My Ancestors Never Owned Slaves...

DanSBHawk

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Location
Wisconsin
Like many of the current events connected to this forum and our history, it seems to come down to how one views the history of United States today, whether it lead to a positive outcome or a negative one. And I most assuredly view the United States today as a positive outcome

Some may view our country as a negative outcome, and extend that negativity to our Constitution, laws, legal values and principles, I don't, so if they do I obviously agree to disagree as that would be a rather fundamentally different view of our nation without much common ground.
I disagree. It has little or nothing to do with the outcome. We've had some negative stuff in our history. We've gotten to where we are today in spite of those things, not because of those things.

Sometimes the law is wrong, and unjust. Dred Scott, for example. Or in your state, an all-white male jury condemned a teen-age female slave to be hung, for killing her owner after he had been sexually assaulting her for years. Those types of things did not lead us to where we are today. We had to get to this outcome in spite of those things.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
I disagree. It has little or nothing to do with the outcome. We've had some negative stuff in our history. We've gotten to where we are today in spite of those things, not because of those things.

Sometimes the law is wrong, and unjust. Dred Scott, for example. Or in your state, an all-white male jury condemned a teen-age female slave to be hung, for killing her owner after he had been sexually assaulting her for years. Those types of things did not lead us to where we are today. We had to get to this outcome in spite of those things.
Again I disagree, we are sum of out past, events contributed to where we are today, regardless of if one wishes to interpret them as good or bad.

So indeed in the end it depends on how one views our country today. As those events made us. To say slavery made no contribution to our early development would seem rather blind to me, and indeed those contributions helped get us from 1776-2021. Even the civil war that ultimately ended it, triggered other events/policies/laws we benefit from today.

In reality some good can often come from negative events, just as events intended positive can have negative effects. But we are indeed a sum of all those effects.
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Are there people who actually say that? (Serious question.)
Of course, mostly people who just say others say it as in this example, instead of actual people saying it, as it seems primarily some type of agenda driven talking point.
In my years on this forum, I have seen some who have stated that they would not have minded being a slave, seeing all the advantages the institution offered (free housing, medical care, free clothing, etc.) and those who keep insisting slavery could not have been that bad due to the idea there were "good, kindly, masters," who would have treated them as family, etc.

The comments are here on the forum, in various threads.

And I'm not "just saying it."
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Again I disagree, we are sum of out past, events contributed to where we are today, regardless of if one wishes to interpret them as good or bad.

So indeed in the end it depends on how one views our country today. As those events made us. To say slavery made no contribution to our early development would seem rather blind to me, and indeed those contributions helped get us from 1776-2021. Even the civil war that ultimately ended it triggered other events/policies/laws we benefit from today.

In reality some good can often come from negative events, just as events intended positive can have negative effects. But we are indeed a sum of all those effects.
I strongly disagree. It's like saying the US could not have become a great country without the institution of slavery. It's simply not true, and that reasoning seems to be an excuse for every wrong in our history.
 
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Location
mo
I strongly disagree. It's like saying the US could not have become a great country without the institution of slavery. It's simply not true, and that reasoning seems to be an excuse for every wrong in our history.
To suggest we would be the same nation we are today without the first 90 years of our history, is rather unfounded. So I indeed disagree with your fantasy alternate realities.

As it's a rather far reaching what if that would affect not only our nations economic growth and expansion, but obviously foreign policy and prestige as our international standing was certainly more based on economic strength and cotton exports then anything else in our early period.
 
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Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
The party that ran on prohibiting the expansion of slavery in reality got less then 40% of the national vote in 1860.To try to spin less then 40% of the electorate somehow into the majority of your countrymen seems rather unsupportable as reality........

The parties that ran on expanding slavery (actually, on either expanding or letting the states and territories decide) only got 48% of the vote. So by your own twisting, the majority did not vote for expansion. :rolleyes:

See, that's why it's disingenuous of you to twist the 40% number the way you did above. It's a misleading representation. Anyone who's actually studied the 1860 election knows it was a mess of party fracturing, frenzied alarmist propaganda, and two hardline party positions that gave birth to compromise parties trying to avoid the immediate war-inducing extremes on either side. Concerns about that dangerously impending war (and the stoking by press on both sides) had tremendous impact on how people voted. Approaches, opinions, solutions and details were scattered even at the regional level. Hyperbole ruled the media. There are several excellent books on the election that I can recommend to you that both detail and confirm these points, in spades. Lots of nuances and concerns were involved in deciding who voted for who, in an atmosphere filled with terrible possibilities.

