Federalist Revolutionary War

As the author of nine historical books, my heart has truly been broken at the nihilistic, all-or-nothing approach to history demonstrated by anarchists tearing down and vandalizing statues, especially of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Often spray-painted on these statues is 1619, a reference to The 1619 Project, published by The New York Times.

The fundamental [1619] claim that the Revolutionary War was fought to preserve slavery simply does not correspond with the facts, too conclusively for the point to be dismissed as mere hair-splitting. The issue is not differing interpretations of history, but an outright misinterpretation of it,” African-American scholar John McWhorter wrote on 1776Unites.com, which warns of 1619’s fallacies.

“For one, note the suspension of disbelief we are expected to maintain. Supposedly the Founding Fathers were trying to protect slavery, despite never actually making such a goal clear for the historical record, and at a time when there would have been no shame in doing so,” McWhorter observed.

My research of the record concurs. In fact, throwing off political slavery by England motivated many to fight for independence. In writing “Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War,” I read original letters, writings, and sermons from the nation’s founding generation. One question I asked: how did Christians justify taking up arms against their God-ordained king? Ministers and congregations looked to two primary biblical examples to resolve this faith crisis. Both directly related to slavery.

I have this morning heard Mr. Duffield upon the signs of the times. He runs a parallel between the case of Israel and that of America, and between the conduct of Pharaoh and that of [King] George,” John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, in mid-May 1776, after attending church in Philadelphia. If God delivered the Israelites from slavery by Egypt, would He deliver America from enslavement by England? Adams hoped so.

“(Duffield) concluded that the course of events indicated strongly the design of Providence that we should be separated from Great Britain.” Duffield and Adams were not alone. “We have no choice left to us, but to submit to absolute slavery and despotism, or as freemen to stand in our own defence, and endeavor a noble resistance . . . every reasonable method of reconciliation has been tried in vain,” Baptist minister David Jones declared. “Our addresses to our king have been treated with neglect or contempt.”

Read the full article as originally published on The Federalist.

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