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“Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Nov 4th, 2017 at 2:11pm
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Below is an interesting lecture by Carey Roberts.  Some of it is interesting merely on grounds of American history, other parts are somewhat more philosophical.

First off, Carey wants to debunk at least two myths about American history in this lecture.  The first is the old myth, propagated by the "Lincoln Republicans" that slavery was simply not an issue for the founding generation and didn't become an issue until after they had all left politics around the 1820's or so.

Carey makes clear that the founding generation did discuss slavery.

At the same time, Carey takes on a more contemporary myth that slavery pretty much dominated all the thought of the founding generation, making clear that, in fact, while the founding generation did discuss slavery it was a relatively minor issue.

Furthermore Carey points out that, during the time of the first party system, support and opposition to slavery did not yet line up neatly either by section or by party.  That is, while most slavery supporters were from the South there were still strong supporters of slavery in the North and strong opponents of it below the Mason-Dixon.  Furthermore, party affiliation had little to do with support for or opposition to slavery.  The Federalist and Republican parties had no clear platforms on the issue.

On a more philosophical ground though, Carey speaks of differences in how Southerners and Northerners talked about slaves.  Southerners tended to insist their slaves were laborers, while Northerners dehumanized them, insisting they were property.  Southerners had a paternalistic view of their slaves, Northerners did not.  When the Alien and Sedition acts were being discussed, Northerners said Aliens, like slaves, were not Americans, while Southerners insisted that, in fact, their slaves were Americans.

Carey also points out that the early anti-slavery of the North was not motivated by ideas of racial equality.  In fact, some Northerners seemed to think white Southerners had almost, "become black," through their association with black slaves.  One Northern statesman wrote in a letter to another asking how they were to avoid Southern domination, but he asked how they would avoid domination by "Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses."  Another Northern politician addressed a white congressman from South Carolina as if he was black.

Finally, Carey discusses slavery through the lens of morality, tradition and political compromise.  During the 1790's the Quakers sent a petition to Congress asking them to end not only the slave trade (even though the Constitution guaranteed it could continue until 1808) but also theater, horse-racing, gambling and all other "expensive trivial pursuits."  Some in the Congress were furious at this...but one Southerner got up and gave a speech where he said, basically that the Constitution had united two separate peoples, each of who had agreed to take the others warts and all.  That is, "you Northerners took us with our slaves and we took you with your Quakers!"

Viewed in that light, the more pietistic North broke its part of the constitutional bargain, turning on the South for its institution of slavery.  As Carey said, not only slavery, but in fact blacks, did not fit into the developing New England vision of America.

*I should note, that speech is not a defense of slavery in America.  Its simply a historical lecture that doesn't fall into simplistic "All Southerners associated with slavery were evil" sermonizing.   



https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/lectures/negro-presidents-and-negro-congresse...
« Last Edit: Nov 4th, 2017 at 2:19pm by Frank1 »  


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Re: “Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Reply #1 - Nov 4th, 2017 at 2:47pm
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While I don't disagree with the writer's interpretation of history and the conclusions he draws, he is presenting one perspective of a very complex issue.  The United States of America would have never been formed had it not been for the Great Compromise.  Colonies with fewer citizens than other colonies did not want to become states in a 'union' of states, who's laws would be created and dictated by a few states with large, urban populations.  (this same debate comes up every time the matter of direct elections versus the Electoral College is discussed). 

Slavery was only one of the issues which differed greatly between two distinct regions of the original thirteen colonies. At the time of the Constitutional Convention there was a strong movement to create two Confederacy of States; One Northern and one Southern. The concept of a Southern Confederacy did not simply go away when the majority of the voters decided form The United States of America. 

Shortly after the issue of whether we (the 13 states) would become two independent Confederacy of Northern and Southern States, or become united in one Constitutional Republic, Great Britain tried to take back their colonies in the War of 1812.  One can only imagine what would have become of us had we lost the Battle of New Orleans.  Consider  how much easier it would have been to pick off one of two distinct 'new  nations' if two Confederacies had been our Founder's choice (and there had not been a Great Compromise). Once they reestabished their presence they could then pick off the other (probably Northern) Confederacy (invading from the south and their nation of Canada!)

Those who only see slavery as the problem miss the point that the bigger problem was whether  The United States of America could be created and then actually survive and govern itself.  Some see history through a colored lens and only can relate to the slavery of the colonial powers who abolished slavery in their own country, but not in their colonies in the New World.  The United States of America has a very impressive record of having corrected it's wrongs over the course of our own unique history.
  