The core issue running through all of these nuances in 1860 was nothing less than the future of slavery in the US. The North was against it expanding, as it had always been, as shown in the well-documented congressional battles over the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansa Nebraska Acts, the public reactions to the inane Dred Scott Decision - in fact in the entire history of the post-cotton gin republic. Denying THAT is textbook 'denying reality'. You'd be ludicrously ignoring American history to claim the North didn't oppose the expansion of slavery! That's simply as silly as it is disingenuous.

The South went beyond just expansion and wanted Federal protection enshrined in it, which fatally split the Democratic Party. (had they not taken this extremist position, the Democratic party would very likely have won - but understandably the growing strength of anti-slavery sentiment had them rightfully spooked, and rhetoric had enflamed things too far.) The Extremist positions in both the North and South wound up winning - most Americans favoring the Republican position, next most the Federal Protection of Slavery position , then the rest on compromise positions intended to preserve the Union.

Actually, the most eerily curious thing about the 1860 election results was the way they almost exactly mirrored the the actual Civil War map of the USA, CSA and Border States. Positively Chilling.

What the 1860 election results really told us was the growing strength of very hardline positions on both sides, squeezing out the middle positions calling for compromise and unity. That meant war.

The election of 1860 was a true Fulcrum Point in American history, and Southern slave-owning leadership knew it. I credit them for that comprehension. The Slave Interests had lost control of congress and the executive, and given demographics were highly unlikely to regain it. And the civilized world had turned against their institution as well.

The Slave-Owning interests lost a fair election. Fact. Period. Faced with that defeat, rather than compromise, or negotiate, or continue to delay the inevitable, they started a bloody war to prolong and expand their practice of slavery. I condemn them for that very stupid and horrific choice. So should every Southern family who lost members because of it.

Thank god they got trounced. Thank god.
 
Joined
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Location
mo
Of course, that's not even close to what I wrote.
Actually it is, if one is wishing to pretend the same course and end result would occur from a major contribution driving economic development, foreign trade, settlement, ect never having made that contribution at all.

Otherwise those contributions indeed helped contributing to the nation we are today. So again it comes down to how one views the nation today.

And I didn't say it would be impossible for us to have become a "great" country with some fantasy alternate history which is rather undefined as a fantasy country......what I did say is we would not likely be the great nation we actually are today, which is rather defined, as it actually exists.

If one would choose a unknown fantasy country result over the nation we actually are today, it would suggest they are dissatisfied with the nation we are today, to think a unknown outcome would be preferential.
 
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Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
The parties that ran on expanding slavery (actually, on either expanding or letting the states and territories decide) only got 48% of the vote. So by your own twisting, the majority did not vote for expansion. :rolleyes:

See, that's why it's disingenuous of you to twist the 40% number the way you did above. It's a misleading representation. Anyone who's actually studied the 1860 election knows it was a mess of party fracturing, frenzied alarmist propaganda, and two hardline party positions that gave birth to compromise parties trying to avoid the immediate war-inducing extremes on either side. Concerns about that dangerously impending war (and the stoking by press on both sides) had tremendous impact on how people voted. Approaches, opinions, solutions and details were scattered even at the regional level. Hyperbole ruled the media. There are several excellent books on the election that I can recommend to you that both detail and confirm these points, in spades. Lots of nuances and concerns were involved in deciding who voted for who, in an atmosphere filled with terrible possibilities.

The core issue running through all of these nuances in 1860 was nothing less than the future of slavery in the US. The North was against it expanding, as it had always been, as shown in the well-documented congressional battles over the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansa Nebraska Acts, the public reactions to the inane Dred Scott Decision - in fact in the entire history of the post-cotton gin republic. Denying THAT is textbook 'denying reality'. You'd be ludicrously ignoring American history to claim the North didn't oppose the expansion of slavery! That's simply as silly as it is disingenuous.

The South went beyond just expansion and wanted Federal protection enshrined in it, which fatally split the Democratic Party. (had they not taken this extremist position, the Democratic party would very likely have won - but understandably the growing strength of anti-slavery sentiment had them rightfully spooked, and rhetoric had enflamed things too far.) The Extremist positions in both the North and South wound up winning - most Americans favoring the Republican position, next most the Federal Protection of Slavery position , then the rest on compromise positions intended to preserve the Union.

