Tom Cotton: US republican calls slavery ‘necessary evil upon which this union was built’

Arkansas senator also claimed that 'no country has ever done more' for racial equality 

Gino Spocchia
Monday 27 July 2020 10:38
Comments
Tom Cotton says US should ban Chinese students

A Republican senator who said the United States was built on slavery has called the practice a “necessary evil”.

Arkansas senator Tom Cotton told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday that slavery “was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”

Mr Cotton had on Thursday introduced the Saving American History Act to stop a New York Times education initiative on slavery from receiving federal funds.

He told the Democrat-Gazette that “the entire premise of the New York Times’ factually, historically flawed 1619 Project … is that America is at root, a systemically racist country to the core and irredeemable,”

“I reject that root and branch. America is a great and noble country founded on the proposition that all mankind is created equal. We have always struggled to live up to that promise, but no country has ever done more to achieve it.”

In contrast, The New York Times’ 1619 Project wants to put “the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very centre of our national narrative,” said a statement.

Pulitzer Prize-winning essayist and 1619 Project contributor Nikole Hannah-Jones condemned Mr Cotton’s comments on Sunday.

“Imagine thinking a non-divisive curriculum is one that tells Black children the buying and selling of their ancestors, the rape, torture, and forced labour of their ancestors for PROFIT, was just a ‘necessary evil’ for the creation of the ‘noblest/ country the world has ever seen,” she wrote.

“So, was slavery foundational to the Union on which it was built, or nah? You heard it from Tom Cotton himself.”

The senator, who defended his comments to the Democrat-Gazette, said Ms Hannah-Jones comments were “more lies from the debunked 1619 Project.”

“Describing the 'views of the Founders' and how they put the evil institution on a path to extinction, a point frequently made by Lincoln, is not endorsing or justifying slavery,” he added.

It comes after The Times apologised last month for publishing an op-ed in which Mr Cotton called on US president Donald Trump to "send in the troops" to stamp-out Black Lives Matter protests.

The senator later accused paper of “surrendering to the mindless woke mob” after tit admitted that his op-ed did not meet its own editorial standards.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in