depicts a pyramid graph that differentiates between examples of “covert” and “overt” white supremacy. Among the overt examples, the graph claims the phrase “Make America Great Again” is covert white supremacist language, nearly equivalent in context to the N-word and the Ku Klux Klan. Also, it claims denying the existence of “white privilege” makes you a racist. So does the “celebration of Columbus Day,” as depicted in the right-hand corner.

Another slide, depicted under the white supremacy graph, deceptively equates “equal access” with “a vision of society in which the distribution of resources and power is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.” Once more, equality of outcome is represented by the “antiracist” educators as synonymous with equality of opportunity.

Racism

Racism

Valbrun is the CEO of Valbrum Consulting Group, an organization that provides training and leadership development for schools and districts. In 2019, Valbrun presented at The Harvey B. Gantt Museum, Equity and Innovation Teacher Institute on equity and systemic racism in education. Valbrum’s lecture at Naperville overwhelmingly used identity politics to explain all “disparities” in society, according to sources.

“Let’s look at the children as individuals,” a teacher said. “They are saying that if you are white you are racist and have white privilege. Even if you say you are not racist, you are told you are.”

On March 2, school district coordinator Sue Jim Striedl sent an email to all attendees at the Feb. 26 Valbrun training to provide a link to the Intercultural Development Inventory website. IDI identifies itself as “the premier cross-cultural competence that is used by thousands of individuals and organizations to build intercultural competence to achieve international and domestic diversity and inclusion goals and outcomes.”

Striedl forwarded a Google Drive link from Valbrun that contains documents she used in her lecture. One document called the “Leading For Racial Equity” glossary defines the terms “white privilege,” “white fragility,” “white culture,” “whiteness,” and “systemic racism,” among others. It also says that “reverse racism” does not exist, claiming white people cannot be discriminated against.

Another document is a “Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist, Multicultural Institution,” a six-step guide to becoming an “antiracist” based on the notion that everyone is implicitly bigoted. The third document included below is called the “School Culture Equity Rubric” and outlines various scenarios of “racism,” such as if a minority student is not greeted upon entering a classroom. Additionally, suspensions, detentions, and all “zero-tolerance discipline” policies are said to be racist.

In a tweet prior to the 2020 presidential election in November, now-Vice President Kamala Harris called for “equity,” saying “equitable treatment means we all end up in the same place.” Schools and companies are now ramping up partnerships with speakers espousing dangerous ideas, such as the elimination of meritocracy and the idea of judging people as racist or non-racist based on their biology.

In this intersectionality hierarchy, a white man is inherently racist simply because he is a white man; a transgender black pansexual person with the pronouns it/they remains oppressed because of his sectarian status in society’s impermeable “hegemony.”

In February, a whistleblower said Coca-Cola was hosting “antiracist” training on LinkedIn for employees, which was subsequently removed from the website. The training videos instructed employees to “try to be less white.”

Brigham Young University, as reported by The Daily Wire, is developing a “race-conscious” curriculum. The BYU task force said the school should “establish a dedicated, visible space on campus for underrepresented students and those who serve this population.” In other words, segregation.

“We’re facing a national crisis in America today with a multimillion-dollar industry that I call ‘Woke Inc.,’ infiltrating our schools with hired guns, weaponizing our children, and indoctrinating them with toxic, divisive ideas that segregate, shame, and denigrate,” Nomani said. “As a parent, it breaks my heart. We have to stand up with moral courage and challenge and expose this nightmare.”

According to teachers, Naperville Central had a “building institute” training a week prior on Feb. 22 where district “learning coaches” lectured on implicit bias and microaggressions. The topic of discussion was also equity and racism in education—and America at large. The whistleblower says that he believes the next session is scheduled for April 6.

The “antiracist” training at the high school comes on the heels of Illinois formally approving “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards.” According to the new rules, teachers are required to “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives,” as well as “assess how their biases…affect…how they access tools to mitigate their own behavior (racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, Eurocentrism, etc).”

“In Illinois, the semi-official civics website tied to the implementation of the state’s civics law, illinoiscivics.org , has been heavily promoting critical race theory, the culturally responsive teaching philosophy that grows out of critical race theory, and the white fragility-style training sessions connected to culturally responsive teaching. I say ‘semi-official’ because the illinoiscivics.org website is funded and run by a private entity, the McCormick Foundation,” Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told The Federalist.

The new rules in Illinois include an article on “white fragility” and form the basis for training sessions—like that at Naperville—for teachers to “move past their whiteness.” Educators are required to admit that there is systemic racism or  “that there are systems in our society that create and reinforce inequities, thereby creating oppressive conditions.”

“We need to oppose ‘antiracism’ training because the training itself is more like racism than its opposite. This training attributes guilt and innocence, insight and blindness, to individuals because of their race. This training, and the critical race theory that inspires it, is fundamentally at odds with the classically liberal principles that form the foundation of our constitutional system,” Kurtz added.

He noted that Joe Biden has repeatedly claimed the nation he leads is beset with systemic racism, a critical race theory concept, and one of his first acts as president was to reinstate critical race theory trainings for federal employees and contractors.

“I’ve had enough of this,” the whistleblower said. “Somebody needed to say something. I was raised with the idea that you try to see people as human beings and individuals. Instead of trying to create a society that works together, a society that has the values that our country was founded on, all systemic racism is doing is drawing attention to people’s races and differences. Instead of a society that works together, this is totally the opposite.”

Assistant Superintendent Jayne Willard did not return several calls from The Federalist requesting for comment, nor did Assistant Principal Angela Ginnan from Naperville Central High School. Valbrun Consulting Group did not return any calls. An individual who handles inquiries for Dena Simmons responded to an email preliminarily but did not answer a follow-up with questions.

Update: A teacher who wishes to remain anonymous contacted the Federalist on March 6 and said the Naperville union representative, Dan Iverson, sent a letter to faculty and staff after the publishing of this article. Iverson said that it is vital America fosters “a more equitable district and a more equitable society.”

I appreciate your article as I too work at District 203. Sadly it is falling on deaf ears and they are ramping up pressure on us even more as conservatives. We just got this letter from our union rep (Dan Iverson). The thing he doesn’t get is if we speak out we will get punished. Read below. [link],”

Linked here is the letter by Dan Iverson obtained by The Federalist. Above all else, Iverson neglects the fact that conservative voices are silenced in leftist-ran institutions today, such as Naperville—which has been harped on by several educators who spoke to The Federalist. All teachers have requested anonymity out of fear of repercussions.

Source

Joe Biden: 1776 Commission ‘Offensive’ and ‘Counterfactual’

President Joe Biden said Tuesday he is abolishing the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission which, he stated, is “offensive” and “counterfactual.”

During his remarks on his racial equity agenda, Biden said:

Look, in the weeks ahead. I’ll be reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and accessibility, building on the work we started in the Obama-Biden administration. That’s why I’m rescinding the previous administration’s harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training and abolish the offensive counterfactual 1776 commission. Unity and healing must begin with understanding and truth, not ignorance, and lies.

