Many progressives today are eager to redefine America not as starting in 1776, which is literally when the very title “United States of America” began, but in the year 1619, before Plymouth Rock and before John Winthrop and the Arabella arrived upon our shores. They instead want to define the nation by slavery and racism. So much so that the New York Times’ 1619 Project dates America that way, defining the country’s start by the year 1619, with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to Virginia that year.
But that is not the heart of America. Americans should look back at their founding as based on the principles of 1776—that uniquely great achievement for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that was the Declaration of Independence. These were principles for all of humanity, though they would indeed take decades to fully implement for all Americans, both black and white. Their full achievement would lead to nothing less than a Civil War.
Mobs today target statues of everyone from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to (curiously) Union generals like Ulysses S. Grant, who defeated the Confederacy before battling the KKK, and even Abraham Lincoln and (most bizarre of all) Frederick Douglass, the brave black abolitionist.
Let us not argue, however, with this historical reality: the United States of America, as our founders conceived it, started in 1776.