In an address to Congress on Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) claimed that history of slavery began with the United States.
“The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it,” he said.
Sen. Tim Kaine: "The United States didn't inherit slavery from anybody. We created it." pic.twitter.com/VM86sRrtn1
— The Hill (@thehill) June 16, 2020
Kaine’s reference to the first African Americans sent into the English colonies arriving at Point Comfort in 1619 is also a reference found in New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project,” a collection of essays that has been deemed factually inaccurate by historians. The NYT also issue a major correction for one of the central essays in the project.
Despite Kaine’s misguided history lesson, other sources like Free the Slaves, an international NGO who campaigns against modern slavery, document that the first account of slavery in the world was in 6800 B.C. when “land ownership and the early stages of technology bring war—in which enemies are captured and forced to work: slavery.” As was custom (some might even say institutionalized) back in the day, these people used whoever was overpowered in a battle as their own laborers. There are also biblical accounts of slavery in ancient Egypt.
Sen. Kaine went on to discuss the history of slavery in Virginia, claiming that its creation and enforcement relied heavily on the court systems in “colonial America that enforced fugitive slave laws.”
The court systems created and maintained by colonials weren’t the only enforcers of the institution, however. One of the first slave owners in Virginia was a black man named Anthony Johnson. There are also other accounts of black men owning slaves in early Virginia.
Many were quick to call out Sen. Kaine’s historical blunders. In a tweet, The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro pointed out the irony in Kaine’s comments saying “the 1619 Project literally starts history in 1619, BEFORE THE UNITED STATES EXISTED.”
The 1619 Project literally starts history in 1619, BEFORE THE UNITED STATES EXISTED https://t.co/07PLBxMHON
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 16, 2020
Joe Gabriel Simonson of The Washington Examiner also commented saying “wonderful watching the senate turn into a graduate seminar in real time.”
Wonderful watching the senate turn into a graduate seminar in real time. Nothing else to work on right now so time for some revisionist history to score points with op ed writers https://t.co/mSjVdcYEy1
— Joe Gabriel Simonson (@SaysSimonson) June 16, 2020