Who Bankrolled the Abolitionists? A Prediction

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#1
Fellow Posters,

I have been meditating on another question for years with no hard answers. I seek you comments and contributions, if the subject interests you. I am pointedly not asking any one to do my homework Edited argumentative. I ask only if you enjoy the pursuit. I certainly do.

As you all know, the 17-year deadlock over the first transcontinental railroad was broken in July 1862, when Lincoln & Company began to build it --and note, to build it while fighting a war where that Midwestern muscle power could have been used to beat up on Rebels. This deadlock was bound to come sooner or later; and for all practical purposes, it was Secession that enabled it to happen. Long gone were those who objected to the Midwestern footprint.

In this connection, I have wondered something very cynical but nevertheless relevant and worthy of pursuit. In short, were there any businessmen in the North who deliberately funded abolitionists, believing that Secession would follow their screams about the immorality of slavery, and thinking to themselves, "If the South secedes, the deadlock will be broken. Then we can build the TRR and become powerful enough to retake the South, if it does indeed secede. Let us divide and conquer."

That, of course, is what lawyers do --divide and conquer; and many of the Seceshers and Congressmen were just that. But lawyers have no corner on this methodology. I have seen it happen in real estate at the microcosm level. And it no doubt happens at many levels.

I have not yet gotten deeply into this subject. What prompted a rekindling of this question was a recent discovery that William Seward was one of the bankrollers of the abolitionists. We also know that Seward was heavy into the idea of a TRR. Was he possibly one such businessman who thought along these lines? My guess is that if he had already expressed himself as literally as I expressed the thought above that someone would have discovered it and written about it by now. That being said, Seward does not exhaust the industrialists who craved to build that 8th wonder of the world. What about the Tappans? Jay Cooke? Prospective European bankrollers? Anybody?

Prediction: I predict that somewhere out there language to this effect will show up. Who will join me in the chase for it? Anybody? "Who bankrolled the abolitionists and why?" is the question. How could a bunch of pious Protestants in the North condemn slavery, while not railing against and atoning for the extermination of Indians? I sniff a disjunction.

Again, I am not looking for extermination versus slavery discussions. Please limit posts to the names of the bankrollers and their motives insofar as you can comprehend them.

Thanks for the engagement, if any. And remember, on behalf of the non sequiturer, I am NOT asking for anyone to do my homework. I am asking if anyone finds that homework interesting. If you come up with the data, you can keep it to yourself, write your own essay, and forget that I suggested the idea or that I even exist. Just let me know where you plan to publish it so I can read it.

James
 
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byron ed

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#3
The "Secret Six" at least were one group of abolitionists that offered financial support to John Brown and the insurrection at Harper's Ferry: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Samuel Gridley Howe, Theodore Parker, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, Gerrit Smith, and George Luther Stearns. All but Smith were active in the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts. Smith was a reformer and politician from New York state.

New York preacher Henry Ward Beecher, with his congregation, on one specific prior occasion raised around $625 to purchase 25 Sharps rifles for Brown's troops in Kansas (thus "Beechers Bibles" because they were shipped surreptitiously with bibles).
 
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#4
To be clear, the topic you wish to discuss is "Who bankrolled the Abolitionists?"?
Yes, "Who bankrolled them" --and "Why" they bankrolled them, insofar as that can be known. If it can't be known, then just who bankrolled them and then I will go off exploring on my own.

Note from my OP:

Again, I am not looking for extermination versus slavery discussions. Please limit posts to the names of the bankrollers and their motives insofar as you can comprehend them.
 
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#5
The "Secret Six" at least were the group of abolitionists that offered financial support to John Brown and the insurrection at Harper's Ferry: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Samuel Gridley Howe, Theodore Parker, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, Gerrit Smith, and George Luther Stearns. All but Smith were active in the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts. Smith was a reformer and politician from New York state.
Thanks. Very much to the point. Any idea of their own personal motives or amounts spent?
 

byron ed

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#6
...As you all know, the 17-year deadlock over the first transcontinental railroad was broken in July 1862, when Lincoln & Company began to build it ... were there any businessmen in the North who deliberately funded abolitionists, believing that Secession would follow their screams about the immorality of slavery, and thinking to themselves, "If the South secedes, the deadlock will be broken. Then we can build the TRR and become powerful enough to retake the South, if it does indeed secede
There was never any "deadlock" over the TRR. Different groups of investors and promoters each worked on their own plans during the years before one of them was finally successful in obtaining both financing and governmental sanction. It takes years to line up financing and governmental sanction. That's how business works. Meh.

