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Didn't the ancient Greeks do so (especially the Spartans), as well as some of the Romans? The catch here of course is the antebellum treatment getting progressively worse...


Turin the Mad wrote:
Didn't the ancient Greeks do so (especially the Spartans), as well as some of the Romans? The catch here of course is the antebellum treatment getting progressively worse...

IIRC the late Spartan period was pretty bad for those on the bottom too. At worst merely standing out could result in being killed.


Grey Lensman wrote:
Turin the Mad wrote:
Didn't the ancient Greeks do so (especially the Spartans), as well as some of the Romans? The catch here of course is the antebellum treatment getting progressively worse...
IIRC the late Spartan period was pretty bad for those on the bottom too. At worst merely standing out could result in being killed.

Spartans waged wars on the helots. There is discussion if the helots should be qualified as slaves or serfs, but still, every year a groups of armed Spartan youths went and killed the strongest ones to prevent possibility of rebellion.


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CBDunkerson wrote:
Coriat wrote:
I tend to be fairly skeptical of arguments that place a great deal of emphasis on slavery per se retarding industrial development. Maybe it has some effect, but it has seemed to me that there are too many examples in history - ancient and modern - of successful employment of slave labor in manufacturing, industrial, or proto-industrial pursuits.
As I see it, the biggest problem is in rate of innovation. By keeping a large portion of your population in uneducated squalor you are essentially eliminating any chance of them developing new technologies... leaving a smaller free population to do so at a slower rate than if everyone were able to contribute. The increasing rate of technological advancement from the Dark Ages up to now has been a direct result of an ever growing educated population. Of course, this is really a difference in education rather than freedom, but it'd be difficult to keep a highly educated population enslaved.

Like many theories about history, I think this one succumbs to the concept of the "simple answer", relying on one factor, even as the primary factor, to explain something.

The increasing technological advancement has many causes, one of which is an educated population. Technology itself is the other great cause and there is no quantifiable way to measure which has a greater effect.

Advancement comes from building on the shoulders of those who came before you. To do that you have to learn what they learned (education), but you also need a way to gain that information. The printing press made it possible to distribute larger numbers of books. The railroad (and later other means of travel) meant you go find better teachers more easily. The telegraph (and later other means of communication) meant people could spread information even more quickly. The internet means people can work together from across the globe.

In addition, if you look at our society there is already a multi-tiered system for access to education. Jim Crow laws, while not explicitly slavery, certainly did everything they could to maintain that structure of society. Even now, the majority of black people live in poor communities, lack access to education and are at best used as cheap labor, if they're in prisons the labor is basically free.

From 1882 to 1946, zero white people were ever charged with a crime in connection with lynching. The records we have show 4,742 people were lynched. From 1946 on, only 25 people were lynched. This means that roughly 4,717 people were lynched without fear of repercussion.

WARNING: possibly disturbing photo
If that isn't an oppressive society, I don't know what is.

Would things have been more oppressive in a legal slavery society? Yes. But at this point, you're just arguing a matter of degree, not a free/open vs oppressive.

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Irontruth wrote:
Would things have been more oppressive in a legal slavery society? Yes. But at this point, you're just arguing a matter of degree, not a free/open vs oppressive.

I agree, but you are still defining the 'slavery / poverty' condition in terms of limiting access to education and opportunity. Basically, yes a culture can advance technologically while having slavery and/or poverty... my argument is simply that it will not advance as quickly as a culture which does not have those limitations.

China had access to the printing press, railroads, telecommunications, et cetera... but so long as they had a billion peasants they went nowhere in terms of productivity and technological advancement. Now that they've got a billion factory workers they've moved up one step on the 'slavery / poverty' ladder, productivity has soared, and you are starting to see them developing new technological advancements (e.g. in solar power).

Same thing with India. Same thing when public education was introduced in the United States. Et cetera. Limiting opportunities for a large portion of a population inherently limits advancement of that society as a whole.


CBDunkerson wrote:


As I see it, the biggest problem is in rate of innovation. By keeping a large portion of your population in uneducated squalor you are essentially eliminating any chance of them developing new technologies...

Much easier to just swipe new tech than to make it.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Would things have been more oppressive in a legal slavery society? Yes. But at this point, you're just arguing a matter of degree, not a free/open vs oppressive.
I agree, but you are still defining the 'slavery / poverty' condition in terms of limiting access to education and opportunity. Basically, yes a culture can advance technologically while having slavery and/or poverty... my argument is simply that it will not advance as quickly as a culture which does not have those limitations.

My point is that your hypothetical legal slavery America isn't that much different from non-slavery America.

From 1880-1950 we really didn't treat African-Americans much differently than we did before the civil war. Once Reconstruction ended, plantation owners basically treated them the same, except they didn't have to house them any more.

Your argument that changing the name from Jim Crow to Slavery would have seen a dramatic decline in technological advancement is highly suspect IMO.

Also I suspect you're looking at post-Civil War United States with far too rosy glasses.


With regard to slavery and education, the two are not inherently opposed. They often seem so because we usually think of education as involving lots of books and schools and probably most people have some idea that slaves were not supposed to be able to read. But slaves could receive kinds of education, usually a bit like what we'd call vocational ed. You usually had to be a little lucky to get the chance, but an enslaver might arrange for a slave to take an apprenticeship with a white artisan (mechanic in 19th century terms) or assign one to an enslaved craftsperson. There were quite a few slave blacksmiths and carpenters, for example. For the enslaver, this had two benefits. It made his operation somewhat more self-sufficient and thus less dependent on having cash to buy off the consumer market and it increased the sale value of the slave should the enslaver need to free up some wealth. Some enslavers bought people with the intention of training them up and resale at profit.

The education a slave might receive wouldn't make him or her into a physicist, but it could yield up Thomas Edison style inventiveness. They wouldn't have had the same luxury to experiment, most likely, but that still left open the chance for direct, practical innovation. It's likely that Eli Whitney got the cotton gin from just such a slave innovation. Slaves couldn't patent things and there's a good chance that Whitney's main contribution was "let's put a motor on that".


Thomas edison got more than a little of his inventiveness from having a shop in menlo park full of inventors and artisans working for him, so that he owned everything that came out of the shop and took all the credit. Like most myths of great self made geniuses rising to great wealth, there's a pile of unknown people holding them up.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Thomas edison got more than a little of his inventiveness from having a shop in menlo park full of inventors and artisans working for him, so that he owned everything that came out of the shop and took all the credit. Like most myths of great self made geniuses rising to great wealth, there's a pile of unknown people holding them up.

That's true. I meant Edison in the sense of not a lot of formal schooling and lots of tinkering than Edison the mythical lone inventor genius.

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Irontruth wrote:

My point is that your hypothetical legal slavery America isn't that much different from non-slavery America.

