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How was the morality of slavery tolerable? What was in the mind of slave holders?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Tennessee_Mountainman, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. Rusty Ford

    Rusty Ford Private

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    Alan,

    By saying "slavery's days were numbered", I simply mean that, indeed that was the case. The issue was coming to a head. Even if the nation had not gone to war, slavery at some point would have been abolished. When? Who knows.
     
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  3. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    This comes up often and it is probably a myth that Africans can do more work in hot climates or that Africans can not do the same amount of work as whites in cold climates. This often take the form that the North could not use slaves because it was to cold for black slaves there. It is possible that Southerners believed that whites could not work in as hard in hot climates, but I am not sure there is much science behind their beliefs.
     
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  4. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    My guess is around the 1970s, but slavery would have been limited in most areas of the United States by the 1950s. We are getting off topic and if we want to discuss this it should be on a new thread.
     
  5. ForeverFree

    ForeverFree Captain

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    I would just note that, the hot southern weather was not used as an excuse by northern or southern whites to forego fighting 4 years of civil war.

    - Alan
     
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  6. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    I think posts on this thread and others on this board over the years, have shown that it was the question of the 'Morality' of slavery itself, that was at the heart of the growing motivation for the increasing "agitation"(as Calhoun would say) of the question of slavery as an institution.

    Logic, without morality, probably dictate that there was No real argument against slavery in economic utility or in Law.
     
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  7. Dedej

    Dedej Corporal

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    To me -- and I mean no disrespect for those whose families participated. But, it really shows how limited, racist and uneducated many southern slaves owners, southerners and whites in general were at that time. And honestly, how many (including Black Americans) are still today -- especially about history/culture outside of the USA.

    To think of Africa and Africans as monolithic -- and not as a continent of many countries and cultures/kingdoms that many of the slaves were taken or purchased from.

    Via Ancestry and 23&me -- my ancestry lies in Mali, Benin/Togo and North Africa - all countries/kingdoms that defy the myth/stereotype of Africa. Each had their own culture, customs, religion/spirituality, etc.

    As for people who still say today Black people are better here that in Africa. My answer to that is -- that is something we will never know and can never find out. As descendents our ancestry is now mixed with many African ancestors from over the continent of Africa.

    It's really sad.

    I often wonder how slavery was able to be justified spiritually - because I don't believe you can believe in a higher power and be ok with treating people that way. I truly believe those who participated knew it was wrong.
     
  8. cash

    cash Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    And what could they have done had all those individuals not been forcibly removed? What if Europeans had come with schools instead of guns to take people away?

    It is.

    Someone can rationalize almost anything and find some way to use the Bible to justify it.
     
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  9. Dedej

    Dedej Corporal

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    Sadly, I think it was because Africans - as well as Arabs (of all skintones) enslaved Africans. It was something that was known and that they were doing for a very long time.

    Of course, it was not "chattel slavery" but it was slavery. So, I feel like like those who went to Africa i.e. places like Benin home of Dahomey Kingdom saw that some African Kingdoms were OK with selling their prisoners to them. Making it justifiable and OK in their eyes. But, as we know those African Kingdoms practiced more of an indentured slavery - and were not treated like less than an animal -- or owned for life. Like slavery in the US.

    Many scholars still state that African Kingdoms and countries that participated via selling prisoners or even tricking friends and family into slavery in the US - did not know or even think those who they sold or helped be kidnapped -- would be treated the way they were. Which, still doesn't absolve them from selling or helping them to taken into slavery - IMO.

    To me it is - if you don't value yourself - why should I? Meaning if I can come and take or buy your people for money or weapons - then you clearly don't care about them - therefore I can do what I want. You will never see me or them again after the transaction is complete.
     
