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Slave Breeding; Fact or Fiction

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by ole, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    There seems to be some interest in the subject, but no one will able to find it a year from now if we leave it where it was.

    ole
     

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  3. blue_zouave

    blue_zouave Sergeant

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    Ole, looks like there's a book coming out on the very subject:

    http://www.southendpress.org/2007/items/87781

    BTW, I was raised on that old chestnut about black athletes being superior because of breeding back in the slave days. Does anybody know about primary source documents, pedigrees and stud books, maybe?

    Zou
     
  4. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Thanks blue. I suspect that the issue is very much like "black confederates:" both sides aim for extremes.

    By the way, there's at least one anthropologist (Robert Ardrey) who advances the thought that the physical superiority of the African predated slavery. If it's true that slave-breeding enhanced that "natural" superiority, and it could be, then it would follow that the black athlete does have an edge.

    ole
     
  5. elektratig

    elektratig Sergeant

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    Ole,

    Here is my earlier post from another thread:

    Professor Stampp discusses "slave breeding", which he defines as "raising slaves for the specific purpose of marketing them." (Peculiar Institution, pp. 245-51. He concludes that the evidence of systematic slave breeding as a separate enterprise is scarce, although he cites some examples, as well as instances in which owners in the upper south "maintained an amazing imbalance of the sexes in their holdings."

    On the other hand, he notes that it is clear "that slaves were reared with an eye to their marketability -- that the domestic slave trade was not 'purely casual.'" Even owners dedicated primarily to planting took steps to encourage procreation through "favorable conditions and attractive incentives", recognizing that every child raised was (in the words of a Georgia overseer) "part of the crop."

    "Many masters counted the fecundity of Negro women as an economic asset and encouraged them to bear children as rapidly as possible. In the exporting states these masters knew that the resulting surpluses would be placed on the market. Though few held slaves merely to harvest the increase or overtly interfered with their normal sexual activity, it nevertheless seems proper to say that they were engaged in slave breeding."

    The slaves understood:

    "'This was perfectly evident to me from the meritorious air with which the women always made haste to inform me of the number of children they had borne, and the frequent occasions on which the older slaves would direct my attention to their children, exclaiming, "Look missis! little n****s for you and massa; plenty little n****s for you and little missis."'" (pp. 248-49, quoting a slaveowner's wife's journal)

    Sad.

    The original post is here:

    http://civilwartalk.com/forums/civi...politics/23363-slavery-way-out.html#post31202
     
  6. samgrant

    samgrant Captain Retired Moderator

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    Having lived in Africa for 4 years (Kenya), the athletic aspect of this is somewhat interesting to me.

    The fact is that most slaves imported into the US were of West African descent. The Europeans were the West African slavers, the Arabs were the East African slavers.

    Now we all know that we have had some excellent Black American sprinters, Carl Lewis comes to mind, but no Black American distant runners. This may be explained by the general attributes of the tribes inhabiting those different parts of Africa.

    We see that Kenyans often place as many as 6-7 of the top 10 finishers in Marathon races. I know my students ran to school in the morning, and ran home and back to lunch.

    In East Africa the tribes are descended from generally Nilotic/Hamictic/Bantu ethnic groups, generally thin, long limbed folks.

    I'm not at all knowledgeable about the West African ehnic heritage. but expect that relative to the West Africans they have more muscle mass.

    This all has something to do with "slow-twitch" vs. "fast-twitch" muscles. Look it up.

    Meanwhile here's what, at first browse, seems to be a reasonable article on the subject.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/200009180009

    -
     
  7. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Thanks for resurrecting that, elektratig.

    So Stampp fell into the reasonable pond? I'd heard, perhaps from him, that an actual farm devoted to breeding slaves for sale was a rare find, it is logical to assume that the slaveholder who had slaves to spare would try to make the spare ones as valuable as possible.

    ole
     
  8. Bobbie

    Bobbie Cadet

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    In a book "Caucuses of 1860: A History of the National Political Conventions of the Current Presidential Campaign..." I found an interesting example:

    "Mr. Gaulden of Georgia made his Charleston slave-trade and slave-breeding speech again. He announced himself a slave-breeder. (...)
    He spoke of the slave-trading and slave-breeding State of Virginia, when a delegate of Virginia called him to order for casting an imputation upon the State of Virginia. Gaulden thought he had been paying Virginia a high compliment. He said: Well, I will said the slave-breeding State of Georgia, then. I glory in being a slave-breeder myself. I will face the music myself, and I have got as many negroes as any man from the State of Virginia. And as I invited the gentlemen of this Convention at Charleston to visit my plantation, I will say again that if they will come to see me, I will show them as fine a lot of negroes, and a pure African too, as they can find anywhere. And I will show them as handsome a set of little children there as can be seen, and any quantity of them, too. And I wish that Virginia may be as good a slave-trading and slave-breeding as Georgia".

