Why didn't the zeal of social change brought by ending slavery continue after the US civil-war ended?

Why didn't the zeal of social change brought by ending slavery continue after the US civil-war ended?


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After the US civil war when slavery was (kinda) ended, is there a argument to be made that with the zeal of anti-slavery social change people must have been feeling that they, at least in the north, would have been more willing to embrace further social changes for black people, riding the momentum of the large, civil-war level changes that were happening.

I ask this as you often see movements for large social changes like in the 60s, and maybe even now; ether fizzle away soon after success, or march on, demanding more. The best example of this social march is in my opinion the French Revolution. It was a mess, but you can't say it wasn't also histories greatest example of this kind of marching social liberalism.

So ya, was the post-civil war treatment of blacks, where they were free, but not accepted, (in the north,) an example of a wave of social liberalism fizzling, or were there other forces at play that could explain why more progress wasn't pursued after the Civil War?


Yes; the US lost appetite for the advancement of civil rights due to the high cost of Reconstruction.

Soon after the Civil War, in 1866 the landmark Civil Rights Act was passed, affirming the civil rights of all US citizens. This occurred against the backdrop of sweeping wins by Republicans, many of whom were Radical Republicans who wanted to push for civil rights. Since they were democratically elected, you can argue that by proxy, the people of the US wanted civil rights.

But Reconstruction did not progress as well as many hoped; the South was still economically devastated and suffering from endemic political violence a decade after the war, and the country lost appetite for the high costs. Reconstruction ended, leaving civil rights unenforced in the South for almost a century until the Civil Rights Movement.


It's called war fatigue. After four years of fighting a war, people want to resume their lives and not continue agitating for the social change that brought about the war. And the level of zeal of the 1960s simply can't be sustained for long, which is why it fizzled. The main exception,the French Revolution finally fizzled out when its main instigator, Robespierre, was sent to the guillotine.

Total deaths in the Civil War, were between 600,000 and 700,000. That's more than in all the other American wars put together. More to the point, it would be the equivalent of 6-7 million men today, taking our current population as ten times our Civil War population. The war literally decimated a whole generation, and left behind a slew of widows (and orphans). Post war society was more concerned with rebuilding than with further "reform."


Lincoln on Slavery

Abraham Lincoln is often referred to as "The Great Emancipator" and yet, he did not publicly call for emancipation throughout his entire life. Lincoln began his public career by claiming that he was "antislavery" -- against slavery's expansion, but not calling for immediate emancipation. However, the man who began as "antislavery" eventually issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in those states that were in rebellion. He vigorously supported the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery throughout the United States, and, in the last speech of his life, he recommended extending the vote to African Americans.

This brief study of Lincoln's writings on slavery contains examples of Lincoln's views on slavery. It also shows one of his greatest strengths: his ability to change as it relates to his public stance on slavery.

We are deeply indebted to the work of the Abraham Lincoln Association in collecting Lincoln's writings and publishing them as the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. It was from this monumental work that these selections were taken. The roman numerals and numbers at the end of each section refer to the volume and page of the Collected Works.

March 3, 1837

At the age of 28, while serving in the Illinois General Assembly, Lincoln made one of his first public declarations against slavery.

The following protest was presented to the House, which was read and ordered to be spread on the journals, to wit:

"Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having passed both branches of the General Assembly at its present session, the undersigned hereby protest against the passage of the same.

They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy but that the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than to abate its evils.

They believe that the Congress of the United States has no power, under the constitution, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the different States.

They believe that the Congress of the United States has the power, under the constitution, to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia but that that power ought not to be exercised unless at the request of the people of said District.

The difference between these opinions and those contained in the said resolutions, is their reason for entering this protest."

Dan Stone,
A. Lincoln,
Representatives from the county of Sangamon

July 1, 1854: Fragment on Slavery

Lincoln often encountered views supporting slavery. In this fragment, he countered the arguments that slavery was justified based on color and intellect.

If A. can prove, however conclusively, that he may, of right, enslave B. -- why may not B. snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A?--

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.

You do not mean color exactly?--You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest and, if you can make it your interest, you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you.

October 16, 1854: Speech at Peoria, Illinois

Lincoln, in a speech at Peoria, attacked slavery on the grounds that its existence within the United States made American democracy appear hyprocritical in the eyes of the world. However, he also confessed his uncertainty as how to end slavery where it then existed, because he believed that neither colonolization nor racial equality were practical.

I can not but hate [the declared indifference for slavery's spread]. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world -- enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites -- causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty -- criticising [sic] the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

Before proceeding, let me say I think I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist amongst them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist amongst us, we should not instantly give it up. This I believe of the masses north and south. Doubtless there are individuals, on both sides, who would not hold slaves under any circumstances and others who would gladly introduce slavery anew, if it were out of existence. We know that some southern men do free their slaves, go north, and become tip-top abolitionists while some northern ones go south, and become most cruel slave-masters.

When southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery, than we I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists and that it is very difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, -- to their own native land. But a moment's reflection would convince me, that whatever of high hope, (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough in the world to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not hold one in slavery, at any rate yet the point is not clear enough for me to denounce people upon. What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially, our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not.

August 24, 1855

In a letter to his friend Joshua Speed, Lincoln freely expressed his hatred of slavery but he did not recommend immediate emancipation.

You know I dislike slavery and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. So far there is no cause of difference. But you say that sooner than yield your legal right to the slave -- especially at the bidding of those who are not themselves interested, you would see the Union dissolved. I am not aware that any one is bidding you to yield that right very certainly I am not. I leave that matter entirely to yourself. I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations, under the constitution, in regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes, and unrewarded toils but I bite my lip and keep quiet. In 1841 you and I had together a tedious low-water trip, on a Steam Boat from Louisville to St. Louis. You may remember, as I well do, that from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio there were, on board, ten or a dozen slaves, shackled together with irons. That sight was a continual torment to me and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio, or any other slave-border. It is hardly fair to you to assume, that I have no interest in a thing which has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable. You ought rather to appreciate how much the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the constitution and the Union.

I do oppose the extension of slavery, because my judgment and feelings so prompt me and I am under no obligation to the contrary.

July 10, 1858: Speech at Chicago, Illinois

In this speech at Chicago, Lincoln reiterated his hatred of slavery and also his belief that it should not be touched where it then existed.

I have always hated slavery, I think as much as any Abolitionist. I have been an Old Line Whig. I have always hated it, but I have always been quiet about it until this new era of the introduction of the Nebraska Bill began. I always believed that everybody was against it, and that it was in course of ultimate extinction.

I have said a hundred times, and I have now no inclination to take it back, that I believe there is no right, and ought to be no inclination in the people of the free States to enter into the slave States, and interfere with the question of slavery at all.

August 1, 1858[?: Definition of Democracy

This is perhaps Lincoln's most succinct description of his beliefs on democracy and slavery.

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.

October 7, 1858: Fifth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas, Galesburg, Illinois

In 1858, the Republican Party sought to unseat one of the nation's most powerful United States Senators, Stephen Douglas. To oppose him, they nominated Abraham Lincoln. The resulting Lincoln-Douglas debates gave each candidate ample opportunity to publicly express his opinions on slavery. During the fifth debate, Lincoln claimed that slavery ran counter to American democratic principles because the Declaration of Independence's phrase - "all men are created equal" applied to African-Americans.

Judge Douglas, and whoever like him teaches that the negro has no share, humble though it may be, in the Declaration of Independence, is going back to the era of our liberty and independence, and so far as in him lies, muzzling the cannon that thunders its annual joyous return that he is blowing out the moral lights around us when he contends that whoever wants slaves has a right to hold them that he is penetrating, so far as lies in his power, the human soul, and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty, when he is in every possible way preparing the public mind, by his vast influence, for making the institution of slavery perpetual and national.

October 13, 1858: Sixth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas, Quincy, Illinois

In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Douglas maintained that the Founding Fathers established this nation half-slave and half-free in the belief that it would always be so. Lincoln argued that the Founding Fathers considered slavery wrong, and firmly expected it to die a natural death.