Actually, the most eerily curious thing about the 1860 election results was the way they almost exactly mirrored the the actual Civil War map of the USA, CSA and Border States. Positively Chilling.

What the 1860 election results really told us was the growing strength of very hardline positions on both sides, squeezing out the middle positions calling for compromise and unity. That meant war.

The election of 1860 was a true Fulcrum Point in American history, and Southern slave-owning leadership knew it. I credit them for that comprehension. The Slave Interests had lost control of congress and the executive, and given demographics were highly unlikely to regain it. And the civilized world had turned against their institution as well.

The Slave-Owning interests lost a fair election. Fact. Period. Faced with that defeat, rather than compromise, or negotiate, or continue to delay the inevitable, they started a bloody war to prolong and expand their practice of slavery. I condemn them for that very stupid and horrific choice. So should every Southern family who lost members because of it.

Thank god they got trounced. Thank god.
It's certainly no more misleading to suggest the 40% represented a majority view, suppose your right in that minority Republican vote may not have been all motivated by anti slavery sentiment, so may actually exaggerate anti slavery sentiment. One indeed should look for other evidence from the era, as it wasn't the only election......Was the anti slavery vote dominate in the previous national elections, or the one before that? In fact it never had been....
 
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Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
It's certainly no more misleading to suggest the 40% represented a majority view, as one indeed should look for other evidence......Was the anti slavery vote dominate in the previous national elections, or the one before that? In fact it never had been....

Fully agree, one should look for many sources of evidence. The republicans had a great House election two years previous. The vote in 1860 was skewed in multiple directions by the very real concern over disunion one one hand, the the hardening of pro\anti slave parties on the other. Votes for Lincoln represented a new growing hard core resistance to slavery, not the the total northern attitude towards it -yet 40% of that attitude was indeed hard core (a similar hard core percentage of 'Federal Protection of slavery or fight!' was forming in the secessionist South). There were many voters in between who wanted to continue compromise and save the Union - they just didn't win.
 

DanSBHawk

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Joined
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Location
Wisconsin
Actually it is, if one is wishing to pretend the same course and end result would occur from a major contribution driving economic development, foreign trade, settlement, ect never having made that contribution at all.

Otherwise those contributions indeed helped contributing to the nation we are today. So again it comes down to how one views the nation today.

And I didn't say it would be impossible for us to have become a "great" country with some fantasy alternate history which is rather undefined as a fantasy country......what I did say is we would not likely be the great nation we actually are today, which is rather defined, as it actually exists.

If one would choose a unknown fantasy country result over the nation we actually are today, it would suggest they are dissatisfied with the nation we are today, to think a unknown outcome would be preferential.
No, actually I have a pretty good idea of what I wrote, and what I meant, and your representation is not even close.

I think it's sad that someone living in the present would justify historical wrongs by implying that what we've become in the present day, somehow justifies every wrong that was committed in the past.

There were historical wrongs in our past. We all know it, and we can all come up with examples. And we can come up with historical wrongs committed by other nations as well. The "outcome," what we are now and what other countries are now, does not justify every historical wrong committed. Wrong is wrong, and always will be. Regardless of any attempts to excuse it.
 
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Location
mo
No, actually I have a pretty good idea of what I wrote, and what I meant, and your representation is not even close.

I think it's sad that someone living in the present would justify historical wrongs by implying that what we've become in the present day, somehow justifies every wrong that was committed in the past.

There were historical wrongs in our past. We all know it, and we can all come up with examples. And we can come up with historical wrongs committed by other nations as well. The "outcome," what we are now and what other countries are now, does not justify every historical wrong committed. Wrong is wrong, and always will be. Regardless of any attempts to excuse it.
The only thing that is sad is some wish to tear down our nation and the events that created it. It has nothing to do with either excusing or condemning events at all, but simply actually recognizing the events and practices that actually made our nation.

And indeed without things like slavery and manifest destiny we would not have arrived where we are today.
 

Viper21

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I strongly disagree. It's like saying the US could not have become a great country without the institution of slavery. It's simply not true, and that reasoning seems to be an excuse for every wrong in our history.
We'll never know.