In its section on the Constitution, the 1776 Commission’s report states:

The bedrock upon which the American political system is built is the rule of law. The vast difference between tyranny and the rule of law is a central theme of political thinkers back to classical antiquity. The idea that the law is superior to rulers is the cornerstone of English constitutional thought as it developed over the centuries. The concept was transferred to the American colonies, and can be seen expressed throughout colonial pamphlets and political writings.

Regarding the Declaration of Independence, the report observes:

The core assertion of the Declaration, and the basis of the founders’ political thought, is that “all men are created equal.” From the principle of equality, the requirement for consent naturally follows: if all men are equal, then none may by right rule another without his consent.

The assertion that “all men are created equal” must also be properly understood. It does not mean that all human beings are equal in wisdom, courage, or any of the other virtues and talents that God and nature distribute unevenly among the human race. It means rather that human beings are equal in the sense that they are not by nature divided into castes, with natural rulers and ruled.

The 1776 Commission was led by Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn and its vice president for its Washington, DC, operations, Dr. Matthew Spalding.

Spalding, who served as the commission’s executive director, told Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily the commission’s report defends 1776 as “the true founding” of America.

He noted as well that the use of “identity politics” today may be added to “slavery or progressivism or fascism or communism abroad” as threats to the founding principles.

The commission was, in part, considered to be a response to the New York Times 1619 Project, which claims America’s true founding date is 1619, the year African slaves were first brought to the colonies.

“But more broadly,” Spalding said, “Howard Zinn and other revisionist histories for some time have been arguing that America really is not a playing out, if you will, of principles set down in the Declaration,” in terms of the statement that “all men are created equal.”

“But [that] it actually is defined by the existence of slavery, and, thus, it is systemic from the very beginning,” he continued. “And we reject that claim outright indeed.”

Spalding said that, despite the fact that America has had its flaws, such as the existence of slavery at one time, “America’s history has always been a relationship between those principles and a nation trying, aspiring to uphold those principles.”

“The abolitionist movement began in America,” he noted.

“It began in America in light of the principles of the Declaration,” he added. “That’s what Lincoln turned back to. That’s what Martin Luther King later turned back to very prominently in his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”

The 1776 Commission’s report states about slavery and the current charge that America was founded upon that institution and, therefore, is inherently racist:

The most common charge levelled against the founders, and hence against our country itself, is that they were hypocrites who didn’t believe in their stated principles, and therefore the country they built rests on a lie. This charge is untrue, and has done enormous damage, especially in recent years, with a devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric.

Many Americans labor under the illusion that slavery was somehow a uniquely American evil. It is essential to insist at the outset that the institution be seen in a much broader perspective. It is very hard for people brought up in the comforts of modern America, in a time in which the idea that all human beings have inviolable rights and inherent dignity is almost taken for granted, to imagine the cruelties and enormities that were endemic in earlier times. But the unfortunate fact is that the institution of slavery has been more the rule than the exception throughout human history.

Spalding said “what makes America exceptional” is the fact that it began its first day with “a claim of truth, that all men are equal.”

The Hillsdale College dean observed all “justice” movements have referred back to the principles and claims found in the Declaration of Independence. He said:

That’s where abolition comes from; that’s where women’s suffrage comes from, the civil rights movement … the pro-life movement, the anti-communist movement. They all move back to a claim of justice, which we find in the Declaration of Independence. To move away from that is to … find your principles elsewhere. And that’s what we’re worried about.

Biden also referred to former President Donald Trump’s order to eliminate critical race theory training in the federal government as a “harmful ban.”

In September, Trump directed the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to identify all contract spending pertaining to “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” and other “training or propaganda effort” that:

… teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un-American propaganda training sessions.

“The days of taxpayer funded indoctrination trainings that sow division and racism are over,” said Russ Vought, Trump OMB director. “Under the direction of [President Trump],  we are directing agencies to halt critical race theory trainings immediately.”

Source

Nikole Hannah-Jones Calls For ‘Consequences,’ ‘Deprogramming’ For Republicans

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who is best known for her flagship essay in the New York Times’ ahistorical 1619 Project, believes that 74 million Americans deserve to be “punished” as part of deprogramming them for voting for Donald Trump in 2020.

The 1619 Project creator spoke to Eugene Robinson on MSNBC, where he asked her about how the media and social elites can best “deprogram” the “millions of Americans, almost all white, almost all Republicans” who voted for Trump, as they are clearly part of a “cult.”

Hannah-Jones responded with a vague call to look toward an undefined “history,” declaring that “there has to be consequences” based on how you vote. She then decried the push towards a quick “reconciliation” between the left and right. The so-called journalist painted Trump supporters with a broad brush, lumping the Capitol rioters in with average Republicans who voted based on policy.

Her only explanation of why anyone would possibly vote for Trump was that the “white labor force” voted for his policies to keep themselves more powerful than “Muslims, Latinos and Black Americans.” By inventing exclusively racist intentions of her political enemies, Hannah-Jones said every Trump-voting Republican merits “punishment” before they can be allowed to re-enter polite society and have a chance at reconciliation.

Many found Hannah-Jones and Robinson’s comments surrounding the deprogramming of people based on their political views to sound eerily similar to reeducation camps of brutal dictatorships, especially by the Chinese Communist Party.

More than 74 million people voted for Trump, and their reasons varied from adoration to a mere preference over now-President-elect Joe Biden and his policies. Likewise, ascribing racist intentions ignores how Trump gained increased support among black and Latino voters. Labeling every one of the millions of Americans who voted for one of the candidates from a major political party as a “cult” is absurd — and the growing calls from the left for them all to be “deprogrammed” should startle every American.

Source

Mansour: Why We Chose 1620 as the Year of ‘Our True Founding,’ not 1619

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, an event which President John Quincy Adams described as the “birthday” of our nation. You might expect this seminal moment in world history to be commemorated with great fanfare. But don’t get your hopes up.

Even if the coronavirus hadn’t cancelled the celebration, the left’s cancel culture would have. The same wokesters who are busy toppling statues and banning literature have unfairly maligned our Pilgrim fathers and reframed the history of the nation they founded.

“There appear to be few commemorations, parades, or festivals to celebrate the Pilgrims this year, perhaps in part because revisionist charlatans of the radical left have lately claimed the previous year as America’s true founding,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said last week in a speech honoring the Pilgrims’ 400 anniversary.

The “revisionist charlatans” he was referring to are the authors of the New York Times’  “1619 Project,” which commemorates the year that the first ship arrived in the Virginia colony carrying African slaves. Recognizing the significance of the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery is certainly worthwhile, but the 1619 Project’s authors went beyond recognition and sought to “reframe” all of American history around the events of 1619. For this, they have been roundly criticized by historians who decry their many inaccuracies and revisionist interpretations (including, for example, their claim that the American Revolution was fought in order to preserve slavery in the colonies).

Most of the criticism has focused on the Project’s controversial claim (which was later scrubbed from the New York Times’ website) that 1619 is the year of “our true founding,” not 1620 when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth and planted the seed of our democracy that ripened in 1776.

In a Times op-ed rebutting the critics, Nicholas Guyatt argues that “the 1619 Project radically challenges a core narrative of American history” by refuting the notion that “the story of the United States [is] a gradual unfolding of freedom.” Instead, the Project’s authors “describe a nation in which racism is persistent and protean. White supremacy shapeshifts through the nation’s history, finding new forms to continue the work of subjugation and exclusion.”

