Peaceful end of US slavery?

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I know there's been threads of when and if the Confederacy would have gotten rid of slavery if successful, which it seems most speculation being between the turn of the century and WW2.

But assuming there was no CW, when would the US have ended slavery peacefully short of a war? Would it have been materially shorter then a successful Confederacy?

Assuming at some point the efforts to end the spread of slavery in territories was successfull......how long to there would be a 2/3rds majority willing to end slavery? Assuming a peaceful end would be compensated, would the cost alone have slowed the movement for abolition?
 

Rhea Cole

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All you need to know on this subject is contained on the Slavery in the North website. <slavenorth.com> The general history of slavery in Northern colonial/states & histories of emancipation of individual states on this site is particularly good. The "Denying the Past" essay is worth a look. The history of emancipation in New York, which had more slaves than the rest of the Northern colonies put together, is a cautionary tale of just how complicated the process could have been. Slave-holders behaved like slave-holders where ever they happened to be. To expect otherwise is unreasonable. I found the bibliography very useful when researching my wife's Dutch slave-holding forefathers.
 
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However I'm talking nationally as don't see how individual northern states would apply.....unless your implying it would have took a long time nationally.......

The individual states that did so, did so when slavery was no longer widespread, so little political opposition and the cost of compensation would be limited as well. They essentially waited for it to die naturally, before acting politically....... To have waited for the same to happen nationally, would seem to have been a long wait........

I somewhat agree to look at how/when individual states abolished slavery might be relevant to doing so nationally......but in such a comparison the conditions nationally was not anywhere like in the states that had done so.
 
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major bill

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I had always assumed mechanization would have ended slavery. That would be around the 1930's or a little later. The fallout from the left over social issues would have been a huge problem among many others.
I think mechanization would have take a bit longer and I see slavery ending peacefully n the late 1950s to late 1960s. Slavery could have ended in the 1970s if slave owners were adverse to excepting federal money to free their slaves.
 

wausaubob

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The economics of slavery were not that good. The surge in the cotton textile economy between 1837 and 1860 created the appearance that all was well. But any downtown in the British mercantile economy was likely to hurt the southern areas hard.
If the US could elect an anti-slavery President, who received no votes from the 15 slave states, that was enough to cast doubt on the future of slavery, and lower the value of slaves.
Which legal modifications would have accelerated the decline is a matter of speculation. However slavery in DC could be abolished by an act a Congress. The Dred Scott decision not withstanding, taking slaves into any of the territories was going to be very risky and was not likely to happen.
Abolition of slavery by means of a constitutional amendment was dependent on preceding state action. Only Delaware, Maryland and Missouri were moving towards abolition, because slave ownership was becoming a small, but powerful special interest in those states.
 

wausaubob

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I suspect that when the third railroad boom hit beginning in 1879, it would have been more obvious that slavery was anachronism holding back the south and the nation as a whole.
 

wausaubob

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The problem would have economic, not political. The 15 slave states could protect slavery, if they acted together. The problem was that 5 states, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri were only minimally connected to the cotton industry. Anything that shook slavery was likely to lead to a sell off and a wave of manumissions.
 

unionblue

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It is not so much the economic effect of slavery that might effect it's eventual demise.

It is the social effect that would determine how much longer it would be forced to survive.

As long as the color line was needed to define the relationship between the two races, a war, a rebellion, a bloody uprising, was always in the future, even without a civil war.
 

wausaubob

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It is not so much the economic effect of slavery that might effect it's eventual demise.

It is the social effect that would determine how much longer it would be forced to survive.

As long as the color line was needed to define the relationship between the two races, a war, a rebellion, a bloody uprising, was always in the future, even without a civil war.
Unless four states that still allowed slavery in 1860 change state law and abandon the institution, it was probably safe from the amendment process. In order for four states to abandon slavery the politicians of those states have see and acknowledge a rapid drop in the value of slaves. If they also see a steady loss in federal dollars, as in the US army being reallocated from Texas to Nebraska and Wyoming, it could accelerate the change.
 

wausaubob

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With the 3/5ths rule still in place, any loss of white population from the south to the Midwest and far west was going to critically decrease the influence of the south in Congress and at the Presidential level.
 

Rhea Cole

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The Brazilian experience is a template for what really happened. The implacable hostility of the British Govt to slave trading was stifling what was left of African slave trading on the East Coast. The Southern slave holders would have become international social outcasts.
 

major bill

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Slavery probably would have ended IMO in the mid to late 1900s. The amount of violence in the 100 years between 1860 and 1960 is unknown so slavery ending 'peacefully' is an open question.
 

jackt62

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The Brazilian experience is a template for what really happened. The implacable hostility of the British Govt to slave trading was stifling what was left of African slave trading on the East Coast. The Southern slave holders would have become international social outcasts.
Slavery was ended in Brazil in 1888. How a southern Confederacy could have held out any longer than that would be very difficult to imagine. From an historical point of view, the worst decision the southern planters made was not accepting compensated emancipation earlier on.
 

Rhea Cole

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Slavery was ended in Brazil in 1888. How a southern Confederacy could have held out any longer than that would be very difficult to imagine. From an historical point of view, the worst decision the southern planters made was not accepting compensated emancipation earlier on.
When you read what the SC secessionists were writing in the decade leading up to 1860, fear of demographic oblivion was a constant theme. By 1880, they were projecting that SC’s population was going to be 80% slaves. As the 1860 slave census map graphically demonstrated, almost every slave in SC was living in a small area of the state. This was true elsewhere in the South. A county in TN had already reached the 80% level.

