Thursday, February 15, 2018

Tales In Fauxbjectivity: "Indian Marauders" Edition

My grand experiment of reading at least one biography of every US president slogs along at number five, James Monroe.

For this one, I'm reading The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call To Greatness, by Harlow Giles Unger.

Summary: Somebody save me from the uncritical fawning.

For instance, how can a thinking person take the following seriously, regarding the status of western expansion during the Revolutionary War (emphasis added):
"As primogeniture became the guiding principle of inheritance, thousands of disinherited Americans - usually younger sons of eastern farmers - stood poised to move west as soon as the American government cleared out Indian marauders and made the territory safe to inhabit and farm."
As far as I can tell, Unger uttered in complete earnestness this notion that Native Americans had somehow pre-stolen land that non-firstborn white men did not yet occupy but were nonetheless entitled to by virtue of their white male American-ness. It's so typically American: if white men create a system that disadvantages a proportion of other white men, but is still better than what they've arranged for white women and all people of color, we're supposed to sympathize with and relate first and foremost to the disadvantaged white men.

Add this one instance to the thousands of others in US history wherein white male Americans take from others what is not theirs to take. Multiply that by the thousands upon thousands of white male historians who uncritically repeat this entitlement-coddling perspective. Then, factor in those who teach this perspective and repeat it and share it and learn it and come to believe in it.

A very clear story of white male American entitlement takes shape.

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