Debate Magazine

Think Progress Beat Me to It -- Debunking Bill O'Reilly's Bullshit About White House-building Slaves Being Well Fed and Housed

Posted on the 27 July 2016 by Doggone
We consistently see the right try to justify or sanitize the history of slavery.  For some reason - presumably that so many of them are still racists who support policies that step on minorities - they like to pretend that slavery was not a bad thing.
We saw it from crazy eyes, crazy ideas detached from reality Michele Bachmann, we see it routinely from Faux News.  It's a right wing dishonest, lying 'thing'.
Here is the latest from Fox Not-News Bill O'Reilly, anti-historian:
  I have a particular problem with this from O'Reilly:
“Slaves that worked there were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802.”
Slaves were never 'hired'; they were leased from slave owners who pocketed the $$$ from their labor. And slavery used in building in Washington DC for government projects continued WELL beyond 1802. For a former history teacher, O'Reilly is an epic failure for factual accuracy And here is the latest from Think Progress debunking the happy slavery myth:
Liam Hogan, a historian whose work focuses on slavery, noted on Twitter that O’Reilly’s comments are reminiscent of “how chattel slavery was defended by slave owners and pro-slavery interests.” To cite just one example, a U.S. history primer put together by the Independence Hall Association notes that “defenders of slavery argued that by comparison with the poor of Europe and the workers in the Northern states, that slaves were better cared for. They said that their owners would protect and assist them when they were sick and aged, unlike those who, once fired from their work, were left to fend helplessly for themselves.” The reality, Hogan added, is that slavery were “treated like livestock.” Hogan cited comments made by First Lady Abigail Adams in 1800, who wrote that White House slaves were in fact “half fed, and destitute of clothing.” “What is O’Reilly’s claim of ‘well fed’ and ‘decent lodgings’ based upon?” Hogan wrote. “What are his sources? What is his evidence?” In an email to ThinkProgress, Hogan said that based on his study of the literature, “I can’t see any basis… to justify a claim of [slaves] being ‘treated well.’ It’s kind of oxymoronic in the context of man as chattel property.”
  So yes, the White House and a good bit of Washington DC's older government buildings were in fact built by slaves, and NO, they were not well housed and fed, and yes, slavery was still horrible and inhumane. The conservatives lie lie lie about our history, trying to sanitize it and to justify the bad behavior of racist white conservatives, then and now.

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