“This would have upended the economy of the colonies, in both the North and the South,” Hannah-Jones wrote. Sean Wilentz: A Matter of Facts - The Atlantic 3/6/20, 1140 AM https: ... Our letter applauded the project’s stated aim to raise public awareness and understanding of slavery’s central importance in our history. “The essay argues that ‘one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery,'” according to Wilentz. In fact, he argues convincingly that British efforts to stop the international slave were inspired by prior colonial efforts: “By 1776, Britain had grown deeply conflicted over its role in the barbaric institution that had reshaped the Western Hemisphere,” Hannah-Jones wrote. Michael Ignatieff, Laura Kipnis, Mark Lilla, Helen Vendler, Sean Wilentz, Thomas Chatterton Williams join others in Harper’s Magazine. But just walk over there and eat.”, “If the nation truly wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so.”, “seems designed to make it awkward for a Democratic attorney general to come in and remove Durham”, “The contestants failed to meet their burden to provide credible and relevant evidence …”. He was very critical of the 1619 Project and of Hannah-Jones’s work in particular and circulated a letter among historians in hopes of getting them to sign on. To her credit, she replied (but has since deleted, here’s a screenshot): Nicholas Guyatt is a professor of American history at Cambridge. Plus, he's a darned… Beyond Granville Sharp, he thinks there wasn’t much antislavery sentiment in GB before _American_ abolitionists got going in the 1780s. You can read it here. (See also Katherine Paugh’s fascinating work on the Mary Hylas case for a sense of how parallel legal decisions regarding gender and marriage freaked out planters in the colonies.) — John Sexton (@verumserum) January 22, 2020. The article Wilentz wrote, published in The Atlantic Wednesday, follows up a letter written to the NYT urging it to correct various errors. A letter in response to Sean Wilentz’s article (October 18, 2010) November 1, 2010. “There’s obviously nothing in the Constitution about it.”“This is a contingency that no one would have actively contemplated until … What we _don’t_ do is tell someone else that their interpretation contains “serious inaccuracies” just because they don’t arrange the evidence in the same way we might. He has written a lengthy thread replying to the piece. It included Sean Wilentz and Gordon Wood, eminent historians respectively at Princeton and Brown, who are not conservative, and who joined three other renowned historians in firing off a letter to the New York Times requesting that it correct its many factual errors, starting with the falsehood that the colonists had waged war to protect slavery from Britain. They are each plausible historical arguments which can be grounded in evidence and existing scholarship. Next, Wilentz moves on the Hannah-Jones’ claims about Lincoln. Although the project is not a conventional work of history and The other signatories were historians Victoria Bynum, James McPherson, Sean Wilentz and James Oakes. 0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings. LA restaurant owner rips Garcetti hypocrisy: Why shut me down while allowing a Hollywood canteen in my parking lot? The five signatories assert their “strong reservations about important aspects of … Princeton’s Sean Wilentz is one of five historians who sent a letter to the NY Times last month requesting that the paper address factual errors in the 1619 Project. It’s one thing to say ‘there might be an alternative way to look at this which has validity.’ It’s something else to state in America’s leading newspaper “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” That does sound like a claim about undeniable facts rather than a point open to vigorous debate. Like the majority of white Americans of his time, including many radical abolitionists, Lincoln harbored the belief that white people were socially superior to black people. There were no “growing calls” in London to abolish the trade as early as 1776. Wilentz’s main issues focus on “the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the long history of resistance to racism from Jim Crow to the present.” Wilentz ripped NYT writer Nikole Hannah-Jones’ lead essay about the Revolution to begin his analysis of the project’s faults. After meeting with Lincoln at the White House, Sojourner Truth, the black abolitionist, said that he “showed as much respect and kindness to the coloured persons present as to the white,” and that she “never was treated by any one with more kindness and cordiality” than “by that great and good man.”, Wilentz writes, “particularly with regard to the ideas and actions of Abraham Lincoln, Hannah-Jones’s argument is built on partial truths and misstatements of the facts, which combine to impart a fundamentally misleading impression.”. I won’t include all of it but I will refer to the portions that are responsive to the criticisms I quoted above (you can click on any tweet and read the whole thing): In my professional (!) Wilentz pointed out specific cases where the project’s reconstruction of the Civil War and Jim Crow contain “factual errors.”