Assuming a victorious South, how long would emancipation take?

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#1
One of the things I speculate on when looking at slavery in the American South is just how much longer it would have lasted if either the Civil War had not helped produce the 13th Amendment, or if the Confederacy had won independence. If we look at the timeline of abolition in the 19th century, we see the last holdouts in the western hemisphere were Cuba in 1886, and Brazil in 1888, only 23 years after the Civil War ended. 1890 saw a European conference in Brussels that ended the slave trade in Africa.

Against this trend, how long would the Confederacy have been able to hold on to slavery? Would they have outlasted Brazil? Would the markets where they sold their cotton have continued to do business with them if they continued to use slave labor to produce it? Britain had switched to Egyptian cotton during the war. Would they have gone back to that in order to put economic pressure on the South? Would mechanization have had a further impact on the slave labor system, making slavery more expensive and ultimately not worth the cost?

I've also wondered sometimes what emancipation would have looked like in the South if it had not been forced. Without all the resentment and bitterness that came from the way slave emancipation was effected, would Jim Crow laws and all that came with them have been avoided? What would a Civil Rights movement in an independent CSA have looked like? Would it have happened sooner or later than it did in actual history? Obviously the further we get from actual history, the more variables there are and the less information there is to use for speculation. But the trend in western civilization in the 19th was to end slavery all across the hemisphere, and I don't think the Confederacy could have resisted that indefinitely.
 

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#2
Since the South was an agrarian society in large part my opinion is that it would have lasted
until the mechanization of farms and that started to come about in the early 1900s. That
would mean another generation of people would have been born in bondage which I am
glad never happened.

Of course, my thoughts are just speculation, but the end of slavery in a victorious South
may have been even uglier than the way history played out. There may have been an
apartheid system in place such as the one in South Africa. Then again, without Jim
Crow and segregation maybe blacks would have been accepted as full citizens much
sooner than they were. This is only guesswork on my part, who really knows how things
would have played out under this scenario.
 
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brass napoleon

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#3
I've also wondered sometimes what emancipation would have looked like in the South if it had not been forced. Without all the resentment and bitterness that came from the way slave emancipation was effected, would Jim Crow laws and all that came with them have been avoided?
If you look at what Southern leaders had been saying for decades prior to the Civil War, it's apparent that the "resentment and bitterness" of civil war had nothing to do with Jim Crow:

"He who regards slavery in those states simply under the relation of master and slave, as important as that relation is, viewed merely as a question of property to the slaveholding section of the Union, has a very imperfect conception of the institution, and the impossibility of abolishing it without disasters unexampled in the history of the world. To understand its nature and importance fully, it must be borne in mind that slavery... involves not only the relation of master and slave, but also the social and political relations of two races, of nearly equal numbers, from different quarters of the globe, and the most opposite of all others in every particular that distinguishes one race of men from another. Emancipation would destroy these relations - would divest the masters of their property, and subvert the relation, social and political, that has existed between the races from almost the first settlement of the Southern States...

To destroy the existing relations, would be to destroy this prosperity, and to place the two races in a state of conflict, which must end in the expulsion or extirpation of one or the other. No other can be substituted compatible with their peace or security."


- John C. Calhoun, February 4, 1836

Source: <http://books.google.com/books?id=CotLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA195

******************
"Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish – the part of Mississippi is chosen. She will never submit to the principles and policies of this Black Republican administration. She had rather see the last of her race, men, women and children, immolated in one common funeral pyre than see them subjected to the degradation of civil, political and social equality with the Negro race."

- Mississippi Judge William Harris, speaking to the Georgia General Assembly, December 17, 1860

Source: http://civilwarcauses.org/wharris.htm
Slavery was NECESSARY to keep the blacks in their place, which not only is the reason that it wouldn't have ended any time soon, but also the reason that it couldn't have ended pleasantly.
 
