In No Property in Man (2018), historian Sean Wilentz struggled and failed to capture the centrality of slavery and racism to the nation’s founding era. That older style of American historian… whose renditions are painfully devoid of dissenting voices or perspectives that downplays race, such things like the degree to which many Northern delegates to the Second Congress supported slavery throughout America’s revolution, or how the English rule of law is blatantly ignored when it reveals white colonials in an unfavorable light, as they conscientiously, pretend to misapprehend the illegality of colonial slave statutes… the powerlessness of colonial assemblies after England’s Bill of Rights of 1689 and that of colonial statutes after Parliament abolished them in 1766, constitutes the same genre of history taught in U. S. public schools as being this nation’s actual history, when in fact it is ahistorical.
Their revisionist, sculpted rendition of history became America’s public policies and were represented in the codification of the U. S. Constitution and America’s race-based policies and relations. However, the Declaratory Act of 1766 abolished colonial slave statutes and racialized laws “for all purposes whatsoever” and the Court of the King’s Bench struck down “American Laws” regarding slavery six years later in the Somerset v. Stewart case in June 1772. This was three years before the American Revolution started and was the “final nail” in colonial slavery’s coffin and U. S. history books should reflect this reality and the fact that black colonials could not be excluded from the Declaration of Independence.
Dr. James Brewer Stewart, Founder of Historians Against Slavery, a group of scholars that brings historical context and scholarship to the modern-day antislavery movement and a James Wallace Professor of History Emeritus, Macalester College, states in the forward of Hidden in a Book — $40 Trillion—Keep the Mule written by Larry Kenneth Alexander… “How would our view of reparations, restitution, restorative justice (or whatever other term one might prefer) be affected if history confirmed that slavery in England’s colonies had been declared illegal… well before the American Revolution? What if, before the founding of our Nation, everyone held in bondage had actually been confirmed by Great Britain’s highest court to possess the full rights of English citizenship? In our view, that’s exactly what happened.”
Based upon Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and England’s common law adopted by America’s Second Congress after proclaiming itself an independent nation in July 1776 and over Thomas Jefferson’s objections there is insuperable and dispositive evidence supporting our exposition that before the Revolution slavery in England’s American colonies was declared illegal. Although colonial statutes were never legally promulgated, abolished by Parliament’s Declaratory Act of 1766 and struck down by the Somerset Decision in 1772… the burden of proof and persuasion rested with America’s cohort of fifty-six signatories to the Declaration of Independence and all historians and others who adopted the claim that black colonials were “human property” during colonial times… and that the institution of slavery was lawfully inherited from the British.
Further, colonial assemblymen criminally conspired with the colonial governor to place black colonials below the rule of English law and were successful in their scheme, causing colonial tyranny. Then finally, the British imperial government ended salutary neglect and addressed the colonial tyranny by enacting Parliament’s Declaratory Act of 1766 which abolished colonial statutes and racialized colonial laws “for all purposes whatsoever” nine years before the American Revolution. Moreover, in June 1772… the Court of the King’s Bench in the James Somerset v. Charles Stewart case ruled slavery was unconstitutional, not “allowed and approved by the laws of this Kingdom” and determined that slavery could only be lawful in the Kingdom of Great Britain by “positive law,” a legislative power which British colonial assemblies never possessed. Thus, it is counterintuitive and outside a sane construction of the English rule of law to conclude slavery was lawfully inherited from the British, and those colonial statutes justified the enslavement and exploitation of 500,000 British citizens after the American Revolution.
Myths Have Been Substituted for Historical Facts in US Schools
Myths have been substituted for historical facts, as all are taught at a young age that slavery during British colonial rule was a legal institution, however, this is ahistorical as slavery in colonial America was never a legal institution during British colonial rule and after the American Revolution, this nation did not lawfully inherit the institution of slavery from the British.
Hidden in this myth is the fact that the Founding Generation merely proclaimed that black colonials and Native Americans, and women were “excluded” from benefiting from the Declaration of Independence and went no further. This was legally inadequate to effectuate a lawful exclusion since most black colonials were English citizens by English law. Thus, as the Founding Generation’s proclamation of exclusion was legally inadequate to effectuate a lawful exclusion, those who embraced and adopted the exclusion claim had the legal burden of proving black colonials were indeed excluded from benefitting from the Declaration of Independence.
