Slavery was dying revisted.

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#1
In 1860 the ratio of slave states to free states was 15:18. Kansas had been admitted as a free state and the next most likely state was Nebraska. Nevada was actually admitted ahead of Nebraska. Both were admitted as free states.
At a ratio of 15:20 slavery was still constitutionally protected. However at that ratio it was no longer legislatively protected, and if the slave states could not control the presidency, it would, within 8-10 years lose its judicial protection.
The percentage of families that owned slaves was down to 3% in Delaware, 12% in Maryland and 13% in Missouri.
Though slavery was well entrenched on the Atlantic coast, and had only recently vanished as significant fact in New Jersey, slavery was subject to democratic abolition in these three states.
If it disappeared in these 3 states, the ratio could change to 12:23, with 12:24 possible.
Any move against the Fugitive Slave Act, and such a move was likely after 1860, would have weakened slavery in Virginia and Kentucky. A change which makes abolition more likely could easily start a sell off in these two states. Virginia and Kentucky already had large areas which had no slaves. A more rapid sell off would not only decrease prices, but could endanger the political viability of slavery in those two states. The same argument applies to a lesser extent in North Carolina and Tennessee.
If the sell off proceeds too quickly, within 8 years slavery disappears in Kentucky and Virginia. The ratio of slave to free states could change to 10:26. At that point four more free states were necessary to eliminate the constitutional protection of slavery. Those states would be Nevada or Nebraska, Colorado, Washington and Utah. With Congress controlling admission of new states, and Congress in control of the Republican party, all would be free states. If a state did not want to be a free state, Congress did not have to admit it.
Although it seems these changes would take time, if the fact that slavery was on a course to eventual extinction was established, as soon as the demand for slaves in Texas and Arkansas was satisfied, slave prices would slide downwards and a panic sell off was possible. In Louisiana, the slave population was not self sustaining. In Louisiana, slave violence was the grave threat.
Did anyone think that the U.S. could put slavery on the course to ultimate extinction? Secession supports to the conclusion that the slave owners thought it could. Was a panic reaction to that threat possible? Secession also proves that an irrational response to threat was possible.
As far as slavery being economically profitable, in cotton it was profitable. To the Southerners it seemed that slavery was necessary to grow and pick cotton. However it was the South's expertise in growing, handling and shipping cotton, that made the U.S. dominant in the market. Although that dominance was going to continue, as other producers competed that was going to hold prices down, but more importantly, as Texas and Arkansas grew more cotton, over supply was likely. The last few years of the 1850's were highly profitable, but growth at that rate was not likely.
As an economic system, slavery looked entrenched, but free labor systems can easily force people to work long hours under cruel conditions to maintain their families. Cotton was probably safe without slavery, though sugar production was likely going to change.
As far as a social control system, it was more effective than Jim Crow, because it meant the work force was not mobile. But black codes were sufficient for suppressing African-American voting rights.
In the modern world, with newspapers, railroads and telegraph wires, the interstate slave trade was not viable. The trade, from border states southward, and from states on the Atlantic coast westward, was cruel beyond description. It was this element of slavery that the slave states could not admit to themselves, and which could not be discussed outside the South with provoking disgust among non-slaveholders in the North and in Europe.
I would agree that the slave holders thought of themselves as later day cavaliers, but the rest of the western world thought of them as later day Romans.
They may have thought they could protect slavery in a closed system, but the time had already passed.
Within 20 years the age of steel and high speed locomotives would arrive. The modern age was arriving and slavery had not place in that modern age.
I think they, people like Wade Hampton, knew slavery was doomed. They wanted to control the exit strategy and eventually, the Southern states did get control of the transition.
 
