Skip to comments.Slavery in the North
Posted on 11/15/2004 12:05:16 PM PST by nosofar
African slavery is so much the outstanding feature of the South, in the unthinking view of it, that people often forget there had been slaves in all the old colonies. Slaves were auctioned openly in the Market House of Philadelphia; in the shadow of Congregational churches in Rhode Island; in Boston taverns and warehouses; and weekly, sometimes daily, in Merchant's Coffee House of New York. Such Northern heroes of the American Revolution as John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin bought, sold, and owned black people. The family of Abraham Lincoln himself, when it lived in Pennsylvania in colonial times, owned slaves.
When the minutemen marched off to face the redcoats at Lexington in 1775, the wives, boys and old men they left behind in Framingham took up axes, clubs, and pitchforks and barred themselves in their homes because of a widespread, and widely credited, rumor that the local slaves planned to rise up and massacre the white inhabitants while the militia was away.
African bondage in the colonies north of the Mason-Dixon Line has left a legacy in the economics of modern America and in the racial attitudes of the U.S. working class. Yet comparatively little is written about the 200-year history of Northern slavery. Robert Steinfeld's deservedly praised "The Invention of Free Labor" (1991) states, "By 1804 slavery had been abolished throughout New England," ignoring the 1800 census, which shows 1,488 slaves in New England. Recent archaeological discoveries of slave quarters or cemeteries in Philadelphia and New York City sometimes are written up in newspaper headlines as though they were exhibits of evidence in a case not yet settled (cf. African Burial Ground Proves Northern Slavery, The City Sun, Feb. 24, 1993).
(Excerpt) Read more at slavenorth.com ...
Slavery in the South, on the other hand, occurred in this country within it's own history and among our own people.
Actually Newport RI was one of the junctions of the slave triangle (Newport/Africa/Caribbean).
I think over the next 4 years, there will emerge a Democratic strategy to divide the Republicans based on the issue of slavery. The Democrats realize support from the disenfranchised minorities is slipping fast and its lack of message and definition is astounding. I think we will see more articles like this for a long time to come.
I WANT MY REPARATIONS! :-P
My problem with all this is..IT WAS ALMOST 150 YEARS AGO!!!
Yes, I'm from the south.
Yes, my ancestors owned slaves.
It's NOT MY FAULT...it was almost 150 YEARS AGO!!!
Why can't we get past thisand work together to make this a better world to live in?
If the people who whine about slavery (150 years ago!!!) would get off of their lazy butts and get out there and make something of themselves instead of blaming their situation on someone else, everyone would be better off.
I worked hard to get where I am today. Nobody gave me anything.
IT'S OVER...GET OVER IT!!!
Slavery in the South, on the other hand, occurred in this country within it's own history and among our own people.
But the slaves in the South didn't get there by swimming across the Atlantic Ocean. The people who settled the South were not known for their seamanship either. For the most part, it was Yankee sea captains and crews who transported Africans across the Atlantic. In 1808 Congress abolished the African slave trade. So what did the Yankee ship owners and captains do? They started shipping opium to China. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's grandfather made his fortune shipping opium to China to buy Chinese goods to ship back to the US.
Well, the future is certainly bleak for Democrats so they may as well stay focused on the past. Whatever works for 'em.
My impression was the crews on the slave ships were all Southerners.
Look, we have our own issues with the Roosevelt family, particularly Teddy who was half-Southern through his mother!
Then, when you get back into the mid 1750s, my people who had already settled the Ohio Valley definitely weren't looking forward to letting any New York or Massachusetts Riff-raff in to mess stuff up.
What you need to do is examine American history a bit more carefully and pull yourself away from that pablum they fed you in highschool. It's much more complex and interesting than the North/South dichotomy!
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's grandfather made his fortune shipping opium to China to buy Chinese goods to ship back to the US.
John Kennedy's pop making a fortune in boot leg wiskey, is there a pattern here in the Demonrat leadership?
Well, my ancestors owned slaves and were slaves, fought Indians and were Indians, exploited what existed and were exploited by what existed. Ironically, all 6 entities still exist in the world today. Conservatism, is the world's only answer to humanly address all interest. But when you have the best system and are thus successful because of it, you can expect "hits" from less successful people from less successful systems.
