I am writing to voice concerns about treating the 1619 Project as "history." It is based on the premise that American prosperity was built on the back of slavery. The historical record states differently.
Early in the formation of the United States, slavery was rejected by the northern states. For decades, Congress tried to maintain a delicate balance between free and slave states. The balance was so tight that a free state could not come into the union without a slave state. This is evidenced by the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Mason-Dixon line divided these two ideologies. Bloody Kansas and John Brown’s attack on Harpers Ferry unraveled the political balancing act.
What has this to do with the 1619 Project? By the start of the American Civil War the free North held overwhelming advantages in population, industrial capacity and railroads. Investment and immigration favored the North because there, opportunity was to be found. The North used these advantages to march into the South and crush the Confederacy. With this advantage the North invaded the South with an edge in warships, cannon, logistics, troops, and the ability to move them. Had slavery been the foundation of American prosperity, these conditions would have been reversed.
We can enhance the history of Americans of color without fabrication. There are great heroes from before the Revolution to our astronaut corps today. Let’s add examples that we should all look up to rather than creating resentment and division.