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E_just_E

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#4
Depends on what a "victorious South" meant. For the Confederacy victory would be recognition as an independent country, alongside the US. Given the looser (than Federal Law) Confederate Law restrictions on State Law, I suspect that one would see slavery being abolished in some states, and also would see states seceding from the Confederacy. I suspect that there would be a progressive abolition with the deep South states (AL, MS) being the last to hold on to slavery. I also suspect that other countries would put trade pressure on the Confederacy to abolish slavery.
 

Carronade

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#5
Whether or not they needed slave labor, they had no desire to share their communities with thousands or millions of free blacks on anything like an equal basis. At the very least they would insist on strong segregation measures. Historically they kept segregation in place until the 1960s, and even then it was the United States government which forced them to end it.

There would presumably be less opportunity for a Great Migration to the north to relieve the pressure.
 
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#6
Against this trend, how long would the Confederacy have been able to hold on to slavery?
The success of the US Civil War influenced the timeline of other countries. For example, if the Civil War had turned out differently, the situation in the 1880s Cuba would have been different.

I've also wondered sometimes what emancipation would have looked like in the South if it had not been forced.
It would not happen at all unless forced. If the Civil War had turned out differently, there would have been additional conflicts, wars or uprisings. Eventually one of these would end in emancipation.


Without all the resentment and bitterness that came from the way slave emancipation was effected, would Jim Crow laws and all that came with them have been avoided?
LOL. Jim Crow laws were not the result of the way emancipation was effected.


But the trend in western civilization in the 19th was to end slavery all across the hemisphere, and I don't think the Confederacy could have resisted that indefinitely.
I do think they would have lost the struggle at some point and had emancipation forced on them, whether through internal conflict or external war.
 

major bill

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I would have to guess around 1970s or so. It is possible that it still might exist today. I believe the chattel slavery of the pre Civil War would have evolved Ito a new style of slavery in many places. This is not to say that slavery in some places would have remained much the same as it had been at the time of the Civil War. The use of slavery in the computer age is hard to judge and slavery would not seem to lend itself to computer style industrial age. However, I may be under estimating the ability of slave owners to adapt to a changing world.
 

jgoodguy

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#8
My bet is 1880s, simply that is where it died out in the real time line. Slavery is going to be very depend on the Cotton Economy and it busted after the Civil War because demand plateaued off. There was a great deal of speculation in slaves because cotton prices were going up driven by world demand. That ended in 1860. With demand slowing, then speculation that cotton was going going up would end depressing land and slave prices. Leveraged slave owners would go out of business dumping slaves and land on a depressed market. IMHO that cotton bust would end slavery in an independent South.
 

Eric Calistri

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#9
The proslavery literature of the day speaks of three primary reasons for the continuation of the institution:

1) Economic: "the greatest material interest of the world"

2) Social Inferiority: "that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable."

3) Biblical: " the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations"

As well as the permanent nature: "the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time."

Full Context of the above quotes.


In a counter factual scenario where Southern States voluntarily eliminate slavery, wouldn't it be necessary to address all these items and describe the process by which these views are each overthrown?

Even in arguments that just make the economic case, doesn't one need to consider that cotton was not the only profit center for the slave owners? For example, slave owners in the non-cotton growing areas generated substantial revenue selling excess slaves westward as slave territory expanded westward throughout the first half of the 19th century. In this we see an economic engine for the expansion of slavery, with Mexico and the Caribbean as the targets. This view was popular enough that the acquisition of Cuba was called for in the Democratic Platform Breckenridge ran on in 1860. Shouldn't a counterfactual provide the mechanism by which the popular expansionist viewpoint is supplanted by the exceedingly unpopular, and in many ways illegal, emacipationist viewpoint?
 
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jgoodguy

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#11
The proslavery literature of the day speaks of three primary reasons for the continuation of the institution:

1) Economic: "the greatest material interest of the world"

2) Social Inferiority: "that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable."

3) Biblical: " the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations"

As well as the permanent nature: "the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time."

Full Context of the above quotes.