Your argument that changing the name from Jim Crow to Slavery would have seen a dramatic decline in technological advancement is highly suspect IMO.

Also I suspect you're looking at post-Civil War United States with far too rosy glasses.

At which point I can only conclude that you have mistaken me for someone else... because none of that bears even the slightest resemblance to anything I have said or believe.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

My point is that your hypothetical legal slavery America isn't that much different from non-slavery America.

Your argument that changing the name from Jim Crow to Slavery would have seen a dramatic decline in technological advancement is highly suspect IMO.

Also I suspect you're looking at post-Civil War United States with far too rosy glasses.

At which point I can only conclude that you have mistaken me for someone else... because none of that bears even the slightest resemblance to anything I have said or believe.

You're saying that if America were still using the system of slavery, that the oppressive nature of our culture would stifle innovation.

Is that an incorrect summation of your point?


Well, while I agree that the conditions for the majority of black Americans under Jim Crow wasn't much better than under slavery, I think it's important to point out that poor education wasn't simply a condition of life for the slaves in the antebellum South. There wasn't much public education for poor whites under slavery, either.

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Irontruth wrote:

You're saying that if America were still using the system of slavery, that the oppressive nature of our culture would stifle innovation.

Is that an incorrect summation of your point?

Umm... incorrect summation?

I have not said ANYTHING about America's system of slavery.

Nor "hypothetical legal slavery America". Nor anything about "changing the name from Jim Crow to Slavery". Nothing.

So, no your 'summation' of my meaning on topics I never mentioned is NOT correct. Rather it appears to be an exercise in creative fiction.


CBDunkerson wrote:
By keeping a large portion of your population in uneducated squalor you are essentially eliminating any chance of them developing new technologies... leaving a smaller free population to do so at a slower rate than if everyone were able to contribute.

So, you didn't say this on the last page?

I can link it if that helps.

BTW, you said it in response to someone who was skeptical that the continued existence of slavery would have impacted industrial development (aka, technological advancement).

If I'm misunderstanding, please feel free to provide your own summary. A simple couple of lines would be helpful to avoid too much meandering and make it easier for me to respond with a rewording to make sure I understand it correctly.


Re: agrarian ideals, I don't think agrarian ideals by themselves had the power to put brakes on industrialization. If they did, the North wouldn't have industrialized either.

More sheer profit in cotton than in manufacturing? That might have done it. But there were new cotton lands opening up anyway, with Russians in Central Asia, British building railroads into India, and the Suez Canal on the horizon. So I think the Southerners might have had to deal with more competition and falling cotton profits, anyway. I could see the agrarian-profit brake on industry weakening, even if slavery continued.

I will say that the Southerners who cared about industry often envisioned a slave-powered industrial future for themselves.

I didn't really intend to veer this far into speculation, though, actually. At first I had intended my point to bear more on the prewar South and to debate the role that slavery played in the South's non-industrialization.

So I will also say that I think the structure of the international economy before the war made the South agrarian, as much or more than the local labor system. You had a great international demand for cotton, and (for a while) only one big cotton belt with reasonably developed infrastructure and accessibility. I think in that situation, that area would have found it profitable to be agrarian and cotton-growing, slaves or no.

------

Re: technological stagnation, again, while there may be some effect, I think history furnishes examples of nations making adequate technological progress while deploying large-scale slave labor, so I would not overstate the importance there, either.

Turin the Mad wrote:
Didn't the ancient Greeks do so (especially the Spartans), as well as some of the Romans? The catch here of course is the antebellum treatment getting progressively worse...

I've posted on this topic before (after third quote block), but the ancients didn't really spend their time making slavery cushy either. 'Greco-Roman slavery wasn't as harsh!' is another one of these arguments I'm skeptical of, and as a classicist, that one does fall into my field directly.


Which is why I phrased it as a question. Inquiring minds!


Did some skimming of articles on the "New South" and its attempts to industrialize at the turn of the 20th century. Apparently, it was pretty much a bust.

According to a paragraph summarizing C. Vann Woodward's The Origins of the New South it largely fell apart because the Redeemers were too busy maintaining white supremacy. Another article pointed out that most of the industrial enterprises started then were owned by Northern financiers. The American Tobacco Company, out of North Carolina, seems to be the lone exception.

According to some article about "The Second Industrialization of the American South" on some commie website, there was another spurt of industrialization in the forties--mainly Cold War armaments manufacturing in urban areas like Charleston and Norfolk and, then, later, starting in the sixties or so, Northern companies started moving shop down South, essentially to bust the unions. That article made a great deal about most of Southern manufacturing being located in what the article calls "historically, either northern Butternut belt or southern yeoman upcountry locales," where, among other things, the population had been well-versed in anti-unionism. (Can't help but quote Vance Muse, the founder of the Right-to-Work campaign in Houston in the thirties: ""From now on, white women and white men will be forced into organizations with black African apes whom they will have to call ‘brother’ or lose their jobs." )

So, they got there eventually, anyway.


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I also have a History degree...though I got it a long while ago and now am more involved with the field of law (so, many years of legal wrangling, which involves a lot of research into historical items, but of a completely different take and approach then the study of history).

In addition, my field of focus was NOT the American Mid 19th century. Mine was the crusades. I'm probably out of my depth.

I will play the devils advocate in the thread to a degree though...so it's not completely uncontested (plus, as some may have noticed, I occasionally play the DA simply so people think about things rather then simply accept things as the status quo, it's good to question everything...as long as it isn't something of whether you need to be good or evil).

In that vein, now that you know where I'm coming from...

I had an education in the South. I was tested on the items of whether the War of Northern Aggression was over slavery or whether it was over states rights. If you answered it was over slavery, you would flunk the test.

A good comparison today would be the rights of Gender and orientation. If a war were to break out in the US over Gender and Orientation, would we say the cause of the war was homosexuality? Or would we say it was over religion? Or would we say it was over states rights?

I'm almost positive most of the declarations today would mention something about Gay marriage being offensive and that is why they were having a secession. However, though it may appear on the surface that the war was over Gay Marriage...in truth it would be more in regards to religion and the view that the constitution does not grant the Federal government the right to exert it's laws over that of the states in regards to Marriage and religious freedom as per church separation from the state.

I don't bring this up to take a position on this current debate (and I'm definitely NOT encouraging conversation on it), but using a current hot topic in the US which, if it caused a war by the differing views...to show that such matters can be FAR more complex, even if the stated means of that complexity seems simple.

The above example is MERELY THAT, and EXAMPLE. In it I show the conflict of interests, why the side that chooses states rights may believe that, and how their thought process is working. I am NOT taking the side that this is the correct (or incorrect) opinion, nor am I saying there is or will be a civil war over the matter. It's merely an illustration to help one understand the Southern thought from the 19th century in comparison to similar thoughts of people with similar views today.

