Glenn Beck Rewrites History and Defends Slavery


It was another wild and wacky trip through revisionist Right Wing history with Glenn Beck today as Glenn decided to spend the day defending slavery. On the radio he claimed that race relations aka slavery was fine until it became politicized before the Civil War, and he followed this up with a claim on his TV show that there were no racial relations issues in colonial America.

Here is Beck explaining why some free African Americans went back to Africa and founded Liberia:


Beck gave his own fantasy explanation of why Liberia was founded, “We talk a little bit about Liberia tonight. Here’s a group of African Americans that left because they wanted to go back to Africa, because they wanted to go back to Africa, not everybody wanted to go back to Africa. Some of them left and went back to Africa and started a country. What did they call it? Liberia. What is the capital of Liberia? Monrovia, that’s amazing. Now how could you possibly do that if you hated this country, if it was such an oppressive country?” (Beck’s point is that slavery was not a bad thing. African Americans weren’t oppressed and they loved America).

Beck also claimed that race relations were good until the Civil War:

Beck said, “The things that have happened in this country where it really starts to wrong was the lead up to the Civil War, and it became politicized and it was all about slavery, before then we were moving on the right track. You’ll learn things tonight that you never ever learned before and ask yourself why?”

Beck then claimed on his television show that blacks and whites didn’t hate each other in the 1790s:

In contrast to Glenn Beck’s rosy picture of slavery and race relations during the colonial period, comes this account of the legal rights of African Americans around the colonial era from Archiving Early America, “The Negro slaves had by 1790 reached their full definition as dehumanized marketable commodities. A lawsuit in that year, in Virginia, apparently was brought for satisfaction in the transfer of a group of “11 negroes belonging to Benjamin Pynes … i (sic ) saw them when down the country, and offered him 330 pounds for the whole. “This sounds more like a trade in dry goods or agricultural products than in human lives, and there is no reason to believe that the participants in this transaction saw it as anything but a simple and straight-forward, absolutely amoral business deal.”

Here is more of what it was like in 1800, from Archiving Early America, “By 1800, anyone living in the southern United States with a high concentration of epidermic melanin was assumed a slave, unless by more or less difficult documentation that person could prove conclusively otherwise. The continuing uncertainty of the common law demanded the exposure of such proof. But even though slaves suffered horribly, it was the logical noose on the Anglo-American law’s neck that tightened the hardest. Eventually, a subconscious recognition of the unworkable nature of “dual status” prompted extreme paranoid defensiveness in some southern Anglo-Americans. This disease would not be relieved soon, and then, only by the coincidence of gory cultural self-mutilation inflicted by civil war, some of whose helotist seeds were planted ages before northern Europeans ever reaped such noisome fruits on North American shores.”

The problem with Glenn Beck’s revisionist history is that he does not take into account that African Americans were still slaves. Beck is making the basic argument that the slave system worked and that African Americans were happy in chains. It was okay with them and everyone got along just fine. Of course, this argument is silly and or offensive to anyone who is African American or knows the basics of our national history, but Glenn Beck is out to rewrite history from a far right perspective.

His whole take on colonial era race relations is extremely racist, but it is also illogical. Beck contended that the discussion about slavery, not race relations, were the problem, but wasn’t slavery the racial relationship in the nation at that time? Beck defended slavery and claimed that it was fine until it was politicized in the lead up to the Civil War. Glenn Beck was arguing that slavery wasn’t bad until the politicians got involved. In short, Glenn Beck was defending the slave system and racism, and he wonders why much of America thinks that he is a racist.

Photo Credit: lynnrockets

16 Replies to “Glenn Beck Rewrites History and Defends Slavery”

  1. Like always, Glenn Beck is tone-deaf and oblivious to his own rank stupidity. As an African-American who is keenly aware of slavery in my own family background, I am offended but not surprised by Glenn Beck’s remarks. He is definitely a racist who likes to project his own bigotry onto others, like President Obama.

    However, he is not alone, as I have encountered individuals who discount the well-documented reflections of former slaves or even slaves who died before emancipation, choosing instead to believe those who trivialized the horrors of slavery. Beck has exactly the same mindset as those officials in the Deep South during the Civil Rights Movement who called freedom workers outside agitators and Communists. Those officials had a vested interest in the continued subjugation of blacks and severely persecuted people who challenged it. Jim Crow was the institutionalized racism that arose to take the place of slavery in order to maintain that oppression.

    It’s poetic justice, karma, etc., that this fruitcake is steadily losing viewers. I’m hoping that it’s a direct result of the fact that some folks are waking up from their self-imposed stupor and realizing just how dangerous he is.
    But he is only a part of the hard right’s attempts to revise and sanitize some of the ugliest chapters in American history in order to push their agenda. That’s going on in Texas as well. Articles like this one that expose the anti-intellectualism and willful ignorance of people like Beck are extremely useful, because they are honest about history. They are also useful in highlighting the reasons why Beck and his ilk are so toxic for America. As a columnist for the Washington Post, Courtland Milloy said, we have more to fear from home-grown ignorance than from terrorism.

  2. Well from where I set, I wasn’t aware that people who DID NOT HATE each other sold each other as servants with absolutely no rights what so ever, beat each other(sexual deviants possibly?), stole blacks wives and daughters for sex, and killed them if they got too old to work or tried to leave the farm for a friday nights worth of drinking and carousing with the guys in town on Friday nights.