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Re: “Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Reply #2 - Nov 4th, 2017 at 3:04pm
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The Original Wally wrote on Nov 4th, 2017 at 2:47pm:
While I don't disagree with the writer's interpretation of history and the conclusions he draws, he is presenting one perspective of a very complex issue.  The United States of America would have never been formed had it not been for the Great Compromise.  Colonies with fewer citizens than other colonies did not want to become states in a 'union' of states, who's laws would be created and dictated by a few states with large, urban populations.  (this same debate comes up every time the matter of direct elections versus the Electoral College is discussed). 

Slavery was only one of the issues which differed greatly between two distinct regions of the original thirteen colonies. At the time of the Constitutional Convention there was a strong movement to create two Confederacy of States; One Northern and one Southern. The concept of a Southern Confederacy did not simply go away when the majority of the voters decided form The United States of America. 

Shortly after the issue of whether we (the 13 states) would become two independent Confederacy of Northern and Southern States, or become united in one Constitutional Republic, Great Britain tried to take back their colonies in the War of 1812.  One can only imagine what would have become of us had we lost the Battle of New Orleans.  Consider  how much easier it would have been to pick off one of two distinct 'new  nations' if two Confederacies had been our Founder's choice (and there had not been a Great Compromise). Once they reestabished their presence they could then pick off the other (probably Northern) Confederacy (invading from the south and their nation of Canada!)

Those who only see slavery as the problem miss the point that the bigger problem was whether  The United States of America could be created and then actually survive and govern itself.  Some see history through a colored lens and only can relate to the slavery of the colonial powers who abolished slavery in their own country, but not in their colonies in the New World.  The United States of America has a very impressive record of having corrected it's wrongs over the course of our own unique history.


Personally, I think Carey would be just fine if the colonies had in fact divided into two separate confederacies right from the beginning.

He is anything but a nationalist.
  


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Re: “Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Reply #3 - Nov 4th, 2017 at 3:25pm
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Frank1 wrote on Nov 4th, 2017 at 3:04pm:
Personally, I think Carey would be just fine if the colonies had in fact divided into two separate confederacies right from the beginning.

He is anything but a nationalist.

A large minority of the people in the late 1700's felt this way.  They didn't change their feelings once the "union" of the states occurred and the United States of America was formed, according to the will of the majority at the time.  In fact, It was long before the 1860's that the majority pinion in the south had come to support the concept of two independent confederacies and a dissolution of the union.

Those who are angry at our Founders for not having abolished slavery at the founding of the United States are conveniently ignoring two facts;

1.  the southern state would not have agreed to form this united country, if abolishing slavery was a requisite, and...

2.   slavery might still exist today in the Southern Confederacy, if both a Northern and Southern Confederacy had been established, rather than one nation of "United States" under one Constitution. 
  

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Re: “Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Reply #4 - Nov 4th, 2017 at 3:43pm
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The Original Wally wrote on Nov 4th, 2017 at 3:25pm:
A large minority of the people in the late 1700's felt this way.  They didn't change their feelings once the "union" of the states occurred and the United States of America was formed, according to the will of the majority at the time.  In fact, It was long before the 1860's that the majority pinion in the south had come to support the concept of two independent confederacies and a dissolution of the union.

Those who are angry at our Founders for not having abolished slavery at the founding of the United States are conveniently ignoring two facts;

1.  the southern state would not have agreed to form this united country, if abolishing slavery was a requisite, and...

2.   slavery might still exist today in the Southern Confederacy, if both a Northern and Southern Confederacy had been established, rather than one nation of "United States" under one Constitution. 


I agree that the union may not have been formed without a compromise on slavery, including allowing the slave trade to continue until 1808.

I am not so sure though that slavery would still exist in the Confederacy if it had become a separate nation.  We must remember that slavery was common throughout the Western hemisphere, and yet in the majority of cases slavery merely fizzled out, needing no war to end it. The last country in which it was outlawed, I believe, was Brazil, in 1886. Slavery would probably have ended in the Southern part of this country as well, even if the Confederacy had survived.

As Carey said, it was capitalism and pietistic Christianity that brought about the end of slavery in the Western world.
  


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Re: “Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Reply #5 - Nov 4th, 2017 at 4:00pm
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Frank1 wrote on Nov 4th, 2017 at 3:43pm:
I agree that the union may not have been formed without a compromise on slavery, including allowing the slave trade to continue until 1808.

I am not so sure though that slavery would still exist in the Confederacy if it had become a separate nation.  We must remember that slavery was common throughout the Western hemisphere, and yet in the majority of cases slavery merely fizzled out, needing no war to end it. The last country in which it was outlawed, I believe, was Brazil, in 1886. Slavery would probably have ended in the Southern part of this country as well, even if the Confederacy had survived.

As Carey said, it was capitalism and pietistic Christianity that brought about the end of slavery in the Western world.

