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Was Slavery on the Way Out?

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posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:14 AM
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Ok folks. It's time for a history lesson. Recently on ATS with this shooting in Charleston, the Confederate flag has entered the discussion as a symbol of racism. Mostly because the flag has been flying on the state capitol building for 50 years now (which was likely raised as an "eff you" to the federal government for desegregation in the first place).

During the debates I've seen a LOT of unsourced claims about this flag, racism, and even slavery. This topic isn't about the flag though. It's about a claim made about slavery that I've seen employed in defense of the flag. Namely that slavery was on the way out. However, this claim is complete bullcrap.

Slavery was not only NOT on its way out, but was more profitable than ever.


In the years between 1850 and 1860, in the thirteen slaveholding states (excluding Missouri and Delaware), the total cash value of farms rose from $1,035,544,075 to $2,288,179,125; the average cash value of farms rose from $2,035.75 to $3,438.71; the number of slaveholders grew from 326,054 to 358,728; and the average number of slaves per slaveholders rose from 9.54 to 10.69. [Thomas P. Govan, “Was Plantation Slavery Profitable?” Journal of Southern History, Vol VIII, No. 4, Nov., 1942, p. 518] Does that sound unprofitable? Does it sound as if slavery was dying out?


Besides that, this reasoning ignores one important thing. The South seceded from the Union because Abraham Lincoln was elected. This was because they saw Lincoln as an extreme Northern Abolistionist who was GOING to free the slaves. By the way, Lincoln was never intending to free the slaves. He respected slavery as an institution protected by the Constitution. His stance was just against expanding slavery into the west.

In other words, Southerners were SO afraid of losing slavery that they overreacted to a politician they THOUGHT was going to end slavery and seceded from the Union. Wait Conservatives going extremely hyperbolic when non-Conservative politicians are elected? Never would have seen THAT coming...

In FACT, slavery was doing SO well, that the price of slaves was shooting through the roof. Slavery's own success was causing problems. Namely class warfare. The have's and have-nots. Those with slaves and those without them. But the solutions being discussed weren't to get rid of slaves altogether, but to try to reopen the transatlantic slave trade.


Indeed, it was slavery’s prosperity that posed something of a challenge to white southerners in the 1850s. As the price of slaves increased (a reflection of the profitability of the peculiar institution), white southerners began to wonder whether those rising prices would close the doors of slave ownership to southern whites, who, being excluded from the ranks of slaveholders, might come to resent the power of the slaveholding oligarchy. This helps explain why Hinton Rowan Helper’s The Impending Crisis produced such controversy, because Helper offered a class analysis of slaveholding society based on haves versus have-nots among southern whites. If class and not race became the dividing line in southern society and politics, things would change.

These concerns were behind a movement in the Deep South to reopen the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 1850s. Increase the supply of slaves, its proponents argued, and prices would go down, opening up the prospect of broadening slave ownership. The ensuing debate demonstrated the different place of slavery in the economies and political order of the Deep South and upper South, for Virginians opposed the idea. They did so out of economic self interest. Virginians simply had too many slaves to make slavery as profitable as it once was (and this had been true in significant parts of the Old Dominion for some time: George Washington saw that Mount Vernon was becoming something of an albatross in this regard when he worked his ledger books). Rather than open up the slave trade, Virginians wanted a closed market where those white southerners looking to buy slaves would turn to Virginia to buy them. Indeed, exporting human beings for sale was an important part of Virginia’s economy during the 1850s, as white Virginians struggle with their state’s economic future. There were other reasons why people opposed the reopening of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, including concerns expressed about introducing new Africans into what slaveholders argued was a domesticated African-American population used to the joys of southern slavery. However, the initial proposal would have gotten no traction had southern whites seen slavery as unprofitable and doomed: the idea reflected confidence in slavery’s future and a desire to spread the the opportunity of slaveownership to maintain harmony among southern whites.


So as you can see, slavery was not on its way out. Not even close. Thank you for your time ATS, and as always. Deny Ignorance.

edit on 24-6-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:26 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I remember reading something very much like your post back when I was in school. I've not heard the argument that "slavery was on it's way out" before. I've heard that it was so profitable that the large plantation owners would have been "ruined" had the practice been voluntarily ended.

Thanks for posting.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:27 AM
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As far as I can tell, salvery is still very much alive just given another name. They certainly opened up a new transatlantic slave trade, namely the World Bank. Anyways, although you said this topic of discussion isn't about the flag, we all know that inevitable. Besides I'm more curious why the sudden reaction, it's not like the flag made this guy murder people. I do understand a symbol and the power of a symbol, which is why the charge of racism is merely doublespeak. They want to abolish the confederate flag because of what it truly stands for and those who understand this are generally militia type people. You know, pro-constitution type people.

