Bill O’Reilly Defends Slaves Building White House

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The first night of the DNC saw 500,000 more people tune in than the first day of the Republican National Convention. Monday saw Michelle Obama come to speak, and she was well received by people from both parties, temporarily silencing voices that were clashing between Bernie and Hillary. Michelle talked about how proud she was of her daughters, who live in a house that was build by slaves. It was a heartfelt moment, for everyone except some angry Republicans.

Via NYTimes: She said America’s story was “the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”

Is it true? Did slaves build the White House?

Via NYT: “If you think about it, it would be pretty obvious: The White House is a neo-Classical mansion that was built in the South during slavery, and a majority of the mansions that were built in the South during slavery used slaves,” Mr. Holland said in an interview.

Bill O’Reilly is not happy about the idea of slaves building the White House (slaves exclusively)

Via Politico: “Slaves that worked there were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802,” said the host of Fox’s “The Factor.”
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“So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well,” he continued.

O’Reilly continued his history lesson: “In addition, free blacks, whites, and immigrants also worked on the massive building. There were no illegal immigrants at that time. If you could make it here, you could stay here.”

“I just can’t get rid of that history teacher thing. You know what I’m talking about?”

Fact Check:

Via Snopes:WHAT’S TRUE: Recent research has uncovered that the majority of laborers responsible for the construction of the White House and other buildings in the U.S. capital were slaves.

WHAT’S FALSE: The White House wasn’t built exclusively by slaves, as other low-level laborers toiled on the project as well.

In June 2005, Congress commissioned a study [PDF] that looked into slave labor and Washington D.C.-area landmarks. In the foreword, U.S. Senate historianRichard Baker explained that it had been extremely difficult to uncover the details, because slaves were not considered important to the history of the United States at that time.

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