How did Southerners think about slaves?

Piedone

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Oct 8, 2020
Having learned a lot from this forum and having read more than once about those atrocious acts that happened quite often on plantations left me indeed shocked. On the other hand I read also 19th century books or letters written by Southerners which sometimes left a impression on me that the authors must have been literate, sensible and intelligent persons.

Now how to make heads and tails out of that?
It seems quite out of the question that ALL Southerners should have acclaimed ALL of those atrocious acts that could happen in a slavery system.
But it would seem also unreasonable to believe that they never heard about whippings and floggings and the breaking up of families etc.
And it should be regarded that with an increasing aggressive atmosphere it must have been difficult to express doubt or criticism on slavery in the South (even if people would have felt that way).

Hence I´d like to ask:

Can we detect how Southerners then thought about slaves / the life of slaves
- beyond a mere propagandistic debate they pursued to vindicate the system to Northerners?

I presume there should have been different milieus (Louisiana, Upper South, cities, areas with a high plantation density....)?
I presume it should have made a difference if they talked about servants or about workers on plantations?
 

Cryptic

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It seems quite out of the question that ALL Southerners should have acclaimed ALL of those atrocious acts that could happen in a slavery system

Can we detect how Southerners then thought about slaves / the life of slaves
- beyond a mere propagandistic debate they pursued to vindicate the system to Northerners?

I presume there should have been different milieus (Louisiana, Upper South, cities, areas with a high plantation density....)?
I presume it should have made a difference if they talked about servants or about workers on plantations?
Though family break ups in the course of sales and other cruelties (even by global 18th standards did occur), other owners either out of morality or simply a belief that such practices were "bad for business" did not engage in those practices. As a result, by global 18th century standards, their individual practice of slavery would not have been seen as exceptionally cruel.

That aside...

I strongly suspect that most southern whites viewed slavery like Indians once viewed the caste system until recently. This could include thoughts like the following:

-Ok, I don't affirm all caste practices and I don't affirm the attitudes of all high caste individuals, but the caste system is legal, it is socially accepted and has been part of culture for a long time. Our society depends on it for stability etc. So.... I accept the caste system as being legitimate.

As for southern propaganda....

Slavery was practiced in four prewar Union states (Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland) and also permitted following the creation of a fifth union state (West Virginia). Likewise, slavery was practiced in Indian territories and in Washington DC. . Illinois, Ohio and Indiana had actually banned free blacks from settling in those states and race riots broke out in New York upon the Emancipation Proclamation.

In short, a certain segment of the northern population did not need a lot of southern propaganda to accept, but not necessarily affirm the legitimacy of slavery.
 
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Rhea Cole

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The Jesuit missions in Japan were financed, in part, by the sale children that were orphaned by the constant wars leading up to unification by the Shogun (whose name escapes me). The girls were considered exotic novelties in brothels in New Spain. As a result, a remarkable number of Mexican families find they have DNA traces of that trade. The police force in New York & Philedelphia engaged in the organized kidnapping of dark skinned children & young men that were sent to Charleston for sale. Comely, light skinned young girls & women were sold for phenomenal sums of money at regular sex slave sales in New Orleans. It was not uncommon for white siblings who shared legacies with mulatto siblings from a parent's will to sell them south before the will was probated. The institution of slavery degraded everybody & everything it touched.

Mary Chestnut summed up the split personality nature of slave-holding.

Under slavery, we live surrounded by prostitutes, yet an abandoned woman is sent out of any decent house. Who thinks any worse of a negro or mulatto woman for being a thing we can't name? God, forgive us, but ours is a monstrous system, a worn & an inequity! Like the patriarch of of old, our men live all in one house with their wives & their concubines; & the mulattos ones sees in every family resemble the white children. Any lady is ready to tell. you who is the father of all mulatto children in everybody's household but her when. Those, she seems to think, drop from the clouds. My disgust sometime is boiling over. Thank God for my country women, but alas for the men! They are probably no worse than man everywhere, but the lower the mistresses, the more degraded they must be.