Yes secession would throw a wrench into the plans of those groups working on a more southern corridor for a TRR. In business sh-- happens. Meh.

Secession and the war happened to be the environment in which a TRR would have to establish itself, but the endeavor would have moved ahead whether there was secession or not, or whether there was a war or not. Business chases opportunity and is unstoppable. Meh.

Bottom line, the TRR was not a cause of either secession or of the war, even though it was affected by both.
 
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byron ed

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#7
Thanks. Very much to the point. Any idea of their own personal motives or amounts spent?
uh... of course they were all Abolitionists; that was their motivation. As far as the amounts, it was substantial enough that they were all publicly criticized for it, the reason we know about them today.

Keep in mind these fellas didn't really want anyone to know what they were doing. They would finance terrorism but didn't have the spine to engage in it themselves. And they didn't exactly want any negroes that would be freed in Brown's attempts to move into their neighborhoods. Being seen as a righteous person was more the thing, it seemed to many.
 
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#8
There was never any "deadlock" over the TRR. Different groups of investors and promoters each worked on their own plans during the years before one of them was finally successful in obtaining both financing and governmental sanction. It takes years to line up financing and governmental sanction. That's how business works. Meh.

Yes secession would throw a wrench into the plans of those groups working on a more southern corridor for a TRR. In business sh-- happens. Meh.

Secession and the war happened to be the environment in which a TRR would have to establish itself, but the endeavor would have moved ahead whether there was secession or not, or whether there was a war or not. Business chases opportunity and is unstoppable. Meh.

Bottom line, the TRR was not a cause of either secession or of the war, even though it was affected by both.
Friend Byron,

I did not ask about the TRR as a cause of Secession or war on this thread, though, as you know, I have discussed that on other threads. One of those threads is related to this very one, namely, HOW WAS SOUTH CAROLINA'S SECESSION GOING TO PRESERVE SLAVERY? While I still have no good answers to that question, especially from the Seceshers themselves, I just discovered yesterday an answer to the cognate question, "How Would the South Preserve Slavery?" according to one of its premier politicians, to wit, John C. Calhoun. I will reproduce here on this thread what I posted on the other, as it relates to the statement, erroneous in my mind, that oyu just made about the TRR and Secession. Here is what I posted. All will benefit from it no matter the thread.

Fellow Posters,

I just came across the following yesterday. It is on p. 439 of Theodore Jervey's biography of Robert Hayne (the Hayne in the Hayne-Webster debates) which biography is online. See:

https://books.google.com/books?id=i...nepage&q=robert y hayne and his times&f=false

This quote answers the question of what John C. Calhoun believed to be the method that would preserve slavery. In short: the railroad (highlighted emphasis in the quote is mine). At length, Calhoun meant the transcontinental railroad, which at the time this quote reflected was something Calhoun, like St. Paul, only "saw through a glass darkly." But by 1845 Calhoun and James Gadsden and James D. B. De Bow and Jefferson Davis saw it as sharply as Asa Whitney ever did in January of that year. Calhoun even became a surveyor for railroads leading to the West; and Robert Hayne died in 1839, not as the U.S. Senator, SC Governor, and Charleston Mayor all of which he had been, but as the president of the Western Railroad Company that he believed was a way to save slavery, if indeed it could be saved at all (something he personally questioned).

So, this post does NOT answer the specific question of HOW secession would save slavery; however, it does answer a critically important corollary to that question in the mind of a mover and a shaker, namely, "What could save it?"

