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NoCoPilot

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PostSubject: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 3:40 pm

Two days ago NPR ran a story about Trump voters which concluded, somewhat unsurprisingly, that Trump's support comes not from poor working class voters (who generally don't vote...) but from the upper-middle-class suburbs, the upwardly mobile, the small businessmen and successful managers to whom Trump's promise of a greater American resonates.

Also unsurprisingly, latent racism lurks just below the surface of these voters.  Maybe not expressed, maybe not even self-acknowleged, but these people genuinely do believe that blacks and illegal immigrants are making it harder for them to succeed.  That their own race and heritage should be given first crack at any opportunities, like government contracts or assistance.  "Affirmative Action" and preferred contracting are anathemas to them.

NPR interviewed an author, Cheryl Harris, who diagnosed this latent racism as going all the way back to the Civil War.  Many Southerners have never gotten over the North freeing their slaves, without their consent.  Their carefully-crafted way of life before the War -- plantations, mint julips, productive farms -- was disrupted or totally destroyed and Northern 'carpet-baggers' have been trying to take advantage of the South ever since.  To them, black people are still second class citizens, and undeserving of any reparations or economic aid.

It got me to thinking about slavery.

We (and by we, I mean Northerners who grew up being taught the Civil War was a moral war) tend to see the history of blacks since Reconstruction as one long sad misguided effort to deny them their equal rights and opportunities.  They're expected to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, having none of the educational equality or access to economic aid that have helped the white middle class in the last hundred years.

But Southerners, as I understand it, see things differently.  They see Negros as less deserving than whites, they see crime and poverty and drug use and domestic violence as evidence that blacks are unworthy of equal (much less "special") treatment.

And this view has not appeared out of nowhere.  Here is where my thinking about slavery has taken me.  During slave days, Negros were imported and raised and bred to work, and in return they were given room & board and minimal education.  By-and-large the system worked, so long as the slaves weren't mistreated.  Slaves born into the system didn't expect anything more, and slave-owners considered the cost of maintaining their slaves as a cost of business.  It was no different, for them, from owning horses or mules, or in later days, combines and tractors.  Their labor pool was an expense they paid, but there was no moral element to keeping human beings under enslavement because the slaves didn't expect anything else and the slave-owners thought themselves entitled by virtue of their obvious moral and intellectual superiority.

The Emancipation Proclamation didn't change everyone's views of this.

Traveling in the south, even today, it is not uncommon for a black person to step off the sidewalk to let a white person pass.  

Into this environment, we had a Northern 'uppity nigger' elected to the presidency, and THANK GOD the white legislature kept him from accomplishing his progressive agenda.  Given the chance, they have now elected one of their own, and are busy trying to put back the genteel and orderly society that all white people deserve.

At least, that's how I read Cheryl Harris's paper.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 3:53 pm

NoCoPilot wrote:
By-and-large the system worked, so long as the slaves weren't mistreated.

Is that you or Cheryl Harris? Please tell me it's Harris.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 4:46 pm

Right or wrong (morally), the system did work, and worked successfully for two hundred and fifty years.


Last edited by NoCoPilot on Wed May 10, 2017 7:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 4:56 pm

Worked for whom? The slaves who kept rebelling and/or running away? "not mistreated" is pretty much an impossible condition, given that you are denied any education, constantly physically and emotionally abused, and threatened with death if you try to protest. And even under those conditions, the slaves still fought. Was the system working for them?
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 4:58 pm

What percentage of slaves fought the system? Find me a figure.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 5:34 pm

NoCoPilot wrote:
Right or wrong (morally), the system did work, and worked successfully for a hundred and fifty years.

I'm fucking shocked. You can't be serious.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 5:42 pm

Exactly how did the system "work"? Define what you mean by that, if you can.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 5:58 pm

NoCoPilot wrote:
What percentage of slaves fought the system?  Find me a figure.

Impossible to find, as you well know. We do know that between 1660 and 1860 there were 200 or more slave revolts, and that scarcely a year went by without at least one revolt in progress somewhere. We also know that individual acts of disobedience and sabotage were committed as often as the slaves could get away with them, everything from breaking tools up to mothers poisoning their own daughters so that they wouldn't have to grow up to a life of being raped repeatedly. (I'm not making that up: Montez told me about her family.) We know that white indentured servants often joined the slave revolts, because their lives, although technically not slavery, were often not much different than the kidnapped Africans had to endure.

You may think of the "faithful servant" portrayed in Gone With The Wind, who chose to stay with his slave-master after slavery was abolished. The truth is, with no money or other resources, where were the freed slaves supposed to go? Forty acres and a mule didn't happen.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 7:02 pm

White slaves and indentured servants were used in the colonies almost from the start.
Wikipedia wrote:
These indentured servants were young people who intended to become permanent residents. In some cases, convicted criminals were transported to the colonies as indentured servants, rather than being imprisoned. The indentured servants were not slaves, but were required to work for four to seven years in Virginia to pay the cost of their passage and maintenance.  Many Germans, Scots-Irish, and Irish came to the colonies in the 18th century, settling in the backcountry of Pennsylvania and further south
The first 19 Africans were seized from a Spanish slave ship in 1619.  Between 1619 and about 1770 about 388,000 African slaves were imported to the United States to supplement the lagging supply of indentured servants.  (Overall, an estimated 12 million people were taken from Africa -- many with the permission if not open assistance of their governments -- but most of them went to the Caribbean and Brazil.)