Rex v. Stapylton Precedence
Under the English rule of law… Rex v. Stapylton (K. B. 1771) was controlling precedence at the time… and slaveholding colonials had the burden of persuasion to convince the Second Congress as to the specific standard, such as the preponderance of the evidence or beyond a reasonable doubt, and then sustain their burden of proof of ownership and the exclusion of black colonials from the Declaration of Independence by producing evidence. The burden is vested with the Founding Generation or the person who makes or adopts the claim. It was no one else’s legal obligation to disprove.
In Stapylton, Lord Chief Justice Mansfield presided, Robert Stapylton was charged after attempting to deport his purported slave, Thomas Lewis forcibly. Stapylton’s defense rested on the basis that as Lewis was his slave, his actions were lawful. Lord Mansfield had the opportunity to use a legal procedure in criminal cases referred to as the Twelve Judges to determine points of law, which were not for the jury, in criminal matters. However, he shied away from doing so and sought (unsuccessfully) to dissuade the parties from using the presumed legality of slavery, telling Stapylton that “being black will not prove the property.”
In the end, Mansfield directed the jury that they should presume Lewis a free man, unless Stapylton could prove otherwise. He further directed the jury that unless they found that Stapylton was the legal owner of Lewis, “you will find the Defendant guilty.” Lewis testified, and the jury convicted Stapylton.
Claims Based on Illegitimate Statutes
Further, after the Revolution ended, the Founding Generation proclaimed black colonials were human property based upon “colonial statutes” and thus were not entitled to be “set at liberty” under the Treaty of Definitive Peace in 1783. However, these claims impacted presumptive British citizens, and as British General Carleton had claimed them as being protected by the terms of the treaty, then under the British Magna Carta of 1215, clause 39 and Nation of Laws (international law) the 500,000 black colonials were entitled to a due process of law hearing. The United States did not give these British citizens a due process hearing and they were exploited as being slaves all their natural lives and their children. Under Stapylton the status of being human property owned by the Americans had to be proven and it was not.
Colonial data points impacting the question of colonial statutes and slavery’s legality before the American Revolution… the Divine Right of Kings; England’s Magna Carta of 1215; the General Charter of Emancipation of 1381; the Royal Assent by Commission Act of 1541; the Sedition Act of 1661; the English Bill of Rights of 1689; Parliament’s Declaratory Act of 1766, and the Court of the King’s Bench rulings in Rex v. Stapylton (K. B. 1771) and the James Somerset v. Charles Stewart case in 1772 that declared slavery was not “allowed and authorized by the laws of this Kingdom” and can only be authorized by a “positive law,” a law enacted by the British Parliament is both compelling and dispositive.
These data points and others eviscerate the historical claims that black colonials who were British citizens by English law were “human property” during colonial times and were legally excluded from the Declaration of Independence. They were not “human property” owned by white colonial Englishmen under the rule of English law during colonial rule. Instead, and even if that was so, they were still entitled to be “set at liberty” after the British General Carleton placed the United States on notice of this treaty dispute, and Congress ratified the Definitive Treaty of Peace in 1783.
Under the rule of English law and Nation of Laws (international law) as colonial slave statutes were never lawfully promulgated… abolished by the Declaratory Act of 1766 and then the British imperial government freed all black colonials by way of the Phillipsburg Proclamation in June 1779 freedom was all but guaranteed. Thus, the United States did not have a facially valid basis for denying liberty for the 500,000 Englishmen, as the colonial statutes were legal nullities. This fact and exposition expose the critical structural fault line that meanders throughout America’s historiography.
The exposition that colonial slave statutes had been declared illegal… well before the American Revolution has astounding implications for U. S. constitutionalism and society. On the positive side… it will cause people to ask why they have never been taught such things previously, and it will prompt them to reexamine America’s history, their perspectives and understanding of race, white privilege, and American exceptionalism. Further, it just might motivate a thought leader, policymakers, and others who have relied upon this heretofore discredited claim that black colonials were legally enslaved people during British colonial rule based upon colonial statutes and thereby excluded from the Declaration of Independenceto research such topics as the Declaratory Act of 1766, Washington’s Book of Negroes of 1783, and institutionalized racism in America or to just have a dialog.
