Op-ed: scarlet 'S' for slavery

jgoodguy

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Thanks for posting this. I started a similar post before there were any replies, but thought it inappropriate to comment as a newbie.

I will suggest that one of the major errors the average citizen still makes is in assuming that since the South went to war to "preserve" slavery, then North went to war to end it. (And some therefore erroneously seek to "prove" that the war wasn't about slavery by demonstrating the North didn't go to war to end it.) As those here already know, the majority of northerners saw it is an imperative to preserve the Union or at least respond to southern attacks on the Federal forces. Only a fraction considered the goal the elimination of slavery at the beginning. There were understandable social/political and economic reasons for the average northerner's tepid views about actually abolishing slavery. And there were many southerners not exactly thrilled to be tied to the slave wagon either, although that receives less discussion.

Heck, growing up, the basic story in school I recall was primarily the noble "states rights" argument rather than the ugly fight over slavery...which is rather hard to sell today as reasonable cause for justifying a horrendous war.

The mistake too many make is in applying our current moral and historical context to that of 1860 and assuming that since their ancestors were law abiding and God-fearing types, they would have behaved more according to our 2012 moral views. I don't personally have to approve of what my ancestors did, nor do I expect any one else to. Instead, to understand the what and why of happened at the time we must look at what they were saying and doing in 1860...not what they claimed they had been doing at the time...in 1866+.


IMHO we do similar things today routinely that will be viewed with horror in 150 years. One good example is that slave and near slave labor is used to produce much of what we buy.
 

KeyserSoze

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You are correct, the Rhode Island slave merchants enormous profits was in the trans-Atlantic African slave trade and those profits were more readily realized by selling their chattels south rather than keeping them at home.

“The Northern slaveholder traded in men and women whom he never saw, and whose separations, tears and miseries he determined never to hear.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe

So you are like the drug addict that blames his dealer for his problems. If he didn't sell you drugs then you wouldn't use them. And if the nasty ol' Northerers hadn't sold the South their slaves then they wouldn't have owned any. Both ignore the fact that if there wasn't any demand then there wouldn't be a supplier.
 

DanF

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However, the South was expecting a short, cheap and relatively bloodless war or the cowardly Yankees will not risk a war at all. Rarely is the true costs of a war advertised by its advocates who generally are overly optimistic and downplay the costs.

Like James Chestnut of South Carolina who state he would "drink all the blood" that resulted from secession. Later popularized by others claiming that only a thimble full of blood would be spilled over secession.

The South saw themselves as mighty invincible warriors with nothing but contempt for Yankee's whom they described as pasty faced clerks and shopkeepers.
 

KeyserSoze

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However, the South was expecting a short, cheap and relatively bloodless war or the cowardly Yankees will not risk a war at all. Rarely is the true costs of a war advertised by its advocates who generally are overly optimistic and downplay the costs.

Their expectation of a short, bloodless, victorious rebellion doesn't change their motivation for rebelling in the first place.
 

jgoodguy

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I don't think it was a case of instead of, but rather along with. Undoubtedly the ideals of the revolution played a major role. And the slaveholders came in for their share of scorn for proclaiming the right to liberty while owning slaves.

As Samuel Johnson mocked them,

"How is it we hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the negro drivers?"

One thing the revivals of the Great Awaking(s) did do was to preach spiritual equality. Like the DOI rhetoric, the steps from religion to practical application of equality and then to politics can be seen.
 

DanF

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Sinners in the hands of an angry God!

In what way do you think the Great Awakening(the first one) influenced some states abolishing slavery?

Religious belief and conscience are a powerful force. While the south tended to use Old testament passages concerning the existence of slavery ( And the curse of ham) to bolster their religious beliefs it is much harder to reconcile New testament teachings with Slavery by those that claim they are Christians.

How does one reconcile the golden rule with slavery? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
Or Paul's teachings about everyone's equality before God? and New testaments teachings that Christians would be held accountable of their treatment of others.
 

jgoodguy

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Their expectation of a short, bloodless, victorious rebellion doesn't change their motivation for rebelling in the first place.


Agreed, but if they knew in advance the true cost or something reasonable, they'd thought a bit more about it. A cheap rebellion feeds into the motivation. If they had known that 1/3 of white men would be killed or injured and their economy devastated, they'd been otherwise motivated.
 
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Who doesn't give the war they are going into is going to be easy, cheap and quick?

Dan F,
Is there anything specific about the First Great Awakening that relates to the abolition of slavery during the Revolution in Mass? Or the other New England states?
 

DanF

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Who doesn't give the war they are going into is going to be easy, cheap and quick?