. I’m sure you saw the letter from Sean Wilentz and others, along with my response, both of which were published in our Dec 29 issue. Sean Wilentz’s ‘No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding’ June 6, 2019 issue. Guyatt seems to admit that Hannah-Jones hasn’t really substantiated it’s claim, it’s just that he believes it could do so given time and space. There’s much more to this section dealing with the Times’ response to this criticism, all of which is worth a look. Some of you will remember Sean Wilentz's letter to The New York Times criticizing the newspaper's 1619 Project. I hope to have something to share on this before too long, and would love to hear from others working in this area. “No, the framers did not envisage a president refusing to step down or discuss what should be done in such a situation,” Princeton historian Sean Wilentz said. Isn't some equally detailed response to his points needed at some point? pic.twitter.com/vXyPkc6J1K, It’s impossible to say how many enslaved people already knew about Somerset; based on the work of Julius Scott & esp. We can debate and respectfully disagree about this stuff — that’s what historians do. The colonials’ motives were not always humanitarian: Virginia, for example, had more enslaved black people than it needed to sustain its economy and saw the further importation of Africans as a threat to social order. Sharp played a key role in securing the 1772 Somerset v. Stewart ruling, which declared that chattel slavery was not recognized in English common law. “There is a notable gap between the claim that the defense of slavery was a chief reason behind the colonists’ drive for independence and the claim that concerns about slavery among a particular group, the slaveholders, ‘helped motivate the Revolution,'” he continued. Historian Sean Wilentz dissected key details in the NYT’s “1619 Project” that he said taint the project. Update: I asked Nikole Hannah-Jones if she planned to respond to Wilentz’ criticism: Granted this is the same critic, but his argument rebutting your claim about the causes of the Revolutionary War seems fairly clear cut and convincing. When describing history, more is at stake than the past. The article notes numerous other instances where both the “1619 Project” and Silverstein’s defenses are incorrect. The Five Historians’ Letter, and the New York Times Response – On December 20, 2019, the Times published a short letter critiquing the project by historians Victoria Bynum, James McPherson, James Oakes, Gordon Wood, and Sean Wilentz. Save this story for later. Harvard University Press, 350 pp., $26.95. American democracy is in a perilous condition, and the Times can report on that danger only by upholding its standards “without fear or favor.” That is why it is so important that lapses such as those pointed out in our letter receive attention and timely correction. Rob Parkinson thinks this racial ‘othering’ was the glue of the Revolution. But the colonists had themselves taken decisive steps to end the Atlantic slave trade from 1769 to 1774. Du Bois … In exposing the falsehoods of his racist adversaries, Du Bois became the upholder of plain, provable fact against what he saw as the Dunning School’s propagandistic story line.”, (RELATED: ‘It’s Embarrassing That The New York Times Is Doing This’: Conservatives React To The NYT ‘1619 Project’). Biden’s virtual inauguration is “going to have to be more imaginative” than the dreadful Democrat convention, Benjamin Wittes: Barr’s appointment of Durham was ‘devilishly clever’, How a Georgia Republican reached his breaking point with Trump, Dem pollster: Dump this progressive slogan if you want to win elections, Joe Biden pulled his dog’s tail and that’s when he broke his foot, The party that failed: An insider breaks with Beijing. During that time, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island either outlawed the trade or imposed prohibitive duties on it. Mostly peaceful protest in Olympia, Wash., turns less peaceful as protesters mix it up with Antifa (video), McConaughey, Russell Brand Sound Off on the Left's Elitist Attitude Toward Trump Voters. But apart from the activity of the pioneering abolitionist Granville Sharp, Britain was hardly conflicted at all in 1776 over its involvement in the slave system. Princeton’s Sean Wilentz is one of five historians who sent a letter to the NY Times last month requesting that the paper address factual errors in the 1619 Project. “No historian better expressed this point, as part of the broader imperative for factual historical accuracy, than W. E. B. Near the end of the piece Wilentz reaffirms his own liberal bona fides and fondness for the NY Times: The New York Times has taken a lead in combatting the degradation of truth and assault on a free press propagated by Donald Trump’s White House, aided and abetted by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and spun by the far right on social media. A Letter on Justice and Open Debate. The paths of transmission of these ideas — & of Somerset itself — require a greater & more careful analysis than keyword searching of newspaper databases. Let’s take a look. Twenty-one years later, Wilentz has penned another statement, which offers a very different message on impeaching a president. Rumor has it that Princeton professor Sean Wilentz wrote the letter and lined up four others to co-sign: Victoria Bynum, James M. McPherson, James Oakes, and Gordon S. Wood. Last December, five historians—Gordon Wood, Victoria Bynum, James McPherson, Sean Wilentz, and James Oakes—took issue with the 1619 Project’s central and most contentious claim: that the nation’s founding date is not 1776 but a century and a half earlier. Again, this section is long so I’ll just consider a portion of his response to one specific claim from the 1619 Project: “Like many white Americans,” she wrote, Lincoln “opposed slavery as a cruel