Weaponizing Critical Race Theory – Reinforcing Ahistorical Narratives
This thoughtful, well-researched, and legally supported exposition that provides a counter to America’s foundational public policies regarding black slavery, deserves due consideration by academics, policy leaders, thought leaders, and others… and yet the conflation of the award-winning 1619 Project with the academic-based critical race theory debate is weaponized to serve as an artifice, conferring people with the “privilege” of discrediting, deflecting, and demonizing worthy race-based thesis and commentary without thought or academic engagement. All freethinkers, open communicators, and people interested in serving this democracy should be concerned since the legacy of colonial slavery, unjust treatment under the rule of law, and racial disparity continues and are America’s most durable exports.
Many are gaslighting the 1619 Project, while others like former President Donald Trump have conflated the 1619 Project with critical race theory, declaring both were “toxic propaganda, ideological poison, that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together, will destroy our country.” The 1619 Project is a worthwhile commentary… but critical race theory (CRT) must not be conflated with journalism, as critical race theory is an academic concept that entreats the rigors of academic scholarship, intellectualism, and engagement that posits… race is a social construct. That racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice but also something embedded in our legal systems and public policies.
There is a nationwide initiative of conservative, local, and state government officials trying to pass laws banning the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools. Laws that prevent, inhibit, and shape perspectives of black children and others from even contemplating the notion that race is a social construct. They reinforce an ahistorical, inaccurate, and misleading account of this nation’s history that depicts slavery in British colonial America as a legal institution… that black colonials were “human property” lawfully owned by white colonials during colonial times and black colonials were lesser Englishmen under the English rule of law when in fact, they were crime victims and subjected to criminal behavior that violated the English rule of law.
Revisionist History Violates the Fourteenth Amendment
These types of local and state laws, while they continue to teach revisionist U. S. history are violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The U. S. Supreme Court in West Virginia v. Barnette (1943) ruled “if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
Critical race theory is a field of intellectual inquiry that seeks to know, articulate, and explain why racism in the United States has shaped public policy. Through the study of law and U. S. history, critical race theory attempts to reveal how racial oppression shaped the legal fabric of the United States and became codified into America’s foundational documents. For evidence of that, all too many “look no further” than the “Three-Fifths Compromise” in the U. S. Constitution, whereby enslaved black colonials, denied the due process of the law and the right to vote, were nonetheless treated as part of the population for increasing congressional representation of slave-holding states. But this is just the “tip of the iceberg,” instead… conscientious historians, thought leaders, policymakers, and others should look to which party had the burden of proving slavery in British colonial America was a legal institution… that black colonials were lawfully owned by white colonials during colonial times and black colonials were lesser Englishmen and identify what English laws, if anything, demoted the legal status, rights, and rank of black colonials, that had the consequence of elevating white colonials above their black countrymen before the Declaration of Independence. This is the first principle… begin at the beginning and apply the rule of English law that placed the responsibility of proving this ahistorical claim upon the party who made and benefitted from it: America’s Founding Generation.
History supports… no slave statute was ever enacted that codified slavery in the Kingdom of Great Britain during colonial rule. The colonial Legislatures were bicameral, and while colonial assemblies in America had laws to define slave status, they were all legal nullities since none had the King’s formal approval, which violated the Royal Assent by Commission Act of 1541. Parliament’s Sedition Act of 1661 criminalized the putative enactment of legislation without the King’s formal approval.
In 1689, the English Bill of Rights changed the British monarchy into a constitutional monarchy and announced the legislative supremacy of Parliament. Then the British imperial government abolished all colonial slave statutes and racialized laws in colonial America through the Declaratory Act of 1766 “for all purposes whatsoever.” In the Somerset case, the Court of the King’s Bench ruled slavery in the Kingdom was unconstitutional and could only be lawful by way of a “positive law,” a power vested solely in the British Parliament in 1772. Thus, the historical claim that black colonials were legal slaves before the American Revolution and excluded from the Declaration of Independence can never be proven with insuperable evidence.
Critical Race Theory Bans Violate Title VI
Laws banning teaching CRT create a “hostile educational environment” for descendants of black English citizens and others who are descendants of enslaved people. These laws are violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says that “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Colonial slavery was an extralegal institution and was the product of colonial tyranny, corruption of colonial government and hooliganism. Doubtlessly… slavery at birth and laws authorizing slavery were enacted by colonial assemblies without the King’s formal approval in December 1661 and were not lawfully promulgated statutes and laws under colonial charters. These colonial slave statutes and laws violated the Royal Assent by Commission Act of 1541, and as Parliament’s Sedition Act of 1661 had already criminalized such behavior… under English law, these slave statutes and laws were legal nullities.
