Ideological factors partially account for the end of slavery in the North


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#42
One should care how it benefited them economically. The reasons we are looking at are ideological or economic. What other reasons could it be other than political?

Pennsylvania participated in slave trade just as New York and Massachusetts did. They abolished it just as slave trade was becoming unprofitable, unpopular, and useless. Your evidence does not dispute my claim. If it were ended for ideology, then why did they buy and sell them in the first place? What changed? The value of the system changed.

I gave you 5% of it being ideology, yet you ignored that.

I never ignored the evidence, it simply does not show that economics were not the overwhelmingly primary factor. If 5% makes you happy and you want to shout it from the mountain tops as a reason it ended, then who am I to stop you?
RE: I gave you 5% of it being ideology, yet you ignored that.

I made a point which was edited out. Maybe this will be OK to say: this point about the 5% is a subjective view that is unsubstantiated by evidence.

RE: I never ignored the evidence, it simply does not show that economics were not the overwhelmingly primary factor.

In it 1780 Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, Pennsylvania said that:

• WHEN we contemplate our abhorrence of that condition to which the arms and tyranny of Great Britain were exerted to reduce us... we are unavoidably led to a serious and grateful sense of the manifold blessings which we have undeservedly received from the hand of that Being from whom every good and perfect gift cometh.

• ...Impressed with these ideas, we conceive that it is our duty, and we rejoice that it is in our power to extend a portion of that freedom to others, which hath been extended to us; and a release from that state of thraldom to which we ourselves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every prospect of being delivered.

• It is not for us to enquire why, in the creation of mankind, the inhabitants of the several parts of the earth were distinguished by a difference in feature or complexion. It is sufficient to know that all are the work of an Almighty Hand. We find in the distribution of the human species, that the most fertile as well as the most barren parts of the earth are inhabited by men of complexions different from ours, and from each other; from whence we may reasonably, as well as religiously, infer, that He who placed them in their various situations, hath extended equally his care and protection to all, and that it becometh not us to counteract his mercies.

• We esteem it a peculiar blessing granted to us, that we are enabled this day to add one more step to universal civilization, by removing as much as possible the sorrows of those w ho have lived in undeserved bondage, and from which, by the assumed authority of the kings of Great Britain, no effectual, legal relief could be obtained. Weaned by a long course of experience from those narrower prejudices and partialities we had imbibed, we find our hearts enlarged with kindness and benevolence towards men of all conditions and nations; and we conceive ourselves at this particular period extraordinarily called upon, by the blessings which we have received, to manifest the sincerity of our profession, and to give a Substantial proof of our gratitude.

And whereas the condition of those persons who have heretofore been denominated Negro and Mulatto slaves, has been attended with circumstances which not only deprived them of the common blessings that they were by nature entitled to, but has cast them into the deepest afflictions, by an unnatural separation and sale of husband and wife from each other and from their children; an injury, the greatness of which can only be conceived by supposing that we were in the same unhappy case. In justice therefore to persons So unhappily circumstanced, and who, having no prospect before them whereon they may rest their sorrows and their hopes, have no reasonable inducement to render their service to society, which they otherwise might; and also in grateful commemoration of our own happy deliverance from that state of unconditional submission to which we were doomed by the tyranny of Britain.

Be it enacted, and it is hereby enacted, by the representatives of the freeman of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in general assembly met, and by the authority of the same, That all persons, as well Negroes and Mulattoes as others, who shall be born within this state from and after the passing of this act, shall not be deemed and considered as servants for life, or slaves; and that all servitude for life, or slavery of children, in consequence of the slavery of their mothers, in the case of all children born within this state, from and after the passing of this act as aforesaid, shall be, and hereby is utterly taken away, extinguished and for ever abolished.
When Pennsylvania abolished slavery, they did not say that their reasons were 5% ideological, their reasons are 100% ideological. They did not cite economics. They said, we "rejoice that it is in our power to extend... freedom to others, which hath been extended to us; and a release from that state of thraldom to which we ourselves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every prospect of being delivered..." I do not believe they were lying or being delusional, I do not dismiss what they said, I believe that they said what they believed.

RE: If it were ended for ideology, then why did they buy and sell them in the first place? What changed? The value of the system changed.

Pennsylvanians said that their values changed. Their fight for their freedom and liberty was transformative. They begin the above by saying "WHEN we contemplate our abhorrence of that condition to which the arms and tyranny of Great Britain were exerted to reduce us... we are unavoidably led to a serious and grateful sense of the manifold blessings which we have undeservedly received from the hand of that Being from whom every good and perfect gift cometh." And they say all the other things that follow.

This is not my interpretation. These are their exact words. I do not believe they were lying or being delusional, I do not dismiss what they said, I believe that they said what they believed.

The larger context and interpretation is that the Revolutionary War period was also a time of social movement where the values of British Americans changed. The abolition movement in the north was one manifestation of that.

