Peaceful end of US slavery?

Andersonh1

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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.

What I meant was, how would secession and the establishment of an independent nation solve the demographic problem in the minds of the secessionists? Changing the government would not change the population numbers and demographic trends.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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.
My granddaughter knows the answer to your question.

The invention of the cotton gin changed everything. It is right there in our 4th grade Tennessee history curriculum.

It takes 8 hours to clean one pound of cotton by hand. I brought stalks with open bowls to her class to demonstrate how laborious it is. With a gin, it was possible to literally crank through a pound in a minute or so. The children find that downright delightful.

With the invention of the cotton gin, demand for slave labor & land to grow cotton skyrocketed. With the parallel invention of mechanical water powered spinning & weaving machines, a revolution in textile making ensued. Fortunes & delusions of grandeur rose like mushrooms in the Deep South.

Indeed, in 1828 slavery had lost its economic power. The Episcopal Church in the South was abolitionist in doctrine. Then the money started pouring in & doctrine morphed to meet the new economic realities. On SC, where there was no freedom of speech, press or assembly, you could be prosecuted for sending a letter through the censored mail that advocated abolition, the happy days of 1828 were long, long gone.

Admittedly my granddaughter is going to an intellectual magnet school, but they use the same books as everyone else. Should you have anymore questions on this topic, any 4th grader who was paying attention can fill you in on the detail
 

Andersonh1

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I would examine those history textbooks your granddaughter is learning from very carefully. The cotton gin was patented in 1794 by Eli Whitney. It had an impact on the South long before the 1830s.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
What I meant was, how would secession and the establishment of an independent nation solve the demographic problem in the minds of the secessionists? Changing the government would not change the population numbers and demographic trends.
It certainly would not! That is why in the first weeks of the initial CSA Congress, the old schemes about acquiring Cuba were revived. Spain would be coerced into selling or ceding Cuba as a first step in the ultimate goal. The fabled Slave Empire of the Caribbean was, once again a glittering possibility. Sadly, the Gray Eyed Man of Destiny had been shot almost at the same time as the cannons in Charleston. Be that as it may, the dream of a slave empire stretching from Chesapeake Bay to the headwaters of the Amazon was only a matter of time. Jefferson Davis wisely maintained that focusing on dealing with this pesky Yankees should take priority, but the move southward was only on hold.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I would examine those history textbooks your granddaughter is learning from very carefully. The cotton gin was patented in 1794 by Eli Whitney. It had an impact on the South long before the 1830s.
If you did, then you would realize just how correct her history book is. Oddly enough, the timeline begins with 1794, so that is duly noted.
 
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lurid

First Sergeant
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Jan 3, 2019
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.

Forgive me saying, that the more I read about abolitionists and slave owners, the more I dislike everything about them, neither party had any redeeming qualities in my book. For starters, religious zeal that is not checked and channeled properly causes more harm than good. I.e.. the Crusades, the Inquisitions and the Salem Witch Trials. The aforementioned list is just to mention a few examples how organized religion can be a colossal exhibition of religiosity that harms society. Therefore, the so-called abolitionists don't impress me.

I'm quite sure that same religiosity motivated the slave owners as well. Thinking that they had some divine right to own other human beings. That heresy was backed by feigned zeal as well with them even as going as far misinterpreting bible verses to back their argument. Defenders of slavery argued that the institution was divine, and that it brought Christianity to the heathen from across the ocean. Slavery was, according to this argument, a good thing for the enslaved. John C. Calhoun said, "Never before has the black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually." Seems like Calhoun was a real piece-of-work. Seems to me, that he was motivated by religious zeal as well, and of course greed.


There is no evidence that suggests that slavery were have ended soon to neutralize your last paragraph. On the contrary, the north downsized slavery to almost nil by 1860. However in 1810, there were 1,375,000 slaves, from that point until 1860 slavery increased to 4 million slaves, a whopping 300-400% increase. Mind you the north downsized slavery from 1810-1860 by like 98%. The evidence is very scanty that the south would have naturally ended slavery without any outside help in the near future back whenever Calhoun stated that excerpt. Actually the evidence points in the direction the south would have expanded it more if they could, which would have put off ending slavery even longer. I'm sure slavery would have ended soon or later, but it looks like it would not been for a long time if the south had there way.
 

Andersonh1

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South Carolina
I will freely admit that any speculation as to when slavery would have ended in the absence of the events of the Civil War can never be anything other than random guesses. It's just interesting to note that there were at one point far more Southern abolitionist societies than Northern ones (given that most slaves were in the South, that makes sense), but in a very short time they all went away. That's just an interesting fork in the road, and I can't help but wonder what would have happened if they'd continued down that road rather than turning inward and becoming so defensive about slavery. It's an interesting "what if" to ponder.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I'm not the one rewriting history. You cannot accurately push the impact of the cotton gin on Southern slavery to as late as 1830. That's simply false, the impact began decades earlier.
Thankfully, it is not me who is publishing settled history. I suppose my explicit statement that the TN textbook time line begins in 1794 was not explicit enough.

