Treatment of the Davis Slaves

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Honored Fallen Comrade
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Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC
So...you are saying that staying put was the better bet during the Jim Crow southern "experience"?

Please expound upon the glories and rewards they received by their remaining in Good Ol' Dixie. I am always curious and anxious to hear other views.


'I don't often share the views of a U. Calif.—Berkley professor, but I do here.

"The same popular pressures that forced political parties to embrace the doctrine of white supremacy demanded and sanctioned the social and economic repression of the Negro population. Racial segregation or exclusion thus haunted the northern Negro in his attempts to use public conveyances, to attend schools, or to sit in theaters, churches, and lecture halls. But even the more subtle forms of twentieth-century racial discrimination had their antecedents in the anti bellum North: residential restrictions, exclusion from resorts and certain restaurants, confinement to menial employments, and restricted cemeteries. The justification for such discrimination in the North differed little from that used to defend slavery in the South: Negroes, it was held, constituted a depraved and inferior race which must be kept in its proper place in a white man's society.”
Leon Litwack's North Of Slavery, Preface, p. viii.




 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
That so-called landmark of liberty Faneuil Hall in Boston was built with slave money and likely slave labour.
It's ironic that it became such a hub for abolitionists and others protesting the fugitive slave law. And it continued to be a meeting place for people agitating for civil rights.

And in keeping with the topic of the thread, Jefferson Davis gave a speech there in 1858, advocating for national unity and against secession.

https://www.nps.gov/bost/the-anti-secessionist-jefferson-davis.htm
 
Joined
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Location
mo
Please, expound more upon this.

You have my toes ticklin' to hear your "further" thoughts.
Your unaware that some northern states passed exclusion laws, anti immigration laws, and required freedom certificates or monetary bonds to discourage blacks being in the state?

Black codes had primarily originated in northern states prewar as they abolished slavery.
 

Zack

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Joined
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Location
Los Angeles, California
As ironic as it may sound, using Northern racism to mitigate the actions of Southern slave holders is applying modern thinking to the era.

In the 19th Century, being anti-slavery and pro-Civil Rights were two entirely separate strains of thought. 19th Century individuals did not believe that being anti-slavery meant they were in favor of equal rights for African Americans. Some of the staunchest abolitionists were also deeply racist. As I mentioned before, one need look no further than the treatment of former slaves that fled to Union lines.

No one is denying the deep, virulent, sinister racism prevalent throughout the north in the 19th century. No one is denying that slavery was practiced in the North prior to the early to mid 1800s (and in some cases much later depending on how you define “the north”).

The North being anti-slavery does not mean they weren’t racist. Northerners being racist does not mean that they also couldn’t be anti-Slavery.

Pointing out that northern states practiced slavery and that many important buildings such as Faneuil Hall and the White House were constructed by slaves does nothing to excuse or mitigate the actions of Southerners in the 1850s and 1860s (or before or after). Pointing out the segregation faced by African Americans in the North again does not excuse slavery or Southern racism. It is simply an acknowledgement of how deep and pervasive racist thought was at the time.

Countering Jefferson Davis’s racism and slaveholding with “northerners were also racists and held slaves for a time” is what-aboutism. Arguing that because slaves were allowed gardens and cabins somehow means they weren’t also slaves is ludicrious. Arguing that a slave fleeing to the North faced deep-set racism and therefore they were better off staying in the south in actual slavery is ludicrous.

The North being racist does not make the South not racist. The South being racist does not make the North not racist. The north being anti slavery does not mean they are not racist. African Americans being mistreated in the North does not mitigate slavery in the South.

It’s a stain on the entire nation.

As I said before, the scale runs only from “really bad” to “really extremely bad.”
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
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Location
Laurinburg NC
It's ironic that it became such a hub for abolitionists and others protesting the fugitive slave law. And it continued to be a meeting place for people agitating for civil rights.

And in keeping with the topic of the thread, Jefferson Davis gave a speech there in 1858, advocating for national unity and against secession.

https://www.nps.gov/bost/the-anti-secessionist-jefferson-davis.htm
Typical Yankee hypocrisy; self-serving prattle against Southern slavery with nary a word how slavery had enriched many Northerners among whom was Peter Faneuil.

That was before the election of Abraham Lincoln and the rise to power of the North's special interest Republican Party.
 

Piedone

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
As ironic as it may sound, using Northern racism to mitigate the actions of Southern slave holders is applying modern thinking to the era.

In the 19th Century, being anti-slavery and pro-Civil Rights were two entirely separate strains of thought. 19th Century individuals did not believe that being anti-slavery meant they were in favor of equal rights for African Americans. Some of the staunchest abolitionists were also deeply racist. As I mentioned before, one need look no further than the treatment of former slaves that fled to Union lines.

