Who Freed the Slaves? David Barton Says White People

Here’s David Barton explaining the end of slavery to Glenn Beck.

Of course, whites had something to do with slavery coming to the American colonies, too, and in supporting it in the United States (I await the usual Confederate heritage apologists claim that black people are to blame for slavery because black people enslaved black people, and, besides, “slavery is a choice.”

32 thoughts on “Who Freed the Slaves? David Barton Says White People

  1. Al Mackey February 27, 2016 / 11:26 am

    I guess white folks get all the credit for the USCT, too, and for enslaved people escaping from slavery, and for black abolitionists.

    I suppose Barton will discount the fact that a whole bunch of white folks fought a war to maintain slavery.

    • bob carey February 27, 2016 / 2:36 pm

      Actually Al,
      White people forced the slaves to embrace freedom. I’m surprised that you don’t know about the thousands of blacks who fought in the Confederate Army in order to maintain their enslavement. You really should check out some of the Confederate heritage sites and get a real education. You know some of you people cannot accept historical facts. LOL

      • Bob Huddleston February 27, 2016 / 3:22 pm

        There should, like Facebook, be a “like” button on here! :>)

        • eL3g!Gu@ February 27, 2016 / 9:08 pm

          Haha! I started to click “Like,” then realized, ummm. . .yeah

    • Joshism February 28, 2016 / 9:48 am

      “I guess white folks get all the credit for the USCT”

      Not all of the credit, but some of it.

      Could the USCT have existed if free blacks didn’t want to fight? No. But it didn’t matter how many free blacks were willing and able to serve in the Union Army unless Lincoln’s government let them serve. There was probably nothing the free black community could have done at the time to force the government to let them serve.

      • Al Mackey February 28, 2016 / 9:00 pm

        Since the post is specifically about Barton’s claim that white folks were solely responsible for black freedom, I think it’s pretty clear that I’m talking about giving ALL the credit to white folks for the USCT.

  2. Mark February 27, 2016 / 11:40 am

    Everyone will probably ignore the first ten seconds, where he makes reference to the evidence that attitudes hardened and radicalized later. Not sure what “early paintings” he’s referring to, but it’s certainly true that mixing of whites and blacks in an earlier time were more common. I’ve seen Ta-Nehisi Coates note the same thing. The assumption that race relations were always as bad as at their nadir is a ghastly assumption of the sort that historians ought to be disabusing folks of, but apparently not on their agenda, or anyones. The tenets of biological racism might was well be true.

    One stripe of folks needs a certain view of race to promote guilt and being needy of adult supervision, and another needs it because of a postmodern distrust of politics and anything that smacks of “rationalism” such that they think if biology and myth don’t hold us together then nothing does. The first group I call Libs and the second I call romantics. But I’ve little doubt that that part of what he said will be ignored. Because few come here that would fall in the middle of the two groups.

    • Brooks D. Simpson February 27, 2016 / 12:00 pm

      Here’s my question: why did RWW edit the tape so poorly?

      • Rob Baker March 1, 2016 / 11:27 am

        I was interested in Glenn Beck’s response – now I’ll never know.

  3. Jerry Greenfield February 27, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    And I might add some significant portion of the Union army was black at the end of the Civil War. Somebody out there can tell me that percentage. Many of those black soldiers had escaped slavery, thereby depriving the Southern planters in particular of the labor they needed to run their plantations. It appears both blacks and whites killed slavery.

  4. Sandi Saunders February 27, 2016 / 2:48 pm

    I think it is worth noting that the halcyon days when “race relations were better” were also the days when any minority “knew their place” and how precarious their allowance to participate in society was. It was not the thing of happy coexistence that he wants to portray. Slavery could never have existed if that was the case.

    • Mark February 27, 2016 / 7:16 pm

      Sandi, there were days when people knew not what race relations were. So yes, they were “better” in the sense that people didn’t understand or classify people in terms of their race. I know this will blow most people’s minds, but the ancients didn’t even have a concept of race in the modern sense. Many scholarly books have been written on this. Race is not a scientifically viable term, and hasn’t been so considered for several generations. So the truth is that if you go back far enough there were no race relations as we know them.