Mary Chestnut's Civil War,
page 29.

In South Carolina, where Mary Chestnut was a member of an elite slave-holding family, criticism of slave-holding was essentially illegal. Using the mail to send or receive abolitionist literature was illegal. The freedom of speech that is a bedrock of our nation did not apply to South Carolina. Speaking out against slave-holding could cost you your life.

So yes, there were any number of individuals in slave-holding regions all over the world who abhorred everything to do with it. The record individuals who held & acted upon their moral objection to slave-holding is one of acts of great courage. Emancipation in the British Empire is an example of what a few principled individuals can accomplish. However, slaveholding had an effect on people that is hard to fathom.

Women who were wonderful mothers, charming hostess, charitable & held in revered memory by grandchildren routinely filled the punishment books of plantations with 50 lash punishments for trivial offenses. Men who shared slave women & fathered children with the same individuals as their sons waxed sanctimonious advising them that "slaves of the family" should never be sold. Their "only hope of happiness in this world" was to be held in bondage by their fathers, brothers & uncles. What was considered moral in slaveholding culture is something that modern day people find hard to recognize.

I have given this a great deal of thought. All of us compartmentalize. It is just the way our brains work. Slaveholders & those who live in slav-holding societies, whenever & wherever they exist share the same boxing off of the various parts of their lives. Slaves could bring suit in court at the same time that their children could be sold without them having a word to say about it. The contradictions inherent in slave-holding in a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal are endless.
 

Remington 1858

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Now how to make heads and tails out of that?
The way they overcame the paradox was to not think of blacks as human. They were chattel, not necessarily hated but ”beasts of burden”. Racism was nationwide and even those who were against slavery allowed it because they were ”animals” and should be treated with the same kindness or cruelty that you would a cow.
As a result, by global 18th century standards, their individual practice of slavery would not have been seen as exceptionally cruel.
I don’t understand this. First we are talking 19th century and second , the ban on importing slaves only expanded domestic trade and many if not most blacks were destined for places other than their birth. Men and women were traded at different values and many if not most families were broken up, the adults going to different plantations or whatever. The slave codes of Virginia of 1705 state...
” if any slave resist his master or owner or other person, by his or her order, correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction, it shall not be accounted felony; but the master, owner, and every such other person so giving correction shall be free and acquit of all punishment and accusation for the same, as if such accident had never happened; And also, if any negro, mulatto, or Indian, bond or free, shall at any time lift his or her hand in opposition against any Christian, not being negro, mulatto, or Indian, he or she so offending shall, for every such offence proved by the oath of the party, receive on his or her bare back thirty lashes, well laid on; cognizable by a justice of the peace for that county wherein such offense shall be committed. ”
”"All servants imported and brought into the Country...who were not Christians in their native Country...shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion...shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resist his master...correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction...the master shall be free of all punishment...as if such accident never happened."”
 

Rhea Cole

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Yesterday, while waiting in our car, my wife & I discussed how different our views out the windshield are. I am about a foot taller than she is. We were looking at exactly the same scene & yet what we were seeing was very different. Millions of the “Southerners” in the theme of this thread were slaves. A certain number of the mulatto population were slave-holders. Here in Rutherford Co. TN, a mulatto family owned a large farm & had slaves. In New York City & other places in free states there were freed mulatto children of slave-holders who had inherited land & slaves. There were Cherokees who owned slaves, as well. Perhaps the people with the strangest relationship to slave-holding were the “white slaves.”
Edited

For the answer to what non-slave-holding white persons thought about slavery, we only have to look to the civil rights struggle in the 20th Century. The shock wave that race based slave-holding had on our society still ripples through daily life today.