I wish to return Judge Douglas my profound thanks for his public annunciation here to-day, to be put on record, that his system of policy in regard to the institution of slavery contemplates that it shall last forever. We are getting a little nearer the true issue of this controversy, and I am profoundly grateful for this one sentence. Judge Douglas asks you "why cannot the institution of slavery, or rather, why cannot the nation, part slave and part free, continue as our fathers made it forever?" In the first place, I insist that our fathers did not make this nation half slave and half free, or part slave and part free. I insist that they found the institution of slavery existing here. They did not make it so, but they left it so because they knew of no way to get rid of it at that time. When Judge Douglas undertakes to say that as a matter of choice the fathers of the government made this nation part slave and part free, he assumes what is historically a falsehood. More than that when the fathers of the government cut off the source of slavery by the abolition of the slave trade, and adopted a system of restricting it from the new Territories where it had not existed, I maintain that they placed it where they understood, and all sensible men understood, it was in the course of ultimate extinction and when Judge Douglas asks me why it cannot continue as our fathers made it, I ask him why he and his friends could not let it remain as our fathers made it?

October 15, 1858: Seventh and Last Debate with Stephen A. Douglas, Alton, Illinois

To some Americans, the phrase "all men are created equal" applied only to some. To Lincoln, it applied to all.

And when this new principle [that African Americans were not covered by the phrase "all men are created equal"] -- this new proposition that no human being ever thought of three years ago, -- is brought forward, I combat it as having an evil tendency, if not an evil design I combat it as having a tendency to dehumanize the negro -- to take away from him the right of ever striving to be a man. I combat it as being one of the thousand things constantly done in these days to prepare the public mind to make property, and nothing but property of the negro in all the States of the Union.

. I have never sought to apply these principles to the old States for the purpose of abolishing slavery in those States. It is nothing but a miserable perversion of what I have said, to assume that I have declared Missouri, or any other slave State shall emancipate her slaves. I have proposed no such thing.

October 15, 1858: Seventh and Last Debate with Stephen A. Douglas, Alton, Illinois

In the final Lincoln-Douglas debate, Lincoln claimed that the issues over which the two candidates had sparred, were not just issues of his time, rather, Lincoln believed that these debates were small battles in the larger war between individual rights and the divine right of kings.

That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong -- throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

October 18, 1858: Letter to James N. Brown

Some feared that Lincoln was recommending social and political equality between the races. Writing to James N. Brown, Lincoln discounted this belief although seven years later, he would embrace this hope in the last speech of his life.

I do not perceive how I can express myself, more plainly, than I have done in the foregoing extracts. In four of them I have expressly disclaimed all intention to bring about social and political equality between the white and black races, and, in all the rest, I have done the same thing by clear implication.

I have made it equally plain that I think the negro is included in the word "men" used in the Declaration of Independence.

I believe the declara[tion] that "all men are created equal" is the great fundamental principle upon which our free institutions rest that negro slavery is violative of that principle but that, by our frame of government, that principle has not been made one of legal obligation that by our frame of government, the States which have slavery are to retain it, or surrender it at their own pleasure and that all others -- individuals, free-states and national government -- are constitutionally bound to leave them alone about it.

I believe our government was thus framed because of the necessity springing from the actual presence of slavery, when it was framed.

That such necessity does not exist in the teritories[sic], where slavery is not present.

. It does not follow that social and political equality between whites and blacks, must be incorporated, because slavery must not.

March 1, 1859: Speech at Chicago, Illinois

I do not wish to be misunderstood upon this subject of slavery in this country. I suppose it may long exist, and perhaps the best way for it to come to an end peaceably is for it to exist for a length of time. But I say that the spread and strengthening and perpetuation of it is an entirely different proposition. There we should in every way resist it as a wrong, treating it as a wrong, with the fixed idea that it must and will come to an end.


April 6, 1859: Letter to Henry L. Pierce

This is a world of compensations and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves and, under a just God, can not long retain it.

September 17, 1859: Speech at Cincinnati, Ohio

I think Slavery is wrong, morally, and politically. I desire that it should be no further spread in these United States, and I should not object if it should gradually terminate in the whole Union.

I say that we must not interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists, because the constitution forbids it, and the general welfare does not require us to do so.

We must prevent the revival of the African slave trade and the enacting by Congress of a territorial slave code.

September 17, 1859: Fragment on Free Labor

We know, Southern men declare that their slaves are better off than hired laborers amongst us. How little they know, whereof they speak! There is no permanent class of hired laborers amongst us.

Free labor has the inspiration of hope pure slavery has no hope. The power of hope upon human exertion, and happiness, is wonderful. The slave-master himself has a conception of it and hence the system of tasks among slaves. The slave whom you can not drive with the lash to break seventy-five pounds of hemp in a day, if you will task him to break a hundred, and promise him pay for all he does over, he will break you a hundred and fifty. You have substituted hope, for the rod.

February 1, 1861: Letter To William H. Seward

I say now, however, as I have all the while said, that on the territorial question -- that is, the question of extending slavery under the national auspices, -- I am inflexible. I am for no compromise which assists or permits the extension of the institution on soil owned by the nation. And any trick by which the nation is to acquire territory, and then allow some local authority to spread slavery over it, is as obnoxious as any other.

April 11, 1865: Last Public Address

In Lincoln's last public address, he recommended extending the right to vote to the African Americans who had fought for the Union. This expressed his belief that African Americans should be granted full political equality.

It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers.


Reasons the North Abolished Slavery

. In 1833, slavery was abolished in the British Empire after years of conflict and the hard work of abolitionists in London. Around the era of slavery more people were for it than against it. Even though there were too less people against it, they were still stronger believers. In this essay I will be discussing the persuasive arguments and events that took place to cause the abolition of slavery in the British Empire by 1833. The three causes were what the Abolitionists did, actions took by the slaves and the economic reasons. The White Campaigners The Abolitionists Parliament passed on the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. The act gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom. It was one of the great issues of the 19th century. By 1833 the final stages of the Abolition by Britain had been enacted. Until recently it was believed that white campaigners in England had brought an end to slavery, most in the higher classes. These people like Granville Sharp or William Wilberforce, both became well-known for their campaigning against slavery. His opinion changed when he saw Jonathon Strong, a young slave brought to Britain and beaten by his owner. He had run away and had injuries such as a swollen head, nearly blind and could hardly walk. Granville Sharp helped this boy but he was later seen by his owner and captured, he was at threat of being sent back to Jamaica.

North and South Slavery Essay

. Dakota Clements Prof. Every HIST-1210-002 6 November 2014 Slavery in America Slavery has played an important role in American life today. When North America was first colonized by Europeans, the land was vast, the work was tough, and the availability of manual labor was hard to find. White servants paid for their passage across the ocean from Europe to the New World through indentured labor, but did not solve the problem. In the early stages of the seventeenth century, a Dutch ship loaded with African slaves introduced a solution. These slaves were most economical on large farms where labor-intensive cash crops, such as tobacco, could be grown. Towards the end of the American Revolution, slavery had been proven to be unprofitable in the North and began to die out. The same institution in the South had become less useful to farmers due to tobacco prices fluctuating and dropping. However, in 1793 Northerner Eli Whitney invented to cotton gin a device that made it possible for textile mills to use the cotton most easily grown in the South. The high demand for cotton replaced tobacco as the South’s main cash crop and slavery became profitable again. Although most Southerners did not own any slaves, by 1860 the South’s “peculiar institution” was undoubtedly tied to the region’s economy. As the North was escaping the ideas of slavery the South was.

