Birthplace of Liberty Also Seat of Protectionism

There is a new law taking place that says that Philadelphia tour guides pass a test to ensure that they know history.


An unconstitutional law in the birthplace of the Constitution?

There is indeed, claim three tour guides who have taken issue with City Council’s attempt to ensure that they know their history.

The guides filed a federal lawsuit yesterday that seeks to knock down a new city tour-guide licensing law.

Brought with the backing of some tour operators, the suit argues that the law, which takes effect Oct. 13 and imposes fines of up to $300, violates tour guides’ First Amendment free-speech rights.

Part of me smells a protection racket while another suspects that the new law is to drive home a skewed history where political correctness takes center stage. By the way, on this Independence Day,  the order of the day around here is George Washington bashing.

Across Independence Mall on this Fourth of July, storytellers will entertain Philadelphia visitors with tales of the American colonists’ struggle for independence. Literally beneath their feet, though, an equally stirring story of another people’s quest for freedom waits to be told to a much wider audience.

It’s a disquieting narrative about how the first president quartered nine slaves in the nation’s first White House, a mansion at Sixth and Market Streets in the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Yet it’s also a saga of hope, telling how two of George Washington’s slaves escaped. Moreover, the seeds of the 20th-century’s civil rights struggle were planted nearby in a colonial-era settlement created by free African Americans.

The little-told chapter in United States history is being uncovered by archaeologists working near Independence Hall. Their legacy will be a fuller picture of the nation’s Founders. (That era was detailed this week in several Inquirer articles, now posted at go.philly.com/presidentshouse.)


2 Responses to “Birthplace of Liberty Also Seat of Protectionism”

  1. July 6, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Aw, come on, how else are our overlords going to ensure that the hasty history lesson you get aboard the Duck Boat is really the ‘official’ version? A sad, pathetic commentary on exactly how unfree Philadelphia has become in the past 232 years.

  2. July 6, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    And how the F***K can archeologists definitively prove that George Washington kept slaves at 6th and Market in Philadelphia, when the best previous scholarship I had read was that he owned no slaves, and the handful of slaves at Mt.Vernon belonged to his wife, and were manumitted upon the couple’s deaths? Washington was no saint, but come on, this is ridiculous.

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