One of my ancestors had 90 slaves when he died. I hope my cousins are living well!
Pubdate: June 28, 1997
The Opium War's Secret History
Losers rarely name wars, an exception being the conflict between Britain and China from 1839 to 1842, known bluntly ever since as the Opium War.
To most Chinese, a century of humiliation began with this war, in which Westerners sought to force a deadly drug on an Asian people, and then imposed an unequal treaty that pried open their country and annexed the island that became Hong Kong.
In embarrassing truth, that is essentially what happened. As Hong Kong reverts to China at month's end, many of us for the first time may see a bit of history from a different end of the telescope. Yet a further point needs making.
Even the authors of the Opium War were ashamed of it, and Western protests against it marked the beginning of a concern with international human rights that in a fresh turn embarrasses today's leaders in Beijing.
Along with the slave trade, the traffic in opium was the dirty underside of an evolving global trading economy. In America as in Europe, pretty much everything was deemed fair in the pursuit of profits. Such was the outlook at Russell & Company, a Boston concern whose clipper ships made it the leader in the lucrative American trade in Chinese tea and silk.
In 1823 a 24yearold Yankee, Warren Delano, sailed to Canton, where he did so well that within seven years he was a senior partner in Russell & Company. Delano's problem, as with all traders, European and American, was that China had much to sell but declined to buy. The Manchu emperors believed that the Middle Kingdom already possessed everything worth having, and hence needed no barbarian manufactures.
The British struck upon an ingenious way to reduce a huge trade deficit. Their merchants bribed Chinese officials to allow entry of chests of opium from Britishruled India, though its importation had long been banned by imperial decree. Imports soared, and nearly every American company followed suit, acquiring "black dirt" in Turkey or as agents for Indian producers.
Writing home, Delano said he could not pretend to justify the opium trade on moral grounds, "but as a merchant I insist it has been . . . fair, honorable and legitimate," and no more objectionable than the importation of wines and spirits to the U.S.
Yet as addiction became epidemic, and as the Chinese began paying with precious silver for the drug, their Emperor finally in 1839 named an Imperial Commissioner to end the trade.
Commissioner Lin Tsehsu proceeded to Canton, seized vast stocks of opium and dumped the chests in the sea. This, plus a melee in which drunken sailors killed a Chinese villager, furnished the spark for the Opium War, initiated by Lord Palmerston, the British Prime Minister, and waged with determination to obtain full compensation for the opium. The Celestial Empire was humbled, forced to open five ports to foreign traders and to permit a British colony at Hong Kong.
But as noteworthy, the war was denounced in Parliament as "unjust and iniquitous" by 30yearold William Ewart Gladstone, who accused Palmerston of hoisting the British flag "to protect an infamous contraband traffic." The same outrage was expressed in the pulpit and the press, in America and England, thereby encouraging Russell & Company and most other American businesses to pull out of the opium trade.
Warren Delano returned to America rich, and in 1851 settled in Newburgh, N.Y. There he eventually gave his daughter Sara in marriage to a wellborn neighbor, James Roosevelt, the father of Franklin Roosevelt. The old China trader was closemouthed about opium, as were his partners in Russell & Company. It is not clear how much F.D.R. knew about this source of his grandfather's wealth. But the President's recent biographer Geoffrey Ward rejects efforts by the Delano family to minimize Warren's involvement.
The family's discomfort is understandable. We no longer believe that anything goes in the global marketplace, regardless of social consequences. It is precisely this conviction that underlies efforts to attach human rights conditions to trading relations to temper the amorality of the market a point that, alas, seems to elude the Socialist soontobe masters of Hong Kong.
Copyright 1997 The New York Times Company
And Russell and Company became the Russell Trusts, which is the holding company for Skull and Bones.