In a counter factual scenario where Southern States voluntarily eliminate slavery, wouldn't it be necessary to address all these items and describe the process by which these views are each overthrown?

Even in arguments that just make the economic case, doesn't one need to consider that cotton was not the only profit center for the slave owners? For example, slave owners in the non-cotton growing areas generated substantial revenue selling excess slaves westward as slave territory expanded westward throughout the first half of the 19th century. In this we see an economic engine for the expansion of slavery, with Mexico and the Caribbean as the targets. This view was popular enough that the acquisition of Cuba was called for in the Democratic Platform Breckenridge ran on in 1860. Shouldn't a counterfactual provide the mechanism by which the popular expansionist viewpoint is supplanted by the exceedingly unpopular, and in many ways illegal, emacipationist viewpoint?
IMHO 2 and 3 follow 1. If one fails, the others will follow.
Nothing was as profitable as cotton, nor as labor intensive. Cotton falls, then there is not enough demand to support slavery. Lot of moving parts so this is a gross simplification.

For example
  • Need to know how much of the South gets independent.
  • Need to know the political environment, will slave owner political influence weaken and how much.
  • Market for cotton.
  • Success in mass industrialization using slaves.
  • Assuming skilled slave labor, then that implies more power to the slaves. Hard to make a skilled person work at the highest level possible.
  • White labor vs slave labor for mining and factory work.
  • and more.
 
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#13
One of the things I speculate on when looking at slavery in the American South is just how much longer it would have lasted if either the Civil War had not helped produce the 13th Amendment, or if the Confederacy had won independence. If we look at the timeline of abolition in the 19th century, we see the last holdouts in the western hemisphere were Cuba in 1886, and Brazil in 1888, only 23 years after the Civil War ended. 1890 saw a European conference in Brussels that ended the slave trade in Africa.

Against this trend, how long would the Confederacy have been able to hold on to slavery? Would they have outlasted Brazil? Would the markets where they sold their cotton have continued to do business with them if they continued to use slave labor to produce it? Britain had switched to Egyptian cotton during the war. Would they have gone back to that in order to put economic pressure on the South? Would mechanization have had a further impact on the slave labor system, making slavery more expensive and ultimately not worth the cost?

I've also wondered sometimes what emancipation would have looked like in the South if it had not been forced. Without all the resentment and bitterness that came from the way slave emancipation was effected, would Jim Crow laws and all that came with them have been avoided? What would a Civil Rights movement in an independent CSA have looked like? Would it have happened sooner or later than it did in actual history? Obviously the further we get from actual history, the more variables there are and the less information there is to use for speculation. But the trend in western civilization in the 19th was to end slavery all across the hemisphere, and I don't think the Confederacy could have resisted that indefinitely.
I don't know when slavery would have ended. But I will offer this.

We need to understand that emancipation is not even the same thing as abolition, and it's certainly not the same thing as equality. Even under a process for widespread emancipation, we can't assume that blacks and whites would be "equals."

The view of African Americans as an inferior race was endemic in the white population. The question has to be asked, what, if anything, would have led white southerners to give equality in rights, privileges, and opportunities to African Americans?

Meanwhile, it is key to note that one result (contingency) of the war was the passage of three key amendments: the 13th amendment (abolish slavery), 14th (give African Americans civil rights, ensure due process and equal protection), and 15th amendment (establish that suffrage cannot be limited based on race, other factors). The 24th Amendment ended the poll tax. These amendments were the basis of the progress African Americans made socially, politically, and economically in the wake of the Civil Rights movement. The amendments enabled and allowed the federal government to counter states' rights objections to integration. I don't see anything resembling this being enacted in the Confederate States of America.

- Alan
 

E_just_E

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#14
The view of African Americans as an inferior race was endemic in the white population.
Endemic is a pretty big word. Evidence please? The fact that there were 50, 100, or even 1000 loud racists on record, cannot speak for the rest 99%+ of the population.

This is equivalent to saying that Nazism and Fascism was endemic in Germany and Italy during WW2, which is not true.
 