Slavery In the North and South Essay

. this country believe, slavery took place in the North and the South. In fact, Massachusetts was the first colony to legalize slavery. By the year 1700, Rhode Island had surpassed Massachusetts as the chief importer of slaves in the north. Major slave ports included Boston, Salem, Providence, and New London. The tariffs that were enforced upon slave imports were used to pay for community projects, such as repairs to roads and bridges. At the beginning of importing and exporting Africans, slavery disguised itself as indentured servitude. But the reality was that indentured servants, of African origin, were often turned into slaves against their will and against the contract they had signed to enter to the New World. Indentured servitude became outdated and old-fashioned due to the fact that the general society was uncomfortable with allowing former servants to purchase land after their contract expired. Another reason for this is due the fact that servants were much more expensive to replace than slaves. Lastly, making black slaves gave an easily identified mark— one skin color determined who the horse was and who the king was. Slavery existed in New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Massachusetts and the other Northern states. Famous Northerners, such as John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and William Henry Steward (the 24th secretary of state, in President Lincoln’s cabinet).

Essay on Why Was Slavery Abolished in 1833?

. Why was slavery abolished in 1833? The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 was the culmination of the dedicated effort of a great many people and marked the end of slave ownership in British colonies. In order to assess and understand the relative influences on the passing of this act we can break them down into three broad categories social, economic and political. In 1833 Britain was a country that prided itself on its forward thinking and enlightened nature. With the onset of the industrial revolution, modernisation was at the forefront of peoples minds and had made slavery seem to many, a barbaric throwback to another age. This is due in part to an influx of people moving into the cities which increased the amount of middle class non conformists such as the Quakers or Methodists. This is very important as the Great Reform Act of 1832 meant that most of the middle classes now had the right to vote. This added a great deal of political weight to the public voice which could obviously then be used to help get slavery abolished. Another social aspect that influenced whether the slave trade was abolished was the greatly increased numbers of slaves who were converted to Christianity, but also the amount of slaves who were born Christian. Much of this was thanks to the Methodist missionaries of the time who travelled to British colonies to spread the word of God amoung the.

Should Slavery Be Abolished Essay

. Slavery: Has it really been abolished? A slave is a human being who is thought to be property of someone else and can be treated as such. Slavery was a big problem in the past, but it is still a big problem today. Most people don’t realize that slavery is still happening in America in different forms. Things like human trafficking and domestic servitude are still happening here, not just around the world. Slavery may have been abolished in some forms through the 13th amendment, but it has been fully stopped. Everyone knows the stories of the slaves who were cruelly ripped from their families and stuffed into boats to be shipped to America and other countries, forced to do the hard labors of the land. People were sold and bought as property because they were valued as no better than a table or piece of fabric because of where they came from. However, not all slaves were African American. A large portion of them were in fact Irish. A big problem with the slavery during our formation years as a country, we had prejudices for anyone who was different and we could force ot work for little to no money. We wanted cheap, efficient labor and we didn’t care how to get it. There were on average 3 slaves for every one owner on a plantation. Almost everyone had slaves, but slaves wanted their freedom. They wanted the rights that had been given to the other citizens in America and they.

The Reasons For Slavery Essay

. Slavery in Colonial America was a horrendous institution established in the seventeenth century. However, there are some debates over why slavery was founded in the colonies. There are many reasons to why slavery developed in Colonial America, but the debate lies in racism. While some historians think that racism was a result of slavery, others believe that slavery began because of racial prejudice. Ultimately, racism was an important part of slavery, however slavery commenced because of economic and social reasons. Many aspects of slavery must be determined to come to the root of why slavery began. Some historians, such as Carl Degler and Winthrop D. Jordan, argue that racism led to slavery. However some other historians, like Oscar and Mary Handlin, believe that racism developed from slavery. That is not entirely true. There has always been an underlying belief among Europeans that they were superior above all other races. Europeans held themselves in higher regard than any other race for a long time. For instance, English settlers called Native Americans "savages". According to Jordan, Europeans had believed that other races, especially blacks, were not worthy enough to serve whites. This belief also came into the Americas, but this belief was not the main source of.

Essay about Slavery in North America

. Slavery in the North American colonies was a major growing industry from 1607 to 1776. When settlers first made the journey to America and started using slaves, it was not near as popular as it soon would be. Eventually, slavery in America would become an economic powerhouse for the variable cash crops of the many plantations in America. Slavery was a strong industry and it was extremely useful in order to make profits in America. Slavery grew substantially from its origins and developed immensely in the Colonies from 1607 all the way to America’s declaration of independence in 1776. When settlements and colonies were first emerging in America, slaves were not yet being used. Before there was slavery in the American Colonies, there was indentured servitude. In 1676, Nathanial Bacon and other indentured servants rebelled against William Berkley (governor of Virginia) in Bacon’s Rebellion, soon after this incident, plantation owners turned to the black Africans. At the time, Africans were being traded for rum, and as a result, were shipped to the Caribbean and Sugar islands. The American colonies saw this as an advantage to slavery, and in the year 1619, the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. Cash crops increasingly began to strengthen the economy and finally, the population saw the advantages of slavery compared to that of indentured.

Benefits of Slavery to the North Essay

.  Benefits of Slavery to the North Name: Course: Instructor: Date: Benefits of Slavery to the North Introduction Slave trade is an economical and political system that treats a certain group of people as property it is the trade of slaves. Just like any other commodity they the slaves can be bought, sold and disposed off at will. Human rights, equality and fair treatment is a privilege that the slaves never get to experience as they are for the entire span of their lives at the mercies of their masters. The slave master could do just about anything that they wished with their slaves, and they did. Slave trade was simply that a form of trade. It was a booming business in those days and as will be discussed in this paper, slave trade played a critical role in the establishment and strengthening of the western economies. Beginning of slave trade Slave trade was a legally accepted concept in the United States of America between the 19th and 20th century. This concept was already in place even before US got her independence from the British in 1776. The British from as far back as in the 16th century had already made use of slave.


Why didn't the zeal of social change brought by ending slavery continue after the US civil-war ended? - History

by Marika Sherwood (I.B. Tauris, 2007)

2007 marked the bicentennial of an extraordinary event. In that year, the British Parliament outlawed the slave trade. While the anniversary passed without too much comment in the United States, it was commemorated widely in Britain. Out of that cultural moment has come Marika' Sherwood's provocative new book, After Abolition.

Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, millions of Africans were transported across the Atlantic to death or degradation as slaves in the Americas. Finally in 1807, thanks to the impassioned efforts of the Anti-Slavery Society, the British Parliament took the great step of making the slave trade illegal – a story recently told in the movie Amazing Grace. Then, in 1834, Parliament ended slavery in British colonies. Many see 1807 and 1834 as the first great victories in the campaign for human rights. But were they? Sherwood suggests that the British abolition of slavery has a badly tarnished legacy.

After Abolition reveals the extent to which Britain continued to profit from slavery and the slave trade even after it had outlawed both practices, and it uncovers a hidden history of depravity, hypocrisy, and willful blindness. Sherwood, an honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, is also a founding member of the Black & Asian Studies Association in the UK. After Abolition makes the claim that Britain has used the heroic myth of 1807 as an excuse to avoid facing up to continued British involvement with slavery.

The Act of 1807 had made it illegal for British subjects to buy or sell slaves, or otherwise be involved in the trade. Many, however, simply evaded its restrictions. Slave ships were regularly fitted out in British ports like Liverpool or Bristol. In fact, until 1811 carrying slaving equipment like shackles was not considered proof of involvement in the slave trade. Even after it became impossible for slave ships to be fully equipped in British ports, ships continued to fit out there and load their slaving gear just outside British waters.

Often the law was evaded by British ships operating under the Spanish or Portuguese flag, since neither country had yet outlawed the trade. While Britain, and later other nations, supported an Anti-Slaving Squadron to catch slavers off the West African coast, many of the ships they confiscated were re-sold to known slavers. Even where the slavers were not themselves British, they often relied on British credit and shipyards. After all, there was still a thriving market for slaves in Brazil, the Spanish colonies, and the United States. Millions of Africans were exported as slaves after 1808, many of them carried in ships financed, built, or equipped in Britain

According to Sherwood, the British Emancipation Act of 1834 was equally half-hearted. It ended slavery only in the Caribbean, not the rest of the British Empire. Slavery only became illegal in India in 1848, on the Gold Coast in 1874, and in Nigeria in 1901. In the late nineteenth century, colonial soldiers and police in Africa were often slaves themselves. Even after it was officially prohibited, slavery continued under other names as indentured service or forced labor. As late as 1948, colonial officials privately acknowledged that domestic slavery existed in northern Ghana.