The effect of the cotton gin on slavery? Google search produced thousands & thousands of citations that are in need of your corrections. I refer you to them as far more interesting than just having me quote from them.
 

Andersonh1

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South Carolina
Thankfully, it is not me who is publishing settled history. I suppose my explicit statement that the TN textbook time line begins in 1794 was not explicit enough.

Sounds like they're publishing questionable history. They can start the timeline in the correct year, it doesn't make the rest of it correct. I'd be interested in seeing this timeline, and if it accurately talks about all the factors influencing Southern attitudes from 1794 to 1860. I suspect there's a myopic focus on slavery.... just a guess. That was certainly the case when I was a student, back in the 70s and 80s.

The effect of the cotton gin on slavery? Google search produced thousands & thousands of citations that are in need of your corrections. I refer you to them as far more interesting than just having me quote from them.

Not sure what you're talking about here. We agree that the cotton gin had an effect on Southern slavery. We disagree on when that effect began.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Sounds like they're publishing questionable history. They can start the timeline in the correct year, it doesn't make the rest of it correct. I'd be interested in seeing this timeline, and if it accurately talks about all the factors influencing Southern attitudes from 1794 to 1860. I suspect there's a myopic focus on slavery.... just a guess. That was certainly the case when I was a student, back in the 70s and 80s.



Not sure what you're talking about here. We agree that the cotton gin had an effect on Southern slavery. We disagree on when that effect began.
My goodness, have you ever cleaned a pound of cotton by hand? I just read your statement to my granddaughter whose daughter is my mentor on all things re:cotton gin. Long ago, as part of a living history weekend, she cleaned enough cotton to stuff a little rag doll. Cotton seeds have a needle sharp point. That tiny doll is still stuffed with tear & blood stained cotton. After she quit laughing, she said, “Tell him that the effect of the cotton gin on cotton production began the instant anybody cranked the handle one turn.” PM me your address & this fall we will send you a box of cotton to clean for yourself... the pain killers & first aid are up to you.
 

Andersonh1

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“Tell him that the effect of the cotton gin on cotton production began the instant anybody cranked the handle one turn.”

Yes, so in other words EXACTLY WHAT I SAID, the cotton gin had a major effect long before 1830. So how exactly can you claim that the cotton gin was responsible for the end of Southern abolitionist societies which existed for three decades after the gin was invented?

Here is what you said, back in post 22:
The invention of the cotton gin changed everything. It is right there in our 4th grade Tennessee history curriculum.

It takes 8 hours to clean one pound of cotton by hand. I brought stalks with open bowls to her class to demonstrate how laborious it is. With a gin, it was possible to literally crank through a pound in a minute or so. The children find that downright delightful.

With the invention of the cotton gin, demand for slave labor & land to grow cotton skyrocketed. With the parallel invention of mechanical water powered spinning & weaving machines, a revolution in textile making ensued. Fortunes & delusions of grandeur rose like mushrooms in the Deep South.

Indeed, in 1828 slavery had lost its economic power. The Episcopal Church in the South was abolitionist in doctrine. Then the money started pouring in & doctrine morphed to meet the new economic realities. On SC, where there was no freedom of speech, press or assembly, you could be prosecuted for sending a letter through the censored mail that advocated abolition, the happy days of 1828 were long, long gone.

So it took three decades, from the introduction of the cotton gin in 1794, to 1828, to produce the result you described above, for "money to start pouring in and doctrine morphing to meet the new economic realities"? So the cotton gin did not have an effect the instant the handle was turned?

The truth is that the changes that the cotton gin produced happened very quickly after 1794, and the increase in cotton production, profits from that production, and the increase in the slave population existed for thirty years alongside the growth of abolitionist societies in the South. There are very clearlly other factors that led to the disappearance of those Southern abolitionists beyond simply the cotton gin and the money that was made due to its existence.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Yes, so in other words EXACTLY WHAT I SAID, the cotton gin had a major effect long before 1830. So how exactly can you claim that the cotton gin was responsible for the end of Southern abolitionist societies which existed for three decades after the gin was invented?

Here is what you said, back in post 22:


So it took three decades, from the introduction of the cotton gin in 1794, to 1828, to produce the result you described above, for "money to start pouring in and doctrine morphing to meet the new economic realities"? So the cotton gin did not have an effect the instant the handle was turned?

The truth is that the changes that the cotton gin produced happened very quickly, and the increase in cotton production, profits from that production, and the increase in the slave population existed for thirty years alongside the growth of abolitionist societies in the South. There are very clearlly other factors that led to the disappearance of those Southern abolitionists beyond simply the cotton gin and the money that was made due to its existence.
Exactly what I said, I agree completely.
 

