Newt Gingrich Goes to the Congo

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Newt Gingrich isn’t ashamed to tout his background as a historian, but few Americans probably know that he received his history PhD for a dissertation about the Belgian Congo. Foreign Policy‘s Joshua Keating has read Gingrich’s 1971 dissertation, “Belgian Education Policy in the Congo: 1945-1960,” and reports that he found the young Gingrich’s attitude toward colonialism to be “remarkably benign, often drifting into ‘White Man’s Burden’ territory.” Morehouse poli-sci professor and Congo expert Laura Seay drew a similar conclusion after she read the thesis, which Gingrich appears to have written without setting foot in the former Belgian colony (then Zaire).

Hearing of Gingrich’s paper reminded me of another apology for colonial Congo: Tintin au Congo (Tintin in the Congo), a notoriously racist comic book starring the beloved Belgian boy reporter. First published in the early ’30s, it was later mildly revised but went unpublished in English for decades. It remains a stain on the career of its creator, Hergé, as well as that of his soon to be even more famous protagonist. (A Belgian court recently rejected an attempt to have it banned for being racist.)

Anyway, that got me thinking, what would happen if boy historian Newt “Gingin” Gingrich ventured into Tintin’s world? (All substantial quotes in the mashup below are from Gingrich’s dissertation.)     

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate