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Give Me Liberty! Textbook Review
Charles Wolfe June 12, 2021

The textbook Give Me Liberty!: An American History contains a revisionist history that would make advocates of The New York Times 1619 Project, an offshoot of CRT proud. There are so many issues with this textbook that I couldn’t possibly document them all. Therefore, I’ve included some of the more glaring inaccuracies here.


Native Americans (Indians)

The textbook portrays the European colonists as attacking and vilifying the Indians. While there were cases where the Indians were treated poorly; like, "The Trail of Tears” for example. However, this textbook, as does the 1619 Project use three main historical conflicts as "evidence” to support their claim. I’ve documented the true facts here; most of which are partially presented or skipped all together.


The Clash Of 1623

The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe had entered into a peace treaty in 1621. This treaty created a peaceful, mutually beneficial, existence between the two groups. Chief Massasoit informed the Pilgrims of an unprovoked assault to be made against the Pilgrims by the Algonquin tribe. The Algonquins would be working in conjunction with other local tribes. Facing extermination, Miles Standish led a preemptive, defensive, strike against the Algonquins. This saved the colonies and preserved goodwill between the Pilgrims and other Indian tribes.


The Pequot War Of 1673

The Pequot Indian tribe were an aggressive, war-loving tribe which Samoset had previously warned the colonist of. The Pequots even made unprovoked war with neighboring Indian tribes. The Pequot had created lucrative trading monopoly with the Dutch and believed the new colonist threatened these agreements with competition. Therefore, they were determined to attack the colonists, killing them to rid them of their competition. The Pequot launched a surprise attack on Rhode Island, murdering all the colonists. Pequot spread carnage throughout Connecticut eventually reaching the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies. When the other colonies got word of this, they organized to carry out counterstrikes against the Pequot. Before that could happen, the Mohegan and Mohawk tribes put an end to the Pequot’s reign of terror by killing Pequot Chief Sassacus. No colonists killed a single Indian.


King Philip's War Of 1675

This is a case where the textbook leaves out all details and simply implies the "white man” was the oppressor (c.f. page 91). The Pilgrim-Wampanoag tribe treaty had lasted fifty-four years until the Wampanoag broke it in 1675. Chief Massasoit, who took the English name King Phillip, vigorously object to colonist Christian missionaries teaching Christian morals to the Indians. He was angry over the men like John Elliot, Thomas Mayhew and Andrew White converting up to 3,600 Indians. Once converted, they ended the barbaric practices of sadistic torture of captives the tribe was accustomed to performing. Therefore, Metacom, Massasoit’s son, carried out a surprise attack against colonists throughout the region; even those living in peace with the tribe. His orders: destroy every settlement and kill every English settler in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts; without exception. However, Metacom didn’t just slaughter colonists, he also killed any Indian that had converted to Christianity. This war lasted for 15 months: 12 of the 90 towns completely destroyed with 40 more partially destroyed; 400-800 settlers killed, 900-3,000 Indians dead. This was the highest casualty rate, by percent of population of a war in American history. This is hardly a case of "white man” oppressing the Indians as this textbook portrays.


Slavery

While America’s participation in the evil practice of slavery is a stain on our history, the reality is vastly different from the textbook portrayal of "white European slave owners”. The textbook obviously supports the 1619 revisionist version of it.

The Origins of American Slavery (c.f. page 98) implies that the colonist had slaves from the beginning. This is a disingenuous view. Originally American colonies had indentured servants which is different from a slave. It was more like a loan, using yourself as collateral. For example: If a person wanted to leave Europe and come to America where they could have freedom to makes his own way and own his own land, but finds they can’t afford the trip, they would enter into an agreement with a "sponsor” to pay for his trip in exchanged for working a fixed number of years. Essentially, he is using himself as collateral on the loan. After the agreed-to period was over, his service was completed and he received a piece of land for himself.