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  10. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    I really do not think that the "many" southern slave owners were uneducated, I think they were educated and were not limited in their thinking. The majority of those families were the upper echelon of that society.
    Racist? I think that term is used way more than it needs be. Again, I don't think they thought on those terms, it was a standard from which they had grown up in and did not think as adversely as maybe we do today. Just because I or anyone else may think another culture is silly or funny, does that make us a racist? I think it just shows our likes and dislikes on certain subjects, not against the people but their customs. We all have done it to some extent but never thinking about labeling it as racist. Today's P.C. world throws racist out to us if we prefer chocolate ice cream over vanilla.
    I do not accept slavery as a good thing, no person should ever control another persons life, with that said, I will not bang the drum because back in the 1700 and most of the 1800 hundreds our society was willing to accept such intolerance upon people. We grew from it, we are still growing from it. Are we not still looking at other countries and seeing how they are less than ourselves? Sadly the worlds view toward Americans are not meet with kindness. We have somehow pushed our beliefs, customs, and ways to others and we are looked at as very impolite, arrogant, and pompous in our ways.
    I love our country very much, I do not agree with everything being done and I look back at our history and do find blemishes there but we keep growing in a better way every year.
    So, to jump back to the first part and respond to the quote I have pinned, I really believe that it was the culture of our society that proved to be the stronghold on slavery....well of course the "King Cotton" produce which really turns itself into money. But society accepted the culture and it wasn't because of uneducated people or racist.
     
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  11. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    When slave owners made it a felony to teach blacks to read and right based on the color of their skin thats racist. When slave owners denied equal rights under the law to blacks that's racist. When whites could legaly rape black women that is also racist.
    That does not mean IMO that we blame the descendents of slave owners but to say slave owners were not racist is simply a historical fantasy.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  12. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    We will never agree on this subject, so it futile to write anymore than this. But we can have our opinions
    and views.
     
  13. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    Slavery was based on race. Blacks were slaves. Whites weren't. That's what made it racist.
     
  14. Dedej

    Dedej Corporal

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    I think it depends. Some were, but many were not. Many did not further their education, some did. Many came from families who were able to immigrate over and purchase land, slaves, etc. Some did not, some started very humbly and were able to make something from barely nothing.

    Many who did further their education - they still were educated via schools, college/institutions in the US. But, some did leave the States for education - but not many. And like today, our education system is limited/biased -- many teachers/scholars will attest to this. If one would like any additional, unbiased history or should I say untailored history - one must educate themselves. (A great book to read is Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen)

    On racism or not being "racist:" We will have to agree to disagree. If looking at one as less than a human and beneath them due to skin color, culture, appearance, etc is not racism - I don't know what else it could ever be.

    To insist someone who was taken/purchased from out of their original home, language/culture and to place them in another country + insist they were incapable and "child-like" or less deserving of a full, free life -- based off of again their skin color - is racist. IMO.

    Just because I or anyone else may think another culture is silly or funny, does that make us a racist? I think it just shows our likes and dislikes on certain subjects, not against the people but their customs.

    No. But, thinking a culture was "silly or funny" was not a reasoning why those men, women and children were enslaved. Enslavers knew nothing of the customs, beliefs or traditions of those they enslaved. So, they couldn't dislike them based off of those factors. Hence, their perception and racist beliefs -- taught to them by others - allowed the system to thrive.

    I understand your point about how things are viewed today - but it's no comparison for Antebellum South. Slavery was based, ran and thrived on racism. Believe me, I know not every person alive during that time was racist - I'm thankful for that.

    No need to bang a drum, but understanding and looking at things as they were should always be done. It is the right thing to do. History and life is full of blemishes and mistakes - and it's nothing you (nor I) should be ashamed of - but it is something to recognize and not have a passive view or excuse on. We all learn from mistakes, failures -- if we know what the mistake and the details of how you failed.

    King Cotton" produce which really turns itself into money. But society accepted the culture and it wasn't because of uneducated people or racist."