I don't believe we'd be where we're at, if you could rewrite what actually happened, & suppose American Slavery never happened. Keep in mind in 1775, 20% of the population was Slaves. Would we have defeated the British, & won our Independence without them..?

Would our population, economy, world status, etc... have continued to evolve the way it did over the next 80 years without them..? I have my doubts.

I'm not excusing slavery. However, I don't think it realistic to say, our country would've advanced at the same rate it did, without what actually happened. There's an awful lot of "what if's" that come into play, when you start imagining an alternative reality. Some positive, some negative.

I believe that because so many suffered, years ago, many people today enjoy the highest standard of living the world has ever known.
 

DanSBHawk

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Joined
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Location
Wisconsin
We'll never know.

I don't believe we'd be where we're at, if you could rewrite what actually happened, & suppose American Slavery never happened. Keep in mind in 1775, 20% of the population was Slaves. Would we have defeated the British, & won our Independence without them..?

Would our population, economy, world status, etc... have continued to evolve the way it did over the next 80 years without them..? I have my doubts.

I'm not excusing slavery. However, I don't think it realistic to say, our country would've advanced at the same rate it did, without what actually happened. There's an awful lot of "what if's" that come into play, when you start imagining an alternative reality. Some positive, some negative.

I believe that because so many suffered, years ago, many people today enjoy the highest standard of living the world has ever known.
I don't agree. If it was merely labor that was needed, then it was shown that immigrants (especially Germans) could be enticed to come and carve out civilization in the wilderness. George Washington worked to arrange that type of immigration for his lands in the west.

There was no moral justification for enslaving anyone. It was greed and ethnic supremacism that created the chattel slavery system, and there is no reason to imagine that the US could not have been great without that system.
 
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DanSBHawk

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Joined
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Location
Wisconsin
The only thing that is sad is some wish to tear down our nation and the events that created it. It has nothing to do with either excusing or condemning events at all, but simply actually recognizing the events and practices that actually made our nation.

And indeed without things like slavery and manifest destiny we would not have arrived where we are today.
It is a fallacy to pretend that being anti-slavery is being anti-American. From the very beginning of the US, there were Americans that condemned the institution of slavery.

Unfortunately, it took decades and a tragic war before the slavery stain could be eradicated. It was a disgrace on our heritage, and no modern-day excuses will ever change that.
 
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It is a fallacy to pretend that being anti-slavery is being anti-American. From the very beginning of the US, there were Americans that condemned the institution of slavery.

Unfortunately, it took decades and a tragic war before the slavery stain could be eradicated. It was a disgrace on our heritage, and no modern-day excuses will ever change that.
It's indeed fallacy to suggest anyone even said being anti slavery is anti American..........its unfortunate some are so completely disingenuous.

Again actually recognizing our history isn't pro or anti anything, but simply being honest about our history. And things both good and bad contributed to our creation and evolution. It's rather absurd to pretend they didn't.

In a historical discussion there is no need to justify what was, as it is what was, it had and needed no input from us at all. Just as the rise, economic growth and expansion of the United States in antebellum period occured without any justification or input from us at all as well. It's simply a question of if one wishes to be honest about the factors and policies that did actually contribute to the rise, economic growth and expansion.

What I simply suggested is if one is pro or anti American history would indeed be influenced by how one views the outcome of where we are today. This justification argument is rather absurd. As I have no need to justify the aspects of the Revolutionary War, constitutional convention, slavery, manifest destiny, war of 1812, Mexican war, civil war, various Indian wars, and a whole host of post 1900 events to acknowledge they shaped and contributed to our development as a nation. We are a sum of all those events and others that shaped our development. The study of history isn't to "justify or condemn" anything, but to acknowledge the actual events and the effects they had, both good and bad......indeed this need of some to use terms such as "justify or condemn" past events currently arises from modern politics, as the study of history is the study of events and views of the period.
 
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DanSBHawk

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Location
Wisconsin
Any person with common sense and a sense of right and wrong can judge anything in the past, and they can decide for themselves: That was right, that was wrong, that was good, that was bad, etc.

Nobody needs to take modern politics into account. Nobody needs to take the modern status of some country into account. Anyone with a moral compass can make a judgment about something in the past.

Any attempt to tie those personal judgments of history's controversies to modern-day nations or modern-day politics is just a lame attempt at distraction.
 