Just because someone in a slave state despised the institution of slavery did not mean that they respected the slave as a human being. In fact, the literature of the day is a constant drumbeat of objections to slave-holding because of the effect it had on white people. The African was just fulfilling their God given place in the scheme of things. All of this, of course, is painting with a broad brush. There is a real danger in discussing this topic is falling into the trap of focusing on “Southerners” rather than individuals.

Jim Key, from Shelbyville TN became one of the most famous people of late 19th & 20th Century America. His white Key relations acknowledged him as a blood relation. That didn’t stop one of them from selling him off, but a family member bought him back. I encourage everyone the read Jim Key, The Story of a Man & a Horse That Changed the World. Asked how he could have been Nathan Bedford Forrest’s groom & at the same time use that privileged position to help escaping slaves, Key replied that nobody was 100% on his side, either.

The last Southern slaves, slave-holders & those who knew them personally died during my lifetime. The same is becoming true of segregation & Jim Crow. My second & third cousins & great grandchildren are every shade but bright blue. When one of them asks me the what did Southerners think question, I already know what my answer will be. ‘Some of it was easy, some of it was very complicated.’
 
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Remington 1858

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falling into the trap of focusing on “Southerners” rather than individuals.
True except that the entire south was slave and the entire north was free. ”Southerners” in all southern states (the democratic majority plus ) allowed, supported, and expanded slavery, whether racist or not. So in that respect it was kind of a “southern” thing.
 

Rhea Cole

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True except that the entire south was slave and the entire north was free. ”Southerners” in all southern states (the democratic majority plus ) allowed, supported, and expanded slavery, whether racist or not. So in that respect it was kind of a “southern” thing.
The largest slave-holding in America was owned by a family that lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fanny Kimball’s book about marriage to the fool who lost the family’s fortune is an eye opener. Her description of plantation life on the Carolina Coast bears no resemblance to Gone With the Wind. In the Illinois Constitution, a single man was authorized to hold slaves in that state. His 300 slaves & his participation in the Reverse Underground Railroad only ended with passage of the 14th Amendment. As mentioned before, organized gangs of policemen in Northern cities kidnapped young dark skinned people & sold them in Charleston. The point is that that the institution of slavery had no direction.
 
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Remington 1858

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The largest slave-holding in America was owned by a family that lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fanny Kimball’s book about marriage to the fool who lost the family’s fortune is an eye opener. Her description of plantation life on the Carolina Coast bears no resemblance to Gone With the Wind. In the Illinois Constitution, a single man was authorized to hold slaves in that state. His 300 slaves & his participation in the Reverse Underground Railroad only ended with passage of the 14th Amendment. As mentioned before, organized gangs of policemen in Northern cities kidnapped young dark skinned people & sold them in Charleston. The point is that that the institution of slavery had no direction.

ART. VI.​

1. Neither slavery or involuntary servitude shall hereafter be introduced into this state, otherwise than for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; nor shall any male person, arrived at the age of 21 years, nor female person arrived at the age of 18 years, be held to serve any person as a servant, under any indenture hereafter made, unless such person shall enter into such indenture while in a state of perfect freedom, and on condition of a bona -fide consideration received or to be received for their service. Nor shall any indenture of any negro or mulatto, hereafter made and executed out of this state, or if made in this state, where the term of service exceeds one year, be of the least validity, except those given in cases of apprenticeship.2. No person bound to labor in any other state, shall be hired to labor in this state, except within the tract reserved for the salt works near Shawneetown; nor even at that place for a longer period than one year at any one time; nor shall it be allowed there after the year 1825: any violation of this article shall effect the emancipation of such person from his obligation to service.3. Each and every person who has been bound to service by contract or indenture in virtue of the law of Illinois territory heretofore existing, and in conformity to the provisions of the same, without fraud or collusion, shall be held to a specific performance of their contracts or indentures; and such negroes and mulattoes as have been registered in conformity with the aforesaid laws, shall serve out the time appointed by said laws: Provided however, that the children hereafter born of such person , negroes or mulattoes, shall become free, the males at the age of 21 years, the females at the age of 18 years. Each and every child born of indentured parents, shall be entered with the clerk of the county in which they reside, by their owners, within six months after the birth of said child. (Wiki copy of Illinois 1818 constitution)
i don’t agree that slavery had no direction. It moved out of the north and concentrated in the south. It might have survived much longer had the south not pushed the boundaries. While the largest slave holders might have been from Philly they could not operate there. Where did they keep their holdings ? Who voted to allow it ?
as I pointed out above the Illinois constitution does forbid slavery. The exception is the salt works. My understanding is that they accomplished this with double talk. One way was to claim they were working there but owned in a slave state. Another is to falsify that they were voluntarily and legally contracting for indenture.
but having said that I agreed with you that individuals behave differently but the institution , although at First Nation wide, concentrated in the south and with southern support remained legal and grew. In that respect it is a southern thing .
also even if Illinois’ constitution had allowed slavery the northwest ordinance of 1787 had already outlawed it.
Free blacks were kidnapped everywhere. Most of those kidnappers in Illinois came from Missouri.
 

