Sean Wilentz Reflection

Sean Wilentz writes an article called “American Slavery and ‘the Relentless Unforeseen”. In this article he writes mostly about history and focuses on anti-slavery unlike Hannah-Jones who put her experiences in her writing. He states “In France, Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws destroyed ancient justifications for slavery, which inspired and emboldened antislavery religious sectarians and budding philosophes across the Atlanic world”. Here we get to see the origins and picture how antislavery expanded. I found this part very informative because I never knew that religious sectarians were inspired by antislavery, since there were very few people to stand up for slaves. Later we get to read how abolitionist John Woolman a major figure in the awakening of antislavery was able to start a small group who would spread awarness of the evil in slavery. By the mid 1770’s american colonies saw the unjustice in slavery. As we continue to read we get to see why Wilentz wrote this article. He wrote this article in order to argue with an audience who has the mindset of salvery was destined to end. He states “Slavery’s defeat was not inevitable. Nor, obviously, did white supremacy die with slavery.” He also states “More and more in these pessimistic times, we are learning once again, and with a sense of justice, that the United States and its past are rooted in vicious racial slavery and the lasting inequities that are slavery’s legacy”. This reminds me of what we talked about in class “ if people or the United States is racist”. If we think about it, the evil written in the United States was there from the beginning. And it would take a long time to undo the evil written in the constitution.  One thing that Wilentz did that Hannah-Jones didn’t do is talk about each other’s work. It seems that Wilentz disagrees in how Hanna-Jones wrote her article. He states “ The project’s lead essay, for example, by Nickole Hannah-Jones berates our national mythology for “conveniently” omitting “that one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” I feel like Wilentz sees the 1619 article as a self interest writing because he uses the word “berates”. And also feels like Hannah-Jones information is only showing one perspective.

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