Slavery, Municipal Bonds, and Healthcare: HOW Are These Related?

The saga of the 1619 Project continues to amaze with its convoluted attempts to equate everything about America with slavery…

Essay #7 – Municipal Bonds – by Tiya Miles (page 40)

As the historian David Quigley has demonstrated, New York City’s phenomenal economic consolidation came as a result of its dominance in the Southern cotton trade facilitated by the construction of the Erie Canal. It was in this moment — the early decades of the 1800s — that New York City gained its status as a financial behemoth through shipping raw cotton to Europe and bankrolling the boom industry that slavery made.

Guiding Questions:

  1. How did enslaved people contribute to the construction of northeastern cities like New York City?
  2. How did banks and other financial institutions profit from slavery, even after it was abolished in the North?

I am seldom one to take Wikipedia as an objective resource, but the plethora of information regarding the development, as well as the purpose for the building of the Erie Canal from start to finish, is instructive. Not once throughout the entire dissertation regarding the canal is one iota of information relating to the cotton trade or slavery mentioned therein.

The reality is, the Erie Canal provided passenger transportation as well as freight shipments to/from the interior of America at a time when there were only five wagon trails that could be used to cross the Appalachian Mountains and the time to travel via wagon was many times more than travel via the canal (for the same distance) and the cost was as much as 95% lower than other means available when it first opened.

As near as can be told from the available information I found is that New York City’s success in consolidating financial power was simply a matter of geographic location in relation to Europe as well as the access to the interior provided by the canal and the connection to the Hudson River which brought grain and other products from the interior to the port of New York to be shipped to all parts of the known world.  To suggest that slavery has anything more than a tangential connection to the Canal or to New York’s stature as the financial center of America is a major stretch, again.

The second question also has the fatal flaw…it simply conflates one small portion of the picture into the overwhelming reason for financial institutions profitability. Again, slavery was on the wane (by the question’s own wording) and while it was necessary to deal with banks to gain the capital needed to expand cotton plantations (through purchase of both land and slaves) there was a decreasingly significant portion of this business as the decades wore on.

Is anyone else seeing the pattern here?  Never have I seen a series of essays so consistently distorted from reality into an agenda being driven by the desire to make something true despite a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that it is not.  To think that this is being enthusiastically latched on to as a means of indoctrinating the youth of America into believing that America’s entire existence is totally wrapped up in one institution.  This program offers barely any other explanations of our history regarding the development of other industry besides cotton and slavery. When it does, it is almost as if such an industry was still guilty of supporting slavery by any of a number of inconsequential and often imaginary connections.

Essay #8 – “A Broken Health Care System” by Jeneen Interlandi (pages 44–45)

“Federal health care policy was designed, both implicitly and explicitly, to exclude black Americans. As a result, they faced an array of inequities—including statistically shorter, sicker lives than their white counterparts.”

“One hundred and fifty years after the freed people of the South first petitioned the government for basic medical care, the United States remains the only high-income country in the world where such care is not guaranteed to every citizen. In the United States, racial health disparities have proved as foundational as democracy itself.”

Guiding Questions –

  1. How have healthcare policies, city planning, and other government systems in the U.S. limited who has access to healthcare services?

  2. According to the author, what factors help diseases to spread in a community?

The fact is, the United States is a constitutional republic that gains its governmental powers from the consent of the governed.  It is also founded on a free market system that does not guarantee equal results because not every person is willing to put forth equal effort to be personally responsible in their work ethic, abilities, or desire to succeed.  This is not a racial issue, it is simply an issue of accepting the concept that it is not nor ever has been the responsibility of the government at any level, but much less the federal government, to provide healthcare or guaranteed health care to every citizen.  This view of universal healthcare is a utopian dream that requires many restrictions and limitation on the quantity and quality of the care provided. Given the poor results achieved in Canada and England, government-run health systems do not have a lot to recommend them to either white or black Americans.

The incorporation of health insurance in the “benefits” of workers paid for by employers was a means to obtain and retain the best employees by offering enticements to application and retention.  There is no doubt that many of the policies controlled by Democrats for much of the middle years of the 20thcentury before non-discrimination laws were passed in the 60s contributed to inequities in the treatment of black Americans.

But to suggest that people walking the streets of American cities still largely hold racist views and behaviors is nonsense.  Much has been done to remedy blatant discrimination and to attempt to establish a “history curriculum” that focuses exclusively on one viewpoint that can only be called subjective and discriminatory itself is to needlessly instill anger in young black children and guilt and fear in the minds of young white children.  If one is sincerely desirous of wiping out racism and discrimination among the citizens of America, this is certainly not the way to go about it.

The fact of the matter is, the American system of health care has produced more innovation, a higher degree of care, and a longer lifespan among the nations of the world and has served all citizens of America better than most.  Since the dawn of Medicaid, there is nobody that can claim that they cannot get medical care regardless of their income level or personal circumstances.  Those below a certain income level are eligible. To suggest that “racial health disparities” are the result of racism is insanity.  There are genetic differences that produce conditions that a detrimental to the health of some black Americans that do not afflict the white population.  There are also ethnic differences in diet, habits, and practices that vary as well.

Prior to the beginning of the 20thcentury, segregation and discrimination were significant in America.  Of that, there is no doubt.  To suggest, however, that this was anything but a belief system that prevailed at that particular time in our country’s history is to use it as a crutch to justify all the ills that have befallen black Americans ever since. I will give this essay credit for getting one thing totally correct in the process of so much misdirection and twisting of truth.  That fact is that the Democrat Party was and is, following the civil war and ever since, the primary driver of that discrimination and disparity of treatment toward the black community.  While they frequently use transference to attempt to blame conservatives for all sorts of racism, it cannot be denied that the Democrats that controlled the southern tier of states during reconstruction and beyond were unwilling to budge one inch when it came to giving black Americans equal treatment. That is a sad fact, but one that the black community still remains in denial about.  This was not the fault of all Americans…only some of them. Painting in one color or only “black” or “white” makes for a very monotonous drone that avoids specifics that can be uncomfortable to deal with.

[Author’s Note:  Quoted portions are excerpted from the 1619 Project documents available here.]

Check back soon for Part 9 and 10 as we continue to untangle the truth that is well concealed within the 1619 Project’s pages.

Tom Stark

Tom Stark’s career began with Air Force service, including a year in Thailand and Vietnam, and progressed through a variety of manufacturing and service positions to Manager of Security, Safety, and Transportation for the Orange County (FL) Convention Center. He graduated from Barry University in 1994 and soon after embarked on a second career building custom furniture as an entrepreneur for the last 20 years. He unsuccessfully ran as a Tea Party candidate in the 2010 Congressional race (WV-01). Tom currently writes and advocates for smaller more prudent and less intrusive government, strengthening families and protecting life while building free market principles that make America stronger. He is now 70, retired, and residing with his wife in Weston, West Virginia.

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