So, a war over the matter today (and interestingly enough, the states of the opposing view of this matter seem to correlate closely to those same states and the sides they took in the Civil War) could have very similar parallels to that between slavery and states rights in the 19th century.

Now, reverting from the example to help understand the complexity of the matter by using a modern day hot topic...to that of the 19th century concerns of the US...I'll relate what I was taught in school in regards to this matter.

Was Slavery dying in the South. Absolutely. it WAS dying...UNTIL...a certain inventions sparked a technological revolution in agriculture in the south and reinvigorated the use of slavery. One of these items was the cotton gin. It increased the productivity and profitability of cotton, and hence the usage of slaves in it's growth, cultivation, separation, and usage increased rather than decreased.

This and other inventions that fueled a major agricultural revolution in the south separated the South and the North in several ways. First off, while the south was growing more dependant on RAW materials such as that from crops in agriculture, the North was having a technological revolution in other ways. It would take the raw materials in manufacturing and make many things out of it. For example, it would manufacture clothing from the cotton it got from the South.

This impacted the differences in how their economy worked. The South would have to export all of it's production, whilst the North would import many of the Raw materials. While the South would export many items to other nations (such as Britain), the North would import many items from those same nations.

Hence, if the North wanted to increase taxes on exports, and decrease them on imports...it directly affected the North differently then the South. What was beneficial to the North in the import/export taxes were many times the exact opposite of what would impact the South.

Now, there were voting blocks for the North and the South. Typically, any Slave State would be part of the Southern voting block, and the Non-Slave States would be part of the Northern voting block. This voting was kept at an equality for each side. Each wanted the advantage over the other. The Slavery/Anti-Slavery thing was not merely a matter of whether you owned slaves or not, but was literally more of a definition of which voting block you were part of.

In fact, only around 10% of the population in slave states owned slaves, and in many slave territories it came close to 0% (for example, Utah was a slave territory that had VERY few slaves). It wasn't slavery that put them in common, but the definition of a slave state that bonded them into that voting block.

When you see the definition of slave state of non-slave state, it does not necessarily mean that the state had an abundance of slaves, or even supported slaves by the majority. What it typically meant was what side of the political spectrum they were on.

The slaves states tended to be on the conservative side of the political spectrum, and voted as such...while the non-slave states tended to be on the liberal side of the spectrum, and voted as a block.

Hopefully, this points out that this wasn't a slave owner vs. non-slave owner thing, but actually more of a matter of money and politics (and that's what a LOT of things eventually boil down to).

I will further elaborate. The fear was never that slavery was going to be abolished. That was nonsense. Even though Lincoln was part of what was known as the abolitionist party (the Republicans), the idea of abolishing slavery throughout the US was not an overly popular one at the time. What was more concerning was the POLITICAL power that was at stake.

These voting blocks were very important at the time (and if you follow politics, the conservative and liberal voting blocks are still important in OUR time). The view of slave or not slave was a political faction, and the idea was that these political factions needed to be kept equal lest one side should gain power over the other.

The fear was that this balance of power was already lopsided in favor of the non-slavery voting block which enabled taxes that favored the non-slavery states and territories over the slave states and territories. Furthermore, there were fears (just like today) that there were many powers that the government was taking that were not reserved to it by the Constitution. Things such as religious freedom, freedom in regards to consumption of goods, things that by the 10th article of the bill of rights were reserved for the states rather than by the Federal government. Ideas such as a standing professional army over rode the ideas of a well organized militia and state militias.

Other ideas such as that states could have state religions, state creeds, and were independent of the Federal government in every way except if explicitly stated in the Constitution.

The fear was not about slavery itself, but that if the Northern voting blocks, or the non-slave state voting blocks got more power, and had enough votes they would make it so that the Federal government could override the States governments at any time.

This was directed towards Lincoln. He did not have a platform to abolish slavery (though his party did)...his was more towards garnering more power to the non-slave state voting block which would enable a more uneven application of taxation and a consolidation of Federal power.

The idea was that if he became president, he would block any more negotiations of equality of political power between the slave and non-slave voting blocks, in favor of allowing non-slave states into the Union and barring slave states from entry. This, as far as political power and money was not something the slave states could tolerate.

When they declared their freedom from the Union, the Confederacy was testing two items. The first, the ability to utilize the power of the states over that of the Federal Government, and secondly, that of their consolidation of an alliance between their own states (or confederation between themselves) for political and monetary gain.

The term slavery was not simply a reference to slaves...as most didn't even possess slaves and had NO desire to go fight for another mans slaves, but a term of political and economic power and unification between a separate and distinct conservative base in opposition to a more liberal political and economic base. It was well understood at the time what these terms meant...and everyone understood that this was a matter of states rights vs. Federal rights...as it was between the slave states and the non-slave state voting blocks.

This is why Lincoln did NOT reference slavery in his discussion of the War, but that it was a matter of Federal rights and states rights as well. It was for the Unity of the nation rather than to do away or force abolition of the slaves.

Furthermore, when looking at the individuals who voted on the measures and their reasonings behind it, we soon see that when they discuss the matter of slavery they are NOT referring to the institution of slavery itself, but of the voting block and political power of the slave state political and economical situation vs. that of the non-slave political situation...and how in this matter the Union had overstepped it's federal rights and this was their attempt to preserve the 10th amendment rights that they supposedly were given under the Constitution.

Lee himself was seen as an abolitionist at times, and at least anti-slavery. Why would such a man go and join the Confederacy? Because the war was not simply over the institution of slavery, but over the rights of the states to govern themselves vs. that of the Federal government.

He stated, of the war itself

Quote:


All that the South has ever desired was that the Union as established by our forefathers should be preserved and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth.”

Also of quote, that encapsulates what the South saw as the slavery vs. non-slavery idea regarding the institution of slavery vs. the view of slave state voting blocks vs. non-slave state voting blocks can be seen in this very statement

Quote:


Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision… It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.”
Maj. General Patrick R. Cleburne, CSA, January 1864

And even those in England saw the view of which the South was fighting for at the time, in regards to the real matters at hand...

Quote:

The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states.”
Charles Dickens, 1862

And finally

Quote:


The real issue involved in the relations between the North and the South of the American States, is the great principle of self-government. Shall a dominant party of the North rule the South, or shall the people of the South rule themselves. This is the great matter in controversy.”
Robert Barnwell Rhett (Montgomery, Alabama, 1860)

Quotes taken from Quotes

As the South lost, these statements came true, the North Did write the history...and today many have lost the real reasons the south fought the war. In truth, the question of States rights vs. Federal rights that so many ask today was answered in that war. This is why the Federal government can mandate laws throughout the US today, because the question of whether it had the power to do so was answered by the resolution of the Civil War.