Rhea Cole

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ART. VI.​

1. Neither slavery or involuntary servitude shall hereafter be introduced into this state, otherwise than for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; nor shall any male person, arrived at the age of 21 years, nor female person arrived at the age of 18 years, be held to serve any person as a servant, under any indenture hereafter made, unless such person shall enter into such indenture while in a state of perfect freedom, and on condition of a bona -fide consideration received or to be received for their service. Nor shall any indenture of any negro or mulatto, hereafter made and executed out of this state, or if made in this state, where the term of service exceeds one year, be of the least validity, except those given in cases of apprenticeship.2. No person bound to labor in any other state, shall be hired to labor in this state, except within the tract reserved for the salt works near Shawneetown; nor even at that place for a longer period than one year at any one time; nor shall it be allowed there after the year 1825: any violation of this article shall effect the emancipation of such person from his obligation to service.3. Each and every person who has been bound to service by contract or indenture in virtue of the law of Illinois territory heretofore existing, and in conformity to the provisions of the same, without fraud or collusion, shall be held to a specific performance of their contracts or indentures; and such negroes and mulattoes as have been registered in conformity with the aforesaid laws, shall serve out the time appointed by said laws: Provided however, that the children hereafter born of such person , negroes or mulattoes, shall become free, the males at the age of 21 years, the females at the age of 18 years. Each and every child born of indentured parents, shall be entered with the clerk of the county in which they reside, by their owners, within six months after the birth of said child. (Wiki copy of Illinois 1818 constitution)
i don’t agree that slavery had no direction. It moved out of the north and concentrated in the south. It might have survived much longer had the south not pushed the boundaries. While the largest slave holders might have been from Philly they could not operate there. Where did they keep their holdings ? Who voted to allow it ?
as I pointed out above the Illinois constitution does forbid slavery. The exception is the salt works. My understanding is that they accomplished this with double talk. One way was to claim they were working there but owned in a slave state. Another is to falsify that they were voluntarily and legally contracting for indenture.
but having said that I agreed with you that individuals behave differently but the institution , although at First Nation wide, concentrated in the south and with southern support remained legal and grew. In that respect it is a southern thing .
also even if Illinois’ constitution had allowed slavery the northwest ordinance of 1787 had already outlawed it.
Free blacks were kidnapped everywhere. Most of those kidnappers in Illinois came from Missouri.
You need to check out the constitutional slave holding concession on the Saline River. The thousands of acres of land & saltworks produced a significant percent of IL state tax revenue. I assure you that it isn’t what you think.
 

