AMAC Exclusive by Daniel Roman
As America celebrates the 245th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence this July 4, the legacy of the Declaration is under attack like perhaps never before. Much of the American left has adopted the view—one even espoused by Joe Biden’s Ambassador to the United Nations—that the Declaration is a “white supremacist” document. This is among the central notions of what has become known as Critical Race Theory. Yet this idea, so crucial to the thinking of the modern left, is not only not true, but the clear historical record shows that the exact opposite is true. The Declaration of Independence did not forever enshrine slavery and racism into the soul of America—it set slavery on the path to inevitable global extinction.
The question goes to the heart of the faith which has animated liberal thought toward race since long before it was formalized in the New York Times’ 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory—a belief not just that America has sins, or was imperfect, but that America was and is uniquely sinful and worse than everyone else.
In this version of American history, the truth of 1776 is not merely that the Founders were forced to make pragmatic compromises with reality and take time to achieve the aspirations they set themselves. It is not simply that Thomas Jefferson, despite his repeated personal desire to do so, failed to see the elimination of slavery in his lifetime.
No, the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory’s historical claim is much bigger than that. They claim that Jefferson and the Founders never cared to see the end of slavery at all, and above all, they claim that the American Revolution itself was fought specifically to entrench slavery, driven by fears that Britain might abolish it.
As has been noted even by a number of liberal and partisan Democratic historians, these claims are total nonsense.
The abolition of slavery in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia followed rather than preceded the Declaration of Independence and it did so for a simple reason. The British, far from being a force for emancipation, were a force against it. In fact, they opposed any move toward emancipation for the same reason the American Revolution was necessary in the first place. London sought control of all trade and economic activities in the colonies for revenue raising purposes. The British Exchequer profited from the buying and selling of slaves in American ports, and British banks invested heavily in loans to slave trading firms. Any attack on the slave trade would have been as much an act of rebellion against Britain as the attack on the tea trade was.
Reality is the inverse of the 1619 Project’s thesis. Rather than being an effort to avert any moves toward emancipation or restrictions on slavery, American Independence was a prerequisite for any legal limitations to it.
And the evidence is that far from being empty words, many of those who signed their names to the Declaration in 1776 meant what they said about all men being created equal. In 1776, slavery was legal in every single colony. In the years to come it was outlawed in Pennsylvania in 1780, New Hampshire and Massachusetts in 1783, and Connecticut and Rhode Island in 1784. After the Constitution was ratified, it was abolished in New York (1799) and New Jersey (1804).
Indeed, the period around 1776 marked a pivot point that set off a wave of abolitions around the globe. In his 2011 book Better Angels of our Nature, scholar Stephen Pinker illustrates this trend perfectly with a graph charting the progress of abolitionism worldwide:
What explains this remarkable chart, and the rapid succession of American states that abolished slavery shortly after independence?
One answer is that the ideas of the American Declaration of Independence did not emerge out of thin air. As countless scholars have argued, and Pinker explained in his 2018 book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, America’s founding document represented an encapsulation of the ideas and values of the European Enlightenment, which challenged certainties about the social order and the world. All institutions—monarchs and Popes, empires and even slavery—were forced to justify themselves based on reason. In other words, simply having existed for centuries was no longer enough.
That’s one reason why the Declaration of Independence stood out at the time – its language was a radical departure from what had come before.
Previous British and European rebellions had generally tried to contest that they were in fact rebelling at all. Their proclamations often read like complex legal briefs, referencing obscure land rights cases from 1231. When America’s Founding Fathers issued their declaration, however, they did something different. They made bold appeals to Enlightenment ideas such as universal rights. In their declaration, all men were equal not because a royal charter said so, but because God created them that way. Their rights existed not because a King granted them or a Parliament passed them into law, but because they were unalienable.
These Enlightenment ideas generally, and the American Revolution specifically, set the end of slavery in motion in several very practical ways.
