“Historian” Says Jamestown Celebration ‘Risky’ Because US Founding Responsible For Slavery
By: Warner Todd Huston
In another sad example of self flagellation by western elitists, the Guardian Newspaper in England published a column on how we Americans (and our English cousins) should not celebrate the founding of Jamestown, the first Virginia colony, 400 years ago because of… you guessed it… slavery.
Here we have another elitist congratulating himself that he is “informed” enough to know that slavery makes the founding of the USA a blight on humanity instead of the great event it truly is. Another leftist who cannot bring himself to be proud of anything the west has been responsible for because there were some bad things mixed in with the good. In fact, the bad things make us such hypocrites, goes this type of thinking, that all the good should be discounted over it. (It is always in fashion for Europeans to look down on the US, isn’t it?)
In the Guardian, Historian, Benjamin Woolley, is wooly headed enough to say that the Queen not being around to celebrate the doomed Virginia colony is “understandable” because of how evil the USA is.
The Queen took a tour of Jamestown, Virginia, on Friday as part of the commemorations of its 400th anniversary. The site of England’s first permanent colony in North America, recently uncovered in a series of spectacular archaeological excavations, is of huge historical importance. It is the reason the US is an English-speaking nation, with Anglo-Saxon legal, commercial and political institutions. However, the Queen will be not be present for the anniversary itself, which falls this weekend. The reason is a prior commitment that necessitated her presence in the US a week early: the Kentucky Derby, held last Saturday.
The Queen’s desire to escape to the safety of the world of horse racing is understandable. Compared to a punt even on a rank outsider, commemorating the arrival of a motley crew of 100 or so English renegades and outcasts on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in 1607 has proved to be fraught with risk. Not only is there the solemn complication of the campus shootings at nearby Virginia Tech, but there is the small matter of Jamestown being the birthplace of African slavery, Native American genocide and the global tobacco trade, as well as of North American democracy and free enterprise.
Give me a break.
Here’s a question: how can the USA be the “birthplace” of African slavery? There weren’t any Africans here before the English BROUGHT them here. This means that African slavery existed BEFORE they came here.
And what is with this classifying of tobacco as just as bad as slavery? Is this more smoking naziness?
Apparently it is. And were I an American of African descent, I’d be quite upset at a guy who claims that smoking a cigarette is just as bad as my ancestors being held in bondage.
And, naturally, this guy makes it Bush’s fault, too.
Meanwhile, the darker, more complex dimensions of the Jamestown story have if anything flourished. The way the colonists treated Native Americans, the importing of Angolans pirated from Portuguese slave ships, the exploitation of the land to grow tobacco, the chronic infighting that nearly destroyed the settlement in its first months – these have become potent elements in attempts to make sense of the combination of high principles and base motives that are such a feature of American history – no more so than the country’s recent history of engagement with the Middle East.
It always amazes me how the slavery perpetrated by the Spanish and the French in Central and South America is ignored while leftist, elitists take after that in the USA. It seems never to be recalled that we sacrificed over 600,000 American lives to pay for the slavery that Europeans imposed on the fledgling American colonies, as well.
In any case, here we have another Brit elitist tsk tsking the evil Americans.
But, shouldn’t we point out that the Jamestown colonists were British in the first place?
I’d say Woolley knows this and imagines his “guilt” for his countrymen is just as bad. Of course, this type of thinking also ignores the fact that the Brits were one of the most courageous anti-slavery proponents in their day as they used all their diplomatic and military might to rid the world of the African slave trade. I’d bet Woolley doesn’t tout that accomplishment very often.
Woolley also ignores the fact that slavery was so common as to be entirely pervasive in the world during the founding of the Jamestown colony. Nearly every country then and nearly all before that time had slavery, so for it to have arrived on the shores of the New World with French, Spanish and English colonists is unremarkable.
And for intellectuals like Woolley to constantly castigate only the west for the institution of slavery is absurd to say the least. Especially when it continued in other countries for over 100 years after the end of it in the USA. And, in some instances, is still around today.
So, I say don’t be ashamed to celebrate the founding of Jamestown despite the left looking down their noses at us knuckle dragging patriots. Be proud of what we have become despite the rocky road we took to arrive at this day. Because, in the end, shame is useless if used to condemn even the good because it makes the bad commonplace and normal.