"Calhoun's plan was to make the South commercially independent of the North, and to closely connect South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas together by rail, thus uniting South Carolina with Texas, which would practically force into the closest intercourse with the combination Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. The slave holding states would then be strong enough to hold their own in the Union or out of it. He was not striving to take them out. He was for the Union, but for a Union in which the South might be commercially independent of the North, --too strong to be interfered with, and with 'a substratum of population' [slaves], 'the best in the world.'"
 

byron ed

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#9
...I did not ask about the TRR as a cause of Secession or war on this thread..
and yet you did:
...the 17-year deadlock over the first transcontinental railroad was broken in July 1862, when Lincoln & Company began to build it...were there any businessmen in the North who deliberately funded abolitionists, believing that Secession would follow their screams about the immorality of slavery, and thinking to themselves, "If the South secedes, the deadlock will be broken. Then we can build the TRR and become powerful enough to retake the South, if it does indeed secede. /QUOTE]
 

John Hartwell

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#11
I'd suggest researching first, rather than just random "meditating." Without solid evidence to feed meditation, we get only imaginative speculation -- built more on fantasy than on fact.

You might start out by identifying just which antislavery organizations or groups you are referring to as "Abolitionist." Then, following the money trail for each: finding out who actually was providing their funds (as opposed to just lending their names and influence to the cause). This requires actual accounting, not speculation.
 

John Hartwell

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#13
Other than the Secret Six who contributed the real big money for abolitionists. I mean they either had money to burn or was it monetary contributions from many abolitionists, a large group effort.
Hundreds, even thousands of little local church and community groups across the country, raising, collecting money by canvassing for individual contributions, holding benefit fairs, and sales, and sending it in to regional umbrella organizations, for disbursement as those organizations saw fit. It begins with grass-roots nickle-and-dime contributions from the 'little people,' and quickly snowballs into the thousands of dollars. It is those larger organizations you need to investigate: to find just who they are supporting, and why.

The "Why?" is usually simply that they want an end to the evil of slavery (whether they want the ex-slaves living next door or not is irrelevant).
 
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lurid

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#14
William Lloyd Garrison had to have raised a substantial amount of money. Don't know for sure, but the probability is there considering he was a big time abolitionist and created that newspaper the liberator, and he also formed the New England Antislavery Society.
 
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#15
I'd suggest researching first, rather than just random "meditating." Without solid evidence to feed meditation, we get only imaginative speculation -- built more on fantasy than on fact.

You might start out by identifying just which antislavery organizations or groups you are referring to as "Abolitionist." Then, following the money trail for each: finding out who actually was providing their funds (as opposed to just lending their names and influence to the cause). This requires actual accounting, not speculation.
Thanks for your post and suggestion. However, my post was very pointed and polite. Here it is again in short:

"Were there any businessmen in the North who deliberately funded abolitionists?" I have no interest in group financing, nor was I seeking imaginative speculation. I have no mor einterest in that than you do. I provided one conccrete illustration in re: my quest, to wit, William Seward. No speculation there, though I have no idea how much he contributed or why. I can't imagine that Seward wold have more compassion for Blacks than he would the Yellows from China who came to work on the TRR that he hoped to be a part of.

I have asked no one to do my homework. All I have done is invite others to join me on a quest for some interesting answers. No one has to join. No one has to post. I say this because some other poster expressed the non sequitur that I had interest in others doing my work. Hardly. I have found that good answers come from good teamwork. My question is a darn good one, and someone on this post could run with it and make a fine discovery and publish it without attribution. I could care less. I just want to know the answer.
 
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#16
Other than the Secret Six who contributed the real big money for abolitionists. I mean they either had money to burn or was it monetary contributions from many abolitionists, a large group effort.
I wish I knew. If anyone does, please advise or else write an article about it and let me know.
 
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#17
Hundreds, even thousands of little local church and community groups across the country, raising, collecting money by canvassing for individual contributions, holding benefit fairs, and sales, and sending it in to regional umbrella organizations, for disbursement as those organizations saw fit. It begins with grass-roots nickle-and-dime contributions from the 'little people,' and quickly snowballs into the thousands of dollars. It is those larger organizations you need to investigate: to find just who they are supporting, and why.

The "Why?" is usually simply that they want an end to the evil of slavery (whether they want the ex-slaves living next door or not is irrelevant).
Once again, here was my question:

"Were there any businessmen in the North who deliberately funded abolitionists?" Not interested in organizational funding. Off topic.
 
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#18
William Lloyd Garrison had to have raised a substantial amount of money. Don't know for sure, but the probability is there considering he was a big time abolitionist and created that newspaper the liberator, and he also formed the New England Antislavery Society.
Thank you for engaging with us. Please re-read my post:

"Were there any businessmen in the North who deliberately funded abolitionists?
 



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