Restricted Debate Does abolition of Northern Slavery Absolve the North of having Slavery?

Does abolition of Northern Slavery Absolve the North of Slavery?

  • Yes, of course

    Votes: 5 23.8%
  • No way Jose

    Votes: 15 71.4%
  • Maybe, Maybe not

    Votes: 1 4.8%

  • Total voters
    21
  • Poll closed .
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John Hartwell

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#2
In what context? In terms of the 18th century, and up until a particular state voluntarily chose to reject slavery, of course not. But, once the decision is made to, as the saying goes, "go, and sin no more," it would seem to entail a degree of redemption, if not absolution, would it not?

Today, all states have rejected slavery, are they not now all "absolved," to some degree, of the "sin" of slavery? Or are all equally guilty, today, of the wrongs of their past? Many have believed that "once a criminal, always a criminal" (the subplot of Les Miserables, btw). Others hold that reform and redemption is possible. i'm one of the latter.
 
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#3
In my opinion, no. Just like the sin of 'manifest destiny' that caused war and the subjugation and removal of native peoples is one that every American is still party to.

But the North did lead the charge to end the practice of slavery, and yes, that has merit, as anyone who realizes they were wrong and seeks better behavior does.
 
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#4
No, of course not. it's not like the North abolished slavery, each northern state at the same time in the year 1795. Some states went into the mid 1800s. I think if any northern states deserve the most credit, it would be the New England states. IMO slavery was like the leaves in the fall, they start falling way up north, then work their way down. I believe the border states and upper south would have followed suit in a reasonable time period. The deep south longer. But we will never know exactly when because of war, but no doubt 1865 is much better than 1880 or 1890.
 

John Hartwell

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#5
Whether sooner or later, once a state "realizes they were wrong and seeks better behavior," they share in that "merit" (such as it is).

But history is messy. Slavery, ruthless, violent expansion (which goes back well before "Manifest Destiny") will always be a part of the American Heritage -- more, part of our "Human Heritage". None of us should throw stones.
 

lurid

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#6
Yes, the north fixed it mistakes. Some American northerners redeemed their forefathers by not making the same mistakes. Can't say that for the south...
 

JerseyBart

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#8
no, getting your act together earlier than others but also allowing some of your states to keep the institution so they don't potentially rebel as 11 southern states doesn't absolve the north. Many of the states voluntarily got their act together but nothing was legally binding/official until the 13th Amendment.
 
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#9
The North didn’t free anyone until the 13th Amendment.
Considering that there were virtually no slaves in the Northern states in 1860, I'd say that they freed a lot of people before the XIII Amendment. In addition, Union armies would become armies of liberation as they passed, especially after the Emancipation Proclamation but also before it, albeit on a smaller scale.

Ryan
 

Pat Young

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#10
12 years of Catholic school make me question threads on collective sin and absolution, concepts which haunt me as I edge towards my own mortality. My aunt, the nun, would note that there is no collective sin that engulfs both the sinner and those who abstain from the commission of sins, but there are sinful institutions like slavery. If a law is sinful, are the people who seek to change the law sinful for living within the society where it exists or are they trying to redeem the law? If they succeed, are those who fought them to try to keep the sinful law in place thereby absolved from their sins?

All of the people in a region, even one with sinful laws, cannot be guilty of the sin of those laws if they are trying to change them. Merely changing the law does not absolve the sins of those who struggled to preserve the unjust law.

This is what I think about in my dark nights of the soul.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#12
I'm not sure where the question would come up. It seems part of a narrative where supposedly ' The North ' claims absolution while accusing ' The South ' of being guilty of engaging in the same behavior. The They Did It Too, Everyone Is Picking On Me misdirection.

I've never heard anyone claim absolution. IMO it's an unfinished conversation anyway.No one seems focused on wondering if the enslaved population would consider anyone at all absolved. Point being, it's not our call.
 

matthew mckeon

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#13
Its the wrong question.

The northern states abolished slavery in the aftermath(or in Massachusetts' case) during the Revolution. Its not a coincidence, they abolished it because of the Revolution. Also, slavery formed a relatively small part of the northern economy so it was easy.
It's easy to do the right thing when its easy to do the right thing.
 

matthew mckeon

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#14
Slavery was on the way out after the Revolution: it was eliminated by the Revolutionary cohort. It made have lingered for years depending on how gradually emancipation was structured, but it was on the way out. It was unthinkable to reintroduce it, and anti-slavery laws like the Ordinance of 1785 meant it wouldn't be restarted as the west was settled.
 

matthew mckeon

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#15
So what's the point of the OP? The attitude towards slavery by the northern states was fundamentally different compared with the attitude towards slavery by the southern states. The role of slavery in the southern states was fundamentally different then the role of slavery had been in the northern colonies and states, so that's hardly surprising.
 

matthew mckeon

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#17
12 years of Catholic school make me question threads on collective sin and absolution, concepts which haunt me as I edge towards my own mortality. My aunt, the nun, would note that there is no collective sin that engulfs both the sinner and those who abstain from the commission of sins, but there are sinful institutions like slavery. If a law is sinful, are the people who seek to change the law sinful for living within the society where it exists or are they trying to redeem the law? If they succeed, are those who fought them to try to keep the sinful law in place thereby absolved from their sins?

All of the people in a region, even one with sinful laws, cannot be guilty of the sin of those laws if they are trying to change them. Merely changing the law does not absolve the sins of those who struggled to preserve the unjust law.

This is what I think about in my dark nights of the soul.
Deep waters, there, at least to a shallow person.
 

Rebforever

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#18
Completely and utterly false. Slavery had been present in most northern states, and had been eliminated by the states themselves. No state above the Mason Dixon line had slavery in 1861.
When could they vote and if they voted, what was the procedure for doing so in the North? They buried their leather whip for another way to control. That is a long way from being 'FREE'.
 
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#19
In graduate school many years ago, I completed a research paper on the Gradual Abolition Act of Pennsylvania. At this time, in 1780, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was the first state on the North American continent to pass and enact gradual abolition legislation. According to the original act as well as the several amendments enacted later, this act would manumit all slaves in Pennsylvania before 1860. However, in the course of completing other research I found in the census records of 1860 that a farmer in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, listed a farm hand under the category of "slave" Edited. David.
 
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