    I am glad to know this is not hate.

    I am no longer sure what anyone can say about Beck. This is the sickness that Sarah would have us watch for our history lessons.

  3. I’ve never watched Beck and just recently someone sent me a clip (Rewrites History and Defends Slavery). I viewed it, because of the comments regarding the clip.. Now I really know why I’ve never watched him.. Very good comment Anne!!

    You said it best!

  4. I don’t know what show you folks were watching, but on the show about the black founders that I saw Beck was talking about black patriots who died in the revolutinary war or survived and were paid pensioners. He also talked about Blacks elected to office in the 1790’s. I heard not a word about slavery beinggood. I also did not hear about the Liberia thing, htat may hve beena show I did.t watch and I don’t have the time to loiok at the clips provided,but I will later.

  5. Thanks duburn. I get awfully tired of people spouting off on things they haven’t heard first hand and don’t know anything about. Glenn Beck was in no way defending slavery, but reporting on, and not rewriting, well researched historical facts. If those who take a piece of a story and run with it, without thinking critically about it or checking it out for themselves, did even 1/100 of the amount of research and study that Glenn Beck does, they might have a clue with what’s going on in this country. But I’m sure they won’t. It’s easier to listen to lies that give them something to yell about than study the facts for themselves. Thinking for oneself is a lost skill these days. America has become a nation of poorly educated sheep, and many of the flock will soon follow those who Glenn Beck is warning us about, right over the edge of a cliff. Have fun!

  6. Glenn Beck should run for president I would love to live in his USA were everyone is judged on their merit not what college they went to and think they no better then the every day people out their holding the USA together

  7. Glenn says specifically, not to follow him. Do not take clips or statements and extract them from the body of a message to change the context. Instead watch the show and remember if you are not educating yourself by analyzing both sides you are not educated sufficiently. You are being led by one or the other and you wouldn’t even know. Does a deceived man know he is deceived? The answer is no every time. Anne said a lot about nothing but does appear to be a very talented and expressive writer. There is one problem though it is based on accusations and not facts. Watch 10 minutes of the show and you will see the error in her comprehension. She is smart enough to watch the entire show and know that she has accused and condemned a man wrongfully. That’s right he is not a scholar and is capable of making mistakes just like her. Glenn is genuinely concerned for this country he also encourages genuine core value debate. He is not always right or wrong, neither am I and neither is Anne. Please don’t lie about people it’s just wrong. Have a blessed day.

  8. Did you notice that your post is a little more recent than Anne’s or shiva’s. Some how they take the top of the page. This is propaganda 101. A nice little trick used by the Right and the Left. Control the message while making it appear that both sidess of the story have been debated without influence.

  9. You know what I would like to defend? Beck, who is the cess pool of the universe, I would like to defend the right of Mr. Cess Pool to OD on his illegally gotten oxycotin.
    C’mon Mr. Cess Pool, I mean Beck, do it, do it for me, do it for the world. G’wan take those 10 more pills. By the way I still hate Sarah Palin with a passion. While Mr. Cess Pool is at it, he can hand 10 or 15 of those pills to the female Anti-Christ, Sarah “duh, what does it say on my hand,” Palin.
    I wonder if Palin does do drugs, there has to be some reason why she is so incredibly stupid.
    Sorry to sound so hate filled, it’s just that I had a nightmare that Palin, otherwise known as the village idiot in Alaska, became president and Beck her vice. Vice is the right word, I still can’t stop shuddering.

  10. Allen, I don’t know how you can take the statement,

    “The things that have happened in this country where it really starts to wrong was the lead up to the Civil War, and it became politicized and it was all about slavery, before then we were moving on the right track” out of context. He’s saying that before the Civil War, we were MOVING ON THE RIGHT TRACK.

    Before the Civil War, not everybody owned slaves, this is true. But a Supreme Court Justice made it okay for white plantation owners to go and hunt down escaped slaves that had made it to different states and bring them back, subjecting men and women to horrific punishments for trying to win their freedom. Before the Civil War, children were separated from their families and sold. Blacks had no constitutional rights, and weren’t even considered people–only what, 2/3rds of person, put into the consitution to increase the population count in the South when deciding how many representatives to send to Congress. Before the Civil War, black people were beaten, starved, raped, and forced to work, with no legal ramifications to those inflicting the abuse. In what universe could these conditions possibly be considered to be “on the right track?”

    Even if Glenn Beck made any sense in the rest of his show, this one statement reflects how very out of touch he is, and how his intuitive leaps suggest that he needs to get out behind the microcphone and crack a book. Or visit Mt. Vernon, or Monticello, or ANY OTHER HISTORICAL SITE in the South to see how black people lived.

    Glenn Beck is probably not always wrong. But in this case his is offensively horribly, out of control over the line wrong. And you are wrong to defend him.

  11. In context, he was clearly talking about states’ rights vs federal government. Slavery was both a moral and a states’ rights issue; the Civil War started over states’ rights – slavery was one of those issues, and clearly was immoral. Beck isn’t defending slavery, and accusing him of doing so is clearly twisting his words.

  12. Hmmm, I didn’t hear Glenn use the word slavery once. Maybe that wasn’t what he was talking about here and Media Matters was just trying to make Beck look bad. But no, why get the full context, right? Let’s just assume Glenn Beck is a racist idiot because it’s so much easier and convenient.

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