In the year 1619, a black man by the name of Anthony Johnson arrived in America and became an indentured servant. Over time, he became prosperous, owning 250 acres along with considerable wealth. He began sponsoring immigration to the colony via indentured servanthood. A dispute arose with one of them and, in 1654, Mr. Johnson took him to court. The court granted Johnson, the man’s service for life. This was the first occasion of legal slavery in America; a black man who sued to own another black man.

The textbook (c.f. page 102) says "although the first black arrivals were almost certainly created as slaves” with nothing to back this up. It is just fallaciously stated to indoctrinate in the revisionist history of the 1619 Project.

The textbook also gives a false impression that on the "white European colonist” owned slaves. Putting aside slavery around the world, which is still occurring today, This is another false statement to indoctrinate in the 1619 teachings. Carter Woodson a black historian known as the "The Father of Black History” who conducted extensive research in US census data. He found that in the 1830 census, 43% of free black households in South Caroline owned black slaves, 40% of free black households in Louisiana owned black slaves, 25% of free black households in Alabama owned black slaves, 20% of free black households in Georgia owned black slaves. He also found that many blacks owned slaves in the North as well. In addition, Native American Indian tribes also owned slaves – according to the 1860 census, 12% of the people in the Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw tribes were African American slaves. They also enslaved other Indian tribes. Because they were a separate and independent nation from the United States, they were not bound by the 13th Amendment of 1865 which abolished slavery. They maintained slaves until the federal government negotiated subsequent treaties with them. Mr. Woodson’s research showed that there was a larger percentage of Native American and free black households in the south whom owned slaves than there were white slave owners.

Whites were also slaves. Prior to the 16th century, there were more white slaves documented in the "Old World” than black slaves in the "New World”. From the 16th century through the 18th, Muslims took 1.25 million white slaves. They were more interested in the "infidels” than any race so, white American Christians were captured on ships in the Mediterranean and made slaves to Muslims.

While it is true that, historically, there were more black slaves owned by whites, even at the height of American Slavery in 1860, only 8% of American families owned slaves. While some owned hundreds of slaves, the average was between 1 and 5. The overwhelming majority of whites never owned a slave. The textbook (c.f. page 106) says "By 1700, blacks constituted more than 10 percent of Virginia’s population. Fifty years later, they make up nearly half. Recognizing the growing importance of slavery,”; how do these to statements relate? No proof is given that these statements correlate. Just another "implied truth” to indoctrinate students into the 1619 Project rhetoric.

The textbook says (c.f. page 255) that the Constituiton is a document that "embed[s] slavery more deeply than ever in American life and politics.” This is patently false! Many critics point to, as the textbook alludes to, Article 1, Section 2 which is referred to as the "Three-Fifths Compromise.” This clause isn’t counting slaves as three-fifths of a person; but, that only three-fifths of the slave population, for the purposes of determining how many representatives each state will have in the House Of Representatives, are to be counted. If all the slaves would have been counted, slave states would have had significantly more power in Congress and the Electoral College. By counting only three-fifths of the slave population, pro-slavery states had fewer congressmen. The clause was aimed at limiting the power of slave states and had nothing to do with the worth of any individual. It was a pivotal move in ending slavery.

Frederick Douglass investigated and refuted the "pro-slavery” argument of this clause. He was born a slave in 1818, escaped to New York in 1838 and later was hired to work for the anti-slavery society in Massachusetts. Mr. Douglass studied under the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison who incorrectly taught that the Constitution was "pro-slavery”. Mr. Douglass begun to research this and concluded that the Constitution was actually anti-slavery. He said:


"[I]f the Constitution were intended to be, by its Framers and adopters, a slaveholding instrument, why neither "slavery”, "slaveholding”, nor "slave” can anywhere be found in it? ... Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading and I defy the presentation of a single proslavery clause in it. On the other hand, it will be found to contain principles and purposes entirely hostile to the existence of slavery”


Nowhere is this information found in the text. The idea that the Constitution is "pro-slavery” or "embedded slavery more-deeply” in America is a revisionist version of history dreamed up by advocates of CRT and the 1619 Project.