The United States Didn’t Really Begin Until 1848

Forget 1619 or 1776—America's Origin Debate Has a California-Sized Blind Spot

America, you’ve got the dates wrong.

Your intense debate over which year marks the real beginning of the United States—1619 (slavery’s arrival) or 1776 (Declaration of Independence)—has become predictably polarizing. You might even say that this argument over how to understand our history, repeated ad nauseam in school board meetings and on cable TV, has come to resemble what this nation was like before California entered the Union:

Boring as hell.

If we want to find a compelling origin story for the country in which we actually live, then it makes little sense …