Local and state laws banning teaching critical race theory perpetuates and allow to stand unchallenged the racist idea that hereditary slavery for black colonials within colonial America was authorized by English law when that is not the case. Further, the British imperial government abolished all colonial slave statutes and laws by way of the Declaratory Act of 1766, which aggressively undermines the claim that black colonials were legally enslaved people in the United States based upon “colonial statutes” when America declared itself a new nation by way of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Thus, such laws banning teaching critical race theory have the effect of teaching black children that they are less-than white children because of their skin color, which violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as these local and state laws constitute de jure discrimination, no different than the local and state Jim Crow laws that enforced segregation in the post-Civil War South.
The United States Denied Legally Free People Liberty
The Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, announced to the world the separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain and the establishment of the United States of America. It explained the causes of this defiant maneuver with a long list of charges against King George III. In justifying the American Revolution, it averred a universal truth about human rights in magnificent words that have inspired countless people through the ages and articulated the highest ideals of liberty, equality, and the right to self-determination. Yet the fifty-six signers of America’s founding document claimed 20 to 25 % of its 2.5 million population of English citizens with African ancestry was excluded. The “exclusion” from the Declaration of Independence claim was an allegation. It was not probative or at least was not conclusive evidence under the controlling precedence of Rex v. Stapylton (K. B. 1771) (“being black will not prove the property.”)
Further… an agreement to do something illegal is a conspiracy. In the English common law tradition, a conspirator is guilty of the crime conspired to… if there is an agreement to commit a crime and at least one overt act to further the crime. The historical claim of “exclusion” lodged against black colonials and put before the cohort of fifty-six signatories constitutes an agreement to prevent the inclusion of black colonials under the Declaration of Independence who were crime victims suffering under colonial tyranny before the American Revolution and in furtherance of that conspiracy… the nascent United States codified laws which denied legally free people liberty after the Revolution ended in 1783. Such conduct, as alleged, constitutes an overt act, and thus… it is only reasonable when considering, interrogating, or analyzing the issue of whether history confirmed that 500,000 black colonials were human property lawfully owned by the Americans based upon “colonial statutes” as Washington claimed… well before the American Revolution and also justifiably excluded from the ideals of liberty and equality… one must remember, the Second Congress and U. S. historians have never met their threshold obligation of proving that black colonials were excluded from the Declaration of Independence by a preponderance of the evidence.
Slavery within colonial America was a prohibited practice under the Divine Right of Kings, England’s Magna Carta of 1215, and the General Charter of Emancipation of 1381. During the English Civil Wars beginning in the early 1640s, and in violation of the English rule of law and their colonial charters… colonial assemblies began enacting slave statutes and racialized laws. The colonial slave statutes and their racialized laws were not lawfully promulgated since the colonial assemblies failed to secure the formal approval of England’s King under the Royal Assent by Commission Act of 1541, as well as required by each colonial charter and as the original colonial legislators, in failing to secure the King’s formal approval had committed a crime in violation of the Sedition Act of 1661 it made these colonial slave statutes and laws legal nullities under the English rule of law.
Three generations before America’s Declaration of Independence… the Kingdom of Great Britain became a unitary state with the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The Bill of Rights replaced the unbridled power of the Crown with parliamentary sovereignty. The textbook analysis of the British imperial state and the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty is explained in A. V. Dicey’s book… Introduction to the Law of the Constitution 1885: “Unitarianism, in short, means the concentration of the strength of the State in the hands of one visible sovereign power, be that Parliament or Czar.” The British Parliament was conferred this visible sovereign power.
The English Bill of Rights of 1689 had the legal effect and consequence of abolishing the colonial Legislatures within America, as a matter of English law. Then by way of consolidating its visible power and authority… the British Parliament voided all inconsistent and repugnant colonial statutes and laws with the Declaratory Act of 1766 “for all purposes whatsoever.” The British imperial government’s exercise of parliamentary sovereignty in 1766 destroyed the claim or legal defense that colonial slavemasters were operating within the contours of colonial laws, even if the King had previously approved the practice of hereditary slavery.
