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-   -   Why did we free the slaves? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=875714)

Barack Obama 05-17-2019 10:28 PM

Why did we free the slaves?
 
Elaborate, what was the reason and incentive behind freeing slaves, and the north's tolerance towards refugee runaways, and people who would be considered slaves. Was there any particular reason, doesn't seem like the world really wanted to get it's shit together until hitler did his thing. So I imagine there was some incentive for the US to abolish slavery, and the north's tolerance towards slaves. I understand there was less of a need for slavery up north due to factories but that can't be the entire reason.

OldGuy 05-17-2019 10:32 PM

The US Congress outlawed the importation of slaves in 1808 which was the earliest date they could do that under the Constitution. The UK outlawed slavery in 1833. Why do you not think that at least part of the reason was that many people thought slavery was wrong and needed no other reason.

Loach 05-17-2019 10:32 PM

I know it’s hard to believe but some people thought slavery was a bad idea.

dtilque 05-17-2019 10:58 PM

Yes, and some even thought God was against it, even though you can find passages in the Bible that say slaves should be subservient to their masters.

Little Nemo 05-17-2019 11:12 PM

In addition to the obvious moral reasons for opposing slavery, there were some strong economic and political reasons. Slave labor was seen as the backbone of the Confederate economy; so offering freedom to Confederate slaves handicapped the CSA in the middle of a war it was fighting with the United States. (The British had offered freedom to American slaves for the same reason during the Revolution and the War of 1812.) And people at the time saw the slavery had become too divisive a political issue; by ending slavery, the American government prevented the possibility that it would need to fight another war over that same issue a generation later.

Loach 05-17-2019 11:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dtilque (Post 21649010)
Yes, and some even thought God was against it, even though you can find passages in the Bible that say slaves should be subservient to their masters.

The Quakers in particular were a driving force behind the abolitionist movement.

Darren Garrison 05-17-2019 11:43 PM

Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Lucas Jackson 05-18-2019 12:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Barack Obama (Post 21648994)
... what was the reason and incentive behind freeing slaves...

Because humans are not a hive mind and those among them with a strong moral compass opposed the factions who exploited other people cruelly and for selfish gains. It was the right thing to do and that alone was enough for them.

But you already knew that.

MEBuckner 05-18-2019 03:55 AM

Even people who did not believe in the equality of the white and black "races" might still think that slavery--buying and selling people at auction and tearing apart families--was fundamentally wrong on moral grounds. Even if many of those people didn't yet support immediate, unconditional, uncompensated abolition, their disapproval of slavery might incline them to support the Republican Party, which was an anti-slavery party at its core and was committed to keeping slavery from expanding, even if it was not (in 1860) proposing to march down and free the slaves in South Carolina and Mississippi.

In addition to moral concerns about the injustice of enslaving African-Americans, many Northerners were increasingly unhappy about what they saw as the threat to the republican system of government posed by the "Slave Power". In this view slavery was seen in terms of excessive concentrations of wealth and political influence in the hands of a small group of people who owned other people, and were thus likely to have the sort of mindset that made running roughshod over the rights of other people (perhaps even including their fellow white citizens) seem perfectly natural and proper--and whose concentrated wealth gave them the means to do just that. The often misunderstood Three-Fifths Compromise* meant that the Slave Power had a permanent advantage baked into the Constitution. (One could, of course, oppose slavery on the grounds of its injustice to the slaves and also fear the threat to republican values posed by the Slave Power.)

This point of view was pretty strongly reinforced when--in the eyes of a lot of Northerners--the Slave Power tried to destroy the country by breaking up the Union through unilateral secession because they lost a free election, and starting a huge and bloody civil war. From there, you eventually got around to the idea of striking at the root of the Slave Power by abolishing slavery, which would satisfy both the ethical impulse of opposition to slavery on the grounds of its injustice to the enslaved, and also destroy the Slave Power which many blamed for trying to destroy the Union.