RE: One should care how it benefited them economically. The reasons we are looking at are ideological or economic. What other reasons could it be other than political?

To answer your question, my goal is to address the question of this thread. I want to show that "Ideological factors partially account for the end of slavery in the North." Of course there could be economic, social, political, and ideological factors that are involved, but I am trying to stay on topic.

- Alan
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#43
When Pennsylvania abolished slavery, they did not say that their reasons were 5% ideological, their reasons are 100% ideological. They did not cite economics. They said, we "rejoice that it is in our power to extend... freedom to others, which hath been extended to us; and a release from that state of thraldom to which we ourselves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every prospect of being delivered..." I do not believe they were lying or being delusional, I do not dismiss what they said, I believe that they said what they believed.

There's just nothing else to say. Words are such powerful tools glued together in the right way. Am not referring to anyone's ability to come out on top in contention, just always genuinely thrilling to see them used to create clarity.
 

CSA Today

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#44
It's always about the money. Follow politics..... weird how ideology changes as the money changes. This has always been the case.

That's not to say that plenty of people aren't driven by feel goods. Although historically speaking, most major political changes were overwhelmingly motivated by economics.
Years ago, I remember a professor saying: “if you don't understand the economics you won't understand the history.”
 
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#45
This is an excellent point. White Supremacy and racism in the North was especially virulent, and it was the desire to keep blacks out of the Northern states (coupled with economic incentives) which inspired Northern abolitionism. Again, excellent point.
I would point out that white supremacy and racism was just as prevalent in the South. In some ways even more so.
 
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#46
Years ago, I remember a professor saying: “if you don't understand the economics you won't understand the history.”
The thing is, the question about "Ideological factors partially account for the end of slavery in the North" is not about a binary proposition of ideology yes, economics no, or vice versa.

No one can or should say that northern abolition was solely about slavery or economics. Nothing could be more wrong or irrelevant. It's perfectly possible, and is the case, that abolition could come in place for reasons that were ideological, economic, social, and political.

The thing is, just from what has been presented here, there is compelling evidence as to the importance of ideology in northern abolition. I hope we can focus on that.

PA's act to abolish slavery says that WHEN we contemplate our abhorrence of that condition to which the arms and tyranny of Great Britain were exerted to reduce us... we are unavoidably led to a serious and grateful sense of the manifold blessings which we have undeservedly received from the hand of that Being from whom every good and perfect gift cometh... we rejoice that it is in our power to extend a portion of that freedom to others, which hath been extended to us; and a release from that state of thraldom to which we ourselves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every prospect of being delivered... Those words are profound and powerful, as said by @JPK Huson 1863, but not just for the words themselves. They illustrate the power of preceding events to transform values. They speak to the ability of humans, as Apple Computer would say, to think different.


- Alan
 
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CSA Today

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#48
The thing is, the question about "Ideological factors partially account for the end of slavery in the North" is not about a binary proposition of ideology yes, economics no, or vice versa.

No one can or should say that northern abolition was solely about slavery or economics. Nothing could be more wrong or irrelevant. It's perfectly possible, and is the case, that abolition could come in place for reasons that were ideological, economic, social, and political.

The thing is, just from what has been presented here, there is compelling evidence as to the importance of ideology in northern abolition. I hope we can focus on that.

PA's act to abolish slavery says that WHEN we contemplate our abhorrence of that condition to which the arms and tyranny of Great Britain were exerted to reduce us... we are unavoidably led to a serious and grateful sense of the manifold blessings which we have undeservedly received from the hand of that Being from whom every good and perfect gift cometh... we rejoice that it is in our power to extend a portion of that freedom to others, which hath been extended to us; and a release from that state of thraldom to which we ourselves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every prospect of being delivered... Those words are profound and powerful, as said by @JPK Huson 1863, but not just for the words themselves. They illustrate the power of preceding events to transform values. They speak to the ability of humans, as Apple Computer would say, to think different.


- Alan
I tend to discount one issue causation for just about everything so yes ideology was a factor for the end of slavery in the North, especially as the Trans-African slave trade drew to a close and the economic opportunities in the trade and subsidiary industries supporting it ended.
 

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#49
I tend to discount one issue causation for just about everything so yes ideology was a factor for the end of slavery in the North,

especially as the Trans-African slave trade drew to a close and the economic opportunities in the trade and subsidiary industries supporting it ended.
Most northern states had already ended slavery or had begun gradual abolition before the international slave-trade was outlawed. So, the second half of your post (after the comma) wouldn't seem very relevant.
 
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#50
.... If it were ended for ideology, then why did they buy and sell them in the first place? What changed? ....
Ideology changed - in talking about the American Revolution. John Adams said. “ The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people. . . . This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.”