      The modern sense of race as it is known now was a pseudo science, developed for the express purpose of defending slavery after it was no longer considered acceptable to kill prisoners of war. If it is morally acceptable to kill prisoners captured in war, it is perfectly obvious that it is justifiable to enslave them too. Lacking that, they both fall together. Unless you can find another way to justify it. That is where the pseudo science of scientific racism comes in, that went hand in hand with religious heresies that denied monogenesis.

      For the reasons I gave above, most people are blinded to this ideational history and simply read racism back into the ancient world, but it wasn’t there. Actually many just assume because race can cause civil wars and civil rights struggle and hatred, as in recent history, then racism must have always been a basic feature of man’s inhumanity to man. Saying race wasn’t present as it was know before colonialism sounds like saying there were “halcyon days”. But it isn’t at all. It’s simply saying that there has never been a shortage of reasons to despise, oppress, and pillage our fellow man. It’s just that race as we know it wasn’t among the reasons until the 16th century or so. Ancient slavery was entirely different from chattel slavery, and it wasn’t based on race. The most fundamental categories up until then were binary: you were either civilized or a barbarian. In neither case it did skin color or external features matter as long as you weren’t deformed of course.

      And yes, I know what Aristotle said about “natural slaves”. But he didn’t mean what most people read him to mean, and I have plenty of quotes from the 16th century to prove it. People didn’t read him to be saying what those in thrall to scientific racism would later see in his words. The simple fact is that the idea of race in the biological sense has a history, and it’s only a few centuries old. The sad thing is how few know it or even bother to check.

    • eL3g!Gu@ February 27, 2016 / 9:14 pm

      That’s always been the standard take of apologists. I remember when I was a child that white segregationists spoke of how black and white all “just got along” until rabble rousers and agitators (aka Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists) “came down here causin’ trouble.”

      • Mark February 28, 2016 / 10:50 am

        Don’t know what you mean by “that” EL3G!GU@. It is a standard take of slavery apologists to claim that race relations were good in during the times of the chattel slavery system and scientific racism, which is absurd of course.

        But it is also a standard line of the misinformed to believe that race relations were as bad as during the time of chattel slavery in the centuries before and into antiquity. As I’ve said, there weren’t race relations at all as they were known later. Surely you’re not saying my comment above is the standard line of the slavery apologists.

        As I’ve said, it drives me nuts that Libs and the romantics and postmoderns or romantics accept many of the tenets of scientific racism unknowingly. Such as that race is a valid scientific category and that “intelligence” is at least in part determined biologically. That was the standard take of the slavery apologists. Remember?

        • MD February 28, 2016 / 6:23 pm

          I didn’t say jack about “. .the centuries before and into antiquity” or intelligence. Don’t attempt to put words into my mouth. I said what I meant and I meant what I said. I’m an old man who not only remembers segregation, but who also remembers the stories of his formerly enslaved great-great grandmother and the stories of those one generation removed. Screech about liberal and romantic all you want to if name-calling is all you’ve got. But you’re really quite full of apologist bullshit.

          • Mark February 29, 2016 / 12:55 am

            No worries. I thought you replied to me but wasn’t sure. The indentation of the threading confuses me frequently. I wasn’t trying to put words in your mouth. I asked a question and clarified just in case. That’s why I said “Don’t know what you mean.” 😉 Chill man. Chill.

  5. rcocean February 27, 2016 / 8:31 pm

    Most of the people commenting here seem pretty White to me. But maybe I’m wrong and Al MacKey is a honorary black man. But – obviously – if we’re going to blame “White People” for slavery ( Ignoring the fact that Africans, Hispanics and Asians had slavery too) then we should give “White People” credit for ending it.

    BTW, I’m looking forward to lots of Brooks Simpson commentator snark between now and November about how “Racist” “White man” Trump is.

