History Is Just The Facts

Thomas F Campenni
3 min readMay 31, 2021

Critical Race Theory, 1619 Project, 1776 Project, or any other notion that American history can be shaped to fit a particular political point of view are nothing more than propaganda rather than facts.

As a discipline, history is not judgmental. It is a series of facts describing something(s) that happened at some point in the past. For instance, in 1619 Africans from Angola were brought to Point Comfort on the James River in Virginia and sold.

For the first 20 or so years after that date, an argument could be made that Africans were not to be kept in bondage in perpetuity but for a finite period much as the European indentured servants at the time. Until late in the 17th century, most of the field hands were white indentured servants. As time passed, laws and customs deemed Blacks and any of their descendants to be slaves forever. Then it became economically more advantageous for planters to pay once for a lifelong laborer.

As did other colonies, Virginia severely restricted who could vote for the assembly to white male property owners (freeholders.) Local jurisdictions mainly had their officials appointed by the assembly. George Washington first ran for the House of Burgesses from Fredrick County because he owned property there, but he lived in Fairfax County. That would demonstrate that ownership of property was the prime reason for acquiring voting rights.

Our Founders from Virginia derived their wealth from owning property…both human and land. When Jefferson wrote the Declaration, was he a hypocrite? The answer is no. He was a man of the 18th century. Jefferson and the other Founders never believed that Blacks were their equal. They didn’t believe that women, Indigenous people, or poor whites were either.

Jefferson called slavery a “moral depravity.” He was in favor of abolition and then resettlement back to Africa. He just wanted to do it gradually. It was obvious to Jefferson, Washington, and the other Virginia Founder presidents that there was irony in their position regarding bondage of Blacks. That didn’t prevent them from taking advantage of the economics of owning slaves.

We live in the 21st century and our sensibilities are much different than those of the 18th century. We cannot look to morality to teach history. History is what happened. We cannot erase facts, nor should we try.

Florida’s new history curriculum never mentions slavery. While anti-bellum Florida never had the huge…

Thomas F Campenni

Currently lives in Stuart Florida and former City Commissioner. His career has been as a commercial real estate owner, broker and manger in New York City.