If the Confederacy had won, would they have eventually abolished slavery?

If the Confederacy had won their independence in the American Civil War, would they have eventually moved to an industrial economy and ultimately abolished slavery? Slavery is a product of the invention of agriculture, but it occurs to me that there is nothing that makes slavery unworkable in an industrial society. However, given that no country in the world today has legal slavery (not counting de facto slavery), would international pressure, etc. have forced the South to give up slavery?


They wouldn’t have had a choice. Just as in every situation, you can hold men down for just so long before they find the strength from withing to straighten up, stiffen up their backs and fight back.

No Sir, the south would not have had a choice but to fight for their own lives had they won and kept slavery going. Remember, many slaves had already at that time started to kill their slave holders at an alarming rate.

BTW, Slavery is not a product of the invention of agriculture. It is man desiring to dominate any and all others.

This exact debate topic comes up about every year. If you search, you’ll find several other threads going into this in detail.

My apologies John. I only started truly reading and posting here a few months back even though I have been a member for sometime. I was just responding to an OP that I found interesting.

Thanks for your help. BTW, Clu, slavery is a product of the invention of agriculture. In a pre-agricultural society, taking captives was bad economically. Slaves represented another mouth to feed and what did you need them for anyway? You could send them out to get food for you, but then you would have to guard them. It seems to me that it would be much easier to go get the food yourself or have your women do it for you. With the invention of agriculture, slaves paid for themselves. As far as uprisings are concerned, the only successful slave revolt in history was in Haiti and it succeeded because the French had other fish to fry.

Thanks again,

I wonder if they might have phased it out by systematically shipping blacks to Africa.

Nope, I disagree completely. The domination part comes first before the actually decision to utilize their possession in the fields.

Here is one I started a few years ago:
How long would slavery have continued without the Civil War?

Interesting read. Seems the consensus was slavery was already decreasing by the time of the Civil War. It just was not a very economically viable system not to mention other pressures on the Confederacy. Sooner or later it would have collapsed, one way or another. More debate to be had on just when and how that might have occurred but most doubt it could have lasted past WWII at the outside.

Why do you say that? I mean, I assume you’re not just talking about the obvious fact that you have to take slaves before you can make them work. Why, would you say, do societies adopt slavery?

Societies did not out of the blue adopt slavery. Individuals do wrong and evil things and then find others of like mind for support. When they grow large enough as a group, their evil doings become law or the rule of the land.

People have historically taken slaves for personal self benefit, not out of a “desire to dominate” but a desire to make their lives better at the expense of someone else.

Simple greed is generally the answer to many questions concerning why humans do “bad things.”

I call it a desire to dominate.

Societies adopted slavery when they realized that life would be so much nicer if someone else tilled their fields. Why do you think it evolved out of some evil conspiracy?


So… you think people were taking slaves and just having them stand around because they had no use for them until someone went out and invented agriculture?

The concept that all people are equal is not a natural one to the human race. One group obtains more power and decides that it would rather another group, who aren’t really people like them, should do the work. So while you could call it a desire to dominate, they really didn’t see it as a desire to dominate other people, anymore than a farmer has a desire to dominate livestock just for the heck of it. Obviously, I’m not condoning it, but that was the mindset behind it.

Vox Imperatoris

Slavery is evil. People initially do not band together to perpetrate evil. It starts individually with one or 2 who start something evil, then others see that they are getting away with it, and they in turn join in and eventually it becomes the rule of the land/law, or the way of a people.

The individual seeking to take another as a slave needs first to dominate them, then forcibly utilize what to him then becomes a commodity.

Man took slaves to first dominate and have the slave do his bidding, whatever it was at the time. Some had slaves as footstools.

Are you claiming this happened prior to using slaves for agriculture? How do you know?


People band together to perpetrate evil all the time. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gangs, you wouldn’t have Enron, you wouldn’t have wars of conquest, you wouldn’t have systematic discrimination, you wouldn’t have price fixing, etc.

And slavery is one of those things you need to be organized to set up. I mean, I could as an individual grab you and force you to do things for me, and if I’m intimidating enough and you’re scared enough, you will. We know that sort of thing happens. But that’s not really safe for me if I’m just doing it on my own and my society has a problem with it, because then you have a lot of options. You could kill me, you could go to my neighbors and get help from them, you can go to whatever law enforcement agency exists in my community and get help from them. If my enslavement of you is seen by my community as evil, then I won’t get away with it and people won’t emulate me.

It has to work the other way around. The society has to decide that there are circumstances where slavery isn’t evil…maybe they decide it’s ok to enslave people who don’t pay their debts, or people of another race, or people of another tribe, or people they capture in war, or people who their neighbors already have enslaved, or whatever. The society has to decide that first, and it has to come up with rules for who it’s ok to enslave, how you can treat your slaves, what slaves can and can’t do. You can’t have slavery without a support structure for it.

Why do you have the idea that people naturally think things like slavery and rape of other groups of people are wrong? They don’t. Look at Roman legends and the story of the Rape of the Sabine women.

It is a modern idea, and a very good one, that everyone has natural rights and should be treated humanely.

Vox Imperatoris