    So, either there was no slave-breeding in Virginia, or it was not considered there as something to be proud of.
     
  9. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    I suspect the latter. It's a puzzlement. Seems that the only proper use of slaves was in planting and operating an agricultural enterprize. Although buying and selling one's own slaves was common practice, the trader was held in low esteem (go figure!). It follows, somewhat, that the breeder was likewise held in low esteem.

    ole
     
  10. Bobbie

    Bobbie Cadet

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    I would also chose the second possibility.

    Yes, a kind of puzzlement. Maybe Mr. Rhett was quite logical (logical, not right), when he wanted legalisation of African slave-trade, reasoning that if one aspect of slavery was deemed evil, it made the whole institution the subject of controversy. Thus slavery should be either good in every way, or evil in every way. Otherwise it was hypocrisy.

    If breeders were held in low esteem, it would explain why we don't have many narratives of slave-owners, who would boast of their slave-breeding achievements.
     
  11. jpeter

    jpeter 1st Lieutenant Retired Moderator

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    This is a very interesting topic and one I'd like to know more about.

    I think it's safe to say slave traders (and slave breeders) were considered a lower-class occupation to those able to own slaves. Pardon the analogy, but a 19th century wealthy land owner may like having more agricultural farm animals as real assets, but he looked down on those that raised and bred animals. I'm sure the same held true for slave traders. Society was still highly stratified at that time.

    However, I would also guess that many slave owners may have played the part-time role of slave breeder. They could easily do this by simply arranging males and females or insisting on copulation or even marriage between specific slaves. This could have been done in a casual conversation to a hired foreman and no documentation would exist.

    I would be fascinated to read evidence of someone who actually made their living out of the selective breeding of slaves.... where actual documentation existed.
     
  12. cw1865

    cw1865 Sergeant Major

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    Rape

    specific slaves....or himself....
     
  13. jpeter

    jpeter 1st Lieutenant Retired Moderator

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    Either... but I doubt the master would be addressing a study of genetic engineering if he took a female slave.

    My guess is that the slave-master had a recreational angle more than a scientific one.
     
  14. larry_cockerham

    larry_cockerham Southern Gentleman, Lest We Forget, 2011

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    Gents, if truly interested in this, I suggest you read Charles Ball's SLAVES IN THE FAMILY. True stuff from the early South Carolina plantation family. Mostly genealogy, but great insights into slavery and plantation life in the southeast. This was a NY Times bestseller in paperback.
     
  15. Freddy

    Freddy 2nd Lieutenant

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    PBS did a special about Charles Ball and his new found relatives. They followed him around as he met with his African American relatives. The book and and the special were fascinating!
     
  16. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    From the book, Slave Trading in the Old South, by Frederic Bancroft, Chapter IV. The Importance of Slave-Rearing, p. 68:

    "But what did Southerners closely associated with slavery say about slave-rearing? It is their evidence that is decisive.

    And advertisement in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1796, offereing fifty prime negroes for sale contained theses sentences: *** "they are not Negroes selected out of a larger gang for the purpose of a sale, but are prime, their present Owner, with great trouble and expense, selected them out of many for several years past. They were purchased for stock and breeding Negroes, and to any Planter who particularly wanted them for that purpose, they are a very choice and desirable gang." At all times "breeding slaves", "child bearing women", "breeding period", "too old to breed", etc. were familiar terms.

    Slave-rearing early became the source of the largest and often the only regular profit of nearly all slaveholding farmers and of many planters in the upper South. Especially in Virginia, as Francis Corbin wrote in 1819, "miserabile dictur our principle profit depends" on the increase of our slaves. In a Virginia case in 1848, the Court said that "the scantiness of net profit from slave labor has become proverbial, and that nothing is more common than actual loss, or a benefit merely in the slow increase of capital from propagation."