*The Three-Fifths Compromise wasn't about "counting black people as three-fifths of a human being" or anything like that. Slave-owners would have preferred to count slaves as five-fifths, for the purposes of representation in Congress, and the non-slave-owners didn't want to count them at all. The Three-Fifths Compromise meant that the slave states had extra votes in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College, representing a class of people who--under the system of slavery--had no political rights and (unlike minor children) had no prospect of getting political rights in a few years when they were older.

ftg 05-18-2019 06:57 AM

Note that in the context of other economic events happening in the US, slavery hurt the South economically.

Compare a slave worker vs. an immigrant worker fresh off the boat.

A slave was a major initial investment but was cheaper to maintain.
An immigrant was zip initial investment (post-indentured servant days) but cost a bit more to maintain.

The North attracted most immigrants and boomed economically. Immigrants couldn't compete well with the existing slave economy in the South so they avoided it and the South stagnated compared to the North. (This all contributed to the South's anti-immigrant stance, something that continued with the KKK and into today.)

In Ken Burns' Civil War, there was a quote given about traveling on the Ohio River. The towns on the North side were bustling while the ones on the South side were moribund.

Throw in the immorality of slavery, etc., and it's pretty obvious that slavery was a chain around the South's neck, so to speak.

Mean Mr. Mustard 05-18-2019 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Loach (Post 21649000)
I know it’s hard to believe but some people thought slavery was a bad idea.

While this is true, there were plenty of abolitionists who took this stance not because they believed slavery was wrong, but because they did not want negroes of any sort in the U.S. and its territories.

In other words, stop importing blacks, there are already too many of them about.


mmm

Paul in Qatar 05-18-2019 07:21 AM

A fair question. An important one.

We freed the slaves because a couple of generations of crazy people ran money-losing newspapers and nutty preachers stood on soap boxes yelling at the crowds. The spent decades being chased out of towns. We freed the slaves because a bunch of idealists dedicated their lives to changing minds, and so the world.

Chronos 05-18-2019 07:43 AM

[Moderating]

The only possible factual answer to this question would be cites of contemporaneous abolitionists laying out their reasons why they, personally, opposed slavery. But the question has potential for much more scope than that. So I'll move it over to GD where it can realize that potential.

monstro 05-18-2019 08:13 AM

I like how it's "we" when it comes to freeing the slaves, but it's always "they" when it comes to owning them.

Who is this "we" we're talking about?

Manda JO 05-18-2019 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monstro (Post 21649317)
I like how it's "we" when it comes to freeing the slaves, but it's always "they" when it comes to owning them.

Who is this "we" we're talking about?

We white people, of course. You black people had nothing to do with it, being passive the whole time. Ironic, isn't it, that we got all the moral superiority in the end? Thank goodness it carries over the generations.

More seriously, you don't know how HARD it is for me to avoid exactly these constructions, and these implications, in class. I really am hyper aware of it and do my best, but the ingrained coding that the "we" of American History is Middle Class White People is so tough to shake.

Wesley Clark 05-18-2019 09:52 AM

I think Nemo has the right answer.
Slavery waa immoral and was banned via the courts or legislatures all over the north before the Civil War. However Lincoln was more concerned with the union than slavery. Eventually Lincoln realized abolishing slavery would help defeat the CSA, so he supported that.

monstro 05-18-2019 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manda JO (Post 21649419)
We white people, of course. You black people had nothing to do with it, being passive the whole time. Ironic, isn't it, that we got all the moral superiority in the end? Thank goodness it carries over the generations.

More seriously, you don't know how HARD it is for me to avoid exactly these constructions, and these implications, in class. I really am hyper aware of it and do my best, but the ingrained coding that the "we" of American History is Middle Class White People is so tough to shake.

Thanks for teaching your kids about this.

I have never heard a black person say, "We freed the slaves." We will use "we" in reference to the enslaved, but not in reference to the society that allowed the enslaving. So black people are guilty of the "we-ing" thing too. It's just not so...jarring.

Thudlow Boink 05-18-2019 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monstro (Post 21649317)
Who is this "we" we're talking about?

I was wondering that myself. I know I can't take any credit.