In other words, they think Abraham Lincoln got it wrong when he said our nation was “conceived in Liberty.” They think it was conceived in racism.

And now there is a push to incorporate the 1619 Project into school curriculums to assist the woke revisionists who are already hard at work rewriting our history one school kid at a time, just as they’ve been busy for years now “reframing” the history of the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving.

Ann Coulter gave an excellent summary of the new woke interpretation of Thanksgiving: “As every contemporary school child knows, our Pilgrim forefathers took a break from slaughtering Indigenous Peoples to invite them to dinner and infect them with smallpox, before embarking on their mission to fry the planet.”

She’s not joking either. America’s teachers have “begun a slow, complex process of ‘unlearning’ the widely accepted American narrative of Thanksgiving,” Education Week reported last year. To unlearn the “myth” of Thanksgiving, educators are seeking ways “to help students appreciate colonial oppression of Natives and the violence that ensued from it.” The article helpfully includes a video of PBS NewsHours’ Judy Woodruff explaining that the “quintessential feel-good holiday” of Thanksgiving actually “perpetuates a myth and dishonors Native Americans.”

The story of Thanksgiving fares even worse on college campuses, where students are taught that it should be commemorated as a “National Day of Mourning,” not a day off for food, family, and football.

“It’s kind of just based off the genocide of the indigenous people,” one student at Minnesota’s Macalester College told the College Fix. “The history of the holiday is obviously not the best. It’s very violent and oppressive,” said another.

Sorry, no. This left-wing “narrative of Thanksgiving” is historically inaccurate garbage. We know who the Pilgrims are and what they did because they meticulously documented everything for posterity.

Our Founding Myth

Our knowledge of the Pilgrims comes from two primary sources. The earliest account is from Edward Winslow, whose report on the founding of the Plymouth settlement was published in London in 1622, just two years after the Pilgrims arrived in the New World. The more detailed and authoritative account comes from the Pilgrims’ second governor, William Bradford, whose poignant and eloquent history Of Plymouth Plantation, written between 1630 and 1651, tells the story of the community from their formation in England to their exile in Holland and their eventual founding of the Plymouth Colony.

Any fair reading of the primary source documentation will give you all the evidence you need to understand why we chose the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth as the date of “our true founding” and the basis of our founding myth.

But before I examine that record, let me make clear what I mean by the term founding myth. To call an event a founding myth is not to denigrate it or to question its historical accuracy. The fact that Americans don’t understand this is an indictment of our education system, which longer teaches the classics.

Our nation’s Founders understood what a founding myth means. They used the term – just as I am now using the term – in the way the ancient Greeks and Romans understood it. A nation’s origin myth isn’t a falsification of history meant to deceive. Quite the contrary! It is a story rooted in history that reflects a nation’s most sacred values, rituals, and identity. To call something your founding myth is to state: This is who we were, this is who we are, and this is who we aspire to be.

An origin myth often describes the emergence of a new civilization out of the ashes of an older one.

Take, for example, the Aeneid, Virgil’s epic poem recounting the founding myth of ancient Rome. In one of the most memorable passages, Virgil provides us with a perfect reflection of the Roman concept of pietas, which means a religious and familial duty. Virgil describes his hero, Aeneas, fleeing the burning city of Troy while grasping the hand of his young son and carrying on his back his elderly father who is cradling in his arms their family’s household gods. In that beautiful tableau Aeneas reflects all the values the Romans held most sacred: he is protecting his family and honoring his gods, as he flees the fall of one civilization and courageously sets out to found another, greater one in Rome.

Aeneas flees burning Troy, painting by Federico Barocci, 1598 (Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy)

There is a reason why we chose the Pilgrims and their establishment of the Plymouth Colony in 1620 as our origin myth, not the Virginians who settled in Jamestown over a decade before that date. Our reasoning had everything to do with the Pilgrims’ lack of racism. Americans always aspire to be on the side of righteousness, and the Pilgrims were nothing if not righteous.

Their story embodies our most sacred American values. Like Aeneas fleeing the fall of Troy, the Pilgrims saw themselves as fleeing a cataclysmic conflagration about to engulf Europe. And like the Roman hero, they too hoped to build a new civilization with a spark from the dying embers of the old one.

This is exactly how John Quincy Adams viewed the story of the Pilgrims. In a beautiful speech in 1802 commemorating the landing at Plymouth, Adams described the Pilgrims as America’s origin myth, but unlike other nations, the heroes of our founding myth were clearly known to us by their historical record and were defined not by their conquest, but by their virtue.

“In reverting to the period of [their] origin, other nations have generally been compelled to plunge into the chaos of impenetrable antiquity, or to trace a lawless ancestry into the caverns of ravishers and robbers,” Adams told his American audience. “It is your peculiar privilege to commemorate, in this birthday of your nation, an event ascertained in its minutest details; an event of which the principal actors are known to you familiarly, as if belonging to your own age; an event of a magnitude before which imagination shrinks at the imperfection of her powers. It is your further happiness to behold, in those eminent characters, who were most conspicuous in accomplishing the settlement of your country, men upon whose virtue you can dwell with honest exultation.”

What’s more, Adams explained that the Pilgrims were the antithesis of cruel or racist conquers seeking to vanquish and plunder. Instead, they “were illustrious by their intrepid valor no less than by their Christian graces … Their glory has not been wafted over oceans of blood to the remotest regions of the earth. They have not erected to themselves colossal statues upon pedestals of human bones, to provoke and insult the tardy hand of heavenly retribution. But theirs was ‘the better fortitude of patience and heroic martyrdom.’ Theirs was the gentle temper of Christian kindness; the rigorous observance of reciprocal justice; the unconquerable soul of conscious integrity.”

So, who were these heroes who engendered such praise?

Let me tell you their story using their own words. You will see why we chose their arrival as the date of “our true founding” and why that decision says everything about who we were, who we are, and who we aspire to be.

Saints and Strangers

The Pilgrims were devout Christians, and much like evangelical Christians today, these Englishmen and women sought to live by a simpler Biblical-based faith modeled after the early church of the Apostles.

They wanted to live as a community that worshipped and worked together, but England and its established Church enacted laws that forbade religious gatherings in private houses. These laws basically thwarted the Pilgrims’ ability to practice their faith as a community. So, in 1608, faced with the threat of imprisonment for their faith, the small community fled England and settled in Holland, which was known as a refuge for Protestant dissenters.

But after living a decade among the Dutch, they realized it was time to leave the Old World altogether. In 1618, Europe was on the cusp of one of the most violent periods in its history. The conflict, which became known as the Thirty Years War, would pit Protestant and Catholic European powers against each other. For the Pilgrims, the impending cataclysm seemed like the beginning of Armageddon. They felt the best course of action was to leave the Old World behind and try to establish some holy remnant in the new one.

Getting there was the hard part. The small community was not wealthy. They were humble working class folks. They were pious husbands and wives with children seeking a place where they could worship in peace, not adventurers seeking treasure and conquest on behalf of a monarch. Nevertheless, the congregation pooled its resources and obtained a land patent from the Plymouth Company to settle in an area at the northernmost tip of the Virginia Company’s colony. They would eventually receive financing from London bankers who offered to back their venture with the understanding that the Pilgrims would repay these debts with their labors in the New World.