DanSBHawk

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Wisconsin
I will freely admit that any speculation as to when slavery would have ended in the absence of the events of the Civil War can never be anything other than random guesses. It's just interesting to note that there were at one point far more Southern abolitionist societies than Northern ones (given that most slaves were in the South, that makes sense), but in a very short time they all went away. That's just an interesting fork in the road, and I can't help but wonder what would have happened if they'd continued down that road rather than turning inward and becoming so defensive about slavery. It's an interesting "what if" to ponder.
Are you suggesting that northern abolitionists are responsible for the disappearance of southern abolitionist societies? That southern abolitionists turned around and became defensive of slavery?
 

Andersonh1

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Are you suggesting that northern abolitionists are responsible for the disappearance of southern abolitionist societies? That southern abolitionists turned around and became defensive of slavery?

The actions of northern abolitionists were a factor, but it was Nat Turner's killing spree that set the changes in motion (not the cotton gin). As the people in the various Southern states were reacting to Turner's murders and trying to determine a response, that was the absolute worst time for northern abolitionists to be preaching unconditional emancipation. A population that was already angry and fearful was not receptive to that message, which should have been obvious.
 

19thGeorgia

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It certainly would not! That is why in the first weeks of the initial CSA Congress, the old schemes about acquiring Cuba were revived. Spain would be coerced into selling or ceding Cuba as a first step in the ultimate goal. The fabled Slave Empire of the Caribbean was, once again a glittering possibility. Sadly, the Gray Eyed Man of Destiny had been shot almost at the same time as the cannons in Charleston. Be that as it may, the dream of a slave empire stretching from Chesapeake Bay to the headwaters of the Amazon was only a matter of time. Jefferson Davis wisely maintained that focusing on dealing with this pesky Yankees should take priority, but the move southward was only on hold.
After fighting a war of independence against the North, the triumphant South turns to gobble up Cuba and Mexico!...and then on to Central and South America!

How many empires will they have to fight? Britain, France Spain - not to mention the locals.

The poster-formerly-known-as-Cash would bring up that scenario from time to time. It was bad then and it's still bad.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
After fighting a war of independence against the North, the triumphant South turns to gobble up Cuba and Mexico!...and then on to Central and South America!

How many empires will they have to fight? Britain, France Spain - not to mention the locals.

The poster-formerly-known-as-Cash would bring up that scenario from time to time. It was bad then and it's still bad.
Actually, the Bolivarian Revolution had taken care of the Spanish Empire already. If you Google The Gray Eyed Man of Destiny & the Filibusters you will find that Southern expansionists had been active since the 1840’s. During the 1850’s, there had been numerous schemes put forth to acquire the slave holding island of Cuba by fair means & foul. Cuba was conceived as an instant slave state to counterbalance the new anti slave states in the Midwest.

One obstacle to the expansion of slaveholding to the former states of the Spanish Empire was the implacable hostility toward slavery of the population. The Bolivarian Revolution was emancipationist at its core. Despite everything the Filibusterers could do, believe me they weren’t burdened by scruples, the local populations of Central America would not put up with them.

I encourage you to read up on the Filibusters. In the wake of the Mexican War, they set out to secure new lands for slaveholding. They began by declaring the Republic of Lower California (if memory serves). Apparently, the Filibusters only had a vague notion of the extent of Baja California. Both the U.S. & Mexican govts were not going to put up with self declared republics, so the scheme collapsed. Their often madcap efforts to conquer Central America continued until the start of the Civil War. You are in for a very entertaining & quite appalling read.
 
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damYankee

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Aug 12, 2011
I will freely admit that any speculation as to when slavery would have ended in the absence of the events of the Civil War can never be anything other than random guesses. It's just interesting to note that there were at one point far more Southern abolitionist societies than Northern ones (given that most slaves were in the South, that makes sense), but in a very short time they all went away. That's just an interesting fork in the road, and I can't help but wonder what would have happened if they'd continued down that road rather than turning inward and becoming so defensive about slavery. It's an interesting "what if" to ponder.
When you say "they all went away " are you referring to the southern abolitionist, or all abolitionist?
I just want to be sure.
I agree there are a lot of forks in the road, and more than one road to boot! What I find interesting, more so since I dug deep into family history, the impact of all the dynamics in play, take one part of the puzzle, western expansion, many southern and northern residents moved west before the war, just to get away from the brewing discontent, some to claim homesteads, some to get rich from mining, ranching or farming, few succeeded, most just lived out their lives.
Trying to put the war and slavery behind them.
You don't see that as much in the South. But there were many ex Confederates who went west post war, and never looked back.
 

Andersonh1

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When you say "they all went away " are you referring to the southern abolitionist, or all abolitionist?

Southern abolitionists. There were still some individuals in the South with that view, but organized groups with public voices vanished in a very short time from what I understand.
 
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