Railer13 05-18-2019 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard (Post 21649266)
...there were plenty of abolitionists who took this stance not because they believed slavery was wrong, but because they did not want negroes of any sort in the U.S. and its territories.

In other words, stop importing blacks, there are already too many of them about.

I have no reason to disagree with this assertion, but I don't think that I've heard this before. (If I have, I've forgotten...not unusual these days.) Anyway, a bit of Googling did not reveal anything that might support this statement. Are you talking about the American Colonization Society?

Can you provide a cite? Thanks.

Northern Piper 05-18-2019 12:02 PM

Plus, legal importation of slaves had stopped in 1808.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_Pr...tion_of_Slaves

Little Nemo 05-18-2019 12:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monstro (Post 21649317)
I like how it's "we" when it comes to freeing the slaves, but it's always "they" when it comes to owning them.

Who is this "we" we're talking about?

I wasn't around at the time so I can't claim any personal involvement. And back in the 1860's many of my ancestors were still living in Canada and Ireland. But some had already moved to America where they had settled in New England and New York. I've lived all my life in New York as did both of my parents.

So I don't self-identify with the Confederacy or the South. I guess as a life-long American citizen I tend to self-identify with the United States. And in the Civil War era, the United States fought against the Confederacy, defeated it, and ended slavery in America. So I think of that as something "we" did.

Gatopescado 05-18-2019 12:10 PM

It was the right thing to do, and a tasty way to do it.

Sage Rat 05-18-2019 12:44 PM

For the North, ending slavery didn't really impact them.

It's like in Japan, they love cool little devices that add new features. Japanese cellphones were way ahead of American ones for a decade before the iPhone hit (and it was, outside of the multi-touch feature, worse than Japanese phones from a hardware standpoint, I believe). But, at the same time as the Japanese love modernity, they don't have a modern kitchen. They were highly resistant to the introduction of diapers. In general, they don't want anything that would free up the time or workload of a house wife, because that would affect their lives in a significant, not trivial, way.

In the US, women didn't really stop being property of their husbands until ~1900, legally, and probably not in many practical senses for another few decades. It's not really until the 70s that women were really allowed to start having a career and their own life, without the permission and control of a man.

White or black, you have women in your life. Union or Confederate, however, the odds that you had a slave was quite different.

It's easy for a non-smoker to tell a smoker to stop smoking and to ban smoking. A group of smokers...they ain't going to vote for that law.

Mean Mr. Mustard 05-18-2019 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Railer13 (Post 21649535)
I have no reason to disagree with this assertion, but I don't think that I've heard this before. (If I have, I've forgotten...not unusual these days.) Anyway, a bit of Googling did not reveal anything that might support this statement. Are you talking about the American Colonization Society?

Can you provide a cite? Thanks.

I was a little surprised to learn this myself and found it interesting.

I cannot give an actual cite, but I can tell you I read about it in a biography of William Henry Harrison.


mmm

monstro 05-18-2019 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 21649565)
I wasn't around at the time so I can't claim any personal involvement. And back in the 1860's many of my ancestors were still living in Canada and Ireland. But some had already moved to America where they had settled in New England and New York. I've lived all my life in New York as did both of my parents.

So I don't self-identify with the Confederacy or the South. I guess as a life-long American citizen I tend to self-identify with the United States. And in the Civil War era, the United States fought against the Confederacy, defeated it, and ended slavery in America. So I think of that as something "we" did.

I have lived in the South almost my whole life. Many whites down here are schizoprenic wrt to "we". "We" fought the Union to defend "our" homeland, but "we" also fought the Indians, the British, the Japs, and Hitler. Also, these people are quick to say they don't owe the decendants of slavery nothing, since they weren't a part of that ancient business. But then they turn around and say "we" should be proud of "our" Southern heritage. Robert E. Lee and them all died for "us".

It is crazy making.


Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk

MEBuckner 05-18-2019 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard (Post 21649266)
While this is true, there were plenty of abolitionists who took this stance not because they believed slavery was wrong, but because they did not want negroes of any sort in the U.S. and its territories.