In addition, though Texas has held that it can leave at any time, it cannot, as it tried to do this as well during the civil war...and as we see...it was brought back to the Union by force. Perhaps PA may still have claim...but I think the Civil war answered what will happen if it should try at a future time.

In addition, many of the things regarding state rights that are utilized today are the same questions that were asked by the South right before and during the Civil War...questions that have already been answered over a century ago and should not need to be reappraised today.

In fact, the parallels of the current items by conservatives today are so direct in how similar they are to those of the US in the 19th century, it is surprisingly similar. They should take note however, of the terrible consequences if those thoughts take action and are followed through, as the Civil war (or War of Northern Aggression in the South) was one of the bloodiest and most terrible wars ever waged by and in the US.

PS: And that's my DA argument...I would like to make it clear though, even though I had many a Southern professor that literally taught what I've posted above...I myself fully agree the war was truly only about Slavery, or at it's heart, it was the institution of slavery that was the cause. However...perhaps this will cause people to think and see that the idea of it merely being over slavery may not be as simple as we perceive, and the actual fact of the matter leads to a more complex background than that portrays. In addition, as I said, my historical focus was the crusades...so I'm basing this off the Southern Professors teachings and not my specialty in the matter.


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So when the South explicitly fought to preserve slavery, they didn't really mean it?

As another person educated in the South, I'm pretty comfortable with stating that our education on the Civil War was utter garbage.

(As I'm now thinking of how my history class pretty much glossed over the South's misdeeds to endlessly extol how horrible the North was during Reconstruction - a book just outright slanted at trying to make us sympathetic to the South.)

(Aside: honestly, a lot of US history education is utterly skewed garbage.)

Edit: And as to "the North did write the History" - only in the North.

The South's been whitewashing its image for 150 years now.

Here's a link to one of Lee's letters claiming that slavery is for the good of the black people and that trying to prematurely end slavery is unChristian.

Robert E. Lee, G+$@!%n Monster wrote:
The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race, and will prepare them, I hope, for better things.

Abolitionist my ass.


On a non-slavery note, during a trip to Bermuda a couple of years ago the many forts they have there make mention of the panic that swept Britain after the ironclads fought. It spurred a major building/modernization effort in Bermuda (as the U.S. and the British Empire weren't really on the best of terms at that time).


The difference between slavery and workers isn't just the conditions now, its the ability to improve those conditions. How would we have gotten to the 40 hour work week if you owned your workers and could kill them with impunity for striking? (as opposed to killing them for striking that the pinkertons did...)

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Irontruth wrote:

So, you didn't say this on the last page?

I can link it if that helps.

I said that. It clearly does not contain ANY of the offensive things you claimed it did.

Quote:
If I'm misunderstanding, please feel free to provide your own summary.

If you read what I wrote rather than what you imagined, you might have noticed that I already did;

"Basically, yes a culture can advance technologically while having slavery and/or poverty... my argument is simply that it will not advance as quickly as a culture which does not have those limitations."


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
stuff

Yes. You were educated in the south.


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Zhangar wrote:

(Aside: honestly, a lot of US history education is utterly skewed garbage.)

this is also true.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

So, you didn't say this on the last page?

I can link it if that helps.

I said that. It clearly does not contain ANY of the offensive things you claimed it did.

Quote:
If I'm misunderstanding, please feel free to provide your own summary.

If you read what I wrote rather than what you imagined, you might have noticed that I already did;

"Basically, yes a culture can advance technologically while having slavery and/or poverty... my argument is simply that it will not advance as quickly as a culture which does not have those limitations."

Okay, so I'm going to restate it. This is something I do to help ensure that I'm understanding it correctly. Your point is:

If the US still had slavery we would have had less technological innovation.


I suspect any innovations in the areas of, say, worker safety, would be stifled as irrelevant.

(Edit: And any innovations we owe to a black person would be significantly less likely to happen.)

But otherwise, no, the smarter slave owners would adapt and bring slavery to industrialized sectors.

Worse case scenario would be for that to be successful enough that Northern industrialists start pushing for re-introducing slavery into the North. Slavery had faded away in the North because it was viewed as both awful and useless. Slavery suddenly becoming viable again in Northern industry could have some pretty nasty results.

Heh. And now I wonder if a successful, industrialized slaver South would've eventually managed to re-establish an open slave trade.

(It's also worth keeping in mind that without the Civil War, there'd be no 13th through 15th amendments. So not only would the plight of blacks be completely horrible, there'd also be no real legal grounds for it to ever get better.

Amusingly, the Civil War - and the subsequent "no rebels allowed" restrictions imposed on the South's legislatures - was what made the national abolition of slavery even possible at that time.)

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Irontruth wrote:

Your point is:

If the US still had slavery we would have had less technological innovation.

Go back and look at the two posts I made prior to your efforts to characterize 'what I meant'. Notice the complete lack of any mention of US slavery or any sort of hypothetical alternate US history in those two posts. Does that give you any inkling where you are going wrong?

That being said, no that is not 'my point'. It might (or might not) be consistent with my point, depending on how many slaves and what other assumptions (e.g. more or less poverty and social oppression) you are making for this hypothetical alternate reality... but as I said nothing about it, that is clearly NOT >my< point.

My point remains painfully simple: Decreased education and opportunity (e.g. slavery, poverty, et cetera) cause decreased technological advancement.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

Your point is:

If the US still had slavery we would have had less technological innovation.

Go back and look at the two posts I made prior to your efforts to characterize 'what I meant'. Notice the complete lack of any mention of US slavery or any sort of hypothetical alternate US history in those two posts. Does that give you any inkling where you are going wrong?

That being said, no that is not 'my point'. It might (or might not) be consistent with my point, depending on how many slaves and what other assumptions (e.g. more or less poverty and social oppression) you are making for this hypothetical alternate reality... but as I said nothing about it, that is clearly NOT >my< point.

My point remains painfully simple: Decreased education and opportunity (e.g. slavery, poverty, et cetera) cause decreased technological advancement.

You responded to a post about US slavery and the hypothetical effect it would have on industrialization if it hadn't been abolished. Yes, your comment didn't mention the hypothetical, but you were responding to it.

You can take the venom out of post BTW. Notice how I've been trying to ascertain what your point is, I've even told you as much.

To be honest, I'm still confused a bit, but I'll drop it. It's like you tried to make a point, but then backed off it extremely hard and are now angry that someone might have recognized what your point was. Without the context of the post you responded to, your post doesn't actually make much sense, like I don't know why it's there.

Feel free to jump down my throat more though, even though I'm just trying to have a conversation.


A very interesting read indeed! Thank you, Samnell.

Question: I'm writing an alternate history campaign for an RPG, and I'm wondering: How feasible would it have been if, say, the British or some other power had gotten involved in the war by supporting the Confederates in order to make it last longer? Not necessarily fight in it, but rather help with resources and stuff like that.