Dan F,
Is there anything specific about the First Great Awakening that relates to the abolition of slavery during the Revolution in Mass? Or the other New England states?

The New England states are were the Great awakening began and flourished. What the preaching of the Great awakening emphasized was personal involvement and personal relationship with God instead of Ritual, Liturgy. It also emphasized Good works as a personal responsibility of a Christian.

One noted impact is that Northern Baptists welcomed Blacks into congregations as well as Black Baptist churches and preachers.

That said it was the second great awaking that had the most impact on anti slavery.
 

DanF

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Another item of interest is that Benjamin Franklin who most historians consider at best a Deist was very much taken with George Whitfield preaching. And Franklin was a founder and first president of the first abolition society in This Country, Founded in Philadelphia in 1774.
 

Baggage Handler #2

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Thanks for posting this. I started a similar post before there were any replies, but thought it inappropriate to comment as a newbie.

I will suggest that one of the major errors the average citizen still makes is in assuming that since the South went to war to "preserve" slavery, then North went to war to end it. ...
It's hard to read the causes of secession by the various states and come to any other conclusion - it may be possible, but I've only seen one argument of that type that holds together. It is this: The seceding states did so as a rejection of democracy, hoping to replace it with something like aristocracy.

The northern states appear to have banded together to preserve the Union, at least initially.

Starting in 1862 (with the emancipation in DC on April 16th of that year, coincidentally enough) the war began to be about something else. And after 1862 the war was about slavery - for by that time there was no way for the southern states to both preserve it and return to active participation in the Union.
 

CSA Today

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So you are like the drug addict that blames his dealer for his problems. If he didn't sell you drugs then you wouldn't use them. And if the nasty ol' Northerers hadn't sold the South their slaves then they wouldn't have owned any. Both ignore the fact that if there wasn't any demand then there wouldn't be a supplier.

:frantic:


“The Northern slaveholder traded in men and women whom he never saw, and whose separations, tears and miseries he determined never to hear.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe.
 

CSA Today

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Like James Chestnut of South Carolina who state he would "drink all the blood" that resulted from secession. Later popularized by others claiming that only a thimble full of blood would be spilled over secession.

The South saw themselves as mighty invincible warriors with nothing but contempt for Yankee's whom they described as pasty faced clerks and shopkeepers.

So you are like the drug addict that blames his dealer for his problems. If he didn't sell you drugs then you wouldn't use them. And if the nasty ol' Northerers hadn't sold the South their slaves then they wouldn't have owned any. Both ignore the fact that if there wasn't any demand then there wouldn't be a supplier.

:frantic:


“The Northern slaveholder traded in men and women whom he never saw, and whose separations, tears and miseries he determined never to hear.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Like James Chestnut of South Carolina who state he would "drink all the blood" that resulted from secession. Later popularized by others claiming that only a thimble full of blood would be spilled over secession.

The South saw themselves as mighty invincible warriors with nothing but contempt for Yankee's whom they described as pasty faced clerks and shopkeepers.

I’ve always liked “Pasty faced mechanics and Codfish catchers.”

"The world has never seen better soldiers than those who followed Lee; and their leader will undoubtedly rank as without exception, the very greatest of all the great captains that the English-speaking peoples have brought forth."

Theodore Roosevelt
 

CSA Today

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Do you have something to contribute, or is your main aim the ridiculing of posts you may or may not understand - the comments provided don't indicate much one way or the other.

My take on the Op-Ed has been posted, and I hope is pretty clear.
NOBODY should have felt good about the situation in the fall of 1860.

I had made the point, in an earlier post that both the Northern slave traders and Southern plantation owners profited from slavery. For offering, what I think is an accurate assessment of the slavery situation--both North and South, another poster replied: “So you are like the drug addict that blames his dealer for his problems.” Do I take a reply likening me to a drug dealer seriously? No I do not.

"I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I said."

Alan Greenspan
 

Baggage Handler #2

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I had made the point, in an earlier post that both the Northern slave traders and Southern plantation owners profited from slavery. For offering, what I think is an accurate assessment of the slavery situation--both North and South, another poster replied: “So you are like the drug addict that blames his dealer for his problems.” Do I take a reply likening me to a drug dealer seriously? No I do not.

"I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I said."

Alan Greenspan
Addict, not dealer.
Anyway, please quantify the impact to the respective areas GDP in either absolute dollars or as a percentage of GDP in the peak year of trade. That will provide a more useful addition to the conversation than rolling smileys.
 

CSA Today

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See Post #12 of this thread

You are correct, the Rhode Island slave merchants enormous profits was in the trans-Atlantic African slave trade and those profits were more readily realized by selling their chattels south rather than keeping them at home.
 
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