As we have seen, no territory in America outlawed slavery under British rule, and the British in fact did not allow any territory they ruled to exercise that sort of autonomy in any other case either prior to that point or subsequently. Meanwhile, every northern U.S. state was able to outlaw slavery by 1804, yet the British Empire did not do so until 1833.
“Aha” the leftists will say, “but slavery remained in the American South until the Civil War was over in 1865.” This is true, of course, but there is no reason to believe the British would have tried to abolish slavery if it would have risked conflict or cost.
On the contrary, it is almost impossible to imagine that there even would have been an abolitionist movement anywhere in the world without the success of the American Revolution.
For one thing, the British abolitionist movement itself emerged as a propaganda move during the wars against Napoleon. The French Revolution, which by the way was directly inspired by the American example, had abolished slavery throughout French territory. French slaveholders in the Caribbean resisted these decrees, and when slaves and supporters of the French Revolution tried to enforce them, the French slaveholders called in the British Royal Navy, which happily seized French sugar islands under the pretext of “suppressing a slave rebellion.” Public revulsion against this use of British military force to reintroduce slavery spread in Britain, driven by those who had sympathized with or supported the American cause. The first British abolitionists overlapped with the American sympathizers of the 1770s.
On a wider level, the abolition of slavery anywhere was the clear and direct consequence of those enlightenment ideas which inspired the American Declaration and which the American Revolution had given real credence in a non-theoretical sense for the first time, transforming the relationship between governments and the governed.
For centuries, political thought in Europe had been defined not in terms of the “rights” of individuals as people, but rather through the privileges of classes and offices. The Magna Carta of 1215 might have been progressive in that it restricted the power of the English King, but it restricted the power of the King over a class, his nobles. The right of nobles to govern their estates as they saw fit, to avoid taxation without their consent, and to be guaranteed a jury of their peers in any legal proceeding, meant that peasants unlucky enough to live on their estates, or Jews living in their towns, lost the ability to appeal to the King for protection.
In this environment—the pre-American Revolution environment—any effort by a King to abolish slavery would have been seen as an act of tyranny, one in which a despot stripped the property of “citizens” without their consent.
It is thus no coincidence that when slavery was abolished in U.S. states, it was done not by a King, but by governments that could claim to be elected by the people. In the new American republic, elected officeholders who abolished slavery were exercising the people’s sovereign right to self-government to fulfill the moral imperatives of the Enlightenment. It was the ideas and institutions put in place by the Revolution that made this possible at all.
Before the Revolution, no state had ever abolished slavery, and arguably no state could. After it, the pressure was irresistible, and it became seen as a requirement of republican self-government not just in America, but everywhere.
The authors of the American Declaration intentionally lit a beacon for the world, an example for other nations and peoples to follow. Nonetheless, unlike the French Revolution, the American Founders pursued their radical and uncompromising goals through conservative means, protecting property, respecting the rule of law, and giving American society enough time to actually realize the rights of human equality and freedom far beyond the dreams of the Founders.
The survival of their republic two and a half centuries later, and the total equality under the law of all men and women, races, and religions is a testament to that approach.
In time, America was able to abolish slavery in the 1860s in the bloodiest war of its history, and a century later bring to about a civil rights movement which brought this final measure of equality. These events stand out as among the only times in human history when a society has drastically reformed itself, as opposed to being transformed by foreign invasion or a murderous dictator.
The historical fact is that the American project launched on July 4, 1776 was a work in progress which took time to reach its full potential. But if the American Declaration of Independence did not abolish slavery overnight, or bring about racial equality the following day, it set the nation on the path that made those things inevitable. In fact, it set the entire world on a path where they seemed only a matter of time.
Contrary to the claims of the 1619 crowd and the Founding’s other detractors, it is impossible to see how slavery or racial equality would have developed in a world in which the Americans failed, the authors of the Declaration were hanged, and the British proved that rights and power did not derive from the consent of the governed or God, but from what Kings felt inclined to grant. In that world, everyone would have remained slaves.
