A senator from Arkansas called slavery a "necessary evil" in a new statement.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton introduced legislation that seeks to reframe the teaching of the history of the United States in classrooms, specifically combatting the New York Times' 1619 Project. Cotton says slavery was a "necessary evil upon which the union was built."
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According to a statement from Cotton, his office's Saving American History Act of 2020 will deem schools which "teach the 1619 Project by K-12" to be "ineligible for federal professional-development grants."
"I reject that root and branch," Cotton said. "America is a great and noble country founded on the proposition that all mankind is created equal. We have always struggled to live up to that promise, but no country has ever done more to achieve it."
Cotton says it is important 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." He continues to say slavery 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."
He argues that America should be viewed "as an imperfect and flawed land, but the greatest and noblest country in the history of mankind," rather than "an irredeemably corrupt, rotten and racist country."
The 1619 Project is a movement that seeks to reexamine the role of slavery and black-Americans and their vital role in the United States.