    Again, we have to agree to disagree. As "society accepting the culture" of terrorizing, killing and dehumanizing people based off of skincolor equals/screams lack of education, morals and -- racism.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  15. Patrick H

    Patrick H Captain

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    I haven't read the entire thread, so it's quite possible my theory was answered many pages ago. I think we'd need to ask each slave holder to get a comprehensive set of answers to your question. But I think the answer might have been pretty simple for a lot of slave owners. I think they thought of their slaves as chattel property, as livestock--rather like so many beasts of burden. Seems unbelievably abhorrent, doesn't it?
     
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  16. Dedej

    Dedej Corporal

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    Honestly, your answer is the reason why America is still having a lot of issues dealing with slavery and/or race. Your answer also reminds me a lot of something my mother would say - as my parents are natives of Alabama. And they don't like to really TALK or discuss the bad stuff or bad perceptions of things. So, I understand - and it's ok :smile:

    I just think we have to look at the past and be truthful and not be stuck in a certain view or mindset. My comment was not meant in any disrespect for those whose families participated or share the same beliefs/culture as many of those in the South during that time. And if it did - my apologies.

    I hold no hateful, negative feelings for those who participated, neither do many I know. But, invalidation of what really happened - and what slavery was and based off of - is where raw honesty is appreciated and needed.
     
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  17. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    By modern standards most every American was a racist in 1860. Slavery was the worse form of racism. If we as a people can not understand slavery was racist, then I fear we can not possibly grow as a nation.
     
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  18. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    I think the main reason slave owners could bring themselves to own slaves was to treat blacks as sub-human, as cattle, not human beings.

    Once one can convince themselves they are not treating human beings, but beasts of burden, what's left to trouble a slaveholder?

    I think this is the main fallback of such a class. They are not doing anything wrong to fellow human beings, but merely treating cattle to do their labor for them. In fact, it could be seen that a slaveholder was doing a positive good at forcing such an inferior race into a position of eternal servitude. Food, shelter, clothing, all a fair exchange for animals who could not take care of themselves and in exchange for labor, dawn to dusk, for services rendered, so-to-speak.

    But it is essential that slaves be not thought as human. They must be thought of as something lower, something different, other than a human being. For to have such thoughts about lower animals leads to confusing thoughts and feelings, making life a tad more difficult to go on with.

    My two cents.

    Unionblue
     
  19. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    That response was in response to another poster. I already know that whatever I or anyone writes in difference of opinion will be meet with his fictional remark, historical fantasy.
    But, you assume since I live in Alabama, ( which I'm not a native of the state) I do not like to talk about slavery because of the actions that my ancestors participated in. ( Fact; they never owned one slave, we were farmers).
    I've already stated my feeling that slavery was wrong and unjust. My answer is not why America is still having a lot of problems dealing with slavery and or/ race. My contention is this, if you placed yourself in that time, that society, the culture from which you grew up in and raised, then you would judge those actions by that time. If I sit here in 2017 and judge it by the standards today, we have two different views. In 1800 you viewed slavery in the south way different than 2017 standards.
    Here on this site, we discuss many related matters concerning a war which slavery becomes the main issue. I have learned a lot about aspects of our legislative body did that I've never knew from all my years of school and independent study, a many of smart and learned people are here on this site. Do we agree on all? No, but I do respect their opinions and views. Again, I have learned from them!
    But , living in Alabama does not cast me into a stereotype of not being able to talk or discuss the bad stuff as you have wrote. In fact this is what I "think" is the problem, we stereotype people. So no reason to "I understand" me, and it's o.k.

    Really I think Unionblue above states it very clear as to what people did to get away from the human side of things. Sadly, this was how the minds or hearts worked in those days gone past.
     
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  20. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    My first ancestor with my last name came to this country a long time ago and most of his slaves were Indians because blacks were not available yet. Not sure he was a racist or not. He did help enslave the local Indians and sell them off to the Spanish. The local tribes sadly disappeared from history, but he made good money off of it. However I was not involved in this, so should I have any regrets about this? What he did was common back then and socially acceptable.
     
  21. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    It still works that way. Herd mentality is very strong and folks can be driven by some really weird prejudices under the right prodding.
     
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