I believe what this article is attempting to highlight is the fact that slavery was not strictly a southern idea. In most history classes throughout this country they teach that the civil war was fought by the north to free the slaves being held in the South. In reality, slavery wasn't an issue until the north, fearing they were losing the war and support for it, made it an issue. Most souhterners didn't own slaves, and were fighting to be free from federal government tyranny and oppression. The Emancipation Proclamation wasn't issued until 1863, almost halfway into the war and when prospects for victory were the bleakest for the North. The proclamation, contrary to popular belief, only freed slaves in states that were in opposition to the federal government and not controlled by union forces. All slaves in northern controlled areas were not freed by this, which included a large number of blacks in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kentucky, and western Virginia.
Who will inform the Hispanics that they are going to have to pay reparations?
The Roosevelts (Dems) were enriched by dirty opium; the Kennedys (Dems) were enriched by dirty booze. Sounds like the stalwarts of the Democratic Party have a long and dirty history.
I hate to be drawn into this argument, but having had many friends of Asian decent, they resent this today and are still looking for an apology from England. But the past is the past, we need to walk as brothers towards a better future.
The United states had little actual involvement in the removing of peoples from Africa and their transportation to the New World. The actual Slave trading and transportation was at the hands of the French, English, Dutch, Portuguese, and other seafaring nations.
Five percent ( 5% )of the Slaves transported, actually landed in what is now the United States, a low number compared to the Slaves that landed in the Caribbean and So. America.
It never ceases to amaze me that the ones being the most vociferous about Slavery are the ones that adopt Muslim names, EL this and Al that, total lack of education. Slavery as taught in the United States public education system appears to insinuate that all slaves were transported by and landed in the US>
Especially when one considers that slavery was still LEGAL in Saudi Arabia until 1964.
Blacks owned slaves, Jews owned slaves, and even American Indians owned slaves.
This is a dark chapter in American history, and one we can all be grateful to be past.
African slavery was ramant in Europe as well as America, and Europeans themselves were enslaved (in Europe and elsewhere).
At the beginning of the 20th century, one could buy a man, woman, or child, of European extraction, in parts of Europe.
In Britain, during the Industrial Revolution, some children were virtual slaves.
The most important thing about this is that slavery exists today in parts of the world, and it will exist again if people are not vigilant.
Western Civilization has abolished slavery. Many alternative cultures in the world today have not.
This is only one of many reasons why Western Civilization must be preserved, despite the attempts of many, notably Islamists, to destroy it and despite the unwillingness of many, notably decadent European and American Leftists, to defend and preserve it.
Actually quite the opposite, most were from New England.
And many New England seamen were Black.
Not even close to being true. The "Yankee" slave traders were very late comers to the game. The British monopolized the North American trade before the Revolution.
Americans slave traders existed from the end of the Revolution until 1810 when the trade was outlawed by the US. Some continued but were considered "pirates" under US law and subject to trial by drum-head and confisication of their ships if caught.
American slave traders (Yankee and otherwise, including ships from southern ports) were a distant 5th place to the British, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and French slave traders in the overall slave trade. In fact, very very few of the slaves transported to North America were from American ships. The "Yankees" generally off-loaded their African cargo in the British and Dutch Caribbean colonies in exchange for molasses which they took home to New England to make rum, a portion of which they used to exchange for more slaves on their next voyage to Africa. That was the meaning of the "triangle" trade.
It is completely false that the Civil War was not about slavery. For the South that was ALL it was about and pretensions that other issues were more important are just that, pretenses. Lincoln fought the war to save the Union but the South rebelled specifically and ONLY because Lincoln had won the election and they feared he would free their slaves. That was a lie but the Ruling Aristocracy had no challenge and controlled the Slaverocracy like totalitarian rulers.
Most Southerners were terrible undereducated and had no means of seeing through the lies about Northern oppression etc. fed them by their masters. They would not have been aware that the majority of the Presidents were Southern or that the South controlled the Congress and the Court. They would not have been aware that history was rolling over their degenerate society without pause or compunction or that their culture was based upon tyranny through and through.
There was never a less competent ruling class than the slavers (though Russians came close) or a more ignorant and gullible source of cannon fodder than those presented by the South. A bigger set of fools one cannot find.