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gem

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#3
In 1860 the ratio of slave states to free states was 15:18. Kansas had been admitted as a free state and the next most likely state was Nebraska. Nevada was actually admitted ahead of Nebraska. Both were admitted as free states.
At a ratio of 15:20 slavery was still constitutionally protected. However at that ratio it was no longer legislatively protected, and if the slave states could not control the presidency, it would, with 8-10 years lose its judicial protection.
The percentage of families that owned slaves was down to 3% in Delaware, 12% in Maryland and 13% in Missouri.
Though slavery was well entrenched on the Atlantic coast, and had only recently vanished as significant fact in New Jersey, slavery was subject to democratic abolition in these three states.
If it disappeared in these 3 states, the ratio could change to 12:23, with 12:24 possible.
Any move against the Fugitive Slave Act, and such a move was likely after 1860, would have weakened slavery in Virginia and Kentucky. A change which makes abolition more likely could easily start a sell off in these two states. Virginia and Kentucky already had large areas which had no slaves. A more rapid sell off would not only decrease prices, but could endanger the political viability of slavery in those two states. The same argument applies to a lesser extent in North Carolina and Tennessee.
If the sell off proceeds too quickly, within 8 years slavery disappears in Kentucky and Virginia. The ratio of slave to free states could change to 10:26. At that point four more free states were necessary to eliminate the constitutional protection of slavery. Those states would be Nevada or Nebraska, Colorado, Washington and Utah. With Congress controlling admission of new states, and Congress in control of the Republican party, all would be free states. If a state did not want to be a free state, Congress did not have to admit it.
Although it seems these changes would take time, if the fact that slavery was on a course to eventual extinction was established, as soon as the demand for slaves in Texas and Arkansas was satisfied, slave prices would slide downwards and a panic sell off was possible. In Louisiana, the slave population was not self sustaining. In Louisiana, slave violence was the grave threat.
Did anyone think that the U.S. could put slavery on the course to ultimate extinction? Secession supports to the conclusion that the slave owners thought it could. Was a panic reaction to that threat possible? Secession also proves that an irrational response to threat was possible.
As far as slavery being economically profitable, in cotton it was profitable. To the Southerners it seemed that slavery was necessary to grow and pick cotton. However it was the South's expertise in growing, handling and shipping cotton, that made the U.S. dominant in the market. Although that dominance was going to continue, as other producers competed that was going to hold prices down, but more importantly, as Texas and Arkansas grew more cotton, over supply was likely. The last few years of the 1850's were highly profitable, but growth at that rate was not likely.
As an economic system, slavery looked entrenched, but free labor systems can easily force people to work long hours under cruel conditions to maintain their families. Cotton was probably safe without slavery, though sugar production was likely going to change.
As far as a social control system, it was more effective than Jim Crow, because it meant the work force was not mobile. But black codes were sufficient for suppressing African-American voting rights.
In the modern world, with newspapers, railroads and telegraph wires, the interstate slave trade was not viable. The trade, from border states southward, and from states on the Atlantic coast westward, was cruel beyond description. It was this element of slavery that the slave states could not admit to themselves, and which could not be discussed outside the South with provoking disgust among non-slaveholders in the North and in Europe.
I would agree that the slave holders thought of themselves as later day cavaliers, but the rest of the western world thought of them as later day Romans.
They may have thought they could protect slavery in a closed system, but the time had already passed.
Within 20 years the age of steel and high speed locomotives would arrive. The modern age was arriving and slavery had not place in that modern age.
I think they, people like Wade Hampton, knew slavery was doomed. They wanted to control the exit strategy and eventually, the Southern states did get control of the transition.
The number of slaves in the south doubled from about 1830-1860. Plus, laws like Dred Scot further entrenched it.

It wasn't dying, but even more importantly the South wasn't going to let it, or so they believed.
 
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#4
Hence the push by southerners to expand the admission of slave states westward, and possibly south into Cuba and the Caribbean.

The peculiar institution wasn't just cotton, it was always about the economy, political parity, and social hierarchy. I'm sure the southerners feared many of the trends you cited and were worried. It would seem that a split from the Union was inevitable at one time or another.
 
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#5
A whole heap of people thought slavery was going to live forever, seceded, formed a nation and fought a war for independence.
Two things, Texas and Arkansas were sustaining the price of slaves in the four middle states, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia. Louisiana was always going to need slaves. The sugar work was lethal.
If anything happened to Texas and Arkansas, like a slight dip in the price of cotton, the price of slaves would fall rapidly.
A literate, newspaper driven world was increasing the pressure to limit the internal slave trade, which carried many of the same features as the middle passage. A separated south might limit the access to view the slave trade, but when the separated they would have no further influence on the free press in the U.S. and Britain. It was this dreadful free press, with its moral denunciations of the slave owners which was the focus of the written contest.
On the economic end, they were the base of a world wide industry that could slow down at any time.
In terms of world opinion, they could not change the direction of culture.

Politically they had reached the end of viability. Texas was a huge new territory to absorb slaves, but it was only one state.