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#15
One of the things I speculate on when looking at slavery in the American South is just how much longer it would have lasted if either the Civil War had not helped produce the 13th Amendment, or if the Confederacy had won independence. If we look at the timeline of abolition in the 19th century, we see the last holdouts in the western hemisphere were Cuba in 1886, and Brazil in 1888, only 23 years after the Civil War ended. 1890 saw a European conference in Brussels that ended the slave trade in Africa.

Against this trend, how long would the Confederacy have been able to hold on to slavery? Would they have outlasted Brazil? Would the markets where they sold their cotton have continued to do business with them if they continued to use slave labor to produce it? Britain had switched to Egyptian cotton during the war. Would they have gone back to that in order to put economic pressure on the South? Would mechanization have had a further impact on the slave labor system, making slavery more expensive and ultimately not worth the cost?

I've also wondered sometimes what emancipation would have looked like in the South if it had not been forced. Without all the resentment and bitterness that came from the way slave emancipation was effected, would Jim Crow laws and all that came with them have been avoided? What would a Civil Rights movement in an independent CSA have looked like? Would it have happened sooner or later than it did in actual history? Obviously the further we get from actual history, the more variables there are and the less information there is to use for speculation. But the trend in western civilization in the 19th was to end slavery all across the hemisphere, and I don't think the Confederacy could have resisted that indefinitely.
Edmund Rhett, of the famous SC Rhett family, served as a CSA officer, and was an editor of the Charleston Mercury. In 1865, he wrote a letter dated 10/14/1865 to former US Representative Armistead Burke, detailing his ideas for dealing with the negro after the War. These are excerpts; forgive my typos:

Edmund Rhett, Jr, letter to Armistead Burt, October 14, 1865.

Dear Sir:

With great diffidence and some hesitation I venture to enclose you certain propositions relative to the negro-discipline and negro-labor questions, Which have occurred to me, and impressed me as essential to the preservation of our labor system, and, indeed, our social system. As one of the Commission Appointed to suggest such laws as are advisable for the regulation and the protection of the Negro, I venture to submit these propositions to your consideration

…[T]he sudden and entire overthrow of that system which has taken place is unwise, injurious, and dangerous to our whole system, pecuniary and social… it must follow as a natural sequence, it appears to me, that, sudden and abrupt abolition having taken place by force of arms, it should be to the utmost extent practicable be limited, controlled, and surrounded with such safeguards, as will make the change as slight as possible both to the white man and the negro, the planter and of the workmen, the capitalist and the laborer.

In other words, that the general interest of both the white man and the Negro requires that he should be kept as near to his former condition as Law can keep him and that he should be kept as near to the condition of slavery as possible, and as far from the condition of the white man as practicable.

If you agree with me in these premises, I trust too we shall not differ much in the conclusion-namely, as to what Laws are necessary to affect this end.

I know that there are those who look to getting rid of the Negro entirely, and of resorting to white labor. I regard this idea as the mere infatuation of men who are at their wits' end. For in all of the cotton states all of the good lands are so malarious in the fall of the year as to render it impracticable for white men to labor under our suns. We must face the question-negroes must be made to work, or else cotton and rice must cease to be raised for export.

Your obedient servant
Edmond Rhett

Enclosure-

1st An Act prohibiting all Freedmen.. from ever holding or owning real estate in South Carolina or their posterity after them. An act of this sort is essential in order to uproot the idea which has now run the Negroes crazy all over this state - namely that they all to have 40 acre lots of their own. Let the idea of there ever owning land pervade amongst them, and they will never work for the white man, or upon any land but their own. The act is essential because it will at once cut off all competition between the white and the black man. The black man must then forever labor under the capital of the white man, and the white man must take care of him or else he will soon have no labor. I regard it as the most vital Law that can be made for our future prospering.