Not so. Many New Englanders were deeply involved in the transAtlantic slave trade, when it was still "legal", and the family fortune of no small number of New England's finest families were either increased, or started by the trade. Not normally publicized, for obvious reasons, but a fact nonetheless...
The major cause of the Civil War was due to States Rights. This is what the war war fought over, however the major issue of States Rights was slavery.
Sounds a bit like dear Carole Simpson of ABC. IMO.
If you actually do research into the issue rather than take what you've been fed in school to be fact you will see that you are wrong. Samuel Wilberforce, Anglican Bishop of Oxford (son of William Wilberforce, the best known campaigner against the slave trade) sided with the south. Slavery was not even seen as an issue in this war until the north made it so, in an effort to gain popular and international support. A majority of Southerners, as well as General Lee believed slavery was wrong and accepted the idea of Gradual Emancipation, in which slaves would earn their freedom as well as money and capital through their work. This way when they were free they would be able to feed their families and make a life for themselves. Due to the abolitionist practices of the north, once slaves were free they had a hard time finding work outside of the work they had done as slaves, and had an extremely difficult time getting by.
There are a lot of ironies, large and small, in history. To me, one of the greatest is to see so many US blacks convert to Islam. After all, the Yankee sea captains did not sail up to the coast of Africa, anchor, and make an inland trek to round up slaves. They sailed to African ports where Arab/Islamic slavers had already rounded up the prospects, looked the merchandise over, bought from the Arabs and set sail for home. Yet, the descendents of slaves just blame Americans. Some uneducated blacks seem to think this is the only country where slaves ever existed--and look at the Sudan even today.
Only a fool would claim that the main motivator for the war was not slavery after all ALL the South's leaders happily admitted this was the case. Southern politicians had been scheming for over a decade to spread it throughout the Territories and agitating to prevent the people therein in from outlawing it.
Lincoln's election meant a end to their schemes and the certain containment of the Evil. This drove them wild with irrational rage and the forced the War upon the nation. This is not even disputable except on the fringes of scholarly research. However, if you prefer to read the ravings of such nutcases I can do nothing about it. But I defy you to examine the Buchanan administration and deny that it was under the control of Southerners like Cobb, Floyd and pro-slavery northerners.
Ron Reagan sided with John Kerry so who gives a fork what the son of Wilberforce thought?
The majority of Southerns were roped into this disaster by the insanity of their leaders who by this time were arguing that slavery was not just not evil but a positive good. We hear echos of this here when tales of the kindly masters treating their property well are passed (like gas.) Similiar gas is passed by those trying to foist silly tales such as the Southern emancipation movement.
Tell that to those who revolted. They, to a man, affirm that slavery was the total issue and it was not new but had been roilling the nation for the last decade. During the 1850s many Southern leaders and newspapers called for secession. The idea did not just pop up out of nowhere in 1861.
The blather you quote explains nothing and is false on its face. Sounds like something written for Junior High or elementary school. What idiot believes the Mississippi was closed?
The only State's "right" that was at issue was the "right" to hold slaves. Of course, this was never a "right" in the first place and was fundamentally at odds with the motive forces which produced the USA. I have no more "right" to hold you a slave than you have a "right" to kill me at a whim.
All the leaders of the South frankly admitted, and went on about it at length, that the fight was over slavery. It is only their intellectual descendents who pretend that there were other issues. Without the issue of slavery there would have been no War.
Lee said he didn't like slavery and a number of southerners didn't like it. But to say that the majority of southerners felt that way is pure BS. Read the Confederate Constitution. Read what people like Jeff Davis said about slavery. Read the Cornerstone speech.
You think idiots who believe King Cotton would bring the British as ally to the CSA were far-sighted leaders? You believe that a culture which glorified ignorance and degraded education was not produced by fools? You believe competent leaders would have believed that a war against a industrial power can be won by states with no industry, no experience in industrial organizations, no navy, a poverty stricken white class, too few railroads, with a hostile work force at its back?
These people were clueless and did not understand the world they lived in as GWTW ably illustrates. Their fantasies were put to rest by Abe.
But, please, don't let me stop you from admiring these goofs. Just don't expect me to take you seriously. As a young boy in SE Arkansas I did believe the myths you seem to but it did not take much research to show them just that.