My understanding of the US Civil War is rather superficial, but I'm of the impresion a big factor against the Confederates was how they ended up completely isolated from the rest of the world in economic and diplomatic manners.

Would something like that work to ensure the war would have extended further in time?


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Klaus van der Kroft wrote:


Question: I'm writing an alternate history campaign for an RPG, and I'm wondering: How feasible would it have been if, say, the British or some other power had gotten involved in the war by supporting the Confederates in order to make it last longer? Not necessarily fight in it, but rather help with resources and stuff like that.

I'm not Samnell, obviously, but it would obviously have helped. (There are very few situations where having a posse makes matters worse.)

That said, one of the biggest factors behind the Civil War from an international diplomatic standpoint was the fact that the United States was one of the few countries left that allowed/supported slavery. Abolitionism was much more advanced in both the UK and on continental Europe.

Here's the US State Department's analysis:

Quote:


Although Confederate leaders were confident that Southern economic power would compel European powers to intervene in the Civil War on behalf of the Confederacy, Britain and France remained neutral despite their economic problems, and later in the war developed new sources of cotton in Egypt and India. Although British Prime Minister Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, was personally sympathetic to the Confederacy, and many other elite Britons felt similarly, strong domestic abolitionist sentiment in Britain and in his cabinet prevented Palmerston from taking stronger steps toward assisting the Confederacy. Napoleon III of France was also sympathetic to the Confederacy, but wanted to pursue a joint policy with Britain regarding the U.S. Civil War, and so remained neutral. Moreover, Napoleon III’s chief concern during the Civil War years was France’s intervention in Mexico.


*ding*

What if... Ok, that is a stretch, but an interesting twist for an alternate timeline: What if other powers of that time would actually aid Confederacy... But on conditions of introduction of gradual abolition? Prevent the growth of North American empire by split it into two or more states, but at the same time force progress on them?

Legally the aid might have even been offered as a just compensation for abolition.


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Considering that the South went to war against the mere possibility of abolition, I don't think that would've flown.

"We'll give you aid if you give up the institution that's core to your cultural identity and you think you have a God-given right to pursue."

No, probably not.

(There's also the matter that providing aid to the South would've required breaching the North's naval blockade - and so to really give aid to the South would pretty much required going to war against the North on the South's behalf.

Europe was fine with buying from the South the stuff it got past the blockade runners, but Europe didn't lift a finger to help with the blockade itself.)


I don't think there is such a thing as an unbiased account of history, much as I don't think there is such thing as objective journalism [backhanded remark about "ethics" removed]. Everyone has personal feelings about events as they occurred relative to their impact on their current situation, and I don't really know if someone could be truly impartial to either "side" of something from the Civil War to the current ISIS goings-on while also caring enough to get involved or document the events.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:


Question: I'm writing an alternate history campaign for an RPG, and I'm wondering: How feasible would it have been if, say, the British or some other power had gotten involved in the war by supporting the Confederates in order to make it last longer? Not necessarily fight in it, but rather help with resources and stuff like that.

I'm not Samnell, obviously, but it would obviously have helped. (There are very few situations where having a posse makes matters worse.)

That said, one of the biggest factors behind the Civil War from an international diplomatic standpoint was the fact that the United States was one of the few countries left that allowed/supported slavery. Abolitionism was much more advanced in both the UK and on continental Europe.

Here's the US State Department's analysis:

Quote:


Although Confederate leaders were confident that Southern economic power would compel European powers to intervene in the Civil War on behalf of the Confederacy, Britain and France remained neutral despite their economic problems, and later in the war developed new sources of cotton in Egypt and India. Although British Prime Minister Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, was personally sympathetic to the Confederacy, and many other elite Britons felt similarly, strong domestic abolitionist sentiment in Britain and in his cabinet prevented Palmerston from taking stronger steps toward assisting the Confederacy. Napoleon III of France was also sympathetic to the Confederacy, but wanted to pursue a joint policy with Britain regarding the U.S. Civil War, and so remained neutral. Moreover, Napoleon III’s chief concern during the Civil War years was France’s intervention in Mexico.

I'm fairly certain by the numbers, the Rebels were outmanned something like three to one. It was a losing prospect from the beginning. Also not Samnell, but I'm glad he likes my forum handle.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:

A very interesting read indeed! Thank you, Samnell.

Question: I'm writing an alternate history campaign for an RPG, and I'm wondering: How feasible would it have been if, say, the British or some other power had gotten involved in the war by supporting the Confederates in order to make it last longer? Not necessarily fight in it, but rather help with resources and stuff like that.

My understanding of the US Civil War is rather superficial, but I'm of the impresion a big factor against the Confederates was how they ended up completely isolated from the rest of the world in economic and diplomatic manners.

Would something like that work to ensure the war would have extended further in time?

As I said, I'm not a mid 19th Century American expert...however I think it could have changed the face of the War.

Britain and to a degree France both relied somewhat on the raw materials put out by the states that joined the Confederacy. With the blockade, many of these materials were not so easily obtained by foreign markets.

In Britain, the rich and nobility favored helping the Confederacy, and some would say they actually DID contribute to the cause of the Confederacy early on. However, public opinion as a whole was not pro-Confederacy.

The Confederacy tried to appeal to those sympathetic to it's cause in Britain, and it's likely Britain and France both may have come to support the Confederacy heavily if there was not one factor that dissuaded them, inclusive of those that were sympathetic to the Confederates cause (or at least the raw materials they gained from those states).

In order to provide meaningful MILITARY assistance, more likely than not, would lead to a War with the United States...something that they simply could not justify.

It's possible that the envoys from the Trent Affair MAY have been able to convince Britain had their trip gone undeterred, but seeing that the British neutrality was broken in this matter and they were captured, the delay and the threat of war over this probably let those who were rather hawkish on the British as well as the US side cool, even while those in the public who had previously been pro-US grew more hostile. This delay made it so that when they arrived, those who had been more hawkish among the governments were not so persuaded as they may have been prior to the event...even though their constituents (and even others in the British government) were far hotter under the collar due to the US's treatment of British sovereignty.

Unfortunately, the confederacy truly was hoping for European intervention as one of the methods for winning the war, without that intervention their hopes of winning the war went down considerably.

If Britain and France had helped in a major fashion, it would have probably meant the US would declare war on them and hence there would be a much greater factor in regards to Britain and French alliances with the Confederacy. Seeing how the Union handled the first part of the war, if it had been within the first two years...it could have gone VERY badly for the US. It would have enabled the Confederacy to launch a very effective offensive whilst the US was struggling simply to maintain it's ability to fight effectively.