Thus, when the Court of the King’s Bench in the Somerset v. Stewart case ruled in 1772 that “slavery was not allowed and approved by the laws of this Kingdom” of Great Britain and that slavery can only be made lawful by a “positive law,” it was an unadulterated expression of British imperial power and control directed at the American colonies. None of the colonial assemblies in America had the legislative power and authority to enact “positive laws.” Only Parliament had the visible sovereign power to enact a “positive law” and yet it never did, and the British highest court struck down colonial slave statutes decreeing slavery was unconstitutional in the Kingdom.
The scholar Matthew Mason observed in North American Calm, West Indian Storm: The Constitutional Politics and Legacy of the Somerset Decision “that American slaveholders saw Somerset as “a fundamental denial of their property rights and their political control over their slaves within an increasingly hostile antislavery empire.” The British imperial government and American slaveholders knew the Somerset decision was the “last nail in the coffin” of colonial slavery. This conclusion is inescapable when the Somerset decision is bridged back to colonial slavery’s problematic and lawless origin during the mid-1600s through the creation of the unitary state and parliamentary sovereignty by way of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and the Declaratory Act of 1766 that abolished colonial slave statutes and racialized laws “for all purposes whatsoever.” Further, colonial legislators failed to secure the King’s formal approval and committed a crime by purporting that such colonial slave statutes and racialized laws were promulgated laws, in violation of the Sedition Act of 1661.
Dr. Stewart observed… “This truth received powerful reaffirmation in the 1772 Somerset v. Stewart case when England’s highest court declared that slavery was ‘not allowed or approved by the laws of this Kingdom’ and could only be enacted through the application of ‘positive law.’ None of the colonial slave codes qualified as ‘positive law’ as they had not been officially approved by the British parliament, in which the King participated directly. Moreover, in the aftermath of the Stamp Act Crisis (1765-67) Parliament anticipated this point very directly when passing the Declaratory Act making it clear that it, with the King included, should ‘legislate over the colonies in all cases whatsoever.’”
The Somerset decision foreclosed all portended escapes since colonial slave statutes and laws were not lawfully promulgated… none had the King’s formal approval as the Royal Assent by Commission Act of 1541 required, and by each colonial charter, it made these colonial slave statutes and laws legal nullities under the English rule of law. Moreover, the British Parliament was conferred parliamentary sovereignty through the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The Parliament exercised that power through enacting the Declaratory Act of 1766, which abolished colonial slave statutes and racialized laws “for all purposes whatsoever.” America’s slaveholders had nowhere to retreat on these points
The British imperial government extended an olive branch to the slaveholding Americans by delivering the Somerset decision orally, obliquely, and directing its colonial governors in America to disregard the precedential effect of the Somerset decision to prevent destabilizing the American colonies. And while patriots in the southern colonies were pleased by the British imperial government’s olive branch concerning not enforcing the Somerset decision in colonial America and the successive vetoes by Massachusetts governors of slave emancipation legislation by the Massachusetts assembly… they collectively believed Britain’s handling of the Somerset case foretold of a nefarious plot to deprive them of their wealth—wealth created from their criminal enslavement of colonial-born British citizens and they knew that such could be easily accomplished by merely arresting and criminally prosecuting them. Thus, slaveholding southerners were not settled on the question of colonial slavery’s future before America’s Revolution.
On June 11, 1776… the Second Congress appointed a “Committee of Five” to draft a declaration, consisting of delegates John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. The committee wanted Adams to write the document… but Adams persuaded them to choose Jefferson with his oversight.
To this point, Dr. Stewart observed… “[N]one was more sensitive to this situation than slaveholding Thomas Jefferson, whose indictment of the King as an emancipator of the enslaved was edited out of the Declaration of Independence at the last minute by zealously proslavery colleagues. After blaming the King (not himself and fellow slaveholders) for fastening black bondage upon the unwilling white colonists. Jefferson concluded by accusing the King of:
“…exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them; thus paying of former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”
But the great problem that Jefferson faced and which many of his admirers ignore is that he was an irredeemable racist and could not imagine how black and white peoples could ever coexist as free citizens in one republic. There was, Jefferson argued in his Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIV, already too much foul history dividing these peoples. And worst still, Jefferson hypothesized, in proto-racist terms, that the differences between the peoples would also doom this relationship. He thought that black colonials should be freed… but colonized elsewhere.