The American black slaves were fecund, and by the 1860 census numbered over 4 million (with another 488,070 free blacks).

The number of North American slave revolts is small, according to Wikipedia:  

  • San Miguel de Gualdape (1526) 
  • Gaspar Yanga's Revolt (c. 1570) near the Mexican city of Veracruz; the group escaped to the highlands and built a free colony    
  • Gloucester County, Virginia Revolt (1663)[21]    
  • New York Slave Revolt of 1712    
  • Samba Rebellion (1731)    
  • Stono Rebellion (1739)    
  • New York Slave Insurrection of 1741    
  • 1791 Mina conspiracy    
  • Pointe Coupée conspiracy (1794)    
  • Gabriel's conspiracy (1800)    
  • Igbo Landing slave escape (1803)    
  • Chatham Manor Rebellion (1805)    
  • 1811 German Coast Uprising, (1811)[22]    
  • Aponte Conspiracy (1812)    
  • George Boxley Rebellion (1815)    
  • Denmark Vesey's conspiracy (1822)    
  • Nat Turner's slave rebellion (1831)    
  • Black Seminole Slave Rebellion (1835–1838) [23]    
  • Amistad seizure (1839)[24]    
  • Creole case (1841) (the most successful in US history)    
  • 1842 Slave Revolt in the Cherokee Nation[25]    
  • John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry (1859)

Slavery began being outlawed in the northern colonies as early as 1789, when the US Constitution was written.  It did not become fully illegal of course until 1865, 76 years (two generations and one major war) later.
richard09 wrote:
We do know that between 1660 and 1860 there were 200 or more slave revolts, and that scarcely a year went by without at least one revolt in progress somewhere.
Show your work please.  
_Howard wrote:
Exactly how did the system "work"? Define what you mean by that, if you can.
By "work" I mean that up to four million people of African origin lived under enslaved conditions from 1619 to 1865 -- a period of 246 years -- and built the United States from a ragtag group of 13 colonies to the United States, a world power, with minimal disruption by the enslaved.

Was it moral, was it pleasant, was it by choice?  Of course not.  But it "worked."
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Wed May 10, 2017 7:24 pm

P.S. - If you think I'm advocating for slavery, please re-read my opening post.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Thu May 11, 2017 12:41 am

NoCoPilot wrote:
Show your work please.

I didn't think to check Wikipedia. I tended to rely on sites like this one.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Thu May 11, 2017 3:37 am

Okay, I'll accept that.  Granted it's awfully hard to document events that were not well publicized or shared or documented, granted that many of the list were insurrections that were thwarted before they could come to fruition.
Quote :
Herbert Aptheker in American Negro Slave Revolts (1943) chronicles 250 slave actions between 1526 and 1860. Aptheker, for his part, rejects the term "insurrection." According to him, "The aim of an insurrection is not revolutionary; the aim of a rebellion is." A revolt is of less size than a rebellion and magnitude of action is the difference between a rebellion and a revolt. Aptheker further defines a slave revolt as "a minimum of ten slaves involved; freedom is the apparent aim of the disaffected slaves; contemporary references labeling the event as an uprising plot insurrection, or the equivalent of these terms."
In a nation of four million slaves, are 250 rebellions really that many?
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Thu May 11, 2017 8:16 am

NoCoPilot wrote:
By "work" I mean that up to four million people of African origin lived under enslaved conditions from 1619 to 1865 -- a period of 246 years -- and built the United States from a ragtag group of 13 colonies to the United States, a world power, with minimal disruption by the enslaved.

Was it moral, was it pleasant, was it by choice?  Of course not.  But it "worked."

So your point is that the country would not have evolved without slavery? That's a bit specious.
Does "minimal disruption" justify slavery in your mind?
"Ragtag group"? What junior high history books are you reading?

Slavery existed for the sole purpose of increasing profits for a small number of wealthy families in the South. It "worked" only for that segment of society.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Thu May 11, 2017 4:44 pm

_Howard wrote:
Slavery existed for the sole purpose of increasing profits for a small number of wealthy families in the South. It "worked" only for that segment of society.
There were slaves in the North, earlier in the slave-holding years.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Thu May 11, 2017 4:59 pm

You can continue to rationalize the issue, but it's not "working."
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Thu May 11, 2017 6:55 pm

I don't know what I was trying to say.  I wasn't trying to rationalize slavery -- I was saying in some parts of the country black people are still seen as unequal and therefore Trump voters feel that overturning any- and everything Obama did is a moral imperative.

It's in his blood.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Thu May 11, 2017 7:56 pm

Yes. We call such people racists. They do exist all over the country, but there are many down South, usually somewhat fewer up North.
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PostSubject: Re: Slavery    Thu May 11, 2017 8:06 pm

NoCoPilot wrote:
In a nation of four million slaves, are 250 rebellions really that many?
And how many potential rebellions were sniffed out and snuffed out in the planning stages? Those people murdered by the slave-owners don't count, I suppose, because their organised rebellion didn't happen. And all the acts by individuals don't count, because they can't be called rebellions because only one person was involved (even if a million one-person rebellions happened that day). Or is it only a rebellion if a white person gets killed? I'm not sure what the rules are you are using.
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