    (From pg. 75 of the same chapter)

    The wife of a Georgia planter wrote that "many indirect inducements [are] held out to reckless propagation, which has a sort of premium offered to it in the consideration of less work and more food counterbalanced by none of the sacred responsibilities which hallow and ennoble the relation of parent and child; in short, as their lives are for the most those of mere animals, their increase is literally mere animal breeding, to which every encouragement is given, for it adds to the master's live-stock and the value of his estate."

    The most careful planters everywhere considered slave-rearing of prime importance. One in Alabama, who was so liberal-minded, that he encouraged his negroes to read the Bible, described his own prosperity by saying that his slaves had been "generally healthy and very prolific, and their increase is no small matter in the item of profits." Another expressed the common opinion: "Well treated and cared for, and moderately worked, their natural increase becomes a source of great profit to their owner. Whatever therefore tends to promote their health and render them prolific, is worthy his attention." "With us the proprietor's largest source of prosperity is in the negroes he raises", said Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb, in 1858, when also president of the Georgia Cotton Planters' convention.

    John C. Reed--also a Georgian, graduated from Princeton in 1854 and afterward a lawyer in his native State--had rare knowledge of social condition and was clear and frank in his convictions. He wrote: "Although the profits of slave-planting were considerable, the greates profit of all was what the master thought of and talked of all the day long,--the natural increase of his slaves, as he called it. His negroes were far more to him than his land." *** "Really the leading industry of the South was slave-rearing. The profit was in keeping the slaves healthy and rapidly multiplying. This could be done at little expense in agriculture where even the light workers were made to support themselves." Accordingly, he said, "many of these older sections turned, from being agricultural communities, into nurseries, rearing slaves for the younger States where virgin soil was abundant."

    More to follow.
    Unionblue
     
  17. Hanny

    Hanny Banned

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    Blacks are superior atheltes because of genitics, the same genitcs that make theme better runners, makes theme inferior swimmers, ie higher bone density makes them heavy in the water and poor swimmers, but superior runners.

    Try the Human g nome studies on what gentic markers make people better at x y or z and why some population groups have more of these markers, German popultaion hasa higher incidence of the gentic markers on agresion makeing them prone to settle differnces with violence as a result, when historinas commented on germany being a war prone nation they did not know science would came along with an explanation for it!.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article3022190.ece
     
  18. Hanny

    Hanny Banned

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    Following on from the Calhoun thread.

    Ok, think of it this way, slavery works best when you have a plan, slavery by the 1800s had a pretty good plan of how to maximise output, to get more work out of a human you need to feed the body, slave diet was often 4200+ calories, expetionaly good by the standards of the day, in return the body can be worked hard and long, knowing what to feed and how long you can then work was derived from books that explained to Managers of slaves how to get the most out of them, what the purpose of coercive punishments were and the consequences and so on. So there was a number of books describbing the best practices, planations would be run under these planation rules/laws, which covered pretty much all slaves ever came into contact with law, state and national law being rarely encountered, while most slaves lived their entire lives under planation laws, which were by 1860 the product of books detailing best practices, from what natural remidies to apply to injurys to diet to punishment that still allow work and so on, everything an owner neededd to know about the exploition of others to maximum profit.
    The key thing they all have in common is the family unit and maintaining its co operation, they all advise against sexual exploitation.


    Ah, so war was only his hobby!!, another example of a large family was N B Forrest, 10 brothers and sisters, all the males fought for the south, 1 had his spine broken in the war with Mexico and was paraysed and on crutches, when a Union officer insulted his mother, he struck the officer with one crutch, the officer kicked the crutches away and said and now what are you going to do cripple?, and thats when he shot him, not bad Mr Forrest, not bad at all, stood trial and got off an atempted murder charge.
    So what is that difference?, is it that human reproduction is all deliberatly done for profit?, of course not, large familys are common, especially in pre contraception societys, to argue that negros were bred for profit, means that owners interfered with natural cause and effct, ie babys taken to wet nurse or given formula and the mothers body made ready to bear ofspring again by removing the milk that reduces fertility as soon as practible, but this is contradicted in the census data we have for time between babys, and that babys came later in life for negros than for whites, and generaly shared the same mortality rates. No one has found the data to support this kind of interference to my knowedge, all the data runs to the oposite in fact, so the claim that negros were bred at an early age for profit, is not supported by the data, the claim exoisats because they wanted to make the claim, and simply did not understand interegional movements of peoples and market forces, which really only was possible with the use of machines to understand the vast volume of data on slave sales etc, and economist of the 20th century not pursueing an agenda, but simply looking for answers.