And those in power changed. The people who pushed through abolition were typically not the same people who had done the buying and selling.
 
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#51
It is correct that there was racism throughout North America. But it's entirely possible, and was the case, that many Europeans felt superior to Africans, and also believed that enslaving any human was wrong.

- Alan
I think the evidence is sufficient that they concluded that racism was not a sufficient justification for slavery. If it did justify slavery nearly any racial or ethnic difference could justify slavery.
The philosophical reason behind trying emancipation then was reinforced by experience. Abolition helped economics. There was no labor shortage. The economy grew.
 

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#52
I tend to discount one issue causation for just about everything so yes ideology was a factor for the end of slavery in the North, especially as the Trans-African slave trade drew to a close and the economic opportunities in the trade and subsidiary industries supporting it ended.
This is what happened. The flowery quotes are nice, but the slave traders lost their influence as the trade died out. Like stamping out a gnat instead of wrestling a dragon. If they want to believe it was due to ideology, I almost feel bad for spoiling the fantasy. If it makes them happy, I will leave them to their dreams.
 
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#53
This is what happened. The flowery quotes are nice, but the slave traders lost their influence as the trade died out. Like stamping out a gnat instead or wrestling a dragon. If they want to believe it was due to ideology, I almost feel bad for spoiling the fantasy. If it makes them happy, I will leave them to their dreams.
PA's act to abolish slavery says that

WHEN we contemplate our abhorrence of that condition to which the arms and tyranny of Great Britain were exerted to reduce us... we are unavoidably led to a serious and grateful sense of the manifold blessings which we have undeservedly received from the hand of that Being from whom every good and perfect gift cometh... we rejoice that it is in our power to extend a portion of that freedom to others, which hath been extended to us; and a release from that state of thraldom to which we ourselves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every prospect of being delivered...


Question: do you think that these folks were lying when they said this? Do you think they were delusional? Or something else?

These folks explicitly said they were ending slavery for ideological reasons. Why is it fantastical to believe what they said? I am at a loss to understand how these folks could say what they said, yet anybody who takes them at their word is "dreaming."

Is there any evidence from people of the era showing proof of ideology in ending slavery that you would accept?

- Alan
 
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trice

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#54
This section was deleted on the insistence of South Carolina and Georgia (which, ironically, had banned slavery soon after its founding in 1733, only to succumb to pressure and allow it a decade later).
And why do you think it is that they allowed it? Ideological reasons or profit?
I was just cruising through while watching the PGA and didn't see that this had been answered, so here's how Georgia went on slavery. Sorry if I overlooked an earlier reply. This account is from my memory of accounts as refreshed by Slavery in Colonial Georgia.

"General James Oglethorpe, the earl of Egmont, and the other Trustees were not opposed to the enslavement of Africans as a matter of principle. They banned slavery in Georgia because it was inconsistent with their social and economic intentions. Given the Spanish presence in Florida, slavery also seemed certain to threaten the military security of the colony. Spain offered freedom in exchange for military service, so any slaves brought to Georgia could be expected to help the Spanish in their efforts to destroy the still-fragile English colony."​

Things went along OK for a while, but:
"Initially the Trustees believed the settlers would follow their wishes and not use enslaved workers. Oglethorpe realized, however, that many settlers were reluctant to work. Some settlers began to grumble that they would never make money unless they were allowed to employ enslaved Africans. Many South Carolinians, who wanted to expand their planting interests into Georgia, encouraged this line of thinking."​

Oglethorpe and the Trustees, feeling that allowing slavery would endanger the colony's survival, pushed the ban and in 1735 the House of Commons passed it. Late in the 1730s, pressure began to build to overturn the ban:

"Georgians' campaign to overturn the parliamentary ban on slavery was soon under way and grew in intensity during the late 1730s. Its two most important leaders were a Lowland Scot named Patrick Tailfer and Thomas Stephens, the son of William Stephens, the Trustees' secretary in Georgia. They and their band of supporters bombarded the Trustees with letters and petitions demanding that slavery be permitted in Georgia. They also wrote pamphlets in which they set out their case in more detail.

"The crux of their argument was that the Trustees' economic design for Georgia was simply impractical. They insisted that it would be impossible for settlers to prosper without enslaved workers. West Africans, they argued, were far more able than Europeans to cope with the climatic conditions found in the South. As the growing wealth of South Carolina's rice economy demonstrated, slaves were far more profitable than any other form of labor available to the colonists. Tailfer and Thomas Stephens wanted to recreate the slave-based plantation economy of South Carolina in the Georgia Lowcountry."​

Stephens tried to create financial pressure on the Trustees back in England, but the Trustees brushed them back. Parliament kept backing the Trustees as long as the Spanish remained a threat.

"The situation changed dramatically in 1742 when Oglethorpe defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh and returned to England. The military arguments in favor of prohibiting slavery were no longer tenable. In Oglethorpe's absence a growing number of settlers became more willing to ignore the ban on slavery.