A merchant vessel called the Mayflower was charted for them, but the London financiers made it clear that the Pilgrims weren’t going to be the only passengers. The investors insisted that a rag tag crew of non-religious settlers—who the Pilgrims referred to as “the Strangers”—were also coming along for the ride, and that would soon become a source of awkwardness. But that was the least of their worries, really.

The ‘Embarkation of the Pilgrim Fathers’ from England in September 1620, as they commence their journey on the Mayflower to the New World. (Archive Photos/Getty Images)

By the time the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620, with 102 passengers onboard, they were setting sail way too late in the year for a successful journey. Trans-Atlantic sea voyages were a frightening and often fatal endeavor. It was comparable to going to the Moon or Mars. Even the best crossing was perilous, and that would be in springtime when the weather was more moderate. To set out in September meant they were arriving in winter … But wait, it got worse…

The Mayflower at sea

After 65 days—and two deaths—at sea, the Mayflower made landfall on November 9, 1620.

“Having found a good haven and being brought safely in sight of land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries of it, again to set their feet upon the firm and stable earth, their proper element,” Bradford wrote of that moment.

But the jubilation was short lived. They soon discovered they were over 200 miles off-course. They were nowhere near Virginia. And what’s worse, it was almost winter—in Massachusetts.

“Having thus passed the vast ocean, and that sea of troubles,” the Pilgrims “had no friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain and refresh their weather-beaten bodies, nor houses — much less towns — to repair to,” Bradford wrote:

As for the season, it was winter, and those who have experienced the winters of the country know them to be sharp and severe, and subject to fierce storms, when it is dangerous to travel to known places, — much more to search an unknown coast. Besides, what could they see but a desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men; and what multitude there might be of them they knew not!

…Summer being done, all things turned upon them a weather-beaten face; and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, presented a wild and savage view.

So, why didn’t they just turn around and head south for Virginia? Because the Mayflower’s captain told them that he couldn’t spare any more provisions. He needed to keep stores saved for his own return voyage to England. So, they had to shove off and muddle onshore as best they could because he wasn’t hanging around forever, and if they didn’t get a-move on he might just dump them onshore and abandon them to elements before they even had time to build a shelter.

Again, Bradford, writing in third person, explained the situation the Pilgrims found themselves in:

If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now a gulf separating them from all civilized parts of the world. If it be said that they had their ship to turn to, it is true; but what did they hear daily from the captain and crew? That they should quickly look out for a place with their shallop, where they would be not far off; for the season was such that the captain would not approach nearer to the shore till a harbour had been discovered which he could enter safely; and that the food was being consumed apace, but he must and would keep sufficient for the return voyage. It was even muttered by some of the crew that if they did not find a place in time, they would turn them and their goods ashore and leave them.

The Mayflower in Plymouth harbor, painting by William Formby Halsall (Library of Congress)

The Kernel of Our Democracy

A new conflict arose before they could even get started. They had no governing agreement binding them. Their charter was for Virginia, not wherever this place was.

The “Strangers”—who weren’t especially civil or pious—felt no allegiance to the Pilgrims or each other. They figured it was every man for himself.  But with winter setting in and with dangerously few provisions to speak of, the Pilgrims knew that if they didn’t all stick together, they would all die.

Edward Winslow explained what happened next:

This day before we came to harbor, observing some not well affected to unity and concord, but gave some appearance of faction, it was thought good there should be an association and agreement that we should combine together in one body, and to submit to such government and governors as we should by common consent agree to make and choose, and set our hands to this that follows word for word.

Thus, they wrote out and signed what became known as the Mayflower Compact, the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony—and the first document to establish self-governance in the New World.

Here are the words:

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great BritainFrance, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of EnglandFrance, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620

The signatures on the Mayflower Compact, including William Brewster, William Bradford, Myles Standish, and Edward Winslow. (Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Signing of the Mayflower Compact in 1620, painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1899 (Wikimedia Commons)

It was clear to them that the only thing binding them to this governing document was their own consent as the ones being governed by it.

“What they did was enact social compact theory that had been sort of kicked around in Europe, especially in Britain, for a while,” University of Oklahoma historian and author Professor Wilfred McClay told Breitbart News. “They created a body politic out of the consent of those who were aboard the ship, and they had the foresight to realize they should and could do that.”

The Mayflower Compact wasn’t an elaborate political and legal charter establishing a system of government, like our Constitution. Nor was it a treatise establishing a governing philosophy, like our Declaration of Independence. It was little more than a paragraph. But within that paragraph we have the kernel of our democracy.

This true historical event, taking place nearly two centuries before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, embodied a fundamental American value: the belief that government is based on the consent of the governed.

Our First Dark Winter

Having signed a governing agreement, the Plymouth settlers then elected their first governor, John Carver. During their first forays ashore, the settlers discovered that the area was largely desolate.

In the years prior to their arrival, the population of the local Indian tribes had been decimated by civil wars and by a plague brought by European fisherman. The disease had wiped out whole villages, where the settlers found only scattered bones, left to the elements because no one survived to bury them.

They decided to build their settlement on the ruins of an abandoned Indian village called Patuxet, where once as many as 2,000 Indians had lived before the plague ravaged the area.

So, finally on December 18, 1620, with the Mayflower anchored a mile offshore, the Pilgrims came ashore in the bitter cold, with rain and sleet pouring down on them, to build their settlement.

The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, painting by P.F. Rothermel (Library of Congress)

The Pilgrims make camp at Plymouth Colony in December of 1620, as the Mayflower lies anchored in the bay and a Native American watches furtively from the trees. (MPI/Getty Images)

Is it any wonder that they lost over half their numbers that winter?

They were ill-equipped. The weather was impossible. Many of them didn’t even leave the Mayflower, and eventually the ship was turned into a makeshift hospital for the sick and dying. Those who settled in the village lived in constant fear of being attacked by hostile Indian tribes.

During the course of the winter months, so many members of the Plymouth Colony died that they were afraid to bury their dead lest the Indians realize how thinned out their numbers had become. At one point, Winslow wrote that they propped up the corpses against the trees surrounding the settlement and placed muskets in their arms to disguise the dead to look like sentries guarding the perimeter of the colony.

By the time March came around, the settlers were barely holding on, but the captain and crew of the Mayflower were ready to leave for the return voyage to England. This was a make-or-break moment for the Plymouth Colony. Would they survive on their own with their last tie to England gone and no hope of return?

Samoset and Squanto

At that providential moment, an Indian named Samoset of the Wampanoag Tribe walked into the Plymouth camp and astonished the Pilgrims by greeting them in English, which he had learned from interacting with various contingents from the Virginia Colony.

Samoset of the Wampanoag Tribe entered the Plymouth settlement and called out a greeting of ‘Welcome’ in English. (Archive Photos/Getty Images)

The settlers learned from Samoset that this area was the Wampanoag Tribe’s territory, but the tribe had been so weakened by the plague that their leader, Massasoit, felt increasingly at the mercy of enemy tribes, who also happened to be the same ones menacing the Pilgrims.