    Almost does covera lot of ground, the principle point being large families are not evidence of selective or forced breeding, unless you can also show where and how this was done to increase the adundent examples of large families, which is why micro level examples while intresting dont generaly answer much, and why macro level statistics do, the average white family 5/6 was do fifferent from the average negro family 5/6, the diference on a couple of .1 or 2 being the case.



    Rather depends of when we talking, but in 1850 the cost to owner was $20 per annum to operate a slave, this asset pricing of a slaves value will be discounted value of net income plus any capital investment/apreciation/dep[rection over the slaves lifetime, in short in 1850 the cost to run a slave was 20, anything over 20 was a profit. Hireing out was indeedd the most common use of slave labour, which was why all whites income was effected by slavery, perhaps as much as 30% of all whites income was generted by slaves, so while only a small % of white society owned slaves, the use of it effected pratcicly everyone.

    slavery was not fuelled or run by child labour, ( its atarction was low unit labour cost, so child labour was not a finacial saveing because adults were already working for the lowest $ value imaginable, which is why the lost labour wages calculation work out to around 1.5+ trillion $ for underpayement of wages when the issue of compensation is worked out)a child has no skill sets worth speaking off, ( you need to ask who is hireing and what does he need doing?, is it his broken plough needing reforging, or his mules shod, or his crops harvested and so on, im not saying there is no demand for child labour, meerly very little demand, and what does exist probably also exist on the planation to do when it exist elswhere, as nor do children the pysical strength to perform well at most tasks, especialy if the hired work in miles away) the slave sytem was one of parenting into a skill set, slaves occupied many levels of social standing in the slave system, they filled 70% of the mangerial posistions in planations which was as high as they could go, they dominated the artisan( stonemason, carpenter etc)class in the south, while at the same time, the lowest rungs were the field hands, (70%ish of all slaves were here) which were completly different from the house servants, each got different advanatges. Each slave returned on average about 10% of its $ sale value per year, so yes the stock exchange analogy abounds in all the literature on slave profitability, but slavery worked and was profitable not beacuse it was also child slavery, who would hire a child when a fully grown man was available at excellent rates?, where you do see child labour is where labour is expensive because labour is short, thats in the NE, where large numbers of children were used in the industry that needed quick and small hands at bobbins etc.


    Quote:
    If you mean the census data of the old south shows a population admixture of stable families who have multiple ofspring, as oposed to the new south (states which enter the Union and import from the old souther states) age groups of the prime filed hand range because that maximises profity from field work, then we are talking about the same thing. [...]