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
We'll never know.

I don't believe we'd be where we're at, if you could rewrite what actually happened, & suppose American Slavery never happened. Keep in mind in 1775, 20% of the population was Slaves. Would we have defeated the British, & won our Independence without them..?

Would our population, economy, world status, etc... have continued to evolve the way it did over the next 80 years without them..? I have my doubts.

I'm not excusing slavery. However, I don't think it realistic to say, our country would've advanced at the same rate it did, without what actually happened. There's an awful lot of "what if's" that come into play, when you start imagining an alternative reality. Some positive, some negative.

I believe that because so many suffered, years ago, many people today enjoy the highest standard of living the world has ever known.

I agree we can never know.

I also agree we must acknowledge and accept our past, warts and all, contributing along with the flood of other occurrences that together made us what we are.

I find it a bridge waaaay too far to try a spin like 'well, without the beatings, morale couldn't have improved'...

The correct response to that particular spin is simply 'we can never know'.

In my youth in England I recall a British acquaintance once saying India benefitted immensely from living with and incorporating British and Western traditions, processes, systems and technology during the Raj.

And the only price they had to pay for all those blessings was hundreds of years as third\fourth class ciphers in their own home.

Ask Indian historians if that was necessary and worth it 'to get where they are today' ...... :O o:
 

Georgia Sixth

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Location
Texas
History is supposed to teach us, not excuse us, so that we do not repeat our ancestors mistakes by taking the same, worn-out paths that they took.
UB,
I certainly agree with you and there's no question slavery is abhorrent. (It's interesting to think that had we not revolted from British rule, slavery would have been ended without a war!) But sometimes these things are not as obvious as they seem. If the slaveholders of 1860 were looking at history, it could very well teach them the opposite of what you and I believe. In fact, you can see frequent historical references made in the defense of slavery at the time. It was a constant, universal presence in human societies across the world. Just as religious scriptures can be read and two different messages derived from them, so it is with history.
Enlightenment is the exception, not the natural outcome. Those who saw slavery for what it is, they were the revolutionaries, the prophets who seemed crazed to those enmeshed in the status quo.
We can only hope that each generation, including our own, read history well and find in it enlightenment.
-Terry
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
UB,
I certainly agree with you and there's no question slavery is abhorrent. (It's interesting to think that had we not revolted from British rule, slavery would have been ended without a war!) But sometimes these things are not as obvious as they seem. If the slaveholders of 1860 were looking at history, it could very well teach them the opposite of what you and I believe. In fact, you can see frequent historical references made in the defense of slavery at the time. It was a constant, universal presence in human societies across the world. Just as religious scriptures can be read and two different messages derived from them, so it is with history.
Enlightenment is the exception, not the natural outcome. Those who saw slavery for what it is, they were the revolutionaries, the prophets who seemed crazed to those enmeshed in the status quo.
We can only hope that each generation, including our own, read history well and find in it enlightenment.
-Terry
@Georgia Sixth ,

Thank you for your thoughtful words above and I do agree with you that there were frequent historical references made in the defense of slavery but I really doubt that it in someway treats a grave and historic crime as something that could be considered right and just.

I am sure that those who did the enslaving for centuries could find many a reason and justification to employ slavery as a just and proper thing to do to ones enemies and people weaker than themselves, even those they considered inferior to themselves. But what of the enslaved? Did they consider just and right? Did they simply shrug their shoulders and tell themselves it was just part of everyday life? If it was so accepted, do normal, why slave revolts throughout history?

No, just because some could enforce slavery on others never made it just or right. Even the enslavers took steps to protect themselves against resentful slaves attempting rebellion. In my view, there are universal wrongs, wrongs that do not change with the passage of time. Murder, rape, robbery, and kidnapping. These eternal wrongs taken in total are merely the various phases of slavery, the institutions cumulation of eternal wrongs.

While I agree with you that there are those who could draw a different conclusion about the institution than my own, I submit such a different conclusion would be more of an attempt to justify one's present ability to justify force and explotation of a weaker people. As for learning from history, right along side those who in history justify slavery, do we not have those in the same timelines who argue against such cruelty, such employment of wholesale slavery?

Guess it just how you read history.

Thanks for your thoughtful post, I appreciate it.

Unionblue
 

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