As Winslow recounted:

[Samoset] discoursed of the whole country, and of every province, and of their sagamores, and their number of men, and strength. The wind being to rise a little, we cast a horseman’s coat about him, for he was stark naked, only a leather about his waist, with a fringe about a span long, or little more; he had a bow and two arrows, the one headed, and the other unheaded. He was a tall straight man, the hair of his head black, long behind, only short before, none on his face at all; he asked some beer, but we gave him strong water and biscuit, and butter, and cheese, and pudding, and a piece of mallard, all which he liked well, and had been acquainted with such amongst the English. He told us the place where we now live is called Patuxet, and that about four years ago all the inhabitants died of an extraordinary plague, and there is neither man, woman, nor child remaining, as indeed we have found none, so as there is none to hinder our possession, or to lay claim unto it.

Six days later, Samoset returned to the village with the Wampanoag leader Massasoit. After entertaining their visitors with food and sport, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags negotiated a mutually beneficial agreement. They would defend each other in the event of an attack by the hostile tribes. And later on, they would establish trade with each other. To help the settlers survive the next winter, an Indian by the name of Tisquantum, or Squanto, stayed with the settlers to show them how to plant their spring crops.

Circa 1621, Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag Tribe, pays a friendly visit to the Pilgrims’ camp at Plymouth Colony with his warriors, after signing the earliest recorded treaty in New England with Governor John Carver. (MPI/Getty Images)

Massachusetts and Virginia

Squanto’s story offers us a good opportunity to explain the difference between the Plymouth and Virginia colonies.

Squanto spoke English because in 1614, six years before the Pilgrims arrived, an expedition from the Virginia Colony led by Captain John Smith (of Pocahontas fame) charted the area around Cape Cod and Massachusetts Bay.

One of the commanders with Smith, a man named Thomas Hunt, decided to make extra money by kidnapping Indians and selling them into slavery. Squanto was among the victims Hunt trafficked to England, which is how he learned English. He eventually regained his freedom after his final captor, an English explorer named John Dermer, died during an expedition to the Wampanoag territory.

The tragic irony is that, had Squanto not been taken against his will across the ocean, he would have died with the rest of his village when Patuxet was wiped out by the plague. You see, Squanto was the sole survivor of the Patuxets—the people whose deserted village the Pilgrims had built their settlement upon.

And yet this man, who had so many reasons to curse the English, worked side by side with the Pilgrims that spring of 1621, showing them how to plant crops and assisting them in establishing trade with the surrounding tribes. Without his help, the Plymouth Colony would have failed.

Squanto (aka Tisquantum) of the Patuxet Tribe pointing out a coastal rock while serving as guide and interpreter for the Pilgrims. (Kean Collection/Getty Images)

From their encounters with Squanto and the other Indians, the men and women of Plymouth came to respect the Native people and feel shame for the treatment they had endured at the hands of other Englishmen.

Historian Nathaniel Philbrick explains one encounter:

At Cummaquid they encountered disturbing evidence that all was not forgotten on Cape Cod when it came to past English injustices in the region. An ancient woman, whom they judged to be a hundred years old, made a point of seeking out the Pilgrims “because she never saw English.” As soon as she set eyes on them, she burst into tears, “weeping and crying excessively.” They learned that three of her sons had been captured seven years before by Thomas Hunt, and she still mourned their loss. “We told them we were sorry that any Englishman should give them that offense,” Winslow wrote, “that Hunt was a bad man, and that all the English that heard of it condemned him for the same.”

And that was just one tale of the atrocities committed by European explorers before the Pilgrims even arrived in the New World. In fact, even before hearing these tales, the Pilgrims were distrustful of the attitude of the other English settlers.

The title page of John Smith’s account his exploration of New England, published in 1616.

Before they left England, the Pilgrims were looking for a military commander for their settlement. By far the most qualified man for the job was Captain John Smith (again, of Pocahontas fame). No one knew the whole region better than Smith. He literally drew the map of it. But the Pilgrims didn’t like him. They found him arrogant and too worldly and figured they could just make do with his maps without hiring the map-maker.

The dislike was mutual; Smith despised the Pilgrim’s piety and later mocked their refusal to hire him. He would dismissively describe them as “humorists” (meaning religious fanatics) and would write that the Pilgrims refused “to have any knowledge by any but themselves, pretending only religion their governor and frugality their counsel.” And he meant that as an insult!

Smith was right that the Pilgrims could have saved themselves a lot of grief if they had hired someone who knew where he was going. But in the end, the Pilgrims survived thanks to their fortitude, the grace of God, and the help of their new friends.

And, yes, they did indeed regard the Indians as their friends. As Winslow recounted that year, “We have found the Indians very faithful in their covenant of peace with us; very loving and ready to pleasure us; we often go to them, and they come to us.”

Far from being judgmental or superior to them, the Pilgrim Winslow described their Native allies as “a people without any religion or knowledge of God, yet very trusty, quick of apprehension, ripe-witted, just.”

Nearly two centuries later, John Quincy Adams would state that “no European settlement ever formed upon this continent has been more distinguished for undeviating kindness and equity toward” the Native Americans than the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

And that brings us to the Thanksgiving story.

Our First “Quintessentially Feel-Good Holiday”

With the help of Squanto, the Pilgrims had a successful harvest in the fall of 1621. They had come through the first winter, after losing 60 percent of their group. But rather than mourn the 60 percent lost, they rejoiced that 40 percent still lived and gave thanks to God.

Bradford wrote:

They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty.  For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees).  And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion.

The famous Thanksgiving harvest feast that we’ve come to cherish is from Winslow:

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after have a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain, and others.  And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.

And there you have it! The Pilgrims gathered for a harvest feast, and the Wampanoags joined them and brought venison to add to feast, which lasted for three days and included sports (no word on whether it was football).

Let the record show that this first Thanksgiving actually was a “quintessentially feel-good holiday.”

Thanksgiving at Plymouth, painting by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, 1925 (National Museum of Women in the Arts)

Why Lincoln Chose 1620 to Rebuke 1619

So why did Abraham Lincoln choose to make this account of Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863?

Our origin myth was still a matter of some debate up until that time. Throughout the early nineteenth century, Americans hotly debated whether the nation’s founding should be celebrated as the Jamestown Colony in Virginia or the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. The decision to favor Plymouth was helped along by the rediscovery of Bradford’s beautiful diary, Of Plymouth Plantation.

Bradford’s manuscript had disappeared from the New World in 1777 when the last royal governor of the colony took it from the Old South Church in Boston and carted it across the Atlantic to England. He probably meant this as a final insult to the patriotic New Englanders who were reviled by the British as traitors and brigands fomenting rebellion.

The first page of William Bradford’s manuscript (State Library of Massachusetts)

For nearly a century Bradford’s manuscript was lost to Americans, until one Boston scholar happened to see a passage in another book quoting Bradford’s journal. He eventually discovered that the manuscript had been housed all that time in the library of the Bishop of London. (Yes, I know, the irony — the Pilgrim Bradford’s journal was being held by a bishop of the very Church that forced Bradford’s persecuted community to flee England.)