Remington 1858

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Slaving activity on the north bank of the Ohio was illegal but the inhabitants were more closely related to those on the southern bank than those inland. So many were of like mind. The slaves at the salt works were mostly claimed to be owned in Kentucky and Illinois allowed that . Illegal activity was often overlooked or even assisted by corrupt or racist law enforcement. My point is that without southern states allowing slavery northern exploitation had no market. And, while northerners are just as likely to be racist as southerners, northern states eliminated slavery voluntarily while southern states legalized, organized, maintained, and expanded, the institution of chattel slavery in the south on a magnitude that had never existed in or even approached by the north. In fact many northern states had never been slave states but had allowed slave holders from slave states to bring their slaves with them and hire them out. So I still maintain that there was a definite direction to the institution, the north was shut off so it concentrated in the south, and when the direction turned west we have open warfare.
 

Remington 1858

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You need to check out the constitutional slave holding concession on the Saline River. The thousands of acres of land & saltworks produced a significant percent of IL state tax revenue. I assure you that it isn’t what you think.
In 1838, a local salt maker and illegal slave trader kidnapper and illegal slave breeder, John Hart Crenshaw, began building his manor house at Hickory Hill just five miles east of Equality; he used the house for his business of kidnapping free blacks and breeding slaves to sell into slavery as part of the Reverse Underground Railroad. John Crenshaw secured a government contract to produce salt from the brine.

§ 16. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. Illinois 1848 constitution ended all slavery in the state.

kidnappings were becoming a serious problem and there was little to deter business men, besides obvious moral obligations, to abstain from the crime. In order to convict a man of kidnapping in those times, the court had to prove the abduction and that the slave was taken out of the state. Black men could also not testify against white men and the court only met twice a year. In these most likely corrupt times, much could be done between the two meetings to make sure cases were simply swept under the rug.
The Illinois Constitution of 1818 allowed the operators of vast saltworks near Equality to rent slaves from Kentucky who would chop trees and man the furnaces that boiled down saltwater from the area's natural springs.
When Illinois was granted statehood in 1818, two centuries after the first African slaves were transported to North America, slavery was prohibited, but, again, “Black Codes” were passed that allowed long-term indentured servitude.

the Northwest Ordinance (an act that provided a path for much of the Great Lakes region to be admitted to the Union) stated that there shall be neither slavery nor indentured servitude, nor involuntary servitude, except as the punishment of crime. And so people seem to think, “Well, that does it for slavery.” But people still brought slaves in, in violation of the law.
But then as early as 1803, a loophole was created that basicly said: “Bring your slaves to Illinois. It’s fine. Just go through the formality of an indenture contract.” Some contracts were for 99 years.
But most indentured people really weren’t given a choice. If your master, or someone who’s claimed to be your master, or has told you they were your master for, you know, 20, 30, 40 years, tells you to put your mark on a paper that says you’re willing to continue as my indentured servant, it’s not likely that someone would refuse.
slavery in Illinois in 1818 had several problems. First it was illegal for a Illinois resident to own a slave in Illinois. voluntary indenture was. Being from another state with your slaves was legal, hiring them out was, but keeping them permanently was not.
the US government leased out the salt works, which themselves occupied 13 acres but 30,000 acres were sold to the leasee , John Crenshaw. He contracted for indenture and slave (from Kentucky) labor.
also slaves of the former French that stayed were kept in bondage. The 1848 constitution settled the issue .
I am not trying to argue with you and I hope you don’t see this as an attack. I am only trying to make the point that there was direction in the institution of slavery and it had left the north voluntarily. And of course as I said in that respect it was a southern thing. They weren’t worried where they would get labor for digging their salt wells in Alabama and Georgia and they weren’t having legislative arguments about it either.
I think one of our biggest mistakes is making excuses for a truly horrific and inhuman society for the sake of unity. It has not worked.
 
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Rhea Cole

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Murfreesboro, Tennessee
In 1838, a local salt maker and illegal slave trader kidnapper and illegal slave breeder, John Hart Crenshaw, began building his manor house at Hickory Hill just five miles east of Equality; he used the house for his business of kidnapping free blacks and breeding slaves to sell into slavery as part of the Reverse Underground Railroad. John Crenshaw secured a government contract to produce salt from the brine.