    • Brooks D. Simpson February 27, 2016 / 10:53 pm

      I’m sure you are. After all you are a master of snark.

    • MD February 28, 2016 / 12:53 am

      “. . . .how “Racist” “White man” Trump is.”

      Your words, not those of Prof. Simpson Own your truth.

    • John Foskett February 28, 2016 / 2:13 pm

      I assume this was posted before The Donald pretended not to know who David Duke is in 2016 – even though he knew who David Duke was in 2000.

  6. Kristoffer February 27, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    Technically, in a very narrow sense, he’s right in that it came down to the whites in Congress to pass the Thirteenth Amendment. The thing is that he leaves out the US Colored Troops, and the white people who fought in the Union Army.

    I have to defend him in this case even though I don’t like the man. I’ve caught him distorting Jefferson’s first Inaugural Address as saying that “if we ever wanted to be a happy and a prosperous people, he said it begins by acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence.”

    He said this here: http://www.wnd.com/wnd_video/david-barton-exposes-america-haters-lies-about-thomas-jefferson/
    Jefferson’s real words here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/jefinau1.asp

    For me, the worst part about Barton is his naive faith in the primary source documents, since they supposedly don’t have political agendas. Based on my own personal experience, primary source documents can definitely have political agendas at the political level of the individual.

    At best, he doesn’t possess enough knowledge of things he cites. And that’s what this comes across as to me.

    • John Foskett February 28, 2016 / 8:58 am

      Anyone who thinks that the authors of “primary source documents” uniformly wrote without an “agenda” or through an unbiased lens is too dumb to be reading them for comprehension.

    • Joshism February 28, 2016 / 10:02 am

      “he’s right in that it came down to the whites in Congress to pass the Thirteenth Amendment.”

      Whites held power in the 1860s, not blacks. They could rebel, they could flee, they could educate themselves and others, they could protest, they could join an army that sought to bring down pro-slavery government. But blacks could not actually end slavery as an institution on their own. Slavery was going to continue as long as white people wanted it to – not because white people were inherently superior to black people, but because whites had the power and control.

      • Kristoffer February 28, 2016 / 11:27 pm

        “But blacks could not actually end slavery as an institution on their own. Slavery was going to continue as long as white people wanted it to – not because white people were inherently superior to black people, but because whites had the power and control.”

        The problems I have with this argument are:

        1) it boils down the events to “what could people have done” at the expense of “why did they want to do”. Thus it leaves out the growing and varied determination for the removal of slavery in the Union soldiers, and it leaves out Lincoln’s long standing moral opposition to slavery.

        2) it leaves out the reality of where slavery was and wasn’t. After all, the Northern states chose to remove slavery from themselves because of their varied beliefs about it being a negative. Because of these beliefs and reason 1, they weren’t going to sit idle if they got the chance to enforce a removal of slavery from the defeated South.

        3) it discounts the reality of blacks fighting to end a rebellion that was for the sake of slavery. By doing so, they fought against the institution by their battles and by their example they set to the rest of the nation. They had come from slavery, and their valor proved that they were fit for more than slavery.

    • Ken Noe February 28, 2016 / 10:22 am

      Several years ago critics caught Barton using “quotations” from the Founding Fathers that he finally admitted he had made up himself. I don’t think that suggests any fidelity to primary sources, however they might be read.

    • Mark February 28, 2016 / 11:27 am

      I’ve never even heard of him until now, but I agree he wasn’t wrong about everything. The problem is that we’re all postmodern now, and we’re cynical about motives. Now it isn’t “authentic” unless one has pure motives. Good luck with that. Few of those who acted politically to end slavery and further the cause of civil rights were pure because few are.

      Harry Truman, who I’m not that enamored of as President had racist ideas but he did the right thing when it counted. But it doesn’t matter since he wasn’t pure. The same thing is bothering the Libs here. Those who voted for the CW amendments rose above their prejudices, and that is how progress is made. Most people don’t actively seek out their prejudices and destroy them, though some do. There are reasons for this that moral philosophers have written about and are quite intriguing and helpful for those who wish to understand human nature, even themselves.

