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To: yankeedame
Given the day and age and financial situtation, it's hard to believe that even with 40-acres-and-a-mule that the freed slave would, on average, have achieved much more than a subsistance level.
I don't like comparisons like "subsistence level" when you are talking about historical comparisons. Compared to today's standards, middle class Americans of 1950 were "poor."

And compared to modern American standards Queen Victoria was middle class - an American secretary enjoys so many modern conveniences and so much better health care (for herself and her family) that an American secretary would have to think long and hard about trading circumstances with Queen Victoria.


41 posted on 04/17/2006 11:42:12 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters but PR.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
Given the day and age and financial situtation, it's hard to believe that even with 40-acres-and-a-mule that the freed slave would, on average, have achieved much more than a subsistance level.

I don't like comparisons like "subsistence level" when you are talking about historical comparisons. Compared to today's standards, middle class Americans of 1950 were "poor."

====================

For this misunderstanding I take full blame. By "subsistence level" I didn't mean in material goods and services compared with the way we live today, or even a hundred years ago.

What I meant by the term was a level of livelihood any real degree beyond what it takes to survive, literally.

To have the ability the provide enough food to go from one day to the next, yet always (slightly) hungry, and rarely, if ever, full. To be able to acquire enough clothing and shoes to keep the weather somewhat at bay, but never quite warm enough and/or never quite dry enough.

This has been the condition though all history, throughout peoples in all societies, throughout at the world. Some people maintain the idea -- or should I say the illusion?-- that if the freed slaves had only been given "40-acres-and-a-mule" that somehow they would instantly develop a stable family life, thrift, prudence, a solid work ethic, in short that some kind of yellow brick road would have magically unwound before them, etc. etc. etc.

And this is the notion I disagree with: given the economics of the time (both world and in the South), the centuries long conditions they had just been freed from, and the over-all rather "casual" work habits of the South (due to a large part by the humidity, the heat, and the unhurried nature of nature). That is why I said that IMHO

"Given the day and age and financial situation, it's hard to believe that even with 40-acres-and-a-mule that the freed slave would, on average, have achieved much more than a subsistence level."

Again, my apologizes for if I left the water a little muddy.

51 posted on 04/17/2006 2:14:28 PM PDT by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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