For decades, the Brits refused to return the manuscript to its proper owners in the United States. (They really know how to hold a grudge.)

But in 1856 the British allowed a special edition of Bradford’s manuscript to be published, and that inspired a renewed appreciation for the Pilgrims and their history.

The publication came right at a time when our nation was on the cusp of a great conflagration—as bloody and catastrophic for us as the war that caused the Pilgrims to flee Europe. It was a fight over our most basic and sacred values: the right of all men—not just Englishmen—to live in freedom and enjoy the fruits of self-governance.

So, is it any wonder that in the midst of the bloodiest year of our Civil War—just one month before he delivered his Gettysburg Address—Abraham Lincoln decided once and for all that our nation’s founding should harken to Plymouth, not Virginia?

Of course, Lincoln chose to honor the ancestors of the New England abolitionists, not the rebellious slaveowners of Virginia.

On October 3, 1863, our 16th president declared that Thanksgiving would be commemorated as a national holiday every year on the last week in November in honor of the Pilgrim fathers.

In this sense, Lincoln chose the events of 1620 as our true founding in order to repudiate the events of 1619.

We chose the Pilgrims as our founding myth because they embodied our most cherished ideals. They were the best of us.

They endured despite the odds, and through trial and error established the principles of self-governance, private property, a common defense, and peaceful commerce as a means of coexistence. They even established the practice of religious tolerance and pluralism with the “Strangers” among them, who became friends.

John Alden with his wife Priscilla at the Plymouth Colony. Alden is said to be the first person from The Mayflower to set foot on Plymouth Rock in 1620. Painting by George H. Boughton, circa 1884. (Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

What’s more, the decision to embrace the Pilgrims as our true founders was made at a time when Americans were most keenly aware of the scourge of slavery because they were fighting a bloody civil war to eradicate it. These Americans understood that slavery was not just a moral blight; it was a deadly contradiction that we couldn’t live with and still pretend to uphold the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. The generation that suffered the most to abolish slavery chose the Pilgrims as our founders because the Pilgrims embodied the ideals that inspired them to free the slaves. They wanted us to know that our nation was founded on God-given freedom, not racism.

This sentiment was made clear in the speech Massachusetts Gov. Roger Wolcott delivered in 1897 at the official ceremony to accept the return of Bradford’s manuscript by England to its rightful owners in America.

The Plymouth settlement was “the birthplace of religious liberty, the cradle of a free Commonwealth,” Wolcott said:

In the varied tapestry which pictures our national life, the richest spots are those where gleam the golden threads of conscience, courage, and faith, set in the web by that little band [of Pilgrims]. May God in His mercy grant that the moral impulse which founded this nation may never cease to control its destiny; that no act of any future generation may put in peril the fundamental principles on which it is based — of equal rights in a free state, equal privileges in a free church, and equal opportunities in a free school.

Equal rights, equal privileges, equal opportunities – that is what Americans have always aspired to uphold. Conscience, courage, faith – that is what the Pilgrims stood for and what they prayed their descendants would stand for.

To honor the founding of Plymouth in 1620 is not to ignore the horrific history of American slavery that began in 1619 in Virginia. And to celebrate Thanksgiving is not to dismiss the atrocities committed against our Native communities, even sadly at the hands of the Pilgrims’ descendants. On Thanksgiving, we acknowledge that the Pilgrims and the Natives did, in fact, come together in peace in November 1621.

We celebrate their story—and the ritual reenactment of it with a turkey feast and prayers of thanksgiving—to acknowledge our highest aspirations, not to whitewash our history or to minimize our mistakes. Thanksgiving affirms who we want to be because it is about who the Pilgrims actually were.

The National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The 81-foot-tall statue (center) was dedicated in 1889. The monument’s inscriptions include a dedication panel (left), a list of the Mayflower passengers (top right), and an inscription from William Bradford’s manuscript (bottom right). (Wikimedia Commons)

“There is a kind of audacity about these people,” Professor McClay told Breitbart News. “The journeys were dangerous. The habitats into which they were coming were brutal. They lost many lives, and yet they had this sense—and [the Puritan leader John] Winthrop says it in his sermon—that they were on a mission from God, that ‘the eyes of all people are upon us’—which, when you think about it, this is like somebody going to the Moon—the dark side of the Moon—and saying, ‘The eyes of all people are upon us.’ Well, actually you’re on the Moon. Nobody’s watching! And yet they were so deeply committed to the vision of what they were doing, and that was the germ of what became ultimately a great nation.”

Actually, they knew that God was watching and all the future generations of their children.

In Of Plymouth Plantation, Bradford described the fateful moment when the Pilgrims realized that they had landed in an unsettled area and there was no way to turn back:

What, then, could now sustain them but the spirit of God, and His grace? Ought not the children of their fathers rightly to say: Our fathers were Englishmen who came over the great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their adversity.

… Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good, and His mercies endure forever. Yea, let them that have been redeemed of the Lord, show how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered forth into the desert-wilderness, out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness, and His wonderful works before the sons of men!

Amen. And Happy Thanksgiving.

Rebecca Mansour is Senior Editor-at-Large for Breitbart News. Follow her on Twitter at @RAMansour.

Source

The Historical Record Shows America Was Founded Against Racism, Not To Promote It

The following essay is part of The Federalist’s 1620 Project, a symposium exploring the connections and contributions of the early Pilgrim and Puritan settlers in New England to the uniquely American synthesis of faith, family, freedom, and self-government.

In recent years, some prominent voices on the left have contended that America is and has been from its inception a nation established on racism and racial subjugation. This judgment implicitly informs The New York Times’s 1619 Project. According to its introductory blurb, the project “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery … at the very center of our national narrative.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is more direct: “America was founded on white supremacy.” What are we to make of such a disturbing claim?

Before examining its intrinsic merits, we might begin by noting — and rejecting — the improper use that is sometimes made of this interpretation of our country’s character. The assertion that America is a fundamentally racist nation has been deployed to discredit our traditional political institutions, including and especially the Constitution.

More than one article has been written holding that the Electoral College was devised to protect the political interests of the slave states. The same claim has been made more generally about America’s system of federalism. Federalism means “states’ rights,” and everybody knows that the southern defenders of slavery held that their right to self-government at the state level permitted them to enslave African Americans. Later on, after slavery had been abolished, southerners used “states’ rights” to defend their systems of racial segregation and denial of voting rights for black Americans.

Such arguments are both exaggerated and, of course, fallacious. Aside from a few provisions (such as the Fugitive Slave Clause) that were admittedly included to protect slavery, most of the Constitution’s structures and principles were not designed exclusively by or for slaveholders. They were intended instead to both empower the federal government to tend to the nation’s needs and prevent the abuse of that power. They should be judged today by how well they accomplish those (utterly non-controversial) purposes.

From the fact that federalism once sheltered slavery, it does not follow that state-level self-government today is unworthy of the Constitution’s protection. To take an even more obvious example, the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of speech are not bad or tainted just because some southerners once used that freedom to defend slavery or segregation.