      But these are postmodern times and if the motives of politicians or anyone aren’t as pure as they could be and can be because of the acts–as opposed to the sentiments or feelings–of White politicians then whatever they did wasn’t authentic and was not in fact honorable or laudable.

      It’s a stupid way to think, but that’s what people think now. Postmodernism isn’t a time period, it’s an attitude. Now we’re not able to rise above conflicting motivations, without which progress could never occur. We’re just a bundle of feelings and psychological stuff and now we judge on the perceived purity of the mix. Pseudo scientific racism and polygenicism had a “one drop” of “blood” standard of purity. Now we have equally absurd standard of psychological purity projected backwards into history. It’s stupid. Of course whites get credit for voting correctly. For doing the right thing. Without them it wouldn’t have happened. Of course it is true that without White participation slavery wouldn’t have ended. Is Barton *in this clip* saying any more than that?

      Of course it was a bitter disappointment that support for Reconstruction collapsed and race relations went so bad for so long. But the Democrats developed a military wing (KKK) for a reason. Whites and Blacks were cooperating and getting along progressively at an alarming rate and this had to be arrested. The techniques are well-known to any tyrant. Stigmatize by means of violence. Then the Dunning School provided the support for Jim Crow just as pseudo scientific racism had for slavery. Are we really blind to all this now? It’s politics, the same as it ever was. It was a political failure, and it could have been different. Tracing that failure should be the work of historians and political and social scientists. But now we have armchair psycho-analysts bleating on about motives of the people who did the right thing. Nevermind the bad actors who won through treachery and evil, or what were the tools they used.

    • Jimmy Dick February 28, 2016 / 11:36 am

      How could anyone read Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” and not see the political agenda behind it? Or the US Constitution? Or the notes from the various Ratification conventions? What about the Federalist? The Anti-Federalist letters? The Declaration of Independence? Emancipation Proclamation? The Declarations of Secession?

      Here’s one I bet he would blow off. David Moore’s recruiting handbill in Lewis and Clark Counties, Missouri in 1861-

      THE UNDERSIGNED IS AUTHORIZED TO RAISE A COMPANY OF VOLUNTEERS IN THIS COUNTY FOR UNION SERVICE. ALL WHO ARE WILLING TO FIGHT FOR THEIR HOMES, THEIR COUNTRY, AND THE FLAG OF OUR GLORIOUS UNION ARE INVITED TO JOIN HIM. UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT CAN AID US, WE MUST TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES.
      SECESSIONISTS AND REBEL TRAITORS DESIRING A FIGHT CAN BE ACCOMMODATED ON DEMAND.
      D. MOORE

      If a person can’t see the political agenda in this document as well as the others, they have absolutely no business whatsoever trying to pass themselves off as a historian.

      • Joshism February 28, 2016 / 6:14 pm

        Maybe Barton only thinks things are political when they’re not lock-step with the holy writ of our blessed Founding Fathers (and/or Jesus)?

  7. Matt McKeon February 28, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    Like Barton, I am utterly willing to say anything about history, and yet this bozo gets a ride on the gravy train and I’m stuck working for a living. Is that justice?

    • TFSmith February 28, 2016 / 8:51 pm

      Yeah, but do you have a BA in religious education from Oral Roberts University? That’s what you need for the RWGT.

  8. Rob Baker March 1, 2016 / 11:31 am

    David Barton has a very Lynne Cheney view of the past.

  9. hankc9174 March 2, 2016 / 2:36 pm

    Barton’s, and our, error is in believing there is one answer and one question rather than possibilities other than merely “who freed the slaves?’.

    Perhaps:

    when were the slaves freed?

    how were the slaves freed?

    why were the slaves freed?

    which slaves were freed?

    where were the slaves freed?

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