If anything, it's there symbol being threatened. Of course, im no expert in flags or militias, so there's that.
edit on 24-6-2015 by Rosinitiate because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:28 AM
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Yeah I guess people didn't read the constitution of the confederacy.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:28 AM
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a reply to: kelbtalfenek

To be honest, I had never heard that claim before either until this issue in Charleston came up. How people can willingly deceive themselves about the history of slavery is beyond me. I've now seen it twice on these boards. Once last week and another this morning.

Revisionist history... This is why I keep lamenting on the state of our history classes during grade school. Teaching white washed happy history fantasy instead of the dark and painful history of reality.
edit on 24-6-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:30 AM
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a reply to: Rosinitiate

Symbols inspire a great many things in people. If I were to show you a lower case t without the tail at the bottom, what would that mean to you? But like I said, I really don't want to talk about whether the flag is racist or not (though its use on the capitol building was likely for racist reasons).



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:34 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Rosinitiate

If I were to show you a lower case t without the tail at the bottom, what would that mean to you?


Life

Or

Ankh




posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:36 AM
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a reply to: Rosinitiate

Ha! I see what you did there!


Though I'm sure you got my point on that one.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:37 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: kelbtalfenek

To be honest, I had never heard that claim before either until this issue in Charleston came up. How people can willingly deceive themselves about the history of slavery is beyond me. I've now seen it twice on these boards. Once last week and another this morning.

Revisionist history... This is why I keep lamenting on the state of our history classes during grade school. Teaching white washed happy history fantasy instead of the dark and painful history of reality.


I have to agree with you there Krazy, in order to not repeat history humankind needs to know the truth of how bad it was and which mistakes were made. It's better to feel bad about the way our ancestors worked, treated and abused people, than to slide into repeating the same type of path again. I'm not saying celebrate the dark history, but I'm certainly an advocate for remembering it, chronicling and learning from past mistakes.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:40 AM
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a reply to: kelbtalfenek

You are a brother after my own heart with those words. Only by TRULY understanding history and being open to what REALLY happened no matter how horrifying can we learn from and overcome those past mistakes. The written word to this day remains one of the most POWERFUL tools humans have ever invented because it lets us write down what we did so that future generations can read it and learn from it. Bastardizing history by white washing it abuses that invention.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:43 AM
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Well....it was the Progressive or Democratic party that continued the mission to not give Civil Rights in 1964. They went for the filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act...Mostly led by Robert Byrd.

Source



At 9:51 on the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd completed an address that he had begun 14 hours and 13 minutes earlier. The subject was the pending Civil Rights Act of 1964, a measure that occupied the Senate for 60 working days, including seven Saturdays. A day earlier, Senate whips Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) and Thomas Kuchel (R-CA), the bill's floor managers, concluded they had the 67 votes required at that time to end the debate.
The Civil Rights Act provided protection of voting rights; banned discrimination in public facilities—including private businesses offering public services—such as lunch counters, hotels, and theaters; and established equal employment opportunity as the law of the land.
As Senator Byrd took his seat, House members, former senators, and others—150 of them—vied for limited standing space at the back of the chamber. With all gallery seats taken, hundreds waited outside in hopelessly extended lines.
Georgia Democrat Richard Russell offered the final arguments in opposition. Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, who had enlisted the Republican votes that made cloture a realistic option, spoke for the proponents with his customary eloquence. Noting that the day marked the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's nomination to a second term, the Illinois Republican proclaimed, in the words of Victor Hugo, "Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come." He continued, "The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!"
Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a civil rights bill. And only five times in the 47 years since the cloture rule was established had the Senate agreed to cloture for any measure.


So these southern conservatives were the ones to end the filibuster and push the Civil Rights Act through....not the progressives as everyone always gives credit.....the majority were against it. Both sides had opposition, but it was the Democratic party that lead the way in hindering rights for all....



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:45 AM
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Brazil ended slavery in 1888--23 years after it did in the US.

Nobody has a crystal ball, but the industrial revolution could have very well been the death knell for slavery because the emphasis changed from uneducated agrarian workers to skilled tradesmen. Keeping slaves ignorant and illiterate was part of the means of controlling them but you cannot have a skilled tradesman that is ignorant and illiterate. Thus, like Brazil, the south would either had to modify their slave rules, even to eliminate it, or fall further and further behind economically. Although there are many reasons for the ending of slavery in Brazil, among them were advances in technology that made large plantations run by slave labor less efficient and thus the influence of the older, landed families began to wane and there was less resistance to Pedro II's reforms.