Continuing, Dr. Stewart observed… “Along with its gross-deception, Jefferson’s indictment persuasively documents his fearful concerns over Somerset’s application on his own Virginia plantation. Though once dead in this beloved Monticello, Somerset had come into force in 1775 when its Governor Lord John Murray Dunmore issued a proclamation promising freedom to those enslaved who took up arms in opposition to the Patriot cause. As Dunmore saw it, all the colonists, not just the white ones held English citizenship, and the Patriots who now rejected it were nothing more than traitors while slaves who picked up arms were doing their duty as English citizens. In short, his view and Lord Mansfield’s Somerset decision lined up perfectly, English law made slavery illegal in the colonies.”
Worried General George Washington, in his capacity as both commander-in-chief of the patriots’ forces and a concerned enslaver, felt that it was necessary to crush Lord Dunmore’s initiative of recruiting black colonials or the momentum of slave defection and enlistment would be “like a snowball rolling down a hill.” Dunmore’s proclamation caused Washington to believe, as he stated in a letter to Colonel Henry Lee III in December 1775… that success in the rebellion would come to whatever side could arm “negroes” the fastest.
Further, a South Carolina delegate to the Second Congress wrote that Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation did more to sever ties between Britain and its colonies “than any other expedient which could possibly have been thought of” and Not the taxes and the tea, not the shots at Lexington and Concord, not the siege of Boston; rather, it was this act, Dunmore’s offer of freedom to slaves, that tipped the scales in favor of American independence” are the words of historian Jill Lepore in her book, These Truths: A History of the United States.
Instead, delegate James Madison of Virginia lamented that Dunmore’s initiative in November of 1775 was the kind of “tampering with the slaves” that he had most feared. “To say the truth,” he confided in a friend, “that is the only part in which this colony is vulnerable… we shall fall like Achilles by the hand of one that knows that secret,” and it was because of this shared secret that caused Dunmore to proclaim the liberation of black colonials, who were already English citizens by the rule of English law. And yet how many contemporary Americans have ever heard of Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation that emancipated colonial slaves in November 1775… that slavery was an extralegal practice in colonial America during colonial times… that all colonial slave statutes and laws were abolished by Parliament’s Declaratory Act of 1766 and how slavery was ruled unconstitutional within the Kingdom of Great Britain by the Court of the King’s Bench in the Somerset case in 1772… before America’s Declaration of Independence. This is not pure chance.
British citizenship for people born in colonial America was automatic and provided for in each colonial charter. Birthright citizenship was unalienable and a binding contract between England’s King and children born within the King’s sovereign realm… no Englishman could be born into slavery under the English rule of law. Known as jus soli…
Further, British citizenship was impervious to cancellation, alteration, or nullification by third parties under the English rule of law. Thus, it is an inaccurate depiction of British colonial times to conclude that black colonials suffered as slaves due to the rule of English law. Instead, they suffered as enslaved British citizens because of colonial tyranny, corruption of colonial government, and hooliganism. Thus, it is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to teach in public schools that colonial blacks had no legal rights during British colonial rule based upon statutes enacted by colonial assemblies.
It is significant… the Declaration of Independence had twenty-eight enumerated grievances leveled against England’s King George III. Within the four corners of the Declaration, it verified that colonial assemblies had no actual power to pass a law that stripped a person born in colonial America of their British citizenship and could not legally enslave a colonial-born person. For example, the Founding Generation complained and opposed continued governance, indicting the King, stating… “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good,”… “For taking our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments” and “For suspending our own Legislatures and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in All cases whatsoever.” It is significant that the Founding Generation took the language “in all cases whatsoever” directly from Parliament’s Declaratory Act of 1766 and complained in the Declaration that the British imperial government had abolished their “most valuable laws.”
Dr. Stewart continues… “Leaping ahead to the end of the Revolution, in 1783 and to the aftermath of the Treaty of Paris that confirmed British defeat, we find George Washington struggling to deny this truth during negotiations with British General Guy Carleton. Carleton insisted that black as well as white loyalists who had been captured by the Americans were in point of legal fact English citizens and always had been. They must therefore be fully included when the two exchange prisoners. Claiming that black loyalists had been declared by Colonial statute to be human property long before the Revolution, Washington refused, and the stalemate was broken only after the two negotiators had agreed that each should compile registries listing the captured black loyalists by name in American and English versions of what became known as The Book of Negroes. These listings, it was agreed, would serve as the basis for further negotiations that led to still further disagreements.”