No one is denying the deep, virulent, sinister racism prevalent throughout the north in the 19th century. No one is denying that slavery was practiced in the North prior to the early to mid 1800s (and in some cases much later depending on how you define “the north”).

The North being anti-slavery does not mean they weren’t racist. Northerners being racist does not mean that they also couldn’t be anti-Slavery.

Pointing out that northern states practiced slavery and that many important buildings such as Faneuil Hall and the White House were constructed by slaves does nothing to excuse or mitigate the actions of Southerners in the 1850s and 1860s (or before or after). Pointing out the segregation faced by African Americans in the North again does not excuse slavery or Southern racism. It is simply an acknowledgement of how deep and pervasive racist thought was at the time.

Countering Jefferson Davis’s racism and slaveholding with “northerners were also racists and held slaves for a time” is what-aboutism. Arguing that because slaves were allowed gardens and cabins somehow means they weren’t also slaves is ludicrious. Arguing that a slave fleeing to the North faced deep-set racism and therefore they were better off staying in the south in actual slavery is ludicrous.

The North being racist does not make the South not racist. The South being racist does not make the North not racist. The north being anti slavery does not mean they are not racist. African Americans being mistreated in the North does not mitigate slavery in the South.

It’s a stain on the entire nation.

As I said before, the scale runs only from “really bad” to “really extremely bad.”
You are right as far as I am allowed and able to judge - but I think @CSA Today´s main issue is his feeling that the South gets all of the beating exclusively - albeit the whole thing was an issue in the entire nation

- and as a matter of fact it was an issue rather everywhere in the "civilized world" far into the 20th century....
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
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Location
District of Columbia
Your unaware that some northern states passed exclusion laws, anti immigration laws, and required freedom certificates or monetary bonds to discourage blacks being in the state?

Black codes had primarily originated in northern states prewar as they abolished slavery.
"Black codes had primarily originated in northern states prewar as they abolished slavery."

Just to clarify: You're saying that, until after northern states started to abolish slavery and pass these codes, southern states legally treated free whites and free blacks the same?

- Alan
 

DanSBHawk

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Location
Wisconsin
Typical Yankee hypocrisy; self-serving prattle against Southern slavery with nary a word how slavery had enriched many Northerners among whom was Peter Faneuil.

That was before the election of Abraham Lincoln and the rise to power of the North's special interest Republican Party.
Actually, if you look, you'll find many acknowledgements of Faneuil's slavery ties. "Nary a word" is not an accurate description.
 
Joined
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Location
mo
"Black codes had primarily originated in northern states prewar as they abolished slavery."

Just to clarify: You're saying that, until after northern states started to abolish slavery and pass these codes, southern states legally treated free whites and free blacks the same?

- Alan
No I didn't say that......however at the end of the war when they abolished slavery, they indeed did mimic several northern states who as they had abolished slavery prewar, also implemented more severe black codes in the same timeframe....

They couldn't really mimic the northern anti immigration restrictions, as they couldn't start with very few blacks at all as the northern states did, so they couldn't start with the overwhelming white society that the northern states had, and that the anti immigration restrictions had been intended to preserve.

Though the context of your question seems odd....are you suggesting when the northern states still had legalized slavery, that free blacks in those states had no restrictions and we're treated the same as free whites? Because to look at southern states and not the northern states as well doesn't really show much. Think the answer would be no, as any free black who couldn't produce papers ran the risk of being claimed as a runaway....north or south, and even after the northern states abolished slavery, because the FSL would still be in effect.
 
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Cycom

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Location
Los Angeles, California
I’ve read through the entirety of the thread…mostly. My takeaway is the following:

- slavery was, is, and will always be bad

- Davis was a slaveholder

- Davis, in the context of the times, was a merciful slaveholder

- more than a few of his former slaves thought as much, evidenced by their kind words toward him

- it’s possible to hold the view that one could be a “kind” slaveholder in comparison to other cruel ones

-the persistent application of modern morals and sensibilities to a discussion of history continues to be embarrassing
 

Zack

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Location
Los Angeles, California
-the persistent application of modern morals and sensibilities to a discussion of history continues to be embarrassing

I've always found this assertion to be perplexing. There were many people alive in the 19th Century who despised slavery and slaveholders on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. If the denunciation of slaveholders is a modern sensibility, then why were abolitionists so despised across the south? Why was John Brown so hated?

Harriet Tubman recalled of her time in slavery that, "I prayed all night long for my master. Till the first of March; and all the time he was bringing people to look at me, and trying to sell me. I changed my prayer. First of March I began to pray, 'Oh Lord, if you ain't never going to change that man's heart, kill him, Lord, and take him out of the way'."

In 1835 William Lloyd Garrison said, "But the moment he holds them [slaves] as property, however kindly he may treat them, he is a man-stealer, whom the apostle classes among ‘murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers.’"