It is also worth noting that today’s left, in claiming that America is founded on racism, aligns itself with some historical characters it might wish to avoid. Racial politics makes for strange bedfellows. This point was made many times by the late Harry Jaffa in response to an earlier generation of critics of America, and it is no less relevant now.

It was, after all, Stephen Douglas — a proponent of the right of territorial governments to establish slavery or not as they saw fit — who argued that “this government was made on the white basis, by white men, for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever.”

It was Abraham Lincoln — the Great Emancipator — who contended in response that America was founded on the Declaration of Independence’s claim that “all men are created equal.”

It was Chief Justice Roger Taney — writing in Dred Scott, holding that black Americans could never be citizens — who contended that at the time of the Founding:

[Black Americans had] for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his own benefit.

Dissenting from Taney’s view, Justice John McLean noted:

I prefer the lights of Hamilton, Madison, and Jay as a means of construing the Constitution in all its bearings, rather than to look behind that period, into a traffic which is now declared to be piracy, and punished with death by Christian nations.

Lincoln and Frederick Douglass likewise rejected Taney’s account as both a misinterpretation of and a slander on the nation’s Founding. Similarly, in the twentieth century Martin Luther King, Jr., presented the struggle for civil rights as a call to live up to the nation’s original principles, not as a call to reject and replace them.

The point here is not to taunt the left with this embarrassing pedigree of ideas. It is rather to ask which interpretation of America’s fundamental character has proven more constructive. It seems obvious, from even a cursory glance at our nation’s history, that most of the work of making America better has been carried out by people like Lincoln, Douglass, and King, who believed it was fundamentally good to begin with.

As important as these considerations are, they cannot excuse us from the duty of confronting more directly the claim that America was founded on white supremacy, that it was fundamentally characterized by racism from its earliest origins. But is this claim defensible?

Certainly, slavery existed in America from the time of its earliest colonial settlements. That fact alone, however, cannot settle the question. After all, a country with racism in its midst is very different from a country dedicated to racism.

The question is often difficult to address because we are apt to be misled, either by indignation or by protective love. Outraged by the injustices that were committed against generations of African Americans, we might be inclined to condemn the country that committed or permitted those injustices as fundamentally bad.

This is a common enough temptation in our judgments about individuals. Thus a man who has committed theft can be dismissed as nothing but “a thief,” when he is more than only that. On the other hand, a spirit of patriotic affection for our country might lead us to overlook some real defects or minimize their scope.

Just as an affectionate son would not want to admit that his father is a thief, no warm-hearted patriot would want to admit that his nation was founded on racism. How can our minds escape the distorting influence of these natural human passions?

We might try to avoid this problem by taking as our guide an intelligent, sympathetic, and honest outsider. Since it is so hard to judge our own country impartially, we might learn from the judgments of a candid and foreign friend, one who is willing to acknowledge and explain what is good and bad about America. We find such a guide in Alexis de Tocqueville, whose great work, “Democracy in America,” frankly, and honestly, confronts our nation’s experience with slavery, but without holding that it should be understood to define the nation’s core character.

Tocqueville famously notes the decisive importance of a nation’s “point of departure” for its subsequent development. If you want to really know a man, you have to know his childhood. “Only then will you understand the origin of the prejudices, habits, and passions which are to dominate his life.” So it is, Tocqueville adds, with nations. “Peoples always bear some marks of their origins. Circumstances of birth and growth affect all the rest of their careers.”

If we can examine a nation’s birth and infancy, there we will find the origins of its “prejudices, habits, dominating passions, and all that comes to be called the national character.” Here Tocqueville might seem to offer decisive support for the contemporary left’s criticism of America. But unlike many contemporary voices, Tocqueville does not view slavery and racism as fundamentally shaping the nation’s dominant character.

In the first place, he points out that slavery primarily influenced only a particular, localized part of America. Virginia “had hardly been established when slavery was introduced,” and this institution ended up exerting “an immense influence on the character, laws, and future of the whole South.” For Tocqueville, slavery shaped the South but not the whole country’s way of life.

In the second place, Tocqueville presents the origins of slavery in America less as a deliberate choice of the New World settlements and more as a tragic accident the consequences of which gradually grew to immense proportions. Here is how Tocqueville suggests American slavery should be understood:

[An] evil which has percolated furtively into the world. … It began with an individual whose name history does not record; it was cast like an accursed seed somewhere on the ground; it then nurtured itself, grew without effort, and spread with the society that accepted it.

Tocqueville clearly regards the original southern settlers as less moral and less enlightened than their northern counterparts. The northerners came to America primarily to found self-governing communities based upon their (lofty and demanding) religious vision of a righteous society. The original Virginians came primarily in the pursuit of gain. Nevertheless, as Tocqueville reminds us, it would be unjust to the original southern settlers to say that they came to America with a premeditated purpose to establish slavery.

For Tocqueville, the North’s combination of religion and self-government — and not the South’s experience with slavery — set the tone for all of America.

In Tocqueville’s view, America’s original national character was not characterized by the local introduction of slavery by certain settlers, but instead by the long-established culture and deliberate aims of the Anglo-American colonists as a whole. They were, to begin with, liberty-loving Englishmen. They came from a country that had long been agitated by party conflict, and therefore in which “each faction, in turn, had been forced to put itself under the protection of the laws.” Thus, they had learned the value of the rule of law, and had acquired “more acquaintance with notions of rights and principles of true liberty than most of the European nations at that time.”

In addition, by the time of the first settlements, “local government, that fertile germ of free institutions, had already taken deep root in English ways.” Thus the English settlers came to America already committed to “the dogma of the sovereignty of the people.”

Moreover, the northern settlers — and particularly the Puritans of New England — came to America not only with the general habits of freedom characteristic of all the English but with a peculiarly intense inclination toward self-government. They came, Tocqueville says, driven by a “purely intellectual craving,” seeking the “triumph of an idea.”

They wanted to establish communities based upon their Puritan religious and moral convictions. “Puritanism,” however, “was not just a religious doctrine; in many respects, it shared the most absolute democratic and republican theories.” These settlers had “shaken off the pope’s authority” and “acknowledged no other religious supremacy.” Accordingly, they “brought into the New World” a “democratic and republican” form of Christianity,” and “this fact singularly favored the establishment of a temporal republic and democracy.”

For Tocqueville, the North’s combination of religion and self-government — and not the South’s experience with slavery — set the tone for all of America. “New England principles spread first to neighboring states and then in due course to those more distant, finally penetrating everywhere throughout the confederation.” As a result, America was able to embark on its experiment with self-government at a time when most European nations were still ruled by absolute monarchies.

Tocqueville thus offers us a balanced account of America’s origins, one that is both critical and respectful, one that acknowledges the fundamentally good character of our country without ignoring the evils that have marked its history.

The despotism of slavery arose within America and did much to mar its development. But the Americans who built the country were not fundamentally a despotic people. On the contrary, they were a freedom-loving people who sought to establish and perpetuate republican self-government.

This Tocquevillian interpretation of America’s point of departure is certainly more plausible than the claim made by some today that America was “founded on white supremacy.” It is reasonable to suppose that what is fundamentally bad will tend to deteriorate and what is fundamentally good will tend to improve. Nazism was fundamentally established on an ideology of racism. Its evil accordingly grew more malignant over time and was only stopped by the application of overwhelming external force.