British General Carleton announced his decision to remove all black colonials from the United States if they wanted to leave and articulated the British imperial government’s policy that all enslaved black colonials possessed the full rights of English citizenship by the English rule of law. Further, because of their British citizenship… black colonials were entitled to certificates of freedom… but knowing that the treaty was yet to be ratified by America’s Congress… Carleton adjourned the meeting, deciding that nothing could be settled with Washington.
Carleton ordered everyone under his command to “remain on duty until every man, woman, and child who want[ed] to leave the United States is safely moved to British soil.” However, through detention, coercion, and an elaborate dragnet erected by the Americans, a mass exodus of black colonials from the United States was thwarted and not realized. Dr. Stewart explains, “Though Carleton had capitulated, he did manage to secure the liberty for a fraction of the captured American black loyalists (3,000 or so). In his eyes, as English law required, they had reclaimed their citizenship. In the end for them, the Somerset Decision restored their ‘“rights as Englishmen,”’ which confirms once more that after 1772 enslavement within the colonies had been patently illegal.”
The American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) was a world conflict involving the United States and Great Britain and France, Spain, and the Netherlands. The peace process brought the nascent United States into international law and diplomacy, playing against Earth’s largest and most established powers. A crucial provision in the Definitive Treaty of Peace in 1783, also known as the Treaty of Paris of 1783, named for the city in which it was negotiated and signed provided in Article 7… “There shall be a firm and perpetual Peace between his Britanic Majesty and the said States, and between the Subjects of the one and the Citizens of the other, wherefore all Hostilities both by Sea and Land shall henceforth cease. All prisoners on both Sides shall be set at Liberty…” and yet, the United States failed to honor this article of setting all British prisoners at liberty, which had and continues to have unresolved international implications.
History supports… all colonial blacks living in the British thirteen colonies in 1783 enslaved by Americans were indeed English prisoners, as the English rule of law prohibited slavery on British soil, the English Bill of Rights of 1689 conferred and guaranteed fundamental citizen’s rights, the Declaratory Act of 1766 abolished colonial slave statutes, and the Phillipsburg Proclamation of June 1779 emancipated all enslaved people and granted unconditional freedom to them during colonial rule. But Americans claimed these English citizens were not “prisoners” instead were human property, legally owned during colonial times based upon “colonial statutes.” This was a baseless claim since slavery was prohibited on British soil… slavery was never legally authorized. Colonial statutes authorizing slavery were legally defective as the King did not grant his permission to enacted slave statutes and racialized laws in colonial America and all colonial statutes were abolished by way of the Declaratory Act of 1766 “for all purposes whatsoever.”
The Wells Center’s exposition… black colonials possessed the full rights of English citizenship well before the American Revolution and no British citizen could be excluded from the grant of liberty and freedom announced in the Declaration of Independence is obvious when a conscientious student of U. S. history consider Thomas Jefferson’s proposed Roman Law bill before the Second Congress and the full-throated debate that led to its defeat and then the formal adoption of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence, all after the Declaration was adopted July 1776.
In the end, Jefferson forever complained that in opposing his Roman Law bill, along with their edits of the Declaration… the Second Congress had “mangled” the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson felt that this young nation had foolishly tethered itself to Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence… England’s Magna Carta of 1215 requiring due process of law; the General Charter of Emancipation in 1381 prohibiting slavery on sovereign soil; the Royal Assent by Commission Act of 1541 that required the King’s permission to any statute or law in the Kingdom; the Sedition Act of 1661 criminalizing enacting statutes and laws without the King’s permission; the English Bill of Rights of 1689 granting fundamental rights to all citizens and Parliament’s Declaratory Act of 1766 that abolished colonial slave statutes and racialized laws “for all purposes whatsoever” nine years before the American Revolution. Jefferson knew that America’s adoption of English law made the claim that black colonials were excluded from the Declaration of Independence an absurdity and a profane affront to the Declaration’s core principle of equality.