In other words, stop importing blacks, there are already too many of them about.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Railer13 (Post 21649535)
I have no reason to disagree with this assertion, but I don't think that I've heard this before. (If I have, I've forgotten...not unusual these days.) Anyway, a bit of Googling did not reveal anything that might support this statement. Are you talking about the American Colonization Society?

Can you provide a cite? Thanks.

Oregon was fundamentally a free state, and its constitution upon admission to the Union had the provision that
Quote:

Oregon Constitution of 1857, Article I, Section 34
Slavery or involuntary servitude.
There shall be neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude in the State, otherwise than as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.
But the next section read
Quote:

Oregon Constitution of 1857, Article I, Section 35
Restrictions on rights of certain persons.

No free negro, or mulatto, not residing in this State at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall come, reside, or be within this State, or hold any real estate, or make any contracts, or maintain any suit therein; and the Legislative Assembly shall provide by penal laws, for the removal, by public officers, of all such negroes, and mulattoes, and for their effectual exclusion from the State, and for the punishment of persons who shall bring them into the state, or employ, or harbor them.
Discussed in more detail at the Oregon Encyclopedia's article on Black Exclusion Laws.

Manda JO 05-18-2019 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monstro (Post 21649648)
I have lived in the South almost my whole life. Many whites down here are schizoprenic wrt to "we". "We" fought the Union to defend "our" homeland, but "we" also fought the Indians, the British, the Japs, and Hitler. Also, these people are quick to say they don't owe the decendants of slavery nothing, since they weren't a part of that ancient business. But then they turn around and say "we" should be proud of "our" Southern heritage. Robert E. Lee and them all died for "us".

It is crazy making.


Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk

It is. I never noticed until my second or third year teacher, when an African American lady I worked with mentioned how alienating it felt to sit in a history class where the teacher talked about "we" when discussing the Civil War. She was like "Who is this 'we'?" It seems so stupid now, but that was a complete epiphany to me. "White" is the unmarked case. It caused me to police my own language so much more carefully going forward, and to be aware of the fact that when I say "people", I often mean "white people".

Railer13 05-18-2019 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MEBuckner (Post 21649667)

Interesting. I'm quite sure that I've not ever heard of this before. Thanks for the information/cite.

So now I Googled 'black exclusion laws'. I learned that California was close to having such a clause in its new state constitution, although it was narrowly defeated. Ohio had laws and policies that discouraged Blacks from settling in the state. So although slavery was banned in 'free' states, prejudice and segregation were alive and well.

Kent Clark 05-18-2019 05:03 PM

Is "economics" still considered the academic explanation for slavery?

From a purely economic standpoint, the invention of the cotton gin and every agricultural advance after that, made slavery less and less profitable.

Mr. Miskatonic 05-18-2019 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kent Clark (Post 21649905)
Is "economics" still considered the academic explanation for slavery?

From a purely economic standpoint, the invention of the cotton gin and every agricultural advance after that, made slavery less and less profitable.

The cotton gin is what made slavery profitable. Without it, slavery would have probably wound down from the expense. Later agricultural developments, such as mechanized farming might have had an effect but we didn’t get to that stage before the Civil War happened.

Manda JO 05-18-2019 05:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kent Clark (Post 21649905)
Is "economics" still considered the academic explanation for slavery?

From a purely economic standpoint, the invention of the cotton gin and every agricultural advance after that, made slavery less and less profitable.

The argument that slavery wasn't profitable was pushed hard by southern historians in the mid-20th C. It was the academic face of the whole "Lost Cause" myth: slavery hadn't even been profitable! It was just a peculiar social structure that everyone was an equal victim of! And slaves were getting the better end of the bargain!

senoy 05-18-2019 06:21 PM

Largely it was religious arguments. Starting with Quakers, but spreading throughout various Christian groups, particularly in the North which has always enjoyed a more progressive Christian outlook.

Paul in Qatar 05-18-2019 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by senoy (Post 21649999)
Largely it was religious arguments. Starting with Quakers, but spreading throughout various Christian groups, particularly in the North which has always enjoyed a more progressive Christian outlook.

Yep.