Equally damning is the fact that after 1834, British investment continued in places where slavery remained legal, like Cuba and Brazil. In the 1840s, 20% of British sugar imports came from Cuba. British merchants and bankers lived in Cuba and helped finance the trade. British consuls, or their families, even owned slaves. Similarly, Brazilian mines and plantations that relied on slave labor were financed by British capital. By 1860, British imports from Brazil were worth £4.5 million every year (£99 million in 2005).
After Abolition shows how, despite the laws of 1807 and 1834, Britain was generally apathetic about the fate of African slaves. In the 1840s, despite the pleas of the Anti-Slavery Society, Parliament reduced the duty (tax) on imported slave-grown sugar to the same rate as sugar grown by free workers – Lt. Yule of the navy's Anti-Slavery Squadron said it could have been called "a Bill for the Better Promotion of Slavery and the Slave Trade." At the same time, the industrial Midlands imported vast quantities of raw cotton from the USA and Brazil, where it was grown by slaves.
Beyond British business involvement in slaving there was also the government's refusal, despite numerous committees of inquiry in the House of Commons, to close the obvious loopholes in its anti-slavery legislation. The Anti-Slavery Squadron which was supposed to enforce the Act was soon outmatched by newer, faster, slave trading ships. Sherwood wonders why, having agreed to abolish the trade, Parliament was so slow to make their abolition effective. Was it because of the continuing importance of slavery and the slave trade to the British economy? After Abolition suggests that more of the Industrial Revolution was built on the backs of slavery than people would like to admit.
The story After Abolition tells is a horrifying one, but it is still incomplete. As Sherwood admits, she has uncovered more questions than answers. Just how extensive was surreptitious British involvement in the post-1807 slave trade and to what extent did trade and investment in slave-holding countries support British industrialization? Coming close on the heels of the bicentenary of the British abolition of slave trade, Sherwood's book raises serious questions about the extent of British involvement in the slave trade after 1807. Those interested in British or African history will find After Abolition a worthwhile read.


Thirteenth Amendment Ends Slavery But Makes Way for a Different Kind

Frederick Douglass, a former slave who became the most well known African American leader of the 1800s, called slavery “the great sin and shame of America.” The United States still grapples with that shame today.

The Transatlantic Slave Trade dates back to the 15 th Century. In the United States (or what would eventually become the U.S.) it began in 1619 with the first British colony in Jamestown, Virginia. Ship records show that the colonists arrived with “20 and odd enslaved Africans.” The institution would last 246 years on American soil.

During those years, many laws were passed with the goal of keeping slaves in bondage. For instance, in 1662 Virginia passed a law that made any child of a slave a slave as well. In 1664, Maryland declared that all black people in the colony were slaves for life. Historians estimate that six to seven million slaves were imported to the New World via the slave trade during the 1700s.

The United States banned the slave trade (but not slavery) in 1807. The ban went into effect in 1808 however, the slave trade still continued until 1860. The institution thrived, especially in the South where it was vital to the economy. By 1860 at the start of the Civil War, the number of slaves in the U.S. had reached four million.

Initially, slavery was legal in all 13 colonies. After the American Revolution, however, the Northern colonies saw the similarities between Great Britain’s oppression of the colonists and the oppression of slaves. As a result, Northern states started abolishing slavery beginning in 1774, setting up the divisions in the country that would give way to the Civil War. One exception in the North was Connecticut, which passed an act of Gradual Abolition in 1794. The act stated that children born into slavery would be freed when they turn 25. As a result, slavery was legal in Connecticut until approximately 1848.

Lincoln’s Proclamation

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which said, “slaves within any State, or designated part of a State…in rebellion…shall be then, thenceforward and forever free.” The Proclamation was important for a number of reasons, including changing the focus of the war and putting the issue of slavery front and center. Prior to the Proclamation, President Lincoln’s main goal was to preserve the Union. With the Emancipation Proclamation, freedom from slavery became the goal as well. According to the American Battlefield Trust, issuing the Proclamation was also a tactical maneuver on Lincoln’s part, as it prevented the involvement of foreign nations (Great Britain and France) that might have helped the Confederacy. Since most Europeans were against slavery and had abolished the institution in their homelands, they would not want to aid the side fighting to preserve it. In addition, the Proclamation was a way to diminish the South’s labor force, paving the way for African Americans to fight for their own freedom. The U.S. military took in more than 200,000 former slaves, forming the United States Colored Troops.

One shortcoming of the Proclamation was that it only applied to the Confederate states that were rebelling, not in the border states (Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware and Maryland), which allowed slavery but had not joined the Confederacy. President Lincoln intentionally exempted those states so that they were not tempted to fight with the Confederacy.

So, when the war was over and the North prevailed, why didn’t the President just re-issue the proclamation, making it apply to the entire United States? Because future presidents can rescind proclamations or executive orders. In addition, nothing would prevent Southern state legislatures from reintroducing slavery into their state constitutions. In order to secure the freedom of all the formerly enslaved, a constitutional amendment was needed.

Calling it Slavery

The 13 th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the first of three amendments, along with Amendments 14 and 15, known as the Reconstruction Amendments. Any Southern state that wanted to re-enter the Union after the war was required to ratify the 13 th Amendment.

Passed by Congress on February 1, 1865 and ratified by the states on December 18, 1865, the 13 th Amendment stated: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Notably, the 13 th Amendment contains the first time the word “slavery” is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution alludes to slavery several times before the addition of this amendment but never uses the actual word. For example, Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution stated that congressional representation would be based on “the whole number of free persons…and three fifths of all other persons [referring to slaves].” Article I, Section 9, Clause 1 allowed Congress to outlaw the slave trade in 1808 but referred to it as “the importation of persons” and Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3, which dealt with fugitive slaves, referred to them as a “person held to service or labour.”

Taja-Nia Henderson, a professor at Rutgers Law School, who researches and writes on the topic of slavery, says, “The language of the 13th Amendment, as is true for every other amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is a product of political compromise.”

Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, Professor Henderson notes, proposed a resolution for the abolition of slavery that included an extension of “equality before the law” to the freedmen however, a competing resolution by Senator John Henderson of Missouri included abolition only.

“With an eye toward achieving passage of the bill, Senator Henderson’s resolution mirrored the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which had prohibited slavery in the territories with the language: ‘There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in punishment for crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,’” Professor Henderson says. She also notes that Thomas Jefferson was the original author of the “no slavery” language that was later incorporated into the Northwest Ordinance.

Is there a difference between slavery and involuntary servitude? According to Professor Henderson, both are forms of coerced labor and involve violence and terror.

“The primary difference, as I see it,” Professor Henderson says, “is that chattel slavery in the U.S. was a condition of birth.” Involuntary servitude was not a condition of birth and commonly had a time limit, she says, while “slavery in the U.S. was a status held for life.”

In 1873, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled “the word servitude is of larger meaning than slavery…and the obvious purpose was to forbid all shades and conditions of African slavery.” The Court also held that the 13 th Amendment applied to other races as well and “forbids any other kind of slavery, now or hereafter. If Mexican peonage or the Chinese coolie labor system shall develop slavery of the Mexican or Chinese race within our territory, this amendment may safely be trusted to make it void.” The coolie trade refers to the importation of Asian contract laborers during the 19 th Century.

The 13 th Amendment has been cited in lawsuits attempting to define mandatory community service, taxation and the draft as involuntary servitude. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently rejected those claims.

A Loophole

The clause in the 13 th Amendment that states that slavery is abolished “except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted” left open a loophole, allowing the practice of convict leasing to flourish, particularly in the South. Convict leasing was a practice where prisons or jails provided convicts to private parties, like plantations, or corporations, such as U.S. Steel, for “lease.” The lessee (the entity “purchasing” the convicts) would pay the prison and be responsible for feeding, clothing and housing the prisoners. The prisoners were paid nothing. In fact, in 1871, the Virginia Supreme Court issued a ruling that declared a convicted person was “a slave of the state.”