As I posted elsewhere, there was already an effort to increase the supply of cotton, from sources other than the U.S. South and control the price, before the war started. The buyers were out to break the corner on the market.
 
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#6
The number of slaves proves there was still some work that could keep the slaves fully employed, at least in the deep south.
But slavery was already slipping in the border states and the middle four states.

Slavery was maintaining itself politically by threatening secession. If slavery declines slightly more, that threat of secession is no longer credible.
In addition, weakening of slave in the upper 8 states gradually removes the electoral and congressional power of the middle four states.
 
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#9
I think they seceded because they knew Lincoln was going weaken and stop it, legislatively, judicially, and constitutionally.
They took the high steaks gamble that they could could protect it in a separate country.
It died when that attempt failed and it was never attempted again in the U.S.
 
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#10
In 1860 the ratio of slave states to free states was 15:18. Kansas had been admitted as a free state and the next most likely state was Nebraska. Nevada was actually admitted ahead of Nebraska. Both were admitted as free states.
At a ratio of 15:20 slavery was still constitutionally protected. However at that ratio it was no longer legislatively protected, and if the slave states could not control the presidency, it would, with 8-10 years lose its judicial protection.
You bring up an interesting point. It may be more useful to think in terms of the number or congressmen, senators, and the electoral college split between slave and free states over time. That would involve a lot of assumptions concerning which states are slave or free and the slave population (recalling the 3/5 clause), but that would give a sense of the tipping point when the slave states no longer controlled their political destiny. In all likelihood, the Confederates felt they were already at that tipping point given a Republican victory where Lincoln hadn't even appeared on southern ballots.

As far as slavery being economically profitable, in cotton it was profitable. To the Southerners it seemed that slavery was necessary to grow and pick cotton
True, but southerners had also considered that slavery would be well suited for mining and would therefore flourish out west. And sadly, they were probably right about that. Predictions on future prices are a tricky thing... people try to make a living at that and it's dicey business.

Slavery was maintaining itself politically by threatening secession. If slavery declines slightly more, that threat of secession is no longer credible.
Not sure I'm following you on that first line. It seems reasonably to me that ongoing abolition pressure, whether it was some combination moral, economic, or political forces would have forced a secession movement at some point for the very reasons you describe.
 
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#12
Winkler linked a talk by this person. Very good talk about secession as a counter revolution.
Indeed. IMHO the secession was a sophistry; what took place was a revolution, or as the Charleston Mercury published on November 8, 1860:

"Yesterday, November the 7th, will long be a memorable day in Charleston. The tea has been thrown overboard—the revolution of 1860 has been initiated.”
Dave G.
 
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#13
In order for the threat of secession to be credible, the number of states committed to secession has to be credible.
If that number declines slightly because the number of slaves has declined in the four middle states, 7 0r 8 seceding states have no credible chance to sustain themselves.
In fact, without Virginia the Confederacy would have lasted a much shorter time.
 
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#14
In order for the threat of secession to be credible, the number of states committed to secession has to be credible.
If that number declines slightly because the number of slaves has declined in the four middle states, 7 0r 8 seceding states have no credible chance to sustain themselves.
In fact, without Virginia the Confederacy would have lasted a much shorter time.
Sure, which is probably why the deep south acted when they did. Lincoln's election created the crisis, and any good politician knows you never let a good crisis go to waste, right? :wink:
 

jgoodguy

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#16
True, but southerners had also considered that slavery would be well suited for mining and would therefore flourish out west. And sadly, they were probably right about that. Predictions on future prices are a tricky thing... people try to make a living at that and it's dicey business.
Interesting book alone those lines.
Industrial slavery in the Old South - Robert S. Starobin - Google Books
Industrial Slavery in the Old South: Robert S. Starobin - Amazon.com
He suggests that mining and industrial uses of slaves were alive and well along.
 