LAZombie 05-18-2019 08:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monstro (Post 21649648)
I have lived in the South almost my whole life. Many whites down here are schizoprenic wrt to "we". "We" fought the Union to defend "our" homeland, but "we" also fought the Indians, the British, "the Japs", and Hitler. Also, these people are quick to say they don't owe the decendants of slavery nothing, since they weren't a part of that ancient business. But then they turn around and say "we" should be proud of "our" Southern heritage. Robert E. Lee and them all died for "us".

It is crazy making.


Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk


Is this language allowed? Shame on SDMB if it is.

Moriarty 05-18-2019 09:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LAZombie (Post 21650217)
Is this language allowed? Shame on SDMB if it is.

I think the board would take a dim view of a person calling another “a jap”, or even in referring to the Japanese as “japs”, but this was plainly a reference to the nomenclature of the 1940’s.

But I bet you knew that.

Mijin 05-18-2019 09:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar (Post 21649278)
We freed the slaves because a couple of generations of crazy people ran money-losing newspapers and nutty preachers stood on soap boxes yelling at the crowds. The spent decades being chased out of towns. We freed the slaves because a bunch of idealists dedicated their lives to changing minds, and so the world.

(bolding added)
I assume that you are just speaking poetically (that "the world" means external reality), or "we" means all the countries that abolished slavery.
Because the US was far from the first.

Moriarty 05-18-2019 09:51 PM

The answer, of course, is that it was obviously an odious and dehumanizing practice that was damaging to society. Anybody exposed to it would have to realize it. Slavery meant routine violence; it meant treating fellow people as property. And it meant a constant obsession with these things.

Slavery meant devoting considerable resources to guarding against the type of slave rebellion that marked Haiti, which creates a state of constant fear and agitation, in addition to expense.

And the standard of “slave”’ included the proverbial “one drop”, so many many slaves were not even that dark skinned. I read recently of a woman who escaped from George Washington, and she is described as having freckles! Think Mya Rudolph, perhaps. Today, we celebrate the beauty of people like Rashida Jones, but she would have been considered inherently inferior. Lots and lots of slaves were deemed mere property by a painfully ridiculous metric.

There were lots of slaves who were the the children of their masters; these kids would have looked like their fathers. How can that enslavemet not rot the proverbial soul?

Slavery is like societal sanctioned abuse. The people who lived it realized it, even as some continued trying to justify it.

XT 05-18-2019 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mijin (Post 21650242)
(bolding added)
I assume that you are just speaking poetically (that "the world" means external reality), or "we" means all the countries that abolished slavery.
Because the US was far from the first.

Sadly, we weren't the last either. I'd estimate we were in the middle of the pack wrt abolition of slavery, though of course something like slavery still continued on in many of the colonial empires far after it was officially abolished by many European nations (and, ETA, the US as well...plus Asia, the Middle East, and Africa).

As to the OP...I'm beginning to suspect he's not the real Barack Obama! :eek:

Asuka 05-19-2019 01:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by XT (Post 21650272)
Sadly, we weren't the last either. I'd estimate we were in the middle of the pack wrt abolition of slavery, though of course something like slavery still continued on in many of the colonial empires far after it was officially abolished by many European nations (and, ETA, the US as well...plus Asia, the Middle East, and Africa).

As to the OP...I'm beginning to suspect he's not the real Barack Obama! :eek:

Pretty much, European countries "abolished" slavery before the US did but it was very much in name only. In their African colonies you had legitimate slavery going on well until those countries gained their actual independence in the 1950's and 60's. Belgium officially abolished slavery in 1890 but then you still had the horrors of the Congo Free State going on until 1908. British and French colonies extensively utilized slave labor in their colonies in both the world wars due to "national emergencies" as well.

Mijin 05-19-2019 02:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Asuka (Post 21650396)
Pretty much, European countries "abolished" slavery before the US did but it was very much in name only. In their African colonies you had legitimate slavery going on well until those countries gained their actual independence in the 1950's and 60's. Belgium officially abolished slavery in 1890 but then you still had the horrors of the Congo Free State going on until 1908. British and French colonies extensively utilized slave labor in their colonies in both the world wars due to "national emergencies" as well.

