The ‘Ruinous Betrayal’ of Indians and Black Americans: David Reynolds in NYRB

Distinguished Professor David S. Reynolds (English) explores colonization, integration, and the hypocrisy intertwined with American idealism in a thought-provoking new essay for The New York Review of Books
“The founders themselves were among the strongest supporters of racial separation,” Reynolds writes in the essay, a review of Nicholas Guyatt's Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation (Basic Books).

“Only a few years after he wrote the nation-defining words ‘all men are created equal,’ Thomas Jefferson proposed that the gradual emancipation of slaves should be accompanied by the deportation of blacks” to avoid what Jefferson saw as the negative effects of integration.
“Guyatt’s book shows the degree to which some of the early founders — among the finest political minds of their time — were deeply bigoted about race,” Reynolds writes. “He thus raises fundamental questions about the basis of American democracy that still divide the country.”
Reynolds is the author or editor of 15 books, including Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America (2011). He is an expert on the Civil War era, and his research focuses on American literature and culture.

Submitted on: DEC 6, 2016

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