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Sen. Tim Kaine, a man who’d be vice president right now had then-Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election, made remarks Tuesday that made it sound like he believes that the millennia-old practice of slavery was invented by white colonial Americans.
During a Senate floor speech Tuesday ostensibly about a police reform bill proposed by him and his colleagues, the senator veered completely off topic and began ranting about the alleged history of slavery.
“The first African Americans sent into the English colonies came to Point Comfort in 1619. They were slaves, they had been captured against their will, but they landed in colonies that didn’t have slavery — there were no laws about slavery in the colonies at that time,” he said.
“The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it. It got created by the Virginia General Assembly and the legislatures of other states. It got created by the court systems in colonial America that enforced fugitive slave laws.”
He added, “We created it and we created it and maintained it over centuries. And in my lifetime, we have finally stopped some of those practices, but we’ve never gone back to undo it.”
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Perhaps Kaine hadn’t meant to insinuate that the practice of slavery was invented by white colonial Americans. Yet that’s how his remarks were interpreted.
Naturally, this interpretation led to critics flocking to Twitter to remind the senator that slavery has existed for literally thousands of years.
It didn’t help that Kaine has shared had ahistorical thoughts to Twitter.
Racism and discrimination in this country is not an accident.
We didn’t just inherit it or have it foisted upon us. Our founders and our government carefully created it and have enforced it for generations. It’s on us to just as intentionally dismantle it—and the time is now.
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) June 10, 2020
Quote: “Slavery operated in the first civilizations such as Sumer in Mesopotamia, which dates back as far as 3500 BC” No, #America didn’t invent #slavery as you suggest. Try reading a book and educating yourself once in a while.
— James Pyles (@jamespyles) June 17, 2020
Not only did the United States not create slavery — and never mind the Egyptians, Romans, etc. — but slavery was practiced for thousands of years in North America before Europeans even showed up.
— 🇺🇸 China is Assho’‼️ 🇺🇸 (@tom4liberty) June 17, 2020
What about all these empires that existed thousands of years ago – Egyptians, Medes, Parsians, Greeks, Rome, English, Spain, Germanian, Mongols, Chinese etc. I cant believe a senator of the usa would say that. As we speak people are still being traded in Africa. Pathetic.
— Wajagaban (@wajagaban) June 17, 2020
Slavery propagated by black Africans selling ppl to sea merchants. Slaves used by Egyptian Pharohs to build the pyramids. Slaves used by Greeks, Romans, Japanese. Slave by prison guards. Slave use in mines of South America, Africa & Asian sweat shops. Slavery is trafficked women.
— Jenny Leah (@ChefDeplorables) June 17, 2020
Slavery existed in every civilization, until White Christians in the United States and Great Britain put an end to it.
The Middle-Eastern slave trade was much larger and far more brutal than anything that ever existed in North America.
That is the truth.
— Uria Delecto Kincade (@UriaKincade) June 16, 2020
They were right. Not only was slavery present in civilizations as old as Sumer, but it was also present here in North America long before Christopher Columbus’s arrival in 1492.
For evidence, look to “Slavery in Indian Country,” a 2010 book written by Indiana University history professor Christina Snyder.
“For centuries, from the pre-Columbian era through the 1840s, Native Americans took prisoners of war and killed, adopted, or enslaved them,” the book’s description reads.
“Indian warriors captured a wide range of enemies, including Africans, Europeans, and other Indians. Yet until the late eighteenth century, age and gender more than race affected the fate of captives. As economic and political crises mounted, however, Indians began to racialize slavery and target African Americans.”
These are the facts. So what gives with Kaine’s remark? In a statement to National Review, he claimed he’d specifically been referencing slavery in America.
“There was no law mandating slavery on our shores when African slaves came ashore in 1619. Did slavery already exist in the world? Of course. But not in the laws of colonial America at the time,” he explained.
“We could have been a nation completely without the institution. But colonial legislatures and courts, and eventually the U.S. legal system, created the institution on our shores and maintained slavery until the 13th Amendment. As I said, we didn’t inherit it. We chose to create it.”
It’s true that the colonialists were the first people in North America to codify slavery into law via what was known as slave codes, though it’s also true that the North Americans were among the first people in the world to ban slavery.
Meanwhile, some countries still practice slavery to this day, albeit surreptitiously.
There are far more slaves TODAY than there were during the entire period of US slavery. China, India, Pakistan and many African nations are the worst offenders. Canada, Australia, most of Europe and the US have the lowest rates. Why don’t we hear more about modern slavery? pic.twitter.com/y4XpcleWXk
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) June 16, 2020
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