If Slavery had ended in this era?

Discussion in 'Revolutionary War' started by primalclaws1974, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. How would America have turned out in the Antebellum era and up to the time of the Civil War if slavery ended in the 1770's? Let's say that every black male had fought this war, and earned his freedom as well as his family's, and the generations after were all free people? Would the Southern states that came later have developed the same without free labor for their agriculture? Would the Civil War have happened anyway? I'm interested in your opinion.
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    I detect a major flaw in your thesis: "... Would the Southern states... developed the same without free labor for their agriculture...." The quick answer is NO, as the South did have free labor. Many of the whites in the South were "free labor" by definition. I think you meant to say SLAVE labor.

    This is a flaw common to school student writers, to think of slave labor as 'free', meaning without wage costs, when it is generally agreed the term 'free' means laborers either manumitted or otherwise outside bondage.e

    For instance, in the State of Maryland Slavery was permitted. In the city of Baltimore there were Blacks who were "free labor" alongside slaves, just as there were Whites. Both Whites and Blacks expected to be paid their workman's wages.
  3. Okay, I feel you are knit-picking. Indentured servants were not "free" labor, as their masters paid for their voyage and care from the Old World. I suppose I could also argue that none of these workers would truly be free, as there were always costs tied into the workers. They had to have a place to sleep, and they had to be fed. White men had to be paid to keep watch on them.

    I think that the South would have developed as an agricultural region regardless, but the labor forces would have been very different. Most people would have to have been paid a wage, which would have slowed development.
  4. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Aha, bravo, you are refining your thesis. "How would the region known as the South have develop differently had there been no Slavetocracy?" How does that sound to you? Or how about "How did the existance of Slaves in the South effect economic development?"

    Perhaps I pick nits, but I am attempting to assist you in writing clear and universally undestandable thesis statements.

    And I spoke earlier of "bondage" and indentureage is a form of bondage. It differs from Slavery in that the person in indenturage still has recognized rights, such as the right to learning to read. Slaves were forbidden to learn to read, except in some areas they might learn the Bible.
  5. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    Hmmmm. Dare I, even a little, weigh in? I dare.
    To the question posed by Primalclaws about freed slaves at the end of the revolutionary war. If the slaves who participated all became free because they fought in the Revolutionary War there would have still been slavery.
    Many of the territories and regions outside of the 13 colonies had slavery and little to do with the actual Revolution. The French, Spanish, Dutch, just to mention a few nations interested in those territories had slaves. Florida, the Arizona territory, New Mexico territory, became slave areas.
    Certainly, slavery was not even the major topic of the Civil War but since slavery would have still been prevalent, yes, the War would have happened as scheduled.

    Weigh in #2. An indentured servant rarely bought his or her way out of this form of slavery. You can call it by whatever name you want but it is still going on today and in the legal system it is called SLAVERY. At one point there were thousands of the Chinese people who were bought tickets to the U.S. just to find out that the jobs they were given would never buy back what they owed the sewing mills, coal mines, manufacturing companies, and the peach orchards for taking over the debt to the contractor. It is slavery, free labor cut and dry.

    Weigh in #3. This, my friend #6, is not a writing class. It is a forum in order for people of similar interests to discuss various issues in those topics. If it were a writing class, then I would have to ask professor #6 to edit his own material for typo's and misdirection.
  6. Cute, preacherbob. I don't mind #6 making comments to my threads, as he has well-thought out replies. He does seem to go off the subject quite a lot though. There are times I have to scratch my head and ask "how is this connected to my thread"?

    Now, I should probably also get back to the topic. I understand that most indentured servants were never free of their contract. This was not only for minorities. People from the U.K. were probably the original indentured servants. The master would not want the servant free, because obviously he was getting free labor (probably worth more than the contract), but more importantly, the servant was an apprentice, and was training to go into business for himself. If the master freed him from his contract, he would be a competitor. He wasn't likely to do that.
  7. nailah783

    nailah783 Member

    I'm not getting in the middle of all of that. What I will say though, is to the original question. If the Revolutionary war had freed the slaves, I think the Civil War would have still happened because the Civil War was not about slavery originally. It became about slavery after the fact. They probably would have just did what they did after the Civil War, but did it a little sooner.
  8. Garryowen

    Garryowen New Member

    Greetings—I’m new to this forum, and this is my first post. I’m not usually this long winded, but there are several complex topics in play here.

    First of all, despite revisionist claims to the contrary, the statement that "the Civil War was not about slavery originally," is way off base. Slavery was the root cause of the Civil War (on both sides) and the South had no qualms about acknowledging it. There is a mountain of historical evidence to support this fact—I won’t cite it all, but if anyone has any doubts, they need only read the articles of secession issued by the Southern states (they are all online) and the famous “Cornerstone” speech made by Alexander H. Stephens (VP of the CSA) to get an idea of where the South was coming from regarding the role of slavery in sparking that conflict. The Cornerstone speech from 1861 contains the following passage, which is also relevant to this thread on slavery in the Colonial era (emphasis and bracketed explanations added):

    “The new [Confederate] Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution [the Civil War]. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact."

    In the North, Lincoln was a well-known abolitionist and his election was cited by many Southerners as a reason for leaving the Union. Lincoln made special note of this in his first inaugural address: "One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute."

    The assertion that, “[The Civil War] became about slavery after the fact” (assume you mean in the North) is partially correct. While slavery was the root cause of the war on both sides, efforts to include freeing the slaves as a war aim by the North didn’t come about until the (preliminary) Emancipation Proclamation was issued after the Union’s lukewarm “victory” at Antietam in 1862. True, the primary objective of the war until then was to keep the Union together (and Lincoln acknowledged that). However, that doesn’t mean that no one thought about, or cared about, freeing the slaves until 1862. Freeing the slaves for many had always been a major impetus for the war, and the EP just made it an official goal of the war effort.

    As to the original question posed in this thread, “How would America have turned out in the Antebellum era and up to the time of the Civil War if slavery ended in the 1770's?” we can only speculate, but it’s my guess that the country would have evolved into something resembling the Jim Crow era, where blacks and whites led separate, segregated lives. Although ostensibly "free," blacks (and other minorities) would still have been oppressed and exploited and segregated, just like they were after the Civil War (some say the Confederates won in the peace what they had lost in the war). Eventually, however, there would have been uprisings and equality movements, and then a movement towards integration like we have today, only it would have occurred sooner. Whether or not it would have involved a full-scale Civil War is anybody’s guess, since there are so many factors involved. But again, this is all speculation.

    I’ve often wondered what the American colonies would have been like if the British had won the Revolutionary War and tried to abolish slavery using the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. That would have probably resulted in an uprising of the Southern colonies similar to the Civil War, but it would have been put down much sooner since the South would have been facing an alliance of the Northern colonies and the mother country. On the other hand, it may not have resulted in a conflict, since the Act specified a staged abolition of the practice and compensation to the owners (which may not have been possible in N. America because of the huge investment the South had made in slaves.)
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
    Showmethefacts likes this.

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