I no longer compare Donald Trump and his movement to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. It is not appropriate. It is also not accurate.
In the United States, the enemy has always been the Confederacy and its supporters. And judging by recent events inCharlottesville,Charleston and other places, nothing has changed.
The Confederates were not always called that. They started out as the Founding Fathers, freedom fighters who only deemed the Africans they owned as “human” enough to allow the enslavers to use them to garner more votes. This proportional voting was the genesis of the Electoral College.
The Confederates evolved and took seats on the United States Supreme Court, where they ruled in the 1857 Dred Scott Case, where Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote that Blacks had “…no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.”
Several Southern newspapers, declaring victory, said, “The Southern opinion upon the subject of Southern slavery is now the supreme law of the land.”
It was not uncommon for the scientific community in those days to use enslaved Africans, regarded as animals who felt no pain, as live guinea pigs for medical experimentation. James Marion Sims, referred to known as the “father of modern gynecology,” developed a surgical technique to address the issue of complications of obstructedchildbirths. He used enslaved women as subjects because, in his view, unlike blacks, White women were unable to stand the pain involved.
This disregard for Black life extended well into the last century. The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service, monitored the progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Alabama under the guise of offering free health care.
When the nation decided to move away from the practice of slavery, those who were encouraged by the Scott Decision sought to break away from the U.S., form their own nation, and base it on the bedrock belief in genetic superiority.
In their articles of secession, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia stated their defense of slavery, and their belief in their own genetic superiority, as justification for creating a new country.
Texas summed up the Southern sentiment: “We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.”
During the Civil War, Confederate supporters murdered Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States. After the end of the Civil War, though defeated, the Confederates pressed on, dismantling gains made by Blacks during Reconstruction and establishing White Supremacist groups, most notably the Ku Klux Klan.
The Freedmen’s Bureau was created with a mandate to protect Blacks from a hostile Southern environment. It also sought to keep Blacks in their place as laborers in order to allow production on the plantations to resume so that the South could revive its economy.
Constitutional conventions held in 1865 in Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia all included language to “guard them and the State against any evils that may arise from (Blacks’) sudden emancipation.”
Southern Whites perceived Black vagrancy as a sudden and dangerous social problem. Black Codes restricted the rights of newly liberated African Americans to own property, conduct business, buy and lease land, and move freely through public spaces.
In response, Confederate sympathizers began erecting monuments glorifying Confederate icons as heroes as they continued unapologetically to promote White racist ideology.
President Woodrow Wilson, who screened the D.W. Griffith film Birth of a Nation in the WhiteHouse, completed the unravelling of Reconstruction by purging every Black employee on the rolls of the federal government in Washington.
In 1934, less than two years after Adolf Hitler became Germany’s chancellor, Nazi lawyers met to create the Nuremberg Laws, the basis for anti-Jewish legislation. Central to their discussion were U.S. race laws and customs. The Third Reich debated using a form of Jim Crow segregation against Jews and other non-Aryans. They noticed that 30 U.S. states had outlawed interracial marriages, and how states determined who counted as “Negro” or some other “subhuman” category based on the “One Drop” rule.
Donald Trump is not in the tradition of Hitler, rather he is just the latest in a long line of White Supremacists. Just another Confederate.
Nazi policymakers drew inspiration from the United States. In his 1925 manifesto, Mein Kampf, Hitler applauded the U.S. as “the one state” making progress in creating a healthy racist society.
The United States isn’t learning from Adolph Hitler. Adolph Hitler learned from the United States.