Of course, every situation is multifactoral and nobody can say one way or another with certainty--only surmise and suppose.
edit on 24-6-2015 by NavyDoc because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:51 AM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

Don't lie. The Democrats that opposed desegregation were CLEARLY conservative. It is only after the Civil Rights Act happened did they jump ship and turn the Republican party conservative. I really hate seeing that narrative pushed like it is some champion victory for equal rights from conservatives. Liberals were responsible for the Civil Rights Act just like Liberals are responsible for modern Civil Rights laws. It's ALWAYS conservatives who are fighting these laws, because THAT is what conservatives do. They resist change. It is what makes them conservative.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:53 AM
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a reply to: NavyDoc

That very well may be the case, but as I pointed out in the OP, it was the South that pushed the issue, not the North. If the south hadn't gone bat# crazy when Lincoln was elected, MAYBE we would have gotten rid of slavery in due time. Who knows? We could ALSO have reopened the international slave trade and have more slaves than ever.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 08:56 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: NavyDoc

That very well may be the case, but as I pointed out in the OP, it was the South that pushed the issue, not the North. If the south hadn't gone bat# crazy when Lincoln was elected, MAYBE we would have gotten rid of slavery in due time. Who knows? We could ALSO have reopened the international slave trade and have more slaves than ever.


Could be, could be. OTOH, seeing the trend in the rest of the world, I think it would have gone the other way eventually. Brazil was an almost identical situation--slavery held and promoted by a plantation system largely owned by large land owning families.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 09:00 AM
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a reply to: NavyDoc

Hey you may be right, but we'll never know. The point of the thread wasn't what slavery would have been like in the 1880's though. It was what the state of slavery actually WAS in the 1860's.

Also, keep in mind, there are many inventions from black inventors that may not have been made if slavery weren't abolished. It's also possible that the industrial revolution would be held off by a few years or go in a completely different direction.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 09:06 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Vasa Croe

Don't lie. The Democrats that opposed desegregation were CLEARLY conservative. It is only after the Civil Rights Act happened did they jump ship and turn the Republican party conservative. I really hate seeing that narrative pushed like it is some champion victory for equal rights from conservatives. Liberals were responsible for the Civil Rights Act just like Liberals are responsible for modern Civil Rights laws. It's ALWAYS conservatives who are fighting these laws, because THAT is what conservatives do. They resist change. It is what makes them conservative.


I'm not lying. It is all right there on the senate.gov site.

Here is Mark Levin speaking about it all...and every point is correct.



There was no major "party switch" as people allude to in order to save face.



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 09:08 AM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

Can you link to a specific place on the senate.gov site that elaborates on this?



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 09:12 AM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

Ok let's try this again. Voting for Civil Rights wasn't really about parties. It was about North vs South.

Were Republicans really the party of civil rights in the 1960s?


80% of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for the bill. Less than 70% of Democrats did. Indeed, Minority Leader Republican Everett Dirksen led the fight to end the filibuster. Meanwhile, Democrats such as Richard Russell of Georgia and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina tried as hard as they could to sustain a filibuster.

Of course, it was also Democrats who helped usher the bill through the House, Senate, and ultimately a Democratic president who signed it into law. The bill wouldn't have passed without the support of Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, a Democrat. Majority Whip Hubert Humphrey, who basically split the Democratic party in two with his 1948 Democratic National Convention speech calling for equal rights for all, kept tabs on individual members to ensure the bill had the numbers to overcome the filibuster.

Put another way, party affiliation seems to be somewhat predictive, but something seems to be missing. So, what factor did best predicting voting?

You don't need to know too much history to understand that the South from the civil war to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 tended to be opposed to minority rights. This factor was separate from party identification or ideology. We can easily control for this variable by breaking up the voting by those states that were part of the confederacy and those that were not.

You can see that geography was far more predictive of voting coalitions on the Civil Rights than party affiliation. What linked Dirksen and Mansfield was the fact that they weren't from the south. In fact, 90% of members of Congress from states (or territories) that were part of the Union voted in favor of the act, while less than 10% of members of Congress from the old Confederate states voted for it. This 80pt difference between regions is far greater than the 15pt difference between parties.


This is a far more complicated discussion than just Democrat vs Republican.
edit on 24-6-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 09:14 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Very interesting read!

It's too bad so many people don't know the history of this topic. And to be honest, I didn't know much about it until this controversy came into the news recently. But I am a student of life and have decided to educate myself about it... Too bad so many have chosen, instead, to get wrapped up into the hyperbole and emotion and charge forth without knowing any facts whatsoever, with talks of flag banning, political correctness and free speech!







 
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