Daniel Roman is the pen name of a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now
… what? What is this?
This “graph” is makes no sense.
If it’s for America it continues after 1865. If it’s global the graph continues to 2000 with “70 abolitions” … what does that mean? Only 4 countries criminalised slavery in the 2000’s. So what are these 70 abolition’s?
Is it in total (not how graphs work) because if it is… more states than 70 have criminalised or outlawed slavery.
Either the author of this is an idiot, or they think the readers of AMAC are idiots.
[…] Read More: amac.us/the-graph-that-shatters-crt-july-4-1776-set-slavery-on-the-path-to-worldwide-extinction/ […]
Thanks for all you do. Your stories can be used in my classroom. Keep up the good work!
My parents were Eisenhower Republicans and if they were still alive would be completely appalled with today’s Republican Party. CRT is but a “cover” for Republicans. If there’s a fallacy with teaching the truth our children will know it unless you keep it from them. No one believes in retroactive guilt. The Founders believed whites were superior to people of color (3/5’s rule among many others). Today’s educated don’t hate whites anymore than Christian’s hate Italians (Romans for those not following). The conservative’s fear the truth that racism persists after hundreds of years of denial. Conservatives love to spout the “all men are created equal “ from the founding. If that’s true why aren’t black people living next door to you? Go ahead you 1776’ers. Tell us hateful liberals why black people get hunted down in the name of “Citizen’s Arrest”. To their credit Georgia repealed it’s Citizens Arrest law after the Armad Aubrey murder and today a jury found the 3 accomplices guilty. I feel sorry for the three guilty men. In all seriousness had they been raised in an open society that taught the truth in schools when they were growing up they might have not committed such racist acts.
For CRT 1619 is significant, the year the first slave was sold. If you want to stop CRT,
stop blaming the USA. We were not a country until 1776 and 5 years of war. How did the slaves get here, THE COLONIAL POWERS, England, France, Portugal, Spain and the other colonial powers with Navies and a Merchant Marine. This existed for 157 years. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote,
“” We hold these truths,… that all people are created equal. “” And so, the beginning of the end of slavery in the USA was inaugurated. And since that day, we worked “To become a better country.”
There can be NO ARGUMENT against this timeline. Blame the colonial powers.
And while you are at it, the Southern, Plantation Democrats were the HOLDOUTS to keep slavery.
Lincoln was a REPUBLICAN.
Those rural southern seats which defended slavery and established the KKK, who do they vote for today?
Whatever its reasons, it was the British Navy, not the insignificant American one, that put the kibosh on the trans-Atlantic slave trade. That the War of Independence should be seen as the cause of this is not plausible.
Excellent article. I feel deeply that these statements are true. Thank you for this well written, informative and clear message.
Mary Elliott, an expert at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History, reports that June 19th was an event of minor consequence.
Slavery around the world did not end in 1865 either. Plenty of it still in most all Muslim countries, in China, SE Asia, India,and in North Korea.
I love the article in Red,White and Black about Harlem Hellfighters in WW One…the NYC unit that fought shoulder to shoulder with comrades in arms, but only after a long struggle to attain fighting respect…the linkage was their band, their “jazz” unit…where do we teach these nuggets of information….
What’s rarely if ever talked about is that at the time of the Declaration, there were five “free”
states and eight “slave” states. If the Founders had insisted on freeing the slaves as a
condition of signing, all the “slave” states would have simply walked away, and there would
have never been a United States. But the Founders knew that in time slavery would die on
its own, and it did, even though it took a Civil War to do it. The Left is not only lies, but it is
breathtakingly dumb and uneducated as well.
Leftists are willingly dumb and spread the same message in the Leftist government schools.
All to feel good about themselves. To feel ‘virtuous’.
Excellent article. Also, coal miners, mill workers, etc. in Britain were considered owned by their employers if they worked for the owner for a year and a day. This was why Britain did not want to teach the working class to read.
