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Yet More Evidence Against the “1619 Project”

The New York Times’s “1619 Project” has been thoroughly, repeatedly, unambiguously, and fully debunked. This ‘Project’ is cheap and childish fiction masquerading as history. It now serves as an intellectual litmus test: Anyone who subscribes to, or apologies for, its thesis that the American revolutionaries’ purpose was to maintain slavery is someone who is either intellectually incompetent or intellectually dishonest. No other options are plausible.

Nevertheless, I offer here yet another piece of what is unnecessary but what is also nevertheless interesting – namely, evidence against the “1619 Project.” It’s a bit of evidence that I don’t recall seeing (although I perhaps missed some others’ presentation of it).

This evidence appears on pages 103 and 104 of David McCullough’s 2001 John Adams. I quote at length from McCullough’s telling of John Adams’s time in Philadelphia for the Continental Congresses. Adams, of course, was an early and uncompromising champion of American independence – a cause for which his wife, Abigail, was equally enthusiastic.

She [Abigail Adams] was particularly curious about the Virginians, wondering if, as slaveholders, they had the necessary commitment to the cause of freedom. “I have,” she wrote, “sometimes been ready to think that the passion for liberty cannot be equally strong in the breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow creatures of theirs.” What she felt about those in Massachusetts who owned slaves, including her own father, she did not say, but she need not have – John knew her mind on the subject. Writing to him during the First Congress, she had been unmistakably clear: “I wish most sincerely there was not a slave in the province. It always seemed a most iniquitous scheme to me – [to] fight ourselves for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have.”

It had been two weeks now since she had seen the British fleet sail out of Boston, and she viewed the approach of spring very differently than she had only a month before. Her world had been transformed. She was experiencing an uncommon “gaiety de coeur,” she wrote. “I think the sun shines brighter, the birds sing more melodiously.” She longed to hear word of independence declared.

The heartfelt opposition of Abigail and John Adams to slavery is alone enough to cast serious doubt on the “1619 Project.”

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