Racism in american history essay

She distorts our past and undermines our common understanding of how we strove as a diverse people to align our practices with our noblest professions. The strangest thing about the essay is the claim that transplanted Africans and their descendants were the key to American greatness.

Chris Clement

Hannah-Jones cites no African principles of self-government or ideals of humanity when she quotes the famous pronouncements of the Declaration of Independence. Massachusetts was one of several American colonies, including Virginia, that attempted to prevent the importation of slaves only to see those efforts rebuffed by Great Britain. Jefferson actually included this accusation against the king in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence.

The charge was only deleted by the Second Continental Congress because it did not apply to every American colony. Nor can she explain why six of the original thirteen American states abolished slavery in the decade and a half after the Treaty of Paris formally ended the war for American independence.

How white Americans used lynchings to terrorize and control black people | US news | The Guardian

Had Hannah-Jones read almost any of the writings on slavery by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or James Madison not to mention Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James Wilson, or John Jay , she would have learned that the Founders not only acknowledged the injustice of the institution, but also discussed impediments to emancipation in the near term.

Though these men were revolutionaries, prudence marked their efforts to establish national independence: they believed they could not free themselves and their slaves at the same time. To insist on the latter as a condition of the former would have doomed both imperatives. For example, South Carolina and Georgia were land rich and labor poor, and this made them hesitant to stem the flow of slaves into their states.

To lose their support during the Revolutionary War, when only a united effort promised any hope of success, would have made outlandish an already daunting military enterprise. But if the Declaration of Independence cannot be trusted to represent the true intentions of the Founders, Hannah-Jones does no better at interpreting the U.

What about Article 1 Section 9, which prevents Congress from banning the importation of slaves for twenty years?

African Americans

Hannah-Jones sees in this only the perpetuation of slavery, but she misses the growing national impetus against this nefarious commerce. Reading Hannah-Jones, one would never know that Madison had anything to do with the Constitution, let alone that he and other Framers were at pains to document their anti-slavery intent. The question was never whether the enslaved deserved their freedom; it was how to secure their rights in a peaceable, lawful fashion.

The slaveholding Founders were all too aware that slaves had legitimate grievances.

How the Founders' Revolutionary Ideology Laid the Groundwork

He thought that emancipation would need to be followed by expatriation, i. To complete her assault on the Founders, Hannah-Jones must take down their greatest defender, Abraham Lincoln.


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Lincoln was delivering a eulogy for Clay in , at which point agitation over slavery was so intense that the prospects for peaceful, lawful abolition looked increasingly distant. Clay had encouraged free blacks to establish a self-governing colony in Africa. But in doing so, Lincoln was preparing a nation at war with itself for a proclamation of emancipation in rebel-held states.

The president needed to show the country that all avenues for resolving the conflict were being pursued before he resorted to abolition by executive fiat. This quote is completely and misleadingly decontextualized. I believe this government…was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity for ever. Abolitionists were viewed as radical extremists, indifferent towards the Constitution and the rule of law. So Douglas did everything he could to tar Lincoln and the Republican Party with the abolition brush.

Know your history: Understanding racism in the US

Mission style is still a potent force in American design. The Catholic Church still dominates much of the formerly Spanish domain. The second era we often misperceive is As Mexico became independent in , it outlawed slavery. Mexico welcomed white Southerners, but they could not bring slaves.

Even worse from the U. These grievances led the newcomers to get Texas to secede from Mexico, followed by our war with Mexico. The treaty ending that war provided that citizens of Mexico who now found themselves in the U. However, whites often trampled their rights, brought them up on false charges, and even lynched them to get their land without payment. Native Americans in the Mexican Cession didn't get citizenship until The third misconception concerns Mexican immigrants.

In Donald Trump made them a key issue in his presidential campaign, especially in the primaries. Students need to understand that our so-called "illegal immigration" has a history. Since at least , the United States has used Mexican workers when we needed them, and deported them when we didn't. Right after World War I, the U. Conversely, during the Depression when work was scarce, the federal government deported thousands. Students can compare the Bracero Program to Operation Wetback.

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Black History Milestones

Also, as part of their worsening status during the Nadir of Race Relations, the Census no longer classified Mexican Americans as "white. Mexican Americans replied by winning two lawsuits, Alvarez v.

Lemon Grove and Mendez v. Westminster , which overturned the new segregation policy.