Why are we so afraid of our own history?
What did we do to the Native Americans?
We TOOK this land from others, like Israel did to the Arabs.
WE aren’t afraid of our history, lying Muslim. WE have been the beacon of hope and liberty since our country’s inception. Islam is a death cult of lies, conquest and enslavement.
The land of Israel was founded by the decree of all the civilized world’s countries. It was then maliciously attacked by sand rats attempting to eradicate them. All lands lost in that war are forfeitures, and there is no longer any legitimate claim by Arabs upon the Angolan Heights, the West Ban, or the Gaza Strip – it is all the property of Israel to do with them as it will.
Boy are you filled with hate. I feel sorry for you.
Do you also feel sorry for gkam? He’s filled with hate.
Filled with hate for telling the truth? What about the homicidal maniacs on murderous rampages in the Middle East? Go topple a statue.
The Golan Heights are a rocky plateau in Western Asia that was captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. . . . The Republic of Angola is a country on the west coast of Southern Africa.
Whose “we,” you halfwit? I didn’t take any land from anyone. You have tpo be irrational to believe in the concept of legacy guilt.
Greetings, Your Hairiness from a fellow hominid. Though we risk reprisals from the “turn the other cheek” believers, I am in entire agreement with you in rejecting the concept of legacy guilt. We find ourselves in opposition to religious teachings, consicuous in the American colonies. There, they taught children the alphabet with a little religious verse to go with each letter. For “A” the sermon was “In Adam’s fall, we sinnéd all.” Churches still teach the moral abomination with the name of “Original Sin”. Such irrationality is at the core of the religion-sotted people among whom we live. Carl Van Doren wrote “The race of man, while sheep in credulity, are wolves for conformity.” (Even on the Fourth of July, I’m not big on the concept of legacy virtue, either. I have done only what I have done. Even so, I have learned a lot from other people and benefited from their sacrifices. Several of my ancestors took up arms against George the Third.)
All modern nations are built upon the ashes of previous inhabitants/cultures..often multiple times over. Most of this displacement occurred centuries ago, but some is more recent (e.g., US, Canada, Australia, NZ, South Africa).
The treatment of Native Americans is distinctive in that rather than simply exterminating or “absorbing” them,they were displaced and moved to reservations where they could maintain some semblance of their original culture. The American government recognized their original claims to their land and tried to soften what might have been done otherwise. But now doubt, the “Indian Removal” from land coveted by settlers was brutal. Canada did the same….with somewhat more emphasis on destroying indigenous culture in an effort to absorb their First Nations, which Canada now deeply regrets.
No one today cares about the Magyar invasion of what is now Hungary, the barbarian invasions of the old Roman Empire, the vast movements of people from the Steppes of Russia into Eastern Europe. Time has a way of healing such hurts, if encouraged rather than inflamed by governments and institutions.
Every powerful country on the face of this planet took territory & resources from the weak. Wild animals do the same thing. Did you study Darwin’s “survival of the fittest?” Or don’t you believe in science?
Our schools teach White students that they are immoral and contemptible if they don’t support the White Genocide that’s being carried out by massive third-world immigration and FORCED assimilation i.e diversity in EVERY White country and ONLY White countries.
Their teachers never tell them, “White self-hatred is SICK!!!“
Those teachers claim to be anti-racist. What they are is anti-White.
Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.
Are you a bot?
Oh, “Larkenson”… Your “code word” schtick is so tiresome. How many hundreds of times have you posted it now? Do you keep track? Is there some kind of record you’re going for? Can we hope for a new idea from you…ever?
Well done. The facts are evident.
Great article. Should be distributed to every school and college in the country along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
The Spanish. Africans and Arabs were also huge slavers.