In 1854 he said, "Every slave is a stolen man; every slaveholder is a man-stealer. By no precedent, no example, no law, no compact, no purchase, no bequest, no inheritance, no combination of circumstances, is slaveholding right or justifiable. While a slave remains in his fetters, the land must have no rest."

In the 1830s, Thaddeus Stevens said: "I can never acknowledge the right of slavery. I will bow down to no deity however worshipped by professing Christians — however dignified by the name of the Goddess of Liberty, whose footstool is the crushed necks of the groaning millions, and who rejoices in the resoundings of the tyrant’s lash, and the cries of his tortured victims."

In the 1860s he said, "It is said the South will never submit — that we cannot conquer the rebels — that they will suffer themselves to be slaughtered, and their whole country to be laid waste. Sir, war is a grievous thing at best, and civil war more than any other ; but if they hold this language, and the means which they have suggested must be resorted to ; if their whole country must be laid waste and made a desert, in order to save this Union from destruction, so let it be. I would rather, Sir, reduce them to a condition where their whole country is to be re-peopled by a band of freemen, than to see them perpetrate the destruction of this people through our agency. I do not say it is time to resort to such means, and I do not say that the time will come, but I never fear to express my sentiments. It is not a question with me of policy, but a question of principle."

I could go on quoting 19th Century Americans denouncing slaveholders, but my point is that it is not modern morality to denounce slaveholders simply by virtue of them being slaveholders. People held a wide range of moral beliefs with regards to slavery in the 19th Century. In fact, if you removed the attribution from William Lloyd Garrison's quotes he would probably be accused of applying "modern morals" to the period.
 
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mo
You don't believe that many people living at the time thought that slavery was immoral?

You don't think slavery was whitewashed after the fact in order to make it seem more idyllic?
I guess you would have to define "many".............if by "many" your suggesting a majority who defines right and wrong in a society.......no I don't think the available evidence supports that at all.
 

Cycom

Sergeant
Joined
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Location
Los Angeles, California
I've always found this assertion to be perplexing. There were many people alive in the 19th Century who despised slavery and slaveholders on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. If the denunciation of slaveholders is a modern sensibility, then why were abolitionists so despised across the south? Why was John Brown so hated?

Harriet Tubman recalled of her time in slavery that, "I prayed all night long for my master. Till the first of March; and all the time he was bringing people to look at me, and trying to sell me. I changed my prayer. First of March I began to pray, 'Oh Lord, if you ain't never going to change that man's heart, kill him, Lord, and take him out of the way'."

In 1835 William Lloyd Garrison said, "But the moment he holds them [slaves] as property, however kindly he may treat them, he is a man-stealer, whom the apostle classes among ‘murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers.’"

In 1854 he said, "Every slave is a stolen man; every slaveholder is a man-stealer. By no precedent, no example, no law, no compact, no purchase, no bequest, no inheritance, no combination of circumstances, is slaveholding right or justifiable. While a slave remains in his fetters, the land must have no rest."

In the 1830s, Thaddeus Stevens said: "I can never acknowledge the right of slavery. I will bow down to no deity however worshipped by professing Christians — however dignified by the name of the Goddess of Liberty, whose footstool is the crushed necks of the groaning millions, and who rejoices in the resoundings of the tyrant’s lash, and the cries of his tortured victims."

In the 1860s he said, "It is said the South will never submit — that we cannot conquer the rebels — that they will suffer themselves to be slaughtered, and their whole country to be laid waste. Sir, war is a grievous thing at best, and civil war more than any other ; but if they hold this language, and the means which they have suggested must be resorted to ; if their whole country must be laid waste and made a desert, in order to save this Union from destruction, so let it be. I would rather, Sir, reduce them to a condition where their whole country is to be re-peopled by a band of freemen, than to see them perpetrate the destruction of this people through our agency. I do not say it is time to resort to such means, and I do not say that the time will come, but I never fear to express my sentiments. It is not a question with me of policy, but a question of principle."

I could go on quoting 19th Century Americans denouncing slaveholders, but my point is that it is not modern morality to denounce slaveholders simply by virtue of them being slaveholders. People held a wide range of moral beliefs with regards to slavery in the 19th Century. In fact, if you removed the attribution from William Lloyd Garrison's quotes he would probably be accused of applying "modern morals" to the period.
“Denunciation of slaveholders is a modern sensibility.”

I have not seen anyone here put forth this argument.

I’m guessing abolitionists were not liked in the South during that time because they proposed the abolition of slavery.

John Brown being hated might have to do that he was a mentally ill murderer. And that he was an abolitionist.