§ 16. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. Illinois 1848 constitution ended all slavery in the state.

kidnappings were becoming a serious problem and there was little to deter business men, besides obvious moral obligations, to abstain from the crime. In order to convict a man of kidnapping in those times, the court had to prove the abduction and that the slave was taken out of the state. Black men could also not testify against white men and the court only met twice a year. In these most likely corrupt times, much could be done between the two meetings to make sure cases were simply swept under the rug.
The Illinois Constitution of 1818 allowed the operators of vast saltworks near Equality to rent slaves from Kentucky who would chop trees and man the furnaces that boiled down saltwater from the area's natural springs.
When Illinois was granted statehood in 1818, two centuries after the first African slaves were transported to North America, slavery was prohibited, but, again, “Black Codes” were passed that allowed long-term indentured servitude.

the Northwest Ordinance (an act that provided a path for much of the Great Lakes region to be admitted to the Union) stated that there shall be neither slavery nor indentured servitude, nor involuntary servitude, except as the punishment of crime. And so people seem to think, “Well, that does it for slavery.” But people still brought slaves in, in violation of the law.
But then as early as 1803, a loophole was created that basicly said: “Bring your slaves to Illinois. It’s fine. Just go through the formality of an indenture contract.” Some contracts were for 99 years.
But most indentured people really weren’t given a choice. If your master, or someone who’s claimed to be your master, or has told you they were your master for, you know, 20, 30, 40 years, tells you to put your mark on a paper that says you’re willing to continue as my indentured servant, it’s not likely that someone would refuse.
slavery in Illinois in 1818 had several problems. First it was illegal for a Illinois resident to own a slave in Illinois. voluntary indenture was. Being from another state with your slaves was legal, hiring them out was, but keeping them permanently was not.
the US government leased out the salt works, which themselves occupied 13 acres but 30,000 acres were sold to the leasee , John Crenshaw. He contracted for indenture and slave (from Kentucky) labor.
also slaves of the former French that stayed were kept in bondage. The 1848 constitution settled the issue .
I am not trying to argue with you and I hope you don’t see this as an attack. I am only trying to make the point that there was direction in the institution of slavery and it had left the north voluntarily. And of course as I said in that respect it was a southern thing. They weren’t worried where they would get labor for digging their salt wells in Alabama and Georgia and they weren’t having legislative arguments about it either.
I think one of our biggest mistakes is making excuses for a truly horrific and inhuman society for the sake of unity. It has not worked.
Crenshaw's house is now a NPS site. How do the filibusterers like The Gray Eyed Man of Destiny fit into this?
 

Piedone

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Now this forum - and also this thread - is an eye opener. Months before I knew just nothing of Crenshaw and the Illinois legislation regarding slavery or many other things.
And now I am reading through a lot of highly interesting threads and let me be led to contemporary newspaper articles and primary sources...and slowly get a hint how complicated the whole matter is.

Before proceding, I´d like to note some things in advance to not be misunderstood:
1) I am fully aware that the whole institution of slavery was a perverse system which in great measure corrupted southern society.
2) And I am definitely not trying to find excuses for it or to reduce its impact - especially on southern politics.


Strolling through some threads here I came across Helper´s "The Impending Crisis of the South"
(I must admit I never heard of it before...) - which I deem a highly interesting lecture.

Some points gave me food for thought:

1) Helper identified himself a convinced Southerner albeit criticizing slavery and the slave-holding elite in harsh words.
2) He tries to stand up for the non-slaveholding population of the South whom he detects as majority of the populace and as owning the bigger part of the land (was he correct with that?)
3) He shows (IMHO very convincingly) how the interests, aims and needs of the slaveholding and the non-slaveholding classes in the South were absolutely opposing and especially deplores how politics were so utterly controlled by the slave-holders in the South.