If it had been in the latter part of the war...it's much harder to predict what could have happened. It probably would have enabled the South to survive a much longer war as it would have a LOT more needed supplies that it was lacking during this time. It probably also could have contributed to the election and channeling money against Lincoln to his opponents. If Lincoln lost the election, it is possible that the Confederacy would have been allowed to leave and an armistice or some other treaty signed leaving the Confederacy intact...even if they were not completely victorious over the Union.


Hi everyone. Glad people enjoy the thread as much as I enjoy it. :) However, there's probably going to be a slight delay in responses due to some RL stuff. I am still here and intend to continue, but RL is RL. Nor do I want to leave my PBP players high and dry while I natter on about history.


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Irontruth wrote:
CBDunkerson wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

Your point is:

If the US still had slavery we would have had less technological innovation.

Go back and look at the two posts I made prior to your efforts to characterize 'what I meant'. Notice the complete lack of any mention of US slavery or any sort of hypothetical alternate US history in those two posts. Does that give you any inkling where you are going wrong?

That being said, no that is not 'my point'. It might (or might not) be consistent with my point, depending on how many slaves and what other assumptions (e.g. more or less poverty and social oppression) you are making for this hypothetical alternate reality... but as I said nothing about it, that is clearly NOT >my< point.

My point remains painfully simple: Decreased education and opportunity (e.g. slavery, poverty, et cetera) cause decreased technological advancement.

You responded to a post about US slavery and the hypothetical effect it would have on industrialization if it hadn't been abolished. Yes, your comment didn't mention the hypothetical, but you were responding to it.

You can take the venom out of post BTW. Notice how I've been trying to ascertain what your point is, I've even told you as much.

To be honest, I'm still confused a bit, but I'll drop it. It's like you tried to make a point, but then backed off it extremely hard and are now angry that someone might have recognized what your point was. Without the context of the post you responded to, your post doesn't actually make much sense, like I don't know why it's there.

Feel free to jump down my throat more though, even though I'm just trying to have a conversation.

He was responding to Citizen Coriat who, while responding to the alternate timeline premise, widened it out a bit and mentioned slavery in other times and places. Citizen Dunkerson responded about the Dark Ages. He was probably taken aback when you suggested that he had a rose-colored view of post-slavery conditions for black people because he thought he was just talking about the slavery retards technological development trope in general.

Or at least that's how it looks to me and I've been stoned out of my mind for most of this conversation.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:


Question: I'm writing an alternate history campaign for an RPG, and I'm wondering: How feasible would it have been if, say, the British or some other power had gotten involved in the war by supporting the Confederates in order to make it last longer? Not necessarily fight in it, but rather help with resources and stuff like that.

I'm not Samnell, obviously, but it would obviously have helped. (There are very few situations where having a posse makes matters worse.)

That said, one of the biggest factors behind the Civil War from an international diplomatic standpoint was the fact that the United States was one of the few countries left that allowed/supported slavery. Abolitionism was much more advanced in both the UK and on continental Europe.

Here's the US State Department's analysis:

Quote:


Although Confederate leaders were confident that Southern economic power would compel European powers to intervene in the Civil War on behalf of the Confederacy, Britain and France remained neutral despite their economic problems, and later in the war developed new sources of cotton in Egypt and India. Although British Prime Minister Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, was personally sympathetic to the Confederacy, and many other elite Britons felt similarly, strong domestic abolitionist sentiment in Britain and in his cabinet prevented Palmerston from taking stronger steps toward assisting the Confederacy. Napoleon III of France was also sympathetic to the Confederacy, but wanted to pursue a joint policy with Britain regarding the U.S. Civil War, and so remained neutral. Moreover, Napoleon III’s chief concern during the Civil War years was France’s intervention in Mexico.

IIRC, one of the Adamses of the Adams Family's job during the Civil War was to run around the docks of [I forget which English port] and point out all the battleships that were being built for the Confederacy and raising hell about them. Don't remember if he caught them all or not.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
CBDunkerson wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

Your point is:

If the US still had slavery we would have had less technological innovation.

Go back and look at the two posts I made prior to your efforts to characterize 'what I meant'. Notice the complete lack of any mention of US slavery or any sort of hypothetical alternate US history in those two posts. Does that give you any inkling where you are going wrong?

That being said, no that is not 'my point'. It might (or might not) be consistent with my point, depending on how many slaves and what other assumptions (e.g. more or less poverty and social oppression) you are making for this hypothetical alternate reality... but as I said nothing about it, that is clearly NOT >my< point.

My point remains painfully simple: Decreased education and opportunity (e.g. slavery, poverty, et cetera) cause decreased technological advancement.

You responded to a post about US slavery and the hypothetical effect it would have on industrialization if it hadn't been abolished. Yes, your comment didn't mention the hypothetical, but you were responding to it.

You can take the venom out of post BTW. Notice how I've been trying to ascertain what your point is, I've even told you as much.

To be honest, I'm still confused a bit, but I'll drop it. It's like you tried to make a point, but then backed off it extremely hard and are now angry that someone might have recognized what your point was. Without the context of the post you responded to, your post doesn't actually make much sense, like I don't know why it's there.

Feel free to jump down my throat more though, even though I'm just trying to have a conversation.

He was responding to Citizen Coriat who, while responding to the alternate timeline premise, widened it out a bit and mentioned slavery in other times and places. Citizen Dunkerson responded about the Dark Ages. He was probably taken aback when you suggested that he had a rose-colored...

I said I'd drop it.


I didn't say I would.


Going back to the quote from the US State Department:

"...Britain and France remained neutral despite their economic problems, and later in the war developed new sources of cotton in Egypt and India."

That was my understanding, too, that Britain developed Egyptian cotton BECAUSE they couldn't get American cotton. Anyone have any idea if it's true?

---

Bit from the Cotton page on wikipedia:

"During the American Civil War, American cotton exports slumped due to a Union blockade on Southern ports, and also because of a strategic decision by the Confederate government to cut exports, hoping to force Britain to recognize the Confederacy or enter the war. This prompted the main purchasers of cotton, Britain and France, to turn to Egyptian cotton."

Same page has it that by the 1840s, Indian cotton production was insufficient for British textile needs and, besides, it was inferior to the cotton produced in the American South and the Caribbean.

Page on Cotton Production in Azerbaijan indicates that cotton took off there in the 1860s, again, because of the collapse of American cotton.

I know, I know, it's wikipedia, but it looks like the American slaveowners could have sat back and collected mad bank off their cotton for quite a while if it hadn't been for that pesky war between the states.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Going back to the quote from the US State Department:

"...Britain and France remained neutral despite their economic problems, and later in the war developed new sources of cotton in Egypt and India."

That was my understanding, too, that Britain developed Egyptian cotton BECAUSE they couldn't get American cotton. Anyone have any idea if it's true?

