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Senator Tom Cotton Says Slavery Was A Necessary Evil

Tom Cotton

Senator Tom Cotton Says Slavery Was A Necessary Evil

(CNN)Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas described slavery as a “necessary evil” in his conitinuos effort to prevent US schools from teaching the 1619 Project, an initiative from The New York Times that reframes American history around the date of August 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on America’s shores.

“We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the founding fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction,” Cotton told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in an article that was published on Sunday.

The controversial statement by tom Cotton caused a swift backlash on social media, in a tweet he then attempted to defend himself saying that he was citing the views of America’s founding fathers, rather than his own.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, a staff writer for the Times, wrote in response to Cotton’s tweet, “You said, quote: ‘As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built.’ That ‘as’ denotes agreement. Further, if by path to extinction you mean growing the enslaved (population) from 500k to 4 million at Civil War, a war fought over slavery, then, ok.”

Tom Cotton made the statement after he introduced legislation in effort of preventing federal funds and professional development grants being distributed to schools that teach the 1619 Project, which was released last year and has since been developed into educational resources and curricula for use by teachers.

Cotton expressed his feeling about the 1619 Project ” last week , stating it was  racially divisive, revisionist account of history that denies the noble principles of freedom and equality on which our nation was founded. Not a single cent of federal funding should go to indoctrinate young Americans with this left-wing garbage.”

Yet Cotton’s defensive excuse for calling slavery a necessary evil as a reference to the Founding Fathers has no  record of  statement.

Tom Cotton was asked to point out this statement of “necessary evil” at the nation’s founding. James Arnold, a spokesman for Cotton, responded referring to a passage from an Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debate in 1858, but did not provide evidence of a founding father making that claim.

Lincoln did believe that the founding fathers put the institution of slavery in the US on a path to “ultimate extinction,” a position he often stated publicly.

Tom Cotton is not backing down on his stance. During an appearance on Fox News on Monday, repeating his claim that he himself wasn’t endorsing the position.

“Of course slavery is an evil institution in all its forms, at all times in America’s past, or around the world today,” he said.

CNN’s Clare Foran and Leah Asmelash contributed to this report.

 

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