Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Bachmann Recommends Book that Portrays Slavery as Based on 'Mutual Respect'

Via Think Progress:
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) has already made one slavery-related gaffe during her presidential campaign, signing a pledge produced by the Iowa FAMiLY LEADER that included language suggesting black children were better off under slavery than they are now. Bachmann offered half-hearted apology at the time, saying she had only signed the “candidate vow,” not the part that included slavery, and compared it to “economic enslavement” brought on by taxes.

But in his profile of Bachmann released yesterday, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza revealed that Bachmann’s “worldview” on slavery goes much deeper. In 2002, then-state Sen. Bachmann’s campaign posted a “must-read” list of books on her web site. Included in the list were the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, and a book titled, “Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee,” authored by J. Steven Wilkins.

The Wilkins biography goes on to claim that slavery existed on a “relationship of trust and esteem,” that positive race relations may have progressed further if the pro-slavery South had won the war, and that Lee, despite being a slave-owner himself, “never held any animosity for blacks.”

After explaining the “cruelty and barbarism” of “pagan” Africa, he goes on:
The fact was (and is) easily demonstrable that, taken as a whole, there is no question that blacks in this country, slavery notwithstanding, were “immeasurably better off” in nearly every way [than they were in Africa].

In Lee’s view, however, emancipation could only be accomplished successfully if it was gradual. Time was needed for the sanctifying effects of Christianity to work on the black race and fit its people for freedom.

Abolitionism was not the best answer.


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