Eric Calistri

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#17
In 1860 the ratio of slave states to free states was 15:18. Kansas had been admitted as a free state and the next most likely state was Nebraska. Nevada was actually admitted ahead of Nebraska. Both were admitted as free states.
At a ratio of 15:20 slavery was still constitutionally protected. However at that ratio it was no longer legislatively protected, and if the slave states could not control the presidency, it would, with 8-10 years lose its judicial protection.
The percentage of families that owned slaves was down to 3% in Delaware, 12% in Maryland and 13% in Missouri.
Though slavery was well entrenched on the Atlantic coast, and had only recently vanished as significant fact in New Jersey, slavery was subject to democratic abolition in these three states.
If it disappeared in these 3 states, the ratio could change to 12:23, with 12:24 possible.
Any move against the Fugitive Slave Act, and such a move was likely after 1860, would have weakened slavery in Virginia and Kentucky. A change which makes abolition more likely could easily start a sell off in these two states. Virginia and Kentucky already had large areas which had no slaves. A more rapid sell off would not only decrease prices, but could endanger the political viability of slavery in those two states. The same argument applies to a lesser extent in North Carolina and Tennessee.
If the sell off proceeds too quickly, within 8 years slavery disappears in Kentucky and Virginia. The ratio of slave to free states could change to 10:26. At that point four more free states were necessary to eliminate the constitutional protection of slavery. Those states would be Nevada or Nebraska, Colorado, Washington and Utah. With Congress controlling admission of new states, and Congress in control of the Republican party, all would be free states. If a state did not want to be a free state, Congress did not have to admit it.
Although it seems these changes would take time, if the fact that slavery was on a course to eventual extinction was established, as soon as the demand for slaves in Texas and Arkansas was satisfied, slave prices would slide downwards and a panic sell off was possible. In Louisiana, the slave population was not self sustaining. In Louisiana, slave violence was the grave threat.
Did anyone think that the U.S. could put slavery on the course to ultimate extinction? Secession supports to the conclusion that the slave owners thought it could. Was a panic reaction to that threat possible? Secession also proves that an irrational response to threat was possible.
As far as slavery being economically profitable, in cotton it was profitable. To the Southerners it seemed that slavery was necessary to grow and pick cotton. However it was the South's expertise in growing, handling and shipping cotton, that made the U.S. dominant in the market. Although that dominance was going to continue, as other producers competed that was going to hold prices down, but more importantly, as Texas and Arkansas grew more cotton, over supply was likely. The last few years of the 1850's were highly profitable, but growth at that rate was not likely.
As an economic system, slavery looked entrenched, but free labor systems can easily force people to work long hours under cruel conditions to maintain their families. Cotton was probably safe without slavery, though sugar production was likely going to change.
As far as a social control system, it was more effective than Jim Crow, because it meant the work force was not mobile. But black codes were sufficient for suppressing African-American voting rights.
In the modern world, with newspapers, railroads and telegraph wires, the interstate slave trade was not viable. The trade, from border states southward, and from states on the Atlantic coast westward, was cruel beyond description. It was this element of slavery that the slave states could not admit to themselves, and which could not be discussed outside the South with provoking disgust among non-slaveholders in the North and in Europe.
I would agree that the slave holders thought of themselves as later day cavaliers, but the rest of the western world thought of them as later day Romans.
They may have thought they could protect slavery in a closed system, but the time had already passed.
Within 20 years the age of steel and high speed locomotives would arrive. The modern age was arriving and slavery had not place in that modern age.
I think they, people like Wade Hampton, knew slavery was doomed. They wanted to control the exit strategy and eventually, the Southern states did get control of the transition.
What quotes from slave owners circa 1860 can you provide on their outlook? Looking back from backwards from 2017 is one thing, but what pre-war quotes from Wade Hampton are you using?
 
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#18
Interesting book alone those lines.
Industrial slavery in the Old South - Robert S. Starobin - Google Books
Industrial Slavery in the Old South: Robert S. Starobin - Amazon.com
He suggests that mining and industrial uses of slaves were alive and well along.
Carnegie had enough trouble managing free workers. No one ever tried to institute slavery after the war.
About 55% of the slaves were employed in the cotton industry.
Industrial slavery was probably being attempted, but it is impossible to envision how Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt and most importantly J.P. Morgan would have tolerated competition from slave driven industries located in the South.
 
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#20
I think it has been suggested already, that one of the causes of the Civil War was that it created a war time environment in which loyalty to the South became the primary political issue. The South became a one party state, Jefferson Davis assumed command as the result of a one party election, and war time measures suppressed political dissent. The Confederacy resorted to conscription on an early basis and hung dissenters in Tennessee in North Carolina, as sabetours and traitors.
The Civil War allowed them to hold the 11 states together for a short time, but they never demonstrated that there was enough popular support for slavery to maintain the coalition in peace time
 
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