Well, here's another report

Quote:


Between 1815 and 1859, Britain imported nearly 77 percent of American cotton and turned it into cloth. However, the American cotton market began to wane with the start of the Civil War; Britain looked to other countries like India, Brazil, Turkey and Egypt as an alternative source for the raw material, which it would buy and sell back as a finished product. India whose own production was not mechanized and relied on a disparate, often changing labor force struggled to compete, and instead of exporting huge amounts of finished cotton goods, it became the largest importer of British cotton textiles.

And another:

Quote:


Our [India's] imports were more than doubled within a brief span of 6 years and export of raw cotton became nearly 2 times as great [between 1849 and 1855. Export went from about 1.7MM units (bales?) in 1849 to 2.4 MM in 1855, rising again to 4.3MM in 1858]. America sent little cotton during the Civil War, and eventually our export rose to the abnormal figure of 86 millions in 1864. [Again, against the 4.5MM baseline for 1858, so that's roughly a twenty-fold increase during the Civil War.]

There's also a rather famous graph by the legendary Charles Minard that tells the same story. In 1858, the vast majority of Europe's cotton came from the United States. In 1864, almost none of it did; it all came from Egypt and India.

It looks pretty solid.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:


Question: I'm writing an alternate history campaign for an RPG, and I'm wondering: How feasible would it have been if, say, the British or some other power had gotten involved in the war by supporting the Confederates in order to make it last longer? Not necessarily fight in it, but rather help with resources and stuff like that.

I'm not Samnell, obviously, but it would obviously have helped. (There are very few situations where having a posse makes matters worse.)

That said, one of the biggest factors behind the Civil War from an international diplomatic standpoint was the fact that the United States was one of the few countries left that allowed/supported slavery. Abolitionism was much more advanced in both the UK and on continental Europe.

Here's the US State Department's analysis:

Quote:


Although Confederate leaders were confident that Southern economic power would compel European powers to intervene in the Civil War on behalf of the Confederacy, Britain and France remained neutral despite their economic problems, and later in the war developed new sources of cotton in Egypt and India. Although British Prime Minister Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, was personally sympathetic to the Confederacy, and many other elite Britons felt similarly, strong domestic abolitionist sentiment in Britain and in his cabinet prevented Palmerston from taking stronger steps toward assisting the Confederacy. Napoleon III of France was also sympathetic to the Confederacy, but wanted to pursue a joint policy with Britain regarding the U.S. Civil War, and so remained neutral. Moreover, Napoleon III’s chief concern during the Civil War years was France’s intervention in Mexico.
IIRC, one of the Adamses of the Adams Family's job during the Civil War was to run around the docks of [I forget which English port] and point out all the battleships that were being built for the Confederacy and raising hell about them....

Wikipedia again: The Alabama claims


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Roughly 45 minutes of a BBC Radio host and three historians discussing the effects and response of Britain to the civil war


With regard to Britain (and to a lesser degree France) they absolutely relied on American cotton to feed the mills. I understand there is a technical debate about how much so and how adequate supplies from Egypt were as replacements, but I'm not familiar with all the details. There had been some efforts prior to the war to make at least Egyptian cotton a going thing and thus lessen reliance on an often antagonistic and genuinely repellent state. In contemporary British opinion, slavery was utterly vile and despicable. Even most free trade minded ideologues in the UK viewed the prospect of an independent Confederacy with lower or no tariffs as not sufficient to offset the stain of further entrenching bondage.

However, there was one notable exception: The editors of The Economist were all in favor, viewing slavery as notionally bad but the tariff as worse. It would be unfair to just assume that they maintain the same position today and I haven't done the legwork to document them holding to it consistently in the decades since, but the modern editorial line is also clearly that slavery wasn't so bad and we should stop fretting over it. They have a pattern, at least in the past few years, of panning any book that focuses on the enslaved experience in all its violence and exploitation and writing enthusiastically white supremacist complaints about how books about slavery spend time talking about the slaves rather than the enslavers. To win a positive review from them, you have to write a book about white people that casts white people as the heroes and generally excludes the voices of the enslaved.

Some context for that. When the UK abolished slavery, with compensation (to the owners, compensated emancipation was always cash for the enslavers) and gradually, their colonial profits went into the toilet. It turned out that if you let enslaved people decide what they wanted to plant, they would do insane things like plant food for their families and otherwise turn to subsistence agriculture rather than throw all their energy into growing cash crops (mostly sugar) for the international market. British emancipation had been sold on the premise that colonies would either remain profitable or even have more profit when the laborers were free. Thus between the middle 1840s or so and the American Civil War, there was a fair bit of space to see emancipation as a mistake which had ruined a profitable section of the empire. Aside from India there were not many of those.

The same pattern worked out in the US, incidentally. Antislavery whites consistently maintained that a free person, motivated by his own self-interest (they didn't factor in women much) would be the most efficient and productive worker. Thus enslavers were standing in the way of economic progress as well as moral and political progress. They were wrong, at least economically, and this helped inform serious efforts to force freedpeople to stay in the slave labor camps and continue growing cotton from quite early on.

There were other, overlapping factors in play too. The freedmen were presumed ignorant and incapable by virtue of both race and slavery. As such they needed paternalistic whites to guide them at least through some kind of transition and possibly indefinitely. This notion is not at all far removed from what the enslavers thought and should be kept in mind when looking at statements of more egalitarian-minded abolitionists that they want whites to just leave freedpeople be rather than doing anything for them more than ending slavery. Also the idea of uncontrolled black people running their own lives was in itself pants-wetting terrifying to quite a few white Americans, also echoing proslavery arguments even if they disagreed with bondage in itself.


Zhangar wrote:
Heh. And now I wonder if a successful, industrialized slaver South would've eventually managed to re-establish an open slave trade.

The South had an open slave trade. People made fortunes in it. The only thing prohibited was importing slaves from abroad. This prohibition had some effect, but a lot of cheating went on. By the middle 1850s, at least a small movement had developed insisting that the South had been wrong to accept the 1808 ban on importation as it conceded that slavery was in itself somehow wrong and set a precedent that the national government could pass laws that indirectly undermined slavery.

This was really controversial at the time. First there was genuine, if somewhat qualified, horror at the Atlantic slave trade. Big enslavers preferred to keep most of the business of exploiting their chattels at arm's length and so looked down on slave traders and overseers as their inferiors. Even as they kept using the services. Less "don't do that" and more "do it all the time, but don't tell me about it." There may be some real humanitarian concern in there, but I think it best to always read these things as expressed for effect, even if that effect was sometimes about reassuring oneself that the other people were the bad ones.

Furthermore, southern opposition to reopening the trade could be and often was grounded in far less disinterested motives. The Upper South, especially around the Chesapeake, was a slave-exporting region. Something on the order of two or three million slaves were moved from there to the old Southwest (the cotton states) in the antebellum era. This was not, by the way, generally a super fun time move.