I’ve not previously read the rest of the quotes you offered. They were interesting, and show the range of feelings present in the emancipated black in that time. I imagine many/most didn’t harbor warm fuzzies for their former masters. Understandably so. At the same time, it also makes sense that -some- former slaves did in fact hold positive views about their former masters.

Context. Context. Context. In -that- context, Davis seems to have treated his slaves far better than what was the norm. And because of this, some of those who were under him had nice things to say about him.
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Joined
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Location
Laurinburg NC
Actually, if you look, you'll find many acknowledgements of Faneuil's slavery ties. "Nary a word" is not an accurate description.
By the holier than thou abolitionists ranting again Southerners? You would think if they were serious they would have demanded a name change for Faneuil Hall and Brown University to cite two examples.
 

Cycom

Sergeant
Joined
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Location
Los Angeles, California
You don't believe that many people living at the time thought that slavery was immoral?
Yes, there were plenty of people in that time that thought slavery was immoral.
You don't think slavery was whitewashed after the fact in order to make it seem more idyllic?
I wouldn’t be surprised if certain individuals/groups carried this out.

This thread is about the treatment of Davis’ slaves. We’ve all established that slavery is no bueno, but reading through material in this thread it’s clear that he was a far better slaveholder than most.
 

Zack

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Location
Los Angeles, California
“Denunciation of slaveholders is a modern sensibility.”

I have not seen anyone here put forth this argument.

My apologies - then what modern morals and sensibilities are you referring to?

Context. Context. Context. In -that- context, Davis seems to have treated his slaves far better than what was the norm. And because of this, some of those who were under him had nice things to say about him.
My argument is simply that those statements being true does not in turn make Jefferson Davis a good or honorable person.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
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Location
Denver, CO
I've always found this assertion to be perplexing. There were many people alive in the 19th Century who despised slavery and slaveholders on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. If the denunciation of slaveholders is a modern sensibility, then why were abolitionists so despised across the south? Why was John Brown so hated?

Harriet Tubman recalled of her time in slavery that, "I prayed all night long for my master. Till the first of March; and all the time he was bringing people to look at me, and trying to sell me. I changed my prayer. First of March I began to pray, 'Oh Lord, if you ain't never going to change that man's heart, kill him, Lord, and take him out of the way'."

In 1835 William Lloyd Garrison said, "But the moment he holds them [slaves] as property, however kindly he may treat them, he is a man-stealer, whom the apostle classes among ‘murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers.’"

In 1854 he said, "Every slave is a stolen man; every slaveholder is a man-stealer. By no precedent, no example, no law, no compact, no purchase, no bequest, no inheritance, no combination of circumstances, is slaveholding right or justifiable. While a slave remains in his fetters, the land must have no rest."

In the 1830s, Thaddeus Stevens said: "I can never acknowledge the right of slavery. I will bow down to no deity however worshipped by professing Christians — however dignified by the name of the Goddess of Liberty, whose footstool is the crushed necks of the groaning millions, and who rejoices in the resoundings of the tyrant’s lash, and the cries of his tortured victims."

In the 1860s he said, "It is said the South will never submit — that we cannot conquer the rebels — that they will suffer themselves to be slaughtered, and their whole country to be laid waste. Sir, war is a grievous thing at best, and civil war more than any other ; but if they hold this language, and the means which they have suggested must be resorted to ; if their whole country must be laid waste and made a desert, in order to save this Union from destruction, so let it be. I would rather, Sir, reduce them to a condition where their whole country is to be re-peopled by a band of freemen, than to see them perpetrate the destruction of this people through our agency. I do not say it is time to resort to such means, and I do not say that the time will come, but I never fear to express my sentiments. It is not a question with me of policy, but a question of principle."

I could go on quoting 19th Century Americans denouncing slaveholders, but my point is that it is not modern morality to denounce slaveholders simply by virtue of them being slaveholders. People held a wide range of moral beliefs with regards to slavery in the 19th Century. In fact, if you removed the attribution from William Lloyd Garrison's quotes he would probably be accused of applying "modern morals" to the period.
They knew it was evil in 1787. As soon as they approved a limitation on the legal importation of involuntary labor, they knew it was wrong, though even they compromised their conviction in order to appease people who could open up new land much faster with enslaved labor. If slavery was right, than the slave trade is just part of it and has to be OK, too. Either both were OK, or both were wrong.
But the constitutional assembly, and the British also knew, that the path to eliminating slavery was through eliminating the ability to involuntary transfer the enslaved from one continent to another. If the same thing had been done within the US under the commerce clause, with increasing inspections, age limits and prohibitions of family separations, the profitability of slavery in the Atlantic states would have declined.
The secessionists themselves knew that the US was going to gradually eliminate the slave trade, one barrier at a time, just as the British had done internationally. And they knew it would work, because they knew the institution had far out lived its purpose.
 
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