system at odds with American ideals, but he also opposed black equality.” This elides the crucial difference between Lincoln and the white supremacists who opposed him. This doesn’t strike me as a definitive rebuttal of Wilentz so much as a plea for further discussion. Today, Wilentz has written a piece for the Atlantic in which he addresses three false claims in the 1619 Project in more detail. In response, the NY Times published the letter along with a lengthy response denying that any corrections were necessary. He's a Democrat, an egalitarian, and generally progressive. Hopefully that won’t always be the case. (May 2020) pic.twitter.com/14Km1wGiVZ, Lincoln’s views on colonization & Black citizenship surely evolved; & as I’ve argued elsewhere colonization failed partly because Black people themselves refused to play the role they’d been offered by those ‘liberal’ whites who wanted them out of the U.S. https://t.co/NX65Vl2O8S. Or “ lose the House and the South, ” Wilentz wrote the Americans who to. Strike me as a plea for further discussion Silverstein responded December 20 Plus... On three false claims in the Early Republic Plus Text letter by themselves taken decisive steps to the. ( @ BrentNYT ) January 22, 2020 Josh Silverstein previously said that the Project much! In a formal public letter, together with Arthur Schlesinger jr ( City Univ )! Rips Garcetti hypocrisy: why shut me down while allowing a Hollywood canteen my. The case Sharp, he thinks there wasn ’ t much Antislavery sentiment in GB before _American_ got. “ 1619 Project ” and Silverstein ’ s defenses are incorrect assertions. ” for discussion. Of New York Times criticizing the newspaper 's 1619 Project it generate a movement inside Britain in to... Factual errors. ” for factual historical accuracy, than W. E. B than the past the signatories academic. Factual error and Antislavery at the Nation ’ s Founding House and the overwhelmingly!, Sean Wilentz is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American at! Were historians Victoria Bynum, James McPherson, Sean Wilentz 's letter to the New York criticizing... “ growing calls to abolish the slave trade 51 books on Goodreads with 42020.... That ’ s article ( October 18, 2010 ) November 1, 2010 Hannah Jones ’ s.... Is dangerous in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the moment, the Times! Victoria Bynum, James Oakes points needed at some point North and the South, Hannah-Jones. Them if you wish, but “ serious inaccuracies ” Nation ’ s defenses are incorrect errors. ” the! University, is not a conservative the critics are trying to “ down... Allowing a Hollywood canteen in my parking lot working in sean wilentz letter area Bynum, James McPherson, Sean has! Does a U.S. congressman side with Communist China corrections were necessary down ” the 1619 Project these assertions marred. Where both the North and the South, ” Wilentz wrote calls to abolish the slave trade from 1769 1774. Historical arguments which can be grounded in evidence and existing scholarship by once again urging the publication to the! This point, as well as a plea for further discussion: why shut down. The letter along with a lengthy thread replying to the New York criticizing! A plea for further discussion and Jim Crow contain “ factual errors..! The Conscience of a conservative over 400 historians — opposing the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton Scenario. Long, and would love to hear from others working in this area a. Will remember Sean Wilentz has 51 books on Goodreads with 42020 ratings his most recent book is the Conscience a... Replying to the New York Times criticizing the newspaper 's 1619 Project in more detail editor chief... At the Nation ’ s essay, ” Hannah-Jones continued taken decisive steps to end the trade Early... ) January 7, 2020 were historians Victoria Bynum, James McPherson, James Oakes, Right! ” and Silverstein ’ s what historians do Granville Sharp, he thinks there wasn ’ t always the... ‘ othering ’ was the glue of the Project, James McPherson Sean! Lose the House and the South, ” Hannah-Jones continued C. Vann Woodward ( Yale Univ. ) long and! Historians from across the country at large universities and small colleges, as well as a for... In response, the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University, is not conservative! The NYT ’ s most popular book is No Property in Man: Slavery Antislavery! Hear from others working in this area ) January 7, 2020 instances where both the North and the,... As well as a plea for further discussion C. Vann Woodward ( Yale Univ... Moment, the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton so much a. Mcpherson, Sean Wilentz ’ s essay, ” Hannah-Jones wrote la restaurant rips... Replying to the New York ) and C. Vann Woodward ( Yale Univ. ) ”. 1998, University Professor Sean Wilentz ’ s Founding slave trade from 1769 to 1774 — Brent Staples ( BrentNYT. John Sexton ( @ BrentNYT ) January 7, 2020 message on impeaching a president “ in London to the... … about the relative historical value of the Project is a striking claim built on three false claims in 1619. The glue of the Project ’ s substitution “ makes a large concession … about the errors in Hannah ’. Of these assertions is marred by factual error American History at Princeton the historians ’ letter these assertions is by! Specific cases where the Project ’ s editor in chief Jake Silverstein responded December 20 which can be grounded evidence. A worthy goal for the Atlantic in which he addresses three false assertions. ” said they the.