A sovereign "Southern Confederacy" may have evolved along the lines of South Africa and it's system of Apartheid.  Without the United States of America leading the world effort to abolish Apartheid, it might still exist today.  If the Southern Confederacy survived it may have expanded into Central and South America.  The Confederate States of America in the 1860's attempted to do just that!    The Northern Confederacy would not have gone to war with a Southern Confederacy of there had been no "union" to try to preserve.
  

" The few will always act like the few.

Machiavelli

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Re: “Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Reply #6 - Nov 4th, 2017 at 7:05pm
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The Original Wally wrote on Nov 4th, 2017 at 4:00pm:
A sovereign "Southern Confederacy" may have evolved along the lines of South Africa and it's system of Apartheid.  Without the United States of America leading the world effort to abolish Apartheid, it might still exist today.  If the Southern Confederacy survived it may have expanded into Central and South America.  The Confederate States of America in the 1860's attempted to do just that!    The Northern Confederacy would not have gone to war with a Southern Confederacy of there had been no "union" to try to preserve.


You seem to assume slavery in the Southern U.S. could only have been ended by war.

As I said, it did not take war to end slavery in most of the rest of this hemisphere.  I think, looking at what happened in the rest of the West it is safe to assume slavery in the Southern U.S. would have ended even without a war.
  


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Re: “Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Reply #7 - Nov 5th, 2017 at 5:19pm
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Frank1 wrote on Nov 4th, 2017 at 7:05pm:
You seem to assume slavery in the Southern U.S. could only have been ended by war.

As I said, it did not take war to end slavery in most of the rest of this hemisphere.  I think, looking at what happened in the rest of the West it is safe to assume slavery in the Southern U.S. would have ended even without a war.

No,  As I said, slavery in a Southern COnfederacy might have evolved into an American Aparthied.  Southern Democrats created their militant arm (Ku Klux Klan) to keep the former slaves in their place, just as they created Jim Crow Laws to systematically oppress blacks.

Given the history of Southern Democrats after the end of the Civil War, there is no reason to believe that they ever would have allowed blacks to become equal citizens of their sovereign Southern Confederacy!
  

" The few will always act like the few.

Machiavelli

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Re: “Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Reply #8 - Nov 9th, 2017 at 2:06pm
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The Original Wally wrote on Nov 5th, 2017 at 5:19pm:
No,  As I said, slavery in a Southern COnfederacy might have evolved into an American Aparthied.  Southern Democrats created their militant arm (Ku Klux Klan) to keep the former slaves in their place, just as they created Jim Crow Laws to systematically oppress blacks.

Given the history of Southern Democrats after the end of the Civil War, there is no reason to believe that they ever would have allowed blacks to become equal citizens of their sovereign Southern Confederacy!


I think you are extremely naïve as to what occurred after the Civil War.

The South was defeated and foreign Republican regimes were imposed on them, and their former slaves were given power in these regimes.  Almost all historians agree "reconstruction" was a mess. 

The terrible mishandling of reconstruction naturally produced bad sentiments in the Southern population, not least to their former slaves who were being used against them.

Now, absent the Civil War and reconstruction there would likely have been far less animosity towards the freed slaves.

As I said, slavery in most of the rest of this hemisphere ended without war, and you have provided no reason to believe it would not have ended without war in the U.S.
  


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Re: “Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses”: Abolitionism & the First Congress
Reply #9 - Nov 18th, 2017 at 1:03pm
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Frank1 wrote on Nov 9th, 2017 at 2:06pm:
I think you are extremely naïve as to what occurred after the Civil War.

The South was defeated and foreign Republican regimes were imposed on them, and their former slaves were given power in these regimes.  Almost all historians agree "reconstruction" was a mess. 

The terrible mishandling of reconstruction naturally produced bad sentiments in the Southern population, not least to their former slaves who were being used against them.

Now, absent the Civil War and reconstruction there would likely have been far less animosity towards the freed slaves.

As I said, slavery in most of the rest of this hemisphere ended without war, and you have provided no reason to believe it would not have ended without war in the U.S.

Carpetbaggers did as much harm to healing our nation's wounds as the terms of the Armistice which ended World War I did to set the stage for WWII.  I guess this country is lucky there was no southern figure with the charisma and appeal of Adolph Hitler, after the end of the Civil War.

As far as whether the slavery in the south would eventually just go away, one need look no further than the Missouri/Kansas dispute over slavery versus free states.  Slavery would not have simply gone away.  It may have become akin to South Africa's Aparthied, though.  The Democrat's Jim Crow Laws after slavery was abolished are a good indication of this.
  

" The few will always act like the few.

Machiavelli

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