The founding fathers’ implied promise of white supremacy…

The last of a list of 27 grievances, or indictments, against King George III, reads as follows: “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.”

These words call attention to hard truths about America’s founding that have often been brushed aside.

Even as colonists declared their independence from Britain, indigenous people were preparing to defend their own freedom.

Long experience had led Native Americans to believe that colonists intended not only to take their lands, but to kill them all.

In the summer of 1776, an unnamed Shawnee, part of a delegation of Mohawks, Shawnees, Ottawas, and Delawares, urged Cherokees to join a confederation to resist the colonists, warning that the “Virginians,” as he referred to all colonists, possessed “an intention to extirpate … the red people.”

Similarly, after the Revolutionary War broke out, the Mohawk leader, Joseph Brant, declared that it was the intention of another group of colonists—the “Bostonians”—to “exterminate” the Mohawks and other members of the Six Nations (Haudenosaunee) confederacy. The term genocide did not yet exist, but their words conveyed the same idea. Native people were terrified that unshackled colonists would kill them wholesale.

Although the reference to the “merciless Indian savages” appealed to the “inhabitants of our frontiers,” Jefferson and others who signed the Declaration had their own reasons for detesting British policies relating to Native Americans and their lands.

The Proclamation of 1763 and
The Quebec Act of 1774:

The Proclamation of 1763,  recognized indigenous ownership of lands west of the Appalachian mountains’ crest and prevented colonists from settling there.

The 1774 Quebec Act, one of the Intolerable Acts, was particularly odious. Not only did the Quebec Act grant legal protection to Catholicism, a religion Protestants despised, but it extended Quebec’s boundary south to the Ohio River and blocked settlement in the Ohio Valley.

The 27th grievance raises two issues. The first, the king’s incitement of “domestic insurrections,” refers to slave revolts and reveals a hard truth recently brought to the public’s attention by The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project: Some of those who sought independence aimed to protect the institution of slavery.

This was particularly true for Virginia slave owners, who were deeply disturbed by a proclamation issued in November 1775 by Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore, which promised enslaved people held by revolutionaries freedom in exchange for joining the British army. Virginians and other southerners feared that it would provoke widespread slave revolts.

A second hard truth exposed by the 27th grievance—and its racist depiction of Native Americans as “merciless Indian savages”—has generated much less public discussion. In indicting the king for unleashing Indians on the “inhabitants of our frontiers,” the Declaration was not referring to a specific event but rather to the escalation of violence, which was caused by colonists invading Native lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.

In response, a confederation of Senecas, Shawnees, Delawares, Ottawas, Cherokees, and other Native nations exercised a right of self-defense and attacked new colonial settlements.

Although the Native nations had British support, they were acting on their own and not at the instigation of the Crown.

Nonetheless, Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration’s primary drafter, hoped that by fanning the flames of settlers’ anti-Indian racism and implicating George III, he could ignite a general conflagration against the British in the West. In this way, the 27th grievance helped lay the foundation for an American nationalism that would demonize the continent’s indigenous people, especially when they resisted American aggressions.

Although the reference to the “merciless Indian savages” appealed to the “inhabitants of our frontiers,” Jefferson and others who signed the Declaration had their own reasons for detesting British policies relating to Native Americans and their lands.

More than a decade earlier, in order to end a costly war to suppress an indigenous resistance movement led by the Ottawa war leader Pontiac, the king issued the Proclamation of 1763, which recognized indigenous ownership of lands west of the Appalachian mountains’ crest and prevented colonists from settling there.

At first glance, ordinary settlers might be expected to  have been the proclamation’s major opponents. Some settlers did object, but the most potent source of opposition came from colonial elites, especially in Virginia and Pennsylvania, who had invested in companies with claims to lands west of the boundary set by the proclamation.

Unless those lands could be legally settled, land companies could not gain secure title to their claims. Investors would be left with nothing but the debts they had incurred to bet on getting rich.

This indigenous perspective returns us to the 27th grievance. Jefferson’s denigration of “merciless Indian savages” signaled that the war for independence from Great Britain would also be a brutal war to seize indigenous lands.

From 1776 to 1783, U.S. troops and colonial militias destroyed more than 70 Cherokee towns, 50 Haudenosaunee towns, and at least 10 multiethnic towns in the Ohio Valley, killing several hundred people (including civilians) and subjecting refugees to starvation, disease, and death.

In the decades to come, U.S. presidents, Washington and Jefferson included, would call for the extermination of Native Americans who fought against dispossession. Several U.S. armies would try to do precisely that.

The implied promise of white men only:

The Naturalization Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 103, enacted March 26, 1790) was a law of the United States Congress that set the first uniform rules for the granting of United States citizenship by naturalization. The law limited naturalization to “free White person(s) … of good character”, thus excluding Native Americans, indentured servants, slaves, free black people and later Asians, although free black people were allowed citizenship at the state level in a number of states.

This 1790 act set the new nation’s naturalization procedures. It limited access to U.S. citizenship to white immigrants—in effect, to people from Western Europe—who had resided in the U.S. at least two years and their children under 21 years of age. It also granted citizenship to children born abroad to U.S. citizens.

The common Revolutionary War foot soldier was, to a significant degree, motivated and incentivized by the implied promise of white supremacy as evidenced in the genocidal taking of the land and property of the indigenous inhabitants, and the barbarous enslavement of Africans who were kidnapped and violently removed from their homeland and forced to live in a perpetual state of involuntary servitude.

America’s ‘greatness’ was built on stolen land and stolen labor.

Trump’s MAGA movement and cult resonates, either intuitively or instinctively, with nearly half of the predominately white American population because of the compelling belief on their part that America ‘belongs’ to white folks….

TOPSHOT – Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. – Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

When you look at the ‘facts’ in the historical record, and the ‘facts’ of contemporary life for people of color in this country, you can’t much blame those white people for thinking as they do….

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