Self-generated improvement, however, has obviously been the course of American development. If slavery and racism were the deepest marks on America’s national soul, then why would it have moved so consistently away from them and toward the establishment of freedom and equality?

Christianity provided Americans with the moral and spiritual resources to overcome differences of race, to cast aside old prejudices, to seek and to bestow forgiveness for past injustices.

A fundamentally racist nation would not have produced the generation of leaders who, in 1787, placed in the Constitution a power to abolish the foreign slave trade and who publicly condemned slavery and openly hoped for its eventual abolition. A nation founded on white supremacy would not have exerted itself first to limit the scope of slavery, later to abolish slavery, and finally to eliminate racial discrimination.

Ultimately, in a certain sense, America turned out to be a better country than even Tocqueville appreciated. He was deeply pessimistic about the potential for racial peace in America, even if slavery should be eliminated. Because slavery had been based on race, he thought, nobody on either side would be able to forget it or move beyond it. White Americans would never overcome their prejudices against black Americans, and black Americans would forever burn with resentment about the wrongs that had been done to them.

Tocqueville was certainly correct that the dire legacy of slavery would not be eliminated immediately upon its abolition. America’s path toward racial justice was long and difficult, continuing for many decades after the end of the Civil War. Nevertheless, over time the process turned out better than Tocqueville expected. The country was not engulfed in a race war, and whites and black Americans gradually learned to live with each other as fellow citizens.

Here Tocqueville may have overlooked something about the Americans that he actually appreciated and examined closely in other contexts. Tocqueville is famous for his positive account of Christianity’s influence on American democracy. Besides noting the aforementioned role of Puritanism in planting the seeds of self-government, he emphasized Christian morality’s role in placing limits on the power of the majority in America, as well as its ability to elevate the souls of Americans above the narrow individualism and petty materialism that threatened to dominate their lives.

This is the truth but not the whole truth about Christianity. It also teaches its adherents to love their fellow human beings as created in the image and likeness of God, and demands that they forgive those who have wronged them just as they hope God will forgive their own wrongdoing. Indeed, Christianity provided Americans the moral and spiritual resources to overcome differences of race, to cast aside old prejudices, to seek and to bestow forgiveness for past injustices.

Racism existed in America from the beginning, but America was not founded on white supremacy. It was instead founded, as Tocqueville teaches us, on the spirit of religion, freedom, and self-government — a benevolent spirit that gradually overcame racial injustice. This is the true and constructive account of our country that we ought to teach our children.

Source

400 Years Later, The Mayflower Compact Matters Now More Than Ever

400 years ago today, on the morning of November 11, 1620, the Mayflower anchored off the coast of Cape Cod and the Pilgrims wrote what is considered the genesis of American democracy, the Mayflower Compact.

The Mayflower Compact laid the foundations for two other revolutionary documents: the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. But as we all know, the United States’s founding documents did a lot more than just affect Americans, they inspired free societies all over the world, who applied the principles in the Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution to future governments. 

The group we now call the Pilgrims, a sect of the Puritans known as Separatists, who left persecution in England and first sought out religious freedom in Holland. Holland was tolerant, but lacking in economic opportunity. The Pilgrims also found it hard to maintain their English identity and heritage in Holland. Therefore, they took a giant gamble to start a new life in the New World. 

To finance their trip to New England, the Pilgrims signed a contract with the Virginia Company. In exchange for funding the trip, the stockholders agreed to share in the colony’s profits. Along with their families and indentured servants, the Pilgrims recruited merchants, craftsmen, and workers to come along with them in order to increase their chances of success. The Pilgrims called those on the voyage who were not Separatists, “strangers.” 

The Mayflower Compact was signed by everyone on the voyage— Pilgrims and “strangers”— establishing a consensual government, ensuring everyone in the new colony would abide by the same laws. The Compact was clearly and carefully written, stating the colonists’ loyalty to King James of England, in order that their venture would not be treasonous. 

While the English Magna Carta, written more than 400 years before the Mayflower Compact, established the principle of the rule of law, it meant the King’s law. The Mayflower Compact, however, famously applied the idea of law established by the people, not the king. The Pilgrims created a democratic form of government where officials would be elected, and laws passed. Every male member of the colony over 21 would be able to vote. Based on a popular vote, the eligible men would have the right to change and propose laws and elect or remove office holders. This was unprecedented. 

In settling the first colony in the “Northern parts of Virginia,” the Pilgrims and the other Mayflower passengers would “covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politick.” They also pledged to make and abide by the same “laws, ordinances, Acts, constitutions, and offices” in order to further “the general good of the Colony: unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.” 

The Mayflower Compact stated their voyage was “For the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith,” and that people derived their right to self-government from God. While they were committed to Christianity, the Mayflower Compact did not mention a specific church or method of worship, leaving it accepting of both the Separatist Pilgrims, and the “strangers,” many of whom were still members of the Church of England. 

Forty-one adult male passengers on the Mayflower signed the agreement, including two of the indentured servants aboard. Soon after signing it, they elected John Carver as the first governor of the new colony, which they called Plymouth Plantation.

The Mayflower Compact is one of the most important documents in world history because it set a precedent for the establishment of a democratic government by the consent of the governed. Historian Rebecca Fraser wrote in her book, The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage and the Founding of America,” that the “Plymouth Colony was the first experiment in consensual government in Western history between individuals with one another, and not with a monarch.” 

In 1802, speaking at Plymouth, the future president John Quincy Adams called it “perhaps the only instance, in human history, of that positive, original social compact, which speculative philosophers have imagined as the only legitimate source of government.” 

Today, honoring the Pilgrims, their historically consequential Mayflower Compact, and its role in American democracy is sadly being diluted, if not altogether ignored, by our children’s American history classes. Its historical significance is minimized by critical race and gender theory, which trains students to think more about the fact that women, for example, were not permitted to sign it, something that should not be the least bit surprising in 1620.

Indeed, we see the repercussions of the new narrative of American shame every Thanksgiving. Children are no longer taught to remember the bravery of the freedom-loving Pilgrims, or the fact that the Pilgrims and Natives looked past their differences to break bread. Instead, they are taught about the “Thanksgiving myth,” as the New York Times puts it, which they say “sugarcoats the viciousness of colonial history for Native people.” In fact, Plymouth Rock and other monuments to the Pilgrims are routinely vandalized in the wake of the left’s pursuit to rewrite American history. 

Credit for the breakdown of American history and pride can, in large part, be given to Howard Zinn’s Marxist-inspired, “A People’s History of the United States,” a book which has become the new standard in the American History curriculum. The race riots, destruction of historical monuments, the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project, and the damaging notion of collective American guilt and specifically, “white guilt,” are all products of the Zinn narrative. 

Ask your kids if and what they learned about the Mayflower Compact today. If you are not satisfied, be your own child’s teacher. Our children should not be robbed of their proud historical and cultural inheritance.

The lasting impact and significance that the MayFlower Compact had on America’s founding documents, which established principles of equality, self-government, rights, and freedoms for the world, is worth remembering, honoring, and defending against America’s woke revolutionaries. This is true now, perhaps more than ever.

Source