What are your thoughts on the Northern States that had slaves -- that were not freed by the Emancipation Proclamation ?
Blame the English language. Someone who says that we fought in WWII to free France or Belgium or to liberate those in concentration camps is wrong if the meaning is that that was our purpose in getting into the war or the reason why soldiers fought, but right in that this was one of the results of our involvement in that war. In other words "to" refers not to the initial purpose but to the final result. It may be misleading, but it's not an invalid use of the language or a false view of history.
The argument on the other side seems to be that the slaves were going to be freed "sooner or later" if the South had just been "left alone." Probably much later rather than sooner. From our post-Cold war perch in history we can delude ourselves into thinking that "eventually" things would always work out right whether or not people took action. But it's a delusion. People have to make decisions based on what they know and can see at the time.
The proclamation, contrary to popular belief, only freed slaves in states that were in opposition to the federal government and not controlled by union forces. All slaves in northern controlled areas were not freed by this, which included a large number of blacks in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kentucky, and western Virginia.
Blame the Constitution. The government couldn't simply take the slaves away from loyal slaveowners. A constitutional amendment was necessary. But using its war powers it could announce that slaves in rebel areas would be free. And when US troops arrived there they were. Looked at one way, it was a simple refusal to return slaves to their masters or enforce slave laws, but it was quite a momentous step.
So much of the Confederate propaganda circulating today cuts the Emancipation Proclamation out of its context, but that distorts things. One can't pretend that no subsequent steps were taken against slavery. One has to see the Proclamation in its context as a step on the way to the 13th Amendment which did bar slavery. Alan Guelzo's recent book tries to do just that.
Pennsylvania had no slaves in the 1860s. Under Quaker influence they'd abolished slave labor in 1780. 18th century Pennsylvanians and 19th century unionists didn't have the ideal racial attitudes by 21st century standards, but emancipation was a momentous step and a great moral achievement. Simply dismissing or condemning such achievements undercuts America's political tradition, and leaves us with only desperate radicals, defensive or complacent slaveowners, and the indifferent.
I suppose the point in posting the article was to point out "Northern hypocrisy." But if one's only concern with slavery is "Northern hypocrisy" than that is in itself a form of special pleading and distortion. There was plenty of hypocrisy to go around in 19th century America, North and South.
Was it hypocritical for Northerners to condemn slavery in the South if slavery had been legal in the North in their fathers' or grandfathers' days? If so, such hypocrisy is inevitable, whenever improvements are made in social arrangements. Are we hypocritical to oppose Islamic treatment of women if our ancestors came from countries with similar customs? Once we're all up to speed on the hypocrisy of the freedom to own slaves, and really address that question, we can talk about the nuances.
But Lincoln's preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, issued in Sept 1862, gave the "...South four months to stop rebelling, threatening to emancipate their slaves if they continued to fight, promising to leave slavery untouched in states that came over to the North : ...."
[ A People's History of the Unaited States, 1492 - Present , Howard Zinn, p 187 ]
That's the ships. What about the crews?
You're right, anger against the north had been brewing since before the 1860s. The government passed the Tariff of 1828, which increased the cost of foreign products to encourage manufacturing in the north. It was the highest tariff in the nation's history. The south sold cotton to Europe and bought items in return, but this tariff made these goods the farmers needed too expensive. Also, the Constitution does not ban secession, not mentioning it as a power denied to the states in Article 1, Section 10. The Declaration of Independance even supports the right to secede, stating "whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it." The northern states illegally invaded the Southern states to force them to remain under their government, which is tyranny by any definition.
That is an extremely Machiavellian point of view. We fought WWII to defeat an evil that would seek to destroy all peace loving people. The invasion of the South was to force southerners to remain under federal control. The positive byproduct of an end to slavery was already on its way to being quickly acheived, and would have been accomplished in a way that did not destroy a society and leave the freed slaves in a position of serfdom. Had Lincoln been so concerned with obeying the Constitution he would have seen that in Article 1, Section 10, the rights denied to the states, it does not prohibit secession.