Unfortunately, the path to global extinction of slavery has not yet happened, despite the Declaration of Independence and the Civil War fought to end slavery in America. There are still many places in the world where slavery exists and where indentured people work for years to pay off a debt.. In fact, there may never be a time when everyone is free. But to say that all the things that we have accomplished to try to give all people the chance to be free and succeed is somehow tainted because it isn’t perfect or to rewrite history because it did not blame someone for inequities that existed and maybe still exist, is ludicrous. Let’s fill in the blanks of history that is not complete, not rip up the history books and rewrite it to please some group. Let’s not lower the standards to achieve equity but raise the standards in inner city schools so that those children have a better chance at equality.
The Democrap Party of today is aiding and abetting their own, modern day version of, slavery or indentured servitude through the cartels bringing in the hoardes of illegal aliens at their request and for their benefit. The illegals are charged up front for the ‘service’ and then obligated to pay continuously through their labor here in America once they get here. They are required to give a list of all members of their families with phone numbers and addresses and bank account numbers. Their families are held ‘hostage’ (figuritively) until the debt is deemed to be paid.
Democrats seek universal enslavement by taxation.
I really liked the info on the British monetary motives to keep the slave trade going. I’m finding that money drives everything in the US today. That’s why the main stream media isn’t covering the truth. The money men behind them and the Biden team are profiting from all these horrendous policies. Thank you fir bringing more truth to light.
Sincere African Americans know that White people aren’t racist for the most part. But if they’re honest they can say that the Democrats definitely are and that the democrats are the reason that they have been oppressed all these years and used as pawns in the democrats scheme to destroy everything decent and moral!!! Planned Parenthood, welfare with 70% of their kids not having a Dad around!!!
CRT is nothing but intellectual compost, and the only “garden” it fertilizes is the weed of Satan.
Just a thought regarding this subject that went unpublished in the largest paper in Knoxville, TN. Sometimes. “All HISTORY MATTERS”.
BLAME SHIFTING OR SHIRKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
OKAY WE GET IT. Black lives matter. However. Black lives do not matter more than White, Asian, Latino or anyone else’s lives. Should they? If so, who says? Are the proponents of “Black lives” seeking equality or revenge? Do we really need an Emancipation Day?
According to facts stated in multiple sources as well as the National Archives, the Emancipation Proclamation or (Proclamation 95) issued on September 22, 1862, and adopted on New Year’s day 1863, changed the legal status, of more than 3.5 million “enslaved African Americans” in the secessionist Confederate states, from enslaved to free. This proclamation essentially targeted the South.
Then? The 13th Amendment became law. The 13th Amendment was the first amendment to the United States Constitution during the period of Reconstruction. The amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865 and ended the argument about whether slavery was legal in the United States. The amendment reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”. Furthermore, it stated.
“That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom”.
The 13th Amendment was necessary because the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln ( a Republican) in January of 1863, did not end slavery entirely; those enslaved in border states had not been freed. The proclamation also did not address the issue of slavery in territories that would become states in the future. Lincoln and other leaders (mostly Republicans) realized amending the Constitution was the only way to officially end slavery. The 13th Amendment forever abolished slavery as an institution in all U.S. states and territories.
What followed took about 100 years. Better late, than never?
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (FYI. In March 1875, the Republican-controlled 43rd Congress followed up the GOP’s 1866 Civil Rights Act)
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaw’s discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation and gender identity. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools and public accommodations, and employment discrimination. The act “remains one of the most significant legislative achievements in American history”.
Our traditional Independence Day on July 4Th celebrates our ENTIRE Country’s Birth. Anything else should “only” commemorate our Country’s “growing pains”.
Shouldn’t ALL lives, equally matter?
The Civil Rights legislation would have passed 5 years earlier if the Democraps, led by the likes of LBJ, Robert “KKK” Bird and Al Gore,Sr., hadn’t filibustered Republican President Eisenhower’s push to do it in 1959.
It’s ironic that the young African Americans of today are the very ones who are demanding segregated housing and associations thanks to the brainwashing they’ve been subjected to in their schools and colleges through CRT.