"America came along as the first country to end (slavery) within 150 years."

Katie Pavlich on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 in in a panel discussion

Conservative pundit gets schooled on history of American slavery after Fox News remarks

The east face of the Lincoln Memorial at sunrise on March 11, 2019. (AP Photo)

A proposal for the United States to pay reparations for its history of slavery is gaining traction among some Democratic presidential candidates.

After White House hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., offered tentative support for the idea, a panelist on Fox News’ Outnumbered expressed her view that the policy is misplaced.

"They keep blaming America for the sin of slavery. But the truth is that throughout human history slavery has existed," said conservative pundit Katie Pavlich. "And America came along as the first country to end it within 150 years. And we get no credit for that."

Either Pavlich is saying that America was the first country to end slavery, or the first country to end it within 150 years. Either read of history is wrong—and her attempt at a clean up also missed the mark. Pavlich declined to comment for this story.

Slavery in the United States began in 1619 with the arrival of a Dutch ship that carried 20 African slaves to the British colony of Jamestown, Va. Slavery continued through the nation’s founding in 1776.

President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation can be considered the beginning of the end of slavery in America, though slavery wouldn’t be formally outlawed across the United States until after the Civil War in 1865.

In terms of dates of abolition, Spain (1811, except Cuba), Portugal (1819, and later its colonies in 1858) and France (1848) are among the countries that banned slavery earlier.

Pavlich’s comments were panned on Twitter. In response to critics, the pundit amended her on-air comments. But that only led to more tweet-checks.

"Should have said one of* first countries, from the point of founding," Pavlich tweeted. "My argument stands, but please @soledadobrien please continue name calling as your argument and the smearing of America as the originator of slavery."

But that, too, got the facts wrong.

"Your argument still stands," Princeton historian Kevin Kruse tweeted, "but it’s still completely wrong."

Kruse listed more than a dozen countries that abolished slavery earlier in their country’s history than the United States did, including Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. Kruse told PunditFact that he compiled the historical data to rebut similar claims about slavery that have been made before. 

Our ruling

Pavlich said, "America came along as the first country to end (slavery) within 150 years."

The United States was not the first country to end slavery in terms of calendar year, and at least a dozen countries outlawed the practice earlier in their nation’s history than the United States did.

We rate this False.