Now I delved a bit deeper into the matter and learned that Helper´s book was anathema in the South.
Influential groups tried to stop the distribution of the book and were on the surface successful to a certain degree - albeit many people in the South read the book clandestinely.

Now I ask myself: Why should anybody conduct such a crusade against a book - when there was complete consensus abouth the necessity and morality of slavery in the South?
Under such circumstances it wouldn´t have been necessary to suppress the book - as it wouldn´t have had any impact on southern society and politics. (well...I dearly hope I could steer clear of the cliffs of the english sequence of tenses here....)

Hence I´d like to advance the following idea about a (complex) southern society:

1) There was a slave-holding aristocracy which accumulated a fabulous wealth and used it to shape policy in Washington as well in their southern constitutencies - there to a degree where it became absolutely impossible (even extremely dangerous) to speak out against anything regarding the institution of slavery.

2) Then there should have been a (rather big) cluster of people who had their benefit out of supporting the plantation economy and/or took their advantage out of "owning" a small number of slaves (to lease them to others).

3) But if Helper´s book was not intended for publication on the Mars there should have been a certain group of people (his readers) who were non-slaveholders or at least critical to the institution of slavery - and this group had to be of really relevant size else the prosecution of the book in the South makes no sense at all.


I would conclude that group 1) would greatly benefit from raising tensions between North and South as this would cloak the cracks and ruptures in a increasingly class-seperated society.
And if there indeed existed some kind of southern identity / patriotism before the war (did it? to what extent?) group 3) would eventually affiliate under a southern banner to fight against a "treacherous North".

Am I barking up the wrong tree here???
 

DixieRifles

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And if there indeed existed some kind of southern identity / patriotism before the war (did it? to what extent?) group 3) would eventually affiliate under a southern banner to fight against a "treacherous North".
Well, I can certainly say there were a large group of those who identified with the Southern culture and lifestyle and were patriotic and willing to defend their home against any "outsider". I haven't read much on the subject of those critical against slavery but there were many who were against Succession. And their voices were drowned out---either by rhetoric or force, I can not say in every case.
Tennessee was one state where you had differences of opinion on Succession. Other states had some resistance even within the political arenas. However, it is my opinion that the voices for patriotism was stronger than the few trying to address the ills of their society.
 

Remington 1858

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Crenshaw's house is now a NPS site. How do the filibusterers like The Gray Eyed Man of Destiny fit into this?
I am not sure what you mean ? Walker was yet another southern attempt to change the direction and push the envelope of containment in the south. The south wanted to expand but with southerners and their slaves.
 

Remington 1858

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a picture of this big enigma of the southern society.
Sorry but I do not find southern antebellum society an enigma. It is pretty straight forward and in many cases documented by law. The declarations of secession are self explanatory and precise. While there were slave revolts I do not remember hearing of southern non slave owning whites revolting . Those that moved for the most part only wanted to increase their chances of improving their condition which often meant getting land and buying slaves. If you grew cotton you needed slaves, regardless of politics or morals. As pointed out folks were getting moral approval from the church pulpit.
we tend to complicate the picture with distraction and detail but the picture is easy to comprehend. Things like patriotism. They were southern patriots, criminals in the US, traitors that had to reaffirm their allegiance to the USA.

PS . This is what I mean as an example when I said that we make excuses for the south. This is one. An enigma. Sooo complicated. You just don’t understand. You’ve got to see it through their eyes. Etc. BS
 

DixieRifles

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don’t get your meaning. patriotism for what ?
When I posted, I thought I was one of the first ones to do so. Then I saw there had been 2 pages of discussion. It was a quick post—as are most of posts I make on my iPhone— and I was really reacting to the 3rd point of the original post.
I was referring to a love for their state and homes and a willingness to serve.
The original post seemed to accept today’s modern view that the Southern people hated slavery and this prevented them for rallying to the call to arms.
 
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