It wouldn’t be Independence Day without hot takes from the usual media suspects, and the Washington Post was no exception, taking a look at the global legacy of July 4, 1776, and noting that American independence from Britain helped further colonialism and slavery.

The opinion piece obviously mentions slavery in the United States as well as the displacement of indigenous peoples, but it also takes a look at the British Empire after the United States split away and determines that American independence made things worse.

Across the Atlantic, Britain responded to the loss of the 13 colonies by developing a “second,” much larger empire in Asia, Australia and Africa. Both the American and the British Empires post-1776 were structured by racial hierarchy, violence and a systemic devaluation of black and indigenous lives.

After America declared independence from Britain, both countries maintained powerful traditions of racism and violence that were distinct and interconnected. The Americans became agents of many of the same British ideas and practices that the colonists had challenged. The United States itself became an imperial power, extending its overseas empire in the last years of the 19th century….

The British and American empires mutually reinforced the notion that black and indigenous lives did not matter.

The entangled histories of British and American empire demand that we adopt a wider perspective on what is often framed as a domestic story about race and racism in the United States. After 1776, the United States remained part of an extended global system of white supremacy — one that continues with deadly consequences today.

So by splitting from Britain, the colonies began forging their own white supremacist empire, leaving the world with two.

Is it time to reconsider the global legacy of July 4, 1776?

We’ve heard there were some positive outcomes of the American Revolution — not in the Washington Post, of course. Maybe it’s time for journalists to reconsider all of the progress America has made undoing the wrongs of the past and give the USA some credit.


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