"In name only" would imply no change, which I don't think is an accurate characterization.
Also "European countries" would include countries that were never engaged in the african (or asian) slave trade or did not continue owning slaves anywhere after abolishment. But yes, several countries did.

Mean Mr. Mustard 05-19-2019 06:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard (Post 21649266)
While this is true, there were plenty of abolitionists who took this stance not because they believed slavery was wrong, but because they did not want negroes of any sort in the U.S. and its territories.

In other words, stop importing blacks, there are already too many of them about.

mmm

Quote:

Originally Posted by Railer13 (Post 21649535)
...Can you provide a cite? Thanks.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard (Post 21649636)
I was a little surprised to learn this myself and found it interesting.

I cannot give an actual cite, but I can tell you I read about it in a biography of William Henry Harrison.

mmm

If anyone is still interested I pulled the book off the shelf and found the relevant passage:

Quote:

“Anti-slavery sentiment was not necessarily pro-African American; In fact, it was often quite the contrary. Many whites opposed slavery simply because they did not want blacks around.” - Robert M. Owens
There is a bit more info but this is the gist.


mmm

Little Nemo 05-19-2019 12:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ftg (Post 21649260)
The North attracted most immigrants and boomed economically. Immigrants couldn't compete well with the existing slave economy in the South so they avoided it and the South stagnated compared to the North. (This all contributed to the South's anti-immigrant stance, something that continued with the KKK and into today.)

In Ken Burns' Civil War, there was a quote given about traveling on the Ohio River. The towns on the North side were bustling while the ones on the South side were moribund.

Throw in the immorality of slavery, etc., and it's pretty obvious that slavery was a chain around the South's neck, so to speak.

I don't think it was slavery itself that caused the south's economic problems. Slavery made the plantation system possible and it was that system which hurt the south's economy.

The plantation system concentrated all capital into agriculture at a time when industrial manufacturing was taking off. The south basically decided to stay out of the part of global economy that was growing and, as a result, they got left behind.

And the plantation system concentrated most of the south's wealth into a small group of plantation owners, which left everyone else, white and black, relatively poor. Living in the south didn't just suck if you were black; it was also a bad place to live if you were white and didn't happen to own a plantation. The southern middle class was poorer than the northern middle class. And this resulted in white immigrants choosing to move to places outside the south (and it led to a lot of white southerners doing the same).

Kent Clark 05-19-2019 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moriarty (Post 21650237)
I think the board would take a dim view of a person calling another “a jap”, or even in referring to the Japanese as “japs”, but this was plainly a reference to the nomenclature of the 1940’s.

But I bet you knew that.

My wife, whose parents spent World War II in an internment camp in Colorado, will accept the use of "Jap" when it is clearly part of the nomenclature of that period, and used to refer to that nation across the Pacific who attacked us.

Any other use, and she would ask me to ask a mod for an insta-ban. Carry on.

Urbanredneck 05-19-2019 06:42 PM

Another thing, think about if you were a poor white person in the south, where could you get a job? Picking cotton? Nope. Only slaves. Be someones maid, butler, or take care of his horses? Nope, all slave work.

This has been brought up in other books where a person, say a new immigrant, opened a store and needed say a young boy to do deliveries. White boys were not allowed to do this so he would have to buy a slave.

Or think about a factory in the south. Many slave owners would loan out there slaves to the factories where they would work cheaper than white workers so putting the whites out of work or suppressing wages.

So some of the biggest abolitionists were poor white southerners.

WillFarnaby 05-19-2019 07:00 PM

There were plenty of arguments against slavery. The hardcore religious folk believed enslaved persons cannot seek salvation. They must be free to choose salvation.

Others wanted to prevent the spread of slavery into new territories so that the new territories would be all “white”.

Of course slavery would have persisted as it always had done absent the ideology of capitalism presenting new modes of vastly more efficient resource allocation.

Nava 05-20-2019 08:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manda JO (Post 21649419)
More seriously, you don't know how HARD it is for me to avoid exactly these constructions, and these implications, in class. I really am hyper aware of it and do my best, but the ingrained coding that the "we" of American History is Middle Class White People is so tough to shake.

