Phi Beta Cons

Jamestown Revised

This issue of NR features my article on the Jamestown at 400 celebration, held a couple weekends ago in Virginia.

The kernel of its argument:

Self-government, free enterprise, religious freedom — Jamestown has long been remembered for these grand ideals, though they have never fully squared with historical fact. At least, however, they sound consonant with the eventual meaning of Jamestown. But in 2007 the commemoration’s purview has broadened beyond them: In performances and museum exhibits alike, Jamestown’s storyline now exists in threes-one European, one Virginia Indian, and another African. The mention of their coming-together has been on the lips of every dignitary from Queen Elizabeth to President Bush.

Two sides of this ethnic trinity make sense. But no matter how much the ugly history of southern plantation slavery may levy an emotional demand for their inclusion, Africans are clearly the odd group out.

Subscribers can read the details at NR/Digital.

Travis Kavulla is director of Energy and Environmental Policy at the R Street Institute. He is a former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners who held elected office as a Montana public service commissioner for eight years. Before that, he was an associate editor for National Review.