    My bad, i assumed you were familiar with intergional movements, and why the natural limits thesis explanation of slavery claims that the old south was a baby farm fuelling the new souths exploitation, and as each new soil becaome exhusted that states owners turned to baby famring to fuel the next territotrial expansion to fresh soil.
    You refered to the upper south selling slaves into the deep south, this while true, needs to be seen in its proper context, what happens there is the same as happened when slaves spread out from Va/maryland to take advanatge of new states soil, the prime field hands were sold or went with their masters, as its they who could max out profitabilioty in the new land, or brought the best price if sold west, this ment, exactly as in the case of the border states selling an age group, (ie the prime field hands age range) south, because of the finacial profitability to sell them was high, which was why the border states population mix was odd, the yound unatached were sold off leaving the stable family units behind, which becuase of what they are are not as profitable to sell south, and include more ofspring, showing therfore that the border states appear to have a ratio of births higher than the states recieveing the age group sold, who have alower ratio of births because of a) most sold into that state are prime hands and not reproducing yet, and b) if comming in with masters are of the same because new citizens to a state with slaves from the exporting state also had the same age range come with them, to max out the chances of finacial success rather than rear familys, which was what appears to be happeneing in the exporting states and not in the importing states. Which is true, but not because of some baby breeding programe, but because of market forces dicating how to max out profitability,( SC for instance sold huge numbers west because the market dicated that here was where youmade the highest profit on cotton, and therfore the price of slaves here was also the highest) which ment owners moved the most advantagous labour to oportunity, causing odd age groups in exporting and importing states, since these same age groups appear in the border states to the south, in the free northern states negros population after emanicpation, ie the prime field hands age group is under represented because they were sold off prior to the state emancipation, but more generaly, called the old south and new south as the old states filled up and exported slaves to new states, filling up Miss and Ga by reducing Maryland VA slave poulations (56% ofall slaves lived here in 1800, by 1820 only 35% and by 1860 only 15%), so that SC wanted to re open slave importaion to obtain more slaves because prices were so high, and they could not obtain more, slavery expnasion and interegional movement threw up perhaps a million people moving vast distances, and the age range was not a uniform one, it was one of economic advanatge of the owner, which gave the appearence to observers that the old south, ie the soil exhusted baby farms aboliotionst saw, because that what they wanted to see, where in fact nothing of the sort, merly the result of market forces imapcting on society and producing imbalnced populations, which existed nation wide in all slave population because that simply a by product of moving labour to oportunity, rather than offer incentives to move, which would again in the 40s and 60s draw huge numbers of negros north from the south, the only difffernce was thay this time this huge interegional movement was one of choice, and was done by the family unit, instead of the most profitable portion of it.

    Polish analogy here seems to work, huge numbers of economic migrants have left Poland when it joined the EUnion, not as familys, but a high incidence of an age group that does not include children, resulting in other EU countyrys, the Uk for instnce benifitting from there skill sets since we dont have to train the docters, dentist to tradesaman to cleaners, that have came here, perhaps several 00 of 000s strong, within a few years these economic migrants have now began to produce familys. Babys that would have been produced back in Poland are now in the Uk, back in poland, the population base is shot to hell because huge numbers of the young are elswhere, but the stable family age group are still there and producing further children, not because Poland is a baby farm, and the Uk a babay free zone, but as a result of economic dislocation of poplation.


    1790-1862 total slave sales from exporting to importing states was 825k-1,000,000 kinda range depending on which book you pick up, the last 3 decads being the peak period. Maryland/Va/NC/SC supplied 85% of the migrants, which ment importing states pop grew 3.6 times faster than natural increase alone, and exporting states population was similary retarded.
    1804-1862 records show 84% of all such tranfers over age 14 were with owners and were unmarried. Married with parteners was 6%
    children under 13 with no family members, acount for 9% of all sales, typicaly 15% of this age group are orphans, in 1850 therfore, 190,000 orphans and 1250 or that sort of range at least, sales of children without parents sold means the number sold who had parents is statsicly very low, and in all probalilty, it was orphans who comprise the interegional sale, not the break up of familys. Im not claiming it did not happen and 1 is 1 to many, but instead attempting to get some sort of context of how many, how often.
    Bancrofts work cites only 20 odd instances of child sales, covering 26 years, and is at odds with the slave records of whjich there are 00s of 000s of records, U B Phillips "Young children were hardly ever sold seperatly", and common sense, who wants to own an un profitibale aset?, which was why the whole slavery was un economic argumnet was put, slaves were status symbols not economic pwer houses that made the USA, not as able to thrive and propser by hard work under a reward and punishment regime, ( however extreme the punishment was, it must always be compared to the carrot element and also seen in the context of the time, which was rather violent) but driven to it by whip and lash because negros were inferior to whites. Bancrofts racism was of a different king, he downplayed the negros into a sly work shy caricature, and unfourtunatly has been much copied since then, and the slave owners as criminals without morals.
     
  19. Hanny

    Hanny Banned

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    An excellent read, highly recomended.
     
  20. cw1865

    cw1865 Sergeant Major

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    True

    I would say that is true. One of the problems is that the genetic selection process will take longer than a master's lifetime. I think that what we should be looking for is evidence of sex as a reward.
     
  21. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    I don't think we're talking about anything so advanced as genetic selection. It's more like mating your biggest, strongest field-hand with the sturdiest fertile females. Odds are you will end up with a crop of babies who will mostly resemble their parents.

    ole
     

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