Quote:

Originally Posted by monstro (Post 21649648)
I have lived in the South almost my whole life. Many whites down here are schizoprenic wrt to "we". "We" fought the Union to defend "our" homeland, but "we" also fought the Indians, the British, the Japs, and Hitler. Also, these people are quick to say they don't owe the decendants of slavery nothing, since they weren't a part of that ancient business. But then they turn around and say "we" should be proud of "our" Southern heritage. Robert E. Lee and them all died for "us".

It is crazy making.

It's an example of a very common tendency to include ourselves in good stuff but distance ourselves from bad: we did good, they did badly. "Look at what your child did!" never precedes a pretty picture. When the team we follow wins, "we won"; when it loses, "the team lost".


But yeah, it's important to avoid that emotional insertion whenever one is trying to be factual and those facts being recounted didn't really include one.

Kimera757 05-20-2019 08:34 AM

I read Voyage of the Beagle last year. Darwin was a racist. He generally categorized ethnic groups as "lower" based on their appearance, "character", and whether they had become Christian. This included blacks.

At one point in the journey, he came across a very large black slave and his master. The master raised his hand, causing the slave to think he would be struck or beaten (the master was just raising his hand for some random reason). Darwin was saddened that the slave, who could have beaten the master easily, had to live in such fear. Despite his generally low opinion of non-white races, he still saw slavery as wrong. He is not the only historical figure I had heard about who had racist feelings yet saw slavery as wrong.

Jasmine 05-20-2019 08:37 AM

Because enslaving another human being is morally reprehensible. They were kidnapped and torn away from their homeland, put in chains, overworked, underfed, raped, beaten, and murdered.

Little Nemo 05-20-2019 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WillFarnaby (Post 21651345)
Of course slavery would have persisted as it always had done absent the ideology of capitalism presenting new modes of vastly more efficient resource allocation.

This is nonsense. Slavery was justified by an extreme form of capitalism - the one which said that the right to own property outweighed all other liberty rights.

Capitalism didn't end slavery. Slavery was ended by government action which overrode capitalist interests.

senoy 05-20-2019 10:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WillFarnaby (Post 21651345)
There were plenty of arguments against slavery. The hardcore religious folk believed enslaved persons cannot seek salvation. They must be free to choose salvation.

Really? Do you have a cite for that? The early American abolitionists tended to be Quaker, but rooted their distaste for it in equality terms. For instance, Anthony Benezet opened his most famous tract with:
Quote:

The intent of publishing the following sheets, is more fully to make known the aggravated iniquity attending the practice of the Slave-Trade; whereby many thousands of our fellow-creatures, as free as ourselves by nature, and equally with us the subjects of Christ's redeeming grace, are yearly brought into inextricable and barbarous bondage; and many, very many, to miserable and untimely ends.
The clear indication is that they were redeemed even in slavery. Benezet spends most of his tract saying how God despises the "the groans, the dying groans, which daily ascend to (Him), the common Father of mankind, from the broken hearts of those his deeply oppressed creatures."

Or we can look at Benjamin Lay, perhaps the first great American abolitionist and he quite clearly says that slavery is sin due to its oppression of God's creatures:
Quote:

No greater sin Hell can invent, than to profane and blaspheme the pure and holy Truth, which is God all in all, and remove God's creatures made after his own Image [Gen. 1:26], from all the comforts of life, and their country and procure for them, and bring them into all the miseries that dragons, serpents, devils, and hypocrites, can procure and think of.
Or Ralph Sandiford who couches black freedom in the idea that humans are all one blood created by God
Quote:

And what greater injustice can be acted, than to rob a man of his liberty, which is more valuable than life, and especially after such a manner as this, to take a man from his native country, his parents and brethren, and other natural enjoyments... And take them amongst a people of a strange language, and unnatural climates, which is hard for them to bear whose constitutions are tendered by the heat of their native country; for God that made the world, and all men of one blood, that dwell upon the face of the Earth


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