An enslaved person would generally be bought by a trader, who would keep the slave in a jail somewhere (or in extremis, literally just tied up to a tree or something) until he had enough for a shipment. Then you would be screwed one of two ways, aside the fact that cotton cultivation was usually somewhat harder on the body than growing tobacco or wheat and that you were being moved against your will away from home and loved ones. You could be piled into the belly of a ship and taken on the coastwise slave trade. These ships worked a great deal like the ones that took slaves from Africa, if on a smaller scale. If you ended up in the belly of a ship, you were probably going to New Orleans, but maybe Mobile. We know quite a lot about slaves coming into New Orleans because the state required documentation of all new slaves coming in after Nat Turner.

Think a slave ship is rough? It is. Here's door number two: You and a gang of usually at least ten people would be tied together in a coffle. You got a chain around your neck, tied to the neck of the person in front of you and behind you. Then you walked. The chains didn't have a huge amount of give, so you'd constantly be tugging on and tugged by other people. You would receive limited breaks, during which you would remain chained but usually get water and maybe some food. You would likely be marched to somewhere like South Carolina or Georgia, but maybe over to Tennessee or northern Alabama. At the end of the line, the trader would sell you for a profit.

At least one end consumer, Wade Hampton of South Carolina, took his new property back home on horseback. By that I mean he rode a horse. He had the slave by a chain or rope around the neck and the slave had best keep up. Hampton owned something north of 3,000 slaves spread across several states and was one of the nation's richest men. His estate auction was considered one of the largest single slave sales in antebellum history.

The export of slaves to the cotton states made up a fair portion of the Upper South's economy and they were very conscious of the fact that allowing open importation of slaves would likely drop prices enough to put them out of the market. This would leave them with a bunch of slaves they wanted to be rid of and further fears of upcoming racial armageddon and deprive them of the delicious money. The prohibition on imports in the Confederate Constitution, except from the Upper South states, should very much be read in this light.

All of that makes it sound like this movement is doomed from the start. Maybe it was. However, new extremes in proslavery politics usually got off the ground that way. South Carolina had a bitter internal debate over nullification back in the 1830s, which the anti-nullification party prevailed in for several years. Until the 1840s, disunion was something you accused your opponents of threatening or forcing you into. Thus secession was a calamity to be avoided, not a viable method in itself. In the absence of war, reopening the international trade could easily have followed the same path.

Quote:
Amusingly, the Civil War - and the subsequent "no rebels allowed" restrictions imposed on the South's legislatures - was what made the national abolition of slavery even possible at that time.)

There's a lot of irony in this. Had the South not tried secession, the section probably had enough votes to kill not just antislavery efforts but also the entire Republican platform. (The GOP did not win a majority of the Congress in 1860.) Something to consider when people point to the Morill tariff as the driver of secession. It could only pass because southern politicians absented themselves from Congress.


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This isn't really a claim proper, but it's something I want to say and highlight.

Claim: They teach a bunch of neo-Confederate BS in the South!
Answer: Yes and no. There are absolutely recurrent issues with states publishing standards that soft-pedal slavery or demand emphasizing Confederate perspectives usually to the absolute exclusion of enslaved perspectives and often elevating them to equal or more prominent positions than Unionist POVs, no matter how deceptive, over historical consensus. Texas (which actually had a Unionist governor who fought secession as best he could) is infamous for these, to the point that I've read complaints from teachers that to do their job they have to actively mislead students.

What I've consistently heard from people who live and work in the South is that things used to be almost uniformly awful. But in recent decades the matter largely comes down to who teaches you your history and what his or her personal politics are. Modern day conservatives are more likely, though not universally prone, to spout a bunch of neo-Confederate BS. This matches very well with my own experiences in Michigan.

This sounds like a really narrow, technical thing to get worked up about but I think it plays into the idea that the North was in no way culpable in slavery and white supremacy. It's certainly true that no Yankee went down south and forced southerners to enslave people, but white supremacy has often been as vicious up here. The Klan got big in the North, especially the Midwest, right at the time that black Americans started coming north looking for jobs and to escape lynching and other acts of white terror. In the nineteenth century, you often see cases of antislavery Americans who will say, sometimes in as many words, that they're against slavery because it justifies keeping black Americans on the continent. They believe instead that the continent belongs to the white man and the very presence of black skin sullies it and degrades him. This is eliminationist at least in anticipation, and sometimes actively directed at free black communities in the North. By contrast, proslavery writers very much wanted to keep black Americans around so they could keep stealing labor and lives.

Does that make one better than the other? Who hates blacks more, the people who want them gone or the people who want them present but used as livestock? They're clearly not the same, but both very bad. We can look ahead in the book and see how it worked out in the end but people at the time didn't have that luxury. This is part of why it's hard to understand the American Colonization Society and similar groups. They had a mix of "get rid of them all", "get rid of the free ones so make slavery more secure", and "whites are too racist to ever accept sharing space with free black people, so the least worse thing we can do is deport the lot" supporters.

There were exceptions, of course. The past year or so I've spent a lot of time on Bleeding Kansas, especially the first year of the territory's history. The antislavery party there, a decidedly radical group that raises serious issues about how far you can go in protest before you cross over into insurrection, voted overwhelmingly in favor of calling on the legislature to pass a law barring free blacks from living in Kansas. Some states, notably Indiana and Illinois, actually had such a law on the books. Oregon also adopted such a measure.

The black law, as it was called, wasn't just a thing to please the rubes. People who were getting together private military companies and expected they might use them against the legal government of the territory, really on the radical end of the political spectrum, were in favor. Some of them came right out said that they were members of the free white state party, meaning that they favored a free state constitution if and only if it excluded black Americans absolutely. If they must share the state with them, these men preferred slavery.

On the other hand, you do have a contingent within that group who did what they could to oppose the black law. That included moving that the state constitution not mention race at all (so blacks could be citizens and vote, a privilege seven or eight of them wanted to extend to women as well) and denouncing the law in papers otherwise reliably free soil. They did this at a time when many of them felt in at least some personal danger and all stood under a serious threat of prosecution. They're not all awful racists, but a whole lot of them are. It's difficult sometimes to parse out where the radicals of the radicals are making arguments that appeal to white supremacy in the service of more egalitarian goals and where they're speaking to their own feelings.


Huh.

Horrible, horrible thought - Lovecraft's views on race, which tended to be extreme even for the 1920's and 30's, might have been normal for the Civil War era US?


Zhangar wrote:
In Virginia, it was Lee-Jackson-King day until 2000, when even the Virginia Legislature went "that's pretty messed up." Now our Lee-Jackson Day is the Friday before Martin Luther King Day.

So they finally did change it! Hallelujah!

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