Professor Henderson points out that the “leasing out” of convicted and detained persons from the nation’s prisons and jails had a long history, dating back to as early as 1844.

“Not surprisingly, that history is bound up in the nation’s history of slavery and racial subjugation ,” she says. Professor Henderson has done extensive research on this subject and found that “prisoners’ labor was exploited differently, according to race, long before the 13th Amendment was ratified.” The exception for persons convicted of crimes written into the Amendment was exploited by all the states, she says.

“The reliance upon Southern jurisdictions for convict labor deriving from specious claims of criminality is the more well known story,” Professor Henderson says, “primarily because prisoners and their families refused to stay silent about the atrocities happening inside and outside the walls of Southern prisons.”

The “specious claims of criminality” that Professor Henderson refers to are so called black codes, which were restrictive laws that targeted African Americans and became prevalent in the South after the Civil War. For instance, Mississippi, which enacted the first black code, required African American men to have written evidence of employment for the entire year beginning every January. They would be subject to arrest if they attempted to leave before the contract was up and any wages would be forfeited. Convictions of minor crimes, such as vagrancy , loitering and malicious mischief, created a pipeline for convict leasing, sending the newly freed slaves into a new type of slavery.

In 1893, Ida B. Wells, an African American investigative journalist and leader in the civil rights movement, wrote about the convict lease system, pointing out that judges “extend clemency to white criminals and mete severe punishment to black criminals for the same or lesser crimes.” The People’s Advocate, a Negro journal based in Atlanta, Wells notes in her article, revealed that in 1892 “90 percent of Georgia’s convicts are colored.”

Douglas A. Blackmon, author of Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, said in an interview with Newsweek, “There were tens of millions of African Americans that over this 80-year period either one way or another were forced to live on a farm or in a lumber camp or were forced into convict leasing by the perverted justice system.”

While the practice of convict leasing ended in the 1930s, Professor Henderson notes that even today, jurisdictions across the U.S. extract labor from incarcerated persons without paying them a minimum wage.

Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think the word slavery was not used in the U.S. Constitution until the 13 th Amendment, with the framers going out of their way not to use the word?
2. Why do you think that slavery flourished more in the South than the North (with the exception of Connecticut)?
3. In what ways was the oppression of the American colonists by the British similar to the oppression of African American slaves? In what ways were they different?
4. Some claim that the 13 th Amendment makes mandatory community service, including the draft, unconstitutional. The courts have rejected those claims. Do you agree or disagree with the courts? Explain your answer.
5. Do you think it is fair that prisoners today are not paid a minimum wage for their work? Why or why not?

Glossary Words
abolition:
the action or act of abolishing a system or practice.
chattel:
an item of property other than real estate.
clemency:
a pardon or shortening of a prison sentence.
rescind:
revoke, cancel or repeal.
loitering : lingering in a public place with no particular purpose.
peonage : the use of laborers bound in servitude because of a debt.
specious: superficially plausible, but wrong in actuality.
subjugation: bringing someone or something under control or domination.
vagrancy
: legally refers to being without visible means of support.

This article originally appeared in Beyond the Bill of Rights. You can order hard copies of the Beyond the Bill of Rights using our Publication Order Form. To subscribe the the NJSBF’s civics blog, The Informed Citizen, click here.


Democrats, Slavery, and the American Record

In both 2008 and 2012 black voters seemed to overwhelmingly favor Obama, and today, at least according to an August 8th headline at The Atlantic, Black Pastors Are Breaking the Law to Get Hillary Clinton Elected.

That article doesn't mention the fact that the Clintons are caricature Republicans: old, white, southern, and very rich - or that Obama's eight year war on the middle classes has left black Americans significantly worse off financially, socially, and psychologically than they were in 2007.

That contradiction underlies much of what is going on as black rights organizations do less and less for blacks and more and for Democrats. The Black Lives Matter manifesto, for example, demands both reparations for slavery and solidarity with Palestinian terrorists, but quite fails to note that Muslims routinely participate in, and profi from, the modern slave trade.

A context free quotation attributed to a commentary on American education by Duke Pesta on the smalldeadanimals site suggests both the extent and the provenance of the public gullibility Democrats rely on to keep their voters from realizing just how newspeaky most of the public discourse on the social consequences of slavery has become:

I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors. I gave them a ten-question American history test. just to see where they are. The vast majority of my students - I'm talking nine out of ten, in every single class, for seven consecutive years - they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. Moses, Pharaoh, they know none of it. They're 100% convinced that slavery is a uniquely American invention. How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that's what they think of their own country - that America invented slavery? That's all they know.

What American students should know is quite the opposite of what Democrats want them to believe: slavery was brought to the Southern colonies by the English, not by Americans the Constitution, the Declaration, applicable amendments, and the country's major civil rights legislation were all written and passed mainly by abolitionists and equal rights proponents and no other country extant over the same period can show a greater commitment to moral leadership on the right side of world history on this issue than the United States.

What Pesta's students and people like those putative black pastors should also know is that the only reason racism persists as a serious force in the United States is that Democrats have, since the party's founding in the 1790s, been willing to ignore or subvert the Constitution and subordinate law in their efforts to perpetuate racial distinctions and rich white privilege.

First, there was no United States, and therefore no American responsibility for national law, prior to either April 19, 1775 or June 21, 1788 depending on how you view the significance of getting the paperwork done. Before 1776, English, not American, law ruled the colonies and the history of slavery in America from 1607 to the 1780s is therefore English history, not American history.

In the eighteenth and early 19th centuries slavery was endemic worldwide, and largely non racist in those parts of the British empire that did not have majority aboriginal populations - basically, the English aristocracy were equal opportunity exploiters whose social focus was on class, not racial, distinctions. Thus England sold nearly 600,000 Irish, Scots, English paupers, and Catholics into slavery during the 17th and 18th centuries excluded its empire (then including all the American colonies) from its 1772 emancipation proclamation excluded its richest slavers from the 1807 anti-slave trade bill and, even in its 1833 abolition act not only specifically continued slavery in parts of the empire where it was most valuable to the English aristocracy, but included legislated asset protection for affected slave owners allowing them to turn the legally freed into indentured apprentices whose contracts were regularly bought and sold until well after Appomattox.

The English practice of selling off their undesirables as slaves or indentured servants helped precipitate the American rebellion - which started the nation off with a clean slate, an abolitionist focus, and a deep desire to end the crown's autocratic disregard for human rights -- and, 35 years later triggered the war of 1812 as the United States refused to accept the continuing English view that any man carrying English indenture or sired by an Englishman (as Obama&rsquos birth certificate says) is the property of the English crown.

In 1774, for example, Benjamin Franklin, although now widely maligned in the press for inheriting slaves, was technically liable to be hung on capture by the English garrison for his role in the seditious Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery -- an organization which helped Pennsylvania pass the first full emancipation act in any English speaking colony (in 1780). More significantly, Franklin became the society's president in 1787 and was working on drafts of what became the first effective action taken anywhere in the English speaking world to end the slave trade (the 1794 Act to Prohibit the Carrying on of the Slave Trade which unequivocally outlawing the support, off-loading, or resupply of slave traders anywhere in the United States) when he died in 1790.

Second, slavery in America prior to union was mainly a financial, not a racist or political, matter. The conflation of racism, slavery, and politics did not become deeply established until well into the 19th century when derogatory terms like "lubber" and "somer" for the uneducated and unwilling among whites largely disappeared from the language while those uniquely applicable to people of African origin became increasingly popular through repetition as a verbal signal of allegiance to pro-slavery political opinion.

Thus Virginia, circa 1775, had black holders of white slaves and legal disputes about slave ownership or indentured obligations that were as spirited, and largely color blind, as those taking place in professional sports today. But, by the time the Confederate Constitution was adopted in 1861 the people signing it saw nothing odd about identifying slavery only with Negros.