…Here, under these four propositions, we have the Negro, first, put upon the footing of a denizen. He can own no real estate the soil is out of his reach then we have him located, and prevented from vagrandizing. Then we compel him to keep his contracts. Then we control him, and keep him under good discipline. Under these laws, he left labor faithfully according to the laws of demand and supply or else he must leave the state.​

So, this was Rhett's view for a post-emancipation South: prevent the freedmen from ever owning land, and otherwise keep negroes "as near to the condition of slavery as possible." Under his plans, negroes would no longer be chattel property - and thus no longer legally enslaved (they would be "emancipated") - but would nonetheless be disenfranchised, marginalized, and degraded. And in fact, this plan - which ultimately became was we call Jim Crow - was in effect until federal government intervention during the 1950s - 1970s.

- Alan
 
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jgoodguy

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#17
Lets be nice folks. The lack of hard evidence going forward is going to be non existent as in any alternate timeline. All too often emotion substitutes for fact.

We know that emancipation was opposed prior to the end of the Civil War in the CSA. We know that the end of slavery was not popular in the newly impoverished slave owner class after the end. In my speculation I assume the slave owner class gets weakened politically as time goes by simply because that is what happens in the real time line.
 
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#18
Endemic is a pretty big word. Evidence please? The fact that there were 50, 100, or even 1000 loud racists on record, cannot speak for the rest 99%+ of the population.

This is equivalent to saying that Nazism and Fascism was endemic in Germany and Italy during WW2, which is not true.
I don't want to hijack the thread to discuss this. I would just note that it is widespread, perhaps universal among modern scholars, that racism was, to use a word, endemic in the United States.

In his book Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War, Eric Foner writes (p 261),

On his visit to the United States in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville made his justly famous observation that racial prejudice seem to be stronger in the North than in the South, and was most intense in the western states which had never known slavery.

Several recent historical studies have shown that racial prejudice was all but universal in antebellum Northern society. Only five states, all in New England, allowed the black man equal suffrage, and even there he was confined to menial occupations and subjected to constant discrimination. In the West, negroes were often excluded from public schools, and four states —indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Oregon even barred them from entering their territory. This pervasive prejudice made the question of the proper place of the black man in American society the most troublesome and perplexing one the Republicans faced before the Civil War.​

Foner notes that Several recent historical studies have shown that racial prejudice was all but universal in antebellum Northern society. Meanwhile, I think one would be hard-pressed to deny that racism was endemic in the South. We can open a new thread to discuss this, if you desire.

RET: This is equivalent to saying that Nazism and Fascism was endemic in Germany and Italy during WW2, which is not true.

No, it is the equivalent of saying that anti-Semitism was endemic in Germany during WW2.

- Alan
 
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#19
Lets be nice folks. The lack of hard evidence going forward is going to be non existent as in any alternate timeline. All too often emotion substitutes for fact.

We know that emancipation was opposed prior to the end of the Civil War in the CSA. We know that the end of slavery was not popular in the newly impoverished slave owner class after the end. In my speculation I assume the slave owner class gets weakened politically as time goes by simply because that is what happens in the real time line.
The other factor in this is the changing attitude of some due to the necessities of war. The fact that some in the Confederacy had come to accept the notion that they should give slaves freedom in exchange for armed military service, whatever the details, means that not everyone in the South held the same attitudes in 1865 that they had held in 1860. Rhett clearly hadn't changed, but others had, and were willing to embrace notions they'd never have embraced four years earlier. So I don't necessarily think that the prevailing pre-war attitudes would have held as much sway after the war, if the South had won. They often did in actual history, but the bitterness of defeat was certainly a factor in that.

It's all speculation of course, and different things might happen depending on where we choose to start the alternate sequence of events. I appreciate all the different perspectives from everyone who is contributing to the discussion.
 
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major bill

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#20
I am assuming that the slave owners had the economic resources and the edication to find a way to earn a profit from being slave owners even after the down turn in the cotton market. Now if I were to assume that the slave owners did not have enough intelligence to find new ways to profitably employ their slaves, then I would change my estimate of when slavery would end.
 



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