The Second Congress understood and factored in their irreconcilable aspects, claiming black colonials were excluded from the Declaration of Independence before they adopted Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and England’s common law. The Founding Generation understood that hereditary slavery was a criminal practice since colonial Legislatures were bicameral and colonial assemblies had by-passed the King and by so doing, failed to secure the King’s permission. Further, before adopting English jurisprudence, the Second Congress knew that those defective colonial slave statutes had been abolished by Parliament’s Declaratory Act of 1766 “for all purposes whatsoever,” ten years before America’s Declaration of Independence; yet did not care.
Furthermore, the Second Congress knew that when the British Court of the King’s Bench in the Somerset case struck down colonial slave statutes… ruling slavery was not “approved and authorized by the laws of this Kingdom” and could only be legal by the enactment of a “positive law,” a legislative power that vested solely with the British Parliament in 1772, it was the “final nail” in colonial slavery’s coffin. And undeniably, the Second Congress knew that any one of these facts destroyed the notion that these fifty-six white English citizens could legally exclude black English citizens from the Declaration of Independence. It was all too obvious, and such is why the fierce opposition and initiative of conservative local and state lawmakers to pass banning the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools is raging.
This notion was given powerful affirmation by the Heritage Foundation. This conservative policy organization has explicitly expressed… teaching critical race theory “is destructive and rejects the fundamental ideas on which our constitutional republic is based.” The Heritage Foundation’s view of the implications of teaching critical race theory is not too dramatic when one understands and consider that white colonials knew slavery was illegal… and could never prove black colonials were excluded from the Declaration of Independence,” as the British Parliament abolished colonial statutes “for all purposes whatsoever” in 1766… well before the start of America’s Revolution.
Legal Rights and Protections to Learn Accurate History
The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects the rights of black students in public school districts throughout the U. S. from receiving customized, inaccurate, or sculpted information and ideas proffered as actual history-based upon de jure discrimination. This protection most certainly applies in the context of state and local governments enacting laws that ban the teaching of critical race theory in public schools, as such laws banning critical race theories like the one set out herein have the effect of allowing a revisionist rendition of U. S. history to substitute for actual history and to stand unchallenged.
Further, public school educators who find value in using the 1619 Project in furtherance of teaching young people and other stakeholders have protection under the 14th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, which limits the authority of state and local government to take away any benefit or privilege, including employment at a public school, for an arbitrary reason. Thus, it is apparent that the conservative initiative to pass local and state laws banning the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools is nothing more than a stalking horse to test the mettle of liberal America or create for all times an orthodox U. S. historiography.
Without regard to its long-term purpose… this conservative initiative is designed to expose weaknesses, stratagems, and new emerging liberal thesis… such as slavery in England’s colonies had been declared illegal well before the American Revolution, or everyone held in bondage had actually been confirmed by Great Britain’s highest court to possess the full rights of English citizenship by 1776… and arguably, the Declaration of Independence is America’s sole foundational document, and it only expands to include other documents depending upon how one construes the word “founding.”
Some historians include as founding documents, the pre-colonial British Magna Carta of 1215 that guaranteed due process of law for all, then necessarily the General Charter of Emancipation of 1381 that prohibited slavery on British soil… and the English Bill of Rights of 1689 that established fundamental rights to all British citizens and conferred supreme legislative authority unto Parliament and of course, Parliament’s Declaratory Act of 1766 that abolished all colonial statutes and suspended colonial assemblies.
Conversely, if “founding” means foundational for clarifying how we have come to understand our country, the list grows in a different direction, and it must include Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and England’s common law adopted by the Second Congress. Some historians do or might include the Articles of Confederation, the Bill of Rights, the U. S. Constitution, the Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers, the Mayflower Compact, the Northwest Ordinances, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and even the “I Have a Dream” speech of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Doubtlessly, those undisclosed figures mobilizing conservative lawmakers to be stalking horses by bringing local and state laws banning the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools know what a first principle-based inquiry of the critical race theory and the 1619 Project will create once a revelatory thesis is asked and answered such as… “What if, before the founding of our Nation, everyone held in bondage had actually been confirmed by Great Britain’s highest court to possess the full rights of English citizenship?” if such a thesis like this is found academically unassailable, accurate, and historically sound.
Further, they know that compelling and insuperable evidence does exist to prove the thesis that colonial slave statutes and racialized laws were abolished in 1766 and that there was no legal basis to claim and support the exclusion of black colonials in the Declaration of Independence in 1776 or their enslavement and exploitation after the peace treaty that ended the American Revolution was ratified by the United States.