The American Revolution didn't happen in isolation from western world socio-economic change -- changes that had, by 1776, already made renting men by the workweek cheaper and more effective for urban work than owning families. Thus Northern abolitionists had a willing audience, Western states in which ranching or mining dominated generally became abolitionist, and the end of most of the white slave trade after 1776 allowed almost all of those already in place in the North to work themselves into the culture as free men.

Basically slavery would never have existed in the United States if England's 1772 emancipation act had applied in the colonies. It didn't, so the new nation inherited an inequity most of the founders were determined to see end as quickly as possible. The political component of modern American racism is almost entirely a fictional construct of the Democratic Party, as Kimberly Bloom Jackson demonstrated in these pages last May (The Secret Racist History of the Democratic Party).

If you listen to today's Democrats, slavery in the union was an artefact of Republicanism with vicious old white men interrupting their money counting only long enough to sort of absently mindedly rape a few black women or children every day - but that image is almost entirely fictional. In reality what happened after 1776 was that social and economic changes already underway accelerated during the revolution to make the use of slaves, which had already been in doubt before the revolution, generally unprofitable after it. In general, however, old, well established, families with deep social and financial resources tend neither to see, nor to welcome, change affecting their way of life and so what we now think of as the Democratic Party evolved to cater to the Southern landowners&rsquo desire to resist social change - on which, this bit of history from (astonishingly!) PBS:

The Democratic Party was formed in 1792, when supporters of Thomas Jefferson began using the name Republicans, or Jeffersonian Republicans, to emphasize its anti-aristocratic policies. It adopted its present name during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson in the 1830s. In the 1840s and ཮s, the party was in conflict over extending slavery to the Western territories. Southern Democrats insisted on protecting slavery in all the territories while many Northern Democrats resisted.

The party split over the slavery issue in 1860 at its Presidential convention in Charleston, South Carolina. Northern Democrats nominated Stephen Douglas as their candidate, and Southern Democrats adopted a pro-slavery platform and nominated John C. Breckinridge in an election campaign that would be won by Abraham Lincoln and the newly formed Republican Party. After the Civil War, most white Southerners opposed Radical Reconstruction and the Republican Party's support of black civil and political rights.

The Democratic Party identified itself as the "white man's party" and demonized the Republican Party as being "Negro dominated," even though whites were in control. Determined to re-capture the South, Southern Democrats "redeemed" state after state -- sometimes peacefully, other times by fraud and violence. By 1877, when Reconstruction was officially over, the Democratic Party controlled every Southern state.

Little of this has changed: up to the Civil War the Democrats were the landowners&rsquo hirees fighting to maintain slavery for a hundred years after the Civil War they were the party of Jim Crow, the party seeking to reduce black social mobility through the weakening of black families denial of access to education, denial of access to financial resources, denial of access to property rights, and denial of civil rights -- and all of these strategies were continued with different tactics after the 1960s through Johnson's War on Poverty, Carter's Department of Education, disinformation campaigns turning low information voters into reflexive Democrats, and the Obama's administration's overtly racist embrace of race-baiters.

In 1792 the word "Democratic" in the party name had the same value as it does in the name of any People's Democratic Republic today, and that hasn't changed either -- today's vocal condemnation of 18th century slavery, for example, did not stop the Obama administration giving American political support and American taxpayer money, to get the People's Democratic Republic of Mauritania (where slavery is legal and teaching evolution is illegal) the chairmanship of the U.N. Human Rights Commission. More generally, today's liberal Democrats demand that all Americans acquiesce to Muslim religious slavery and the subjugation of women promote hate and bigotry at every opportunity put a prominent Sharia law advocate on the speaker's podium at their national convention and get most of their campaign funding from the very rich and the financial industry companies they control.

Thus the reality contradicting modern democratic meme is that Lincoln was a Republican bitterly opposed by Democrats Jim Crow, like its modern counterpart the minimum wage movement, was a Democratic Party creation the KKK was a Democratic Party spinoff the Civil Rights Act was passed by Republicans in both the House and the Senate over prolonged Democrat opposition and Johnson's Qar on Poverty was a war on education and the black family.

Similarly, the reality of slave guilt in the United States is that American history is the history of the abolitionist and social equality movements constrained by Democrats, first as conservatives seeking to perpetuate the entitled lifestyle of the richest southern landowners and more recently as the apostles of liberal socialism supported by the big banks, the Fortune 100, and something like 91 of America's 100 richest families.

Ordinary working Americans have good reason to be proud of their country's record with respect to slavery, but no reason to become complacent. The lawless combination of those who want large pools of cheap labor with those who see the development of an uneducated insurgent population as useful for political ends has command of the media, the schools, and the commanding heights of our culture.

In both 2008 and 2012 black voters seemed to overwhelmingly favor Obama, and today, at least according to an August 8th headline at The Atlantic, Black Pastors Are Breaking the Law to Get Hillary Clinton Elected.

That article doesn't mention the fact that the Clintons are caricature Republicans: old, white, southern, and very rich - or that Obama's eight year war on the middle classes has left black Americans significantly worse off financially, socially, and psychologically than they were in 2007.

That contradiction underlies much of what is going on as black rights organizations do less and less for blacks and more and for Democrats. The Black Lives Matter manifesto, for example, demands both reparations for slavery and solidarity with Palestinian terrorists, but quite fails to note that Muslims routinely participate in, and profi from, the modern slave trade.

A context free quotation attributed to a commentary on American education by Duke Pesta on the smalldeadanimals site suggests both the extent and the provenance of the public gullibility Democrats rely on to keep their voters from realizing just how newspeaky most of the public discourse on the social consequences of slavery has become:

I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors. I gave them a ten-question American history test. just to see where they are. The vast majority of my students - I'm talking nine out of ten, in every single class, for seven consecutive years - they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. Moses, Pharaoh, they know none of it. They're 100% convinced that slavery is a uniquely American invention. How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that's what they think of their own country - that America invented slavery? That's all they know.

What American students should know is quite the opposite of what Democrats want them to believe: slavery was brought to the Southern colonies by the English, not by Americans the Constitution, the Declaration, applicable amendments, and the country's major civil rights legislation were all written and passed mainly by abolitionists and equal rights proponents and no other country extant over the same period can show a greater commitment to moral leadership on the right side of world history on this issue than the United States.

What Pesta's students and people like those putative black pastors should also know is that the only reason racism persists as a serious force in the United States is that Democrats have, since the party's founding in the 1790s, been willing to ignore or subvert the Constitution and subordinate law in their efforts to perpetuate racial distinctions and rich white privilege.

First, there was no United States, and therefore no American responsibility for national law, prior to either April 19, 1775 or June 21, 1788 depending on how you view the significance of getting the paperwork done. Before 1776, English, not American, law ruled the colonies and the history of slavery in America from 1607 to the 1780s is therefore English history, not American history.

In the eighteenth and early 19th centuries slavery was endemic worldwide, and largely non racist in those parts of the British empire that did not have majority aboriginal populations - basically, the English aristocracy were equal opportunity exploiters whose social focus was on class, not racial, distinctions. Thus England sold nearly 600,000 Irish, Scots, English paupers, and Catholics into slavery during the 17th and 18th centuries excluded its empire (then including all the American colonies) from its 1772 emancipation proclamation excluded its richest slavers from the 1807 anti-slave trade bill and, even in its 1833 abolition act not only specifically continued slavery in parts of the empire where it was most valuable to the English aristocracy, but included legislated asset protection for affected slave owners allowing them to turn the legally freed into indentured apprentices whose contracts were regularly bought and sold until well after Appomattox.

The English practice of selling off their undesirables as slaves or indentured servants helped precipitate the American rebellion - which started the nation off with a clean slate, an abolitionist focus, and a deep desire to end the crown's autocratic disregard for human rights -- and, 35 years later triggered the war of 1812 as the United States refused to accept the continuing English view that any man carrying English indenture or sired by an Englishman (as Obama&rsquos birth certificate says) is the property of the English crown.

