There’s something pernicious with the New York Times’ 1619 Project and its inversion of early Virginia colonial history. The colony of Jamestown isn’t a story of bravery and resilience in the face of disease and death. The House of Burgesses, founded in 1642, is not important as the first bicameral elected assembly in the American colonies. The Old Dominion of the late eighteenth century is not remarkable for providing a perhaps unparalleled number of great statesmen in the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Mason. No, says 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones — Jamestown and the leaders of the House of Burgesses ushered in a slavocracy that marred the Commonwealth’s legacy; Virginia’s Revolutionary generation was motivated primarily by their desire to preserve the institution of slavery.
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