Kyle Rittenhouse Is an American

Kyle Rittenhouse Is an American

Our country’s legal history renders the teen’s case familiar if not inevitable. Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images In 1816, Andrew Jackson, then a general in the Army, took it upon himself to unilaterally invade Spanish Florida. His target was a fortified community of Choctaws, escaped slaves, and Black former British Royal Marines. Dubbed the “Negro Fort,” this community drew runaways from as far away as Virginia, infuriating Southern planters and inspiring fears of broader slave revolts. Jackson’s force of soldiers, Creek allies, and opportunistic settler militia accordingly leveled the place and sold the surviving Black people — regardless of their prior national citizenship or legal status — into slavery. When press and congressional critics of President James Madison questioned U.S. operations in Spanish territory, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams cited a letter from a Georgia plantation owner decrying “brigand negroes — a set of desperate and bloody dogs” who make “this neighborhood extremely dangerous to a population like ours” and proclaimed Jackson’s campaign an act of “national self-defense.” Two centuries and change later, Americans watch the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse , the 18-year-old from Illinois who last year took it upon himself to cross a border and patrol the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin during the unrest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Responding to a 911 call about a “domestic incident,” a white police officer shot Blake seven times in the back. As the community erupted and Gov. Tony Evers declared a State of […]

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