In 1774, for example, Benjamin Franklin, although now widely maligned in the press for inheriting slaves, was technically liable to be hung on capture by the English garrison for his role in the seditious Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery -- an organization which helped Pennsylvania pass the first full emancipation act in any English speaking colony (in 1780). More significantly, Franklin became the society's president in 1787 and was working on drafts of what became the first effective action taken anywhere in the English speaking world to end the slave trade (the 1794 Act to Prohibit the Carrying on of the Slave Trade which unequivocally outlawing the support, off-loading, or resupply of slave traders anywhere in the United States) when he died in 1790.

Second, slavery in America prior to union was mainly a financial, not a racist or political, matter. The conflation of racism, slavery, and politics did not become deeply established until well into the 19th century when derogatory terms like "lubber" and "somer" for the uneducated and unwilling among whites largely disappeared from the language while those uniquely applicable to people of African origin became increasingly popular through repetition as a verbal signal of allegiance to pro-slavery political opinion.

Thus Virginia, circa 1775, had black holders of white slaves and legal disputes about slave ownership or indentured obligations that were as spirited, and largely color blind, as those taking place in professional sports today. But, by the time the Confederate Constitution was adopted in 1861 the people signing it saw nothing odd about identifying slavery only with Negros.

The American Revolution didn't happen in isolation from western world socio-economic change -- changes that had, by 1776, already made renting men by the workweek cheaper and more effective for urban work than owning families. Thus Northern abolitionists had a willing audience, Western states in which ranching or mining dominated generally became abolitionist, and the end of most of the white slave trade after 1776 allowed almost all of those already in place in the North to work themselves into the culture as free men.

Basically slavery would never have existed in the United States if England's 1772 emancipation act had applied in the colonies. It didn't, so the new nation inherited an inequity most of the founders were determined to see end as quickly as possible. The political component of modern American racism is almost entirely a fictional construct of the Democratic Party, as Kimberly Bloom Jackson demonstrated in these pages last May (The Secret Racist History of the Democratic Party).

If you listen to today's Democrats, slavery in the union was an artefact of Republicanism with vicious old white men interrupting their money counting only long enough to sort of absently mindedly rape a few black women or children every day - but that image is almost entirely fictional. In reality what happened after 1776 was that social and economic changes already underway accelerated during the revolution to make the use of slaves, which had already been in doubt before the revolution, generally unprofitable after it. In general, however, old, well established, families with deep social and financial resources tend neither to see, nor to welcome, change affecting their way of life and so what we now think of as the Democratic Party evolved to cater to the Southern landowners&rsquo desire to resist social change - on which, this bit of history from (astonishingly!) PBS:

The Democratic Party was formed in 1792, when supporters of Thomas Jefferson began using the name Republicans, or Jeffersonian Republicans, to emphasize its anti-aristocratic policies. It adopted its present name during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson in the 1830s. In the 1840s and ཮s, the party was in conflict over extending slavery to the Western territories. Southern Democrats insisted on protecting slavery in all the territories while many Northern Democrats resisted.

The party split over the slavery issue in 1860 at its Presidential convention in Charleston, South Carolina. Northern Democrats nominated Stephen Douglas as their candidate, and Southern Democrats adopted a pro-slavery platform and nominated John C. Breckinridge in an election campaign that would be won by Abraham Lincoln and the newly formed Republican Party. After the Civil War, most white Southerners opposed Radical Reconstruction and the Republican Party's support of black civil and political rights.

The Democratic Party identified itself as the "white man's party" and demonized the Republican Party as being "Negro dominated," even though whites were in control. Determined to re-capture the South, Southern Democrats "redeemed" state after state -- sometimes peacefully, other times by fraud and violence. By 1877, when Reconstruction was officially over, the Democratic Party controlled every Southern state.

Little of this has changed: up to the Civil War the Democrats were the landowners&rsquo hirees fighting to maintain slavery for a hundred years after the Civil War they were the party of Jim Crow, the party seeking to reduce black social mobility through the weakening of black families denial of access to education, denial of access to financial resources, denial of access to property rights, and denial of civil rights -- and all of these strategies were continued with different tactics after the 1960s through Johnson's War on Poverty, Carter's Department of Education, disinformation campaigns turning low information voters into reflexive Democrats, and the Obama's administration's overtly racist embrace of race-baiters.

In 1792 the word "Democratic" in the party name had the same value as it does in the name of any People's Democratic Republic today, and that hasn't changed either -- today's vocal condemnation of 18th century slavery, for example, did not stop the Obama administration giving American political support and American taxpayer money, to get the People's Democratic Republic of Mauritania (where slavery is legal and teaching evolution is illegal) the chairmanship of the U.N. Human Rights Commission. More generally, today's liberal Democrats demand that all Americans acquiesce to Muslim religious slavery and the subjugation of women promote hate and bigotry at every opportunity put a prominent Sharia law advocate on the speaker's podium at their national convention and get most of their campaign funding from the very rich and the financial industry companies they control.

Thus the reality contradicting modern democratic meme is that Lincoln was a Republican bitterly opposed by Democrats Jim Crow, like its modern counterpart the minimum wage movement, was a Democratic Party creation the KKK was a Democratic Party spinoff the Civil Rights Act was passed by Republicans in both the House and the Senate over prolonged Democrat opposition and Johnson's Qar on Poverty was a war on education and the black family.

Similarly, the reality of slave guilt in the United States is that American history is the history of the abolitionist and social equality movements constrained by Democrats, first as conservatives seeking to perpetuate the entitled lifestyle of the richest southern landowners and more recently as the apostles of liberal socialism supported by the big banks, the Fortune 100, and something like 91 of America's 100 richest families.

Ordinary working Americans have good reason to be proud of their country's record with respect to slavery, but no reason to become complacent. The lawless combination of those who want large pools of cheap labor with those who see the development of an uneducated insurgent population as useful for political ends has command of the media, the schools, and the commanding heights of our culture.


How Did Slavery Affect the American Economy?

Slavery had a variety of different effects on the American economy, from giving wealthy Southern landowners a free labor force to potentially restricting economic growth in the South, which relied heavily on slave-driven agriculture. Scholars have debated this issue for decades, and there is not a clear answer as to whether the system of slavery was a net good or bad for the nation's economy.

In many ways, slavery was an economic benefit to those who owned slaves, if not the nation as a whole. Slave owners did not have to pay the vast majority of their workforces, but ultimately, slave owners did pay for their slaves, even if that money did not go into the workers' pockets. Slave owners had to pay to purchase their slaves and also paid to feed, house, and clothe these involuntary workers, though the amount of money they paid to do this is likely much less than what would have been fair wages at the time. Clearly, this was not a very good economic arrangement for slaves, who were not paid for their work, but some scholars have argued that their economic situation might not have been much better if they were freed because the conditions of the American working poor at the time were so unfavorable.

The overall effect of slavery on the American economy is also arguable with various scholars identifying some positive and some negative elements of the practice. The South did not make the same technological and industrial advancements as the North until after slavery had been abolished, and some scholars consider this to have been an economic disadvantage for the nation as a whole. However, in the run-up to the Civil War, the South was producing a lot of raw materials to be used in manufacturing thanks to the hard work of the slaves who did the vast majority of the labor in producing crops such as cotton and tobacco.


The Scapegoat for Strife in the Black Community

D iscussions of racial problems almost invariably bring out the cliché of “a legacy of slavery.” But anyone who is being serious, as distinguished from being political, would surely want to know if whatever he is talking about — whether fatherless children, crime, or whatever — is in fact a legacy of slavery or of some of the many other things that have been done in the century and a half since slavery ended.

Another cliché that has come into vogue is that slavery is “America‘s original sin.” The great Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that a good catch phrase could stop thinking for 50 years. Catch phrases about slavery have stopped people from thinking for even longer than that.

Today the moral horror of slavery is so widely condemned that it is hard to realize that there were thousands of years when slavery was practiced around the world by people of virtually every race. Even the leading moral and religious thinkers in different societies accepted slavery as just a fact of life.