"By the mid-1740s the Trustees realized that excluding slavery was rapidly becoming a lost cause. Oglethorpe had virtually lost interest in Georgia by this time, and the health of Egmont had begun to deteriorate. In the absence of their strong leadership, there was little to prevent the Georgia settlers, with the connivance of South Carolina sympathizers, from illicitly importing slaves primarily through the Augusta area."

The Trustees gradually realized the pressure for slavery could not be resisted. The House of Commons passed new legislation and on January 1, 1751 the ban on slavery was ended. The Royal Charter of the Trustees ended in 1752.

It seems the Trustees were opposed to slavery for practical reasons (a different economic vision and the military threat to Georgia of Spain). The drive to allow slavery in Georgia seems entirely economic, based on the desire for South Carolina-sized profits, also fed by migration down the coast from South Carolina. Once the Spanish military threat declined after Oglethorpe's victory, the economics of the slavery side triumphed.
 

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#55
Why is it fantastical to believe what they said? I am at a loss to understand how these folks could say what they said, yet anybody who takes them at their word is "dreaming."

- Alan
There's something of a pattern here, isn't there? The same people won't believe what those Pennsylvania legislators said about their reasons for abolishing slavery, also won't believe what the 'godfathers' of secession said about their reasons for seceding.

They only listen to themselves.
 

unionblue

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#56
There's something of a pattern here, isn't there? The same people won't believe what those Pennsylvania legislators said about their reasons for abolishing slavery, also won't believe what the 'godfathers' of secession said about their reasons for seceding.

They only listen to themselves.
It's amazing just how horrible people are.

Reminds me of the one line from the play, 1776, "What a bast*rdly bunch we are!"

It seems we must be made to believe that unless a dollar sign is somewhere attached to any of our motives, then or now, it will spoil our dreams, foul our motives, to even contemplate that kindness, justice, compassion, are nowhere to be found in our nation.

While I agree there are those amongst us who cannot think of anything or go anywhere without clutching our wallets, I still think there is a chance that such acts are, and were possible in man's journey through history.

But that's me. :smile:
 

CSA Today

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#57
Most northern states had already ended slavery or had begun gradual abolition before the international slave-trade was outlawed. So, the second half of your post (after the comma) wouldn't seem very relevant.
Interestingly Vermont the first northern state to ban slavery didn't have a coastline. Gradual emancipation did little to stop the Trans Atlantic slave trade, especially in Rhode Island until 1808.

Recommended reading: Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade, The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870. Book Five “Abolition” pages 449-557 and Book Six “The Illegal Era” pages 561-785 should be of special interest.
 

trice

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#58
Interestingly Vermont the first northern state to ban slavery didn't have a coastline. Gradual emancipation did little to stop the Trans Atlantic slave trade, especially in Rhode Island until 1808.

Recommended reading: Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade, The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870. Book Five “Abolition” pages 449-557 and Book Six “The Illegal Era” pages 561-785 should be of special interest.
Before 1808, each and every state in the US had banned the importation of slaves while the US Congress was prohibited by the Constitution from acting on the importation of slaves until 1808. Delaware was the first to do so.

South Carolina banned the import of slaves for several years in a row. It reversed itself and re-opened for the Atlantic Slave Trade in 1804 (spurred on by the boom caused by the Cotton Gin and the lands made available by the Louisiana Purchase). For four years, Charleston was flooded with slave ships bringing a tide of new slaves for auction into the country. In 1808, with the US Congress now banning the import, the trade moved to offshore islands where they could transact in darkness for a few years.

Vermont, BTW, was not a state before 1791; several other states ended slavery before that date. It is claimed that Vermont banned slavery in their Constitution in 1777, but the very existence of Vermont as a separate entity was in doubt, particularly in the view of New York and New Hampshire, in the 1780s.
 

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#59
Before 1808, each and every state in the US had banned the importation of slaves while the US Congress was prohibited by the Constitution from acting on the importation of slaves until 1808. Delaware was the first to do so.

South Carolina banned the import of slaves for several years in a row. It reversed itself and re-opened for the Atlantic Slave Trade in 1804 (spurred on by the boom caused by the Cotton Gin and the lands made available by the Louisiana Purchase). For four years, Charleston was flooded with slave ships bringing a tide of new slaves for auction into the country. In 1808, with the US Congress now banning the import, the trade moved to offshore islands where they could transact in darkness for a few years.

Vermont, BTW, was not a state before 1791; several other states ended slavery before that date. It is claimed that Vermont banned slavery in their Constitution in 1777, but the very existence of Vermont as a separate entity was in doubt, particularly in the view of New York and New Hampshire, in the 1780s.
Interestingly Vermont was the only colony/state that didn't have a coastline.
 



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