For very good reason, slave-holders were deep down frightened at what would happen when the pent up fury of the slaves was unleashed. Imagination was not necessary, the Baptist Revolt & dozens of other slaughters were mere imps compared with the Bolrog from the fiery depths of the Haitian genocide. Not even Napoleon could win that one.

All it might have taken was for a few slave patrols to get ambushed & wiped out to tip the whites into a panic response. As CSA soldiers found out, taking no USCT prisoners was pretty macho as long as you are winning. Being on the receiving end of victorious, implacable black troops was a very different matter, indeed. Those people had a lot of scores to settle, no telling what might have resulted once serious bloodletting set in.

As the blood drenched history of slave rebellions shows, only the intervention of a national military force had any chance against a full scale revolt. The tiny US Army was deployed in the West. A rampage of local slave patrols & militia had been sufficient in the past, when virtually all of their victims were helpless. It would have been quite a different matter if slave patrols were ambushed & driven off over great swathes of territory.

All it would have taken was one too many gang rape by a slave patrol to ignite the fuse. The idea that 500,000 people with all the events of 1860-80 fresh in their minds would not rise up & massacre their oppressors strikes me as preposterous.
 
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Andersonh1

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When you read what the SC secessionists were writing in the decade leading up to 1860, fear of demographic oblivion was a constant theme. By 1880, they were projecting that SC’s population was going to be 80% slaves. As the 1860 slave census map graphically demonstrated, almost every slave in SC was living in a small area of the state. This was true elsewhere in the South. A county in TN had already reached the 80% level.

For very good reason, slave-holders were deep down frightened at what would happen when the pent up fury of the slaves was unleashed. Imagination was not necessary, the Baptist Revolt & dozens of other slaughters were mere imps compared with the guilty out Bolrog from the fiery depths of the Haitian genocide. Not even Napoleon could win that one.

All it might have taken was for a few slave patrols to get ambushed & wiped out to tip the whites into a panic response. As CSA soldiers found out, taking no USCT prisoners was pretty macho as long as you are winning. Being on the receiving end of victorious, implacable black troops was a very different matter, indeed. Those people had a lot of scores to settle, no telling what might have resulted once serious bloodletting set in.

As the blood drenched history of slave rebellions shows, only the intervention of a national military force had any chance against a full scale revolt. The tiny US Army was deployed in the West. A rampage of local slave patrols & militia had been sufficient in the past, when virtually all of their victims were helpless. It would have been quite a different matter if slave patrols were ambushed & driven off over great swathes of territory.

All it would have taken was one too many gang rape by a slave patrol to ignite the fuse. The idea that 500,000 people with all the events of 1860-80 fresh in their minds would not rise up & massacre their oppressors strikes me as preposterous.

And secession solved this future problem, how?
 

Andersonh1

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According to Margaret Coit, "As late as 1828, there were three hundred abolitionist societies south of the Mason-Dixon line." ("John C. Calhoun: American Portrait", chapter 19, "Slavery- the Theory and the Fact." p 296).

It is undoubtedly true that Southerners talked about emancipating far more than they emancipated. Yet so eminent a historian as Albert J. Beveridge has argued that, had it not been for the anger and fear aroused by the abolitionist onslaught, 'it is not altogether impossible that there would have been no war, and that slavery would in time have given way to the pressure of economic forces.' All Nevins, conceding that abolition, gradual or otherwise, was impossible in the Deep South, pronounces it 'unquestionably true that the abolitionist madness helped kill all chances of gradual emancipation in the border states of Maryland and Kentucky.' In Fredericksburg, Virginia, an active movement for gradual emancipation was under way when the abolitionists stepped in. The ruin was complete. Less than a decade afterward, not a single emancipation society remained south of the Mason-Dixon border.​
The abolitionists can, at least, be credited with skill in defeating their own purposes. Not for them the tedious processes of 'gradual emancipation.' They would not see the nation's honor stained by truckling to slave-holders through federal reimbursement of the planters for the losses abolition would cause them. To them it mattered not that abolition without compensation would wreck the entire Southern economy and leave the planters destitute. The them the sin of slavery was all that mattered.​
It is essential, of course, to keep a sense of proportion in judging both abolitionist and slaveholder. The abolitionists' zeal was, in most cases, a sincere and high-minded moral force. Yet it is easy to understand the attitude of those who were daily told that their financial security, if not their very lives, depended on the maintenance of a system which the individuals of that period found already in effect. Human nature being what it is, and the problem as complex as it was, the Southern attitude towards abolitionists with their inexpensive moral zeal can be readily understood. ("John C. Calhoun: American Portrait", chapter 19, "Slavery- the Theory and the Fact." p 296)​
The tendency among many is to lay the blame entirely at the feet of those evil, fanatical Southern slave owners, but how much did the abolitionists shoot themselves in the foot? How much of the blame lies with them and their methods? More than is commonly admitted, certainly. What people if constantly attacked will not sooner or later go on the defensive? It is entirely possible that the South would have followed the trends of the rest of the country and gradually abolished slavery if left alone to grapple with the problem themselves.
 

Rhea Cole

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And secession solved this future problem, how?
We had this thing called the Civil War & the 13th Amendment. The Jim Crow era massacres of Tulsa & Wilmington, lynchings & segregation was violence inflicted by whites on blacks, not the other way around.

When I asked a scholar of that period why the slaves did not take the opportunity to wipe out the slave holders, he had an interesting answer. The slaves were Christians & as such, did not wreak the vengeance that slave holders do richly deserved. It would have been a violation of Christ’s teaching to do so. I can’t argue with that.
 
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