No one wanted to be a slave. But their rejection of slavery as a fate for themselves in no way meant that they were unwilling to enslave others. It was just not an issue — until the 18th century, and then it became an issue only in Western civilization.

Neither Africans, Asians, Polynesians, nor the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere saw anything wrong with slavery, even after small segments of British and American societies began to condemn slavery as morally wrong in the 18th century.

What was special about America was not that it had slavery, which existed all over the world, but that Americans were among the very few peoples who began to question the morality of holding human beings in bondage. That was not yet a majority view among Americans in the 18th century, but it was not even a serious minority view in non-Western societies at that time.

Then how did slavery end? We know how it ended in the United States — at a cost of one life lost in the Civil War for every six slaves freed. But that is not how it ended elsewhere.

What happened in the rest of the world was that all of Western civilization eventually turned against slavery in the 19th century. This meant the end of slavery in European empires around the world, usually over the bitter opposition of non-Western peoples. But the West happened to be militarily dominant at the time.

Turning back to the “legacy of slavery” as an explanation of social problems in black American communities today, anyone who was serious about the truth — as distinguished from talking points — would want to check out the facts.


Slavery Did Not Make America Rich

In his second inaugural, Abraham Lincoln declared that "if God wills that [the Civil War] continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk&hellipas was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said, 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'"

It is a noble sentiment. Yet the economic idea implied—that exploitation made us rich—is mistaken. Slavery made a few Southerners rich a few Northerners, too. But it was ingenuity and innovation that enriched Americans generally, including at last the descendants of the slaves.

It's hard to dispel the idea embedded in Lincoln's poetry. TeachUSHistory.org assumes "that northern finance made the Cotton Kingdom possible" because "northern factories required that cotton." The idea underlies recent books of a new King Cotton school of history: Walter Johnson's River of Dark Dreams (Harvard University Press), Sven Beckert's Empire of Cotton: A Global History (Knopf), and Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books).

The rise of capitalism depended, the King Cottoners claim, on the making of cotton cloth in Manchester, England, and Manchester, New Hampshire. The raw cotton, they say, could come only from the South. The growing of cotton, in turn, is said to have depended on slavery. The conclusion—just as our good friends on the left have been saying all these years—is that capitalism was conceived in sin, the sin of slavery.

Yet each step in the logic of the King Cotton historians is mistaken. The enrichment of the modern world did not depend on cotton textiles. Cotton mills, true, were pioneers of some industrial techniques, techniques applied to wool and linen as well. And many other techniques, in iron making and engineering and mining and farming, had nothing to do with cotton. Britain in 1790 and the U.S. in 1860 were not nation-sized cotton mills.

Nor is it true that if a supply chain is interrupted there are no possible substitutes. Such is the theory behind strategic bombing, as of the Ho Chi Minh trail. Yet only in the short run is it "necessary" for a good to come from a particular region by a particular route. A missing link can be replaced, as in fact it was during the blockade of raw cotton from the South during the war. British and other European manufacturers turned to Egypt to provide some of what the South could not.

Growing cotton, further, unlike sugar or rice, never required slavery. By 1870, freedmen and whites produced as much cotton as the South produced in the slave time of 1860. Cotton was not a slave crop in India or in southwest China, where it was grown in bulk anciently. And many whites in the South grew it, too, before the war and after. That slaves produced cotton does not imply that they were essential or causal in the production.

Economists have been thinking about such issues for half a century. You wouldn't know it from the King Cottoners. They assert, for example, that a slave was "cheap labor." Mistaken again. After all, slaves ate, and they didn't produce until they grew up. Stanley Engerman and the late Nobel Prize winner Robert Fogel confirmed in 1974 what economic common sense would suggest: that productivity was incorporated into the market price of a slave. It's how any capital market works. If you bought a slave, you faced the cost of alternative uses of the capital. No supernormal profits accrued from the purchase. Slave labor was not a free lunch. The wealth was not piled up.

The King Cotton school has been devastated recently in detail by two economic historians, Alan Olmstead of the University of California at Davis and Paul Rhode of the University of Michigan. They point out, for example, that the influential and leftish economist Thomas Piketty grossly exaggerated the share of slaves in U.S. wealth, yet Edward Baptist uses Piketty's estimates to put slavery at the center of the country's economic history. Olmstead and Rhode note, too, from their research on the cotton economy that the price of slaves increased from 1820 to 1860 not because of institutional change (more whippings) or the demand for cotton, but because of an astonishing rise in the productivity of the cotton plant, achieved by selective breeding. Ingenuity, not capital accumulation or exploitation, made cotton a little king.

Slavery was of course appalling, a plain theft of labor. The war to end it was righteous altogether—though had the South been coldly rational, the ending could have been achieved as in the British Empire in 1833 or Brazil in 1888 without 600,000 deaths. But prosperity did not depend on slavery. The United States and the United Kingdom and the rest would have become just as rich without the 250 years of unrequited toil. They have remained rich, observe, even after the peculiar institution was abolished, because their riches did not depend on its sinfulness.

The virtue of liberty did matter. The magic world is liberalism, the liberalism of Adam Smith and Mary Wollstonecraft and Henry David Thoreau. The explosion of ingenuity after 1800 came from the gradual inspiriting of millions of liberated people to have a go. Thoreau ran his father's pencil factory, and made it flourish. Liberalism liberated first poor white men, then, yes, former slaves, then women, then immigrants, then colonial people, then gays. Liberation and innovation dance together.

To cast enslavement of some as requisite for the wealth of others is bad economics, then, and bad history. But it is also a toxic ideology. The left has long regarded any employment as slavish exploitation. The phrase wage slave is defined coolly by The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English as "a person who is wholly dependent on income from employment," with the notation "informal"—but not "ironic" or "jocular" or, better, "economically illiterate." By such a definition, you and I are slaves, even though we are paid the traded value of goods and services we produce at the margin for others.

The other Marx, Groucho, at the height of his success in movies during the hungry 1930s, was approached by an old friend, whom Groucho knew to be a communist. As the perhaps apocryphal story goes, the friend said, "I desperately need a job. You have contacts." Groucho, whose sense of humor was often cruel, replied, "Harry, I can't. You're my dear, dear communist friend. I don't want to exploit you." Ha, ha. But no employee in a capitalist economy owes coerced or unpaid service to any boss.

Well, except for our boss the state, through taxation by payment or draft or eminent domain. Taxation is a slavery admired by most of the left and much of the right. Its defenses echo Southern rhetoric in 1860. "Citizens are children who need to be protected, yet forced to work." "Liberty is dangerous." "The defense of property depends on a big government." "God ordained it."

We need to stop using the history of slavery to bolster anti-capitalist ideology. Ingenuity, not exploitation by slavery or imperialism or finance, is the story of the modern world.


&ldquoThe Book That Made This Great War&rdquo

Harriet Beecher Stowe's Mighty Pen

Harriet Beecher Stowe is best remembered as the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, her first novel, published as a serial in 1851 and then in book form in 1852. This book infuriated Southerners. It focused on the cruelties of slavery&mdashparticularly the separation of family members&mdashand brought instant acclaim to Stowe. After its publication, Stowe traveled throughout the United States and Europe speaking against slavery. She reported that upon meeting President Lincoln, he remarked, &ldquoSo you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.&rdquo

Harriet Beecher Stowe. Copyprint. Published by Johnson, Fry & Co., 1872, after Alonzo Chappel. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-10476 (3&ndash18)

Bookmark this item: //www.loc.gov/exhibits/african-american-odyssey/abolition.html#obj20

Uncle Tom's Cabin&mdashTheatrical Productions

This poster for a production of Uncle Tom's Cabin features the Garden City Quartette under the direction of Tom Dailey and George W. Goodhart. Many stage productions of Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous novel have been performed in various parts of the country since Uncle Tom's Cabin was first published as a serial in 1851. Although the major actors were usually white, people of color were sometimes part of the cast. African American performers were often allowed only stereotypical roles&mdashif any&mdashin productions by major companies.