Lincoln Discussion Symposium
"The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - Printable Version

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RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - L Verge - 03-17-2015 07:35 PM

Oh, Kate- I was referring strictly to myself when I used the term "snarky." I know that some view me that way. We all have our opinions, and I think it is great that you back yours up with facts. I think (hope) that we all try to do that.

RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - maharba - 10-23-2015 01:15 AM

What ended slavery in Brazil, the british west indies, and Cuba?
Vast civil wars?

RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - Wild Bill - 10-23-2015 08:24 AM

Of course none of these places had a Constitution that recognized slavery. But perhaps the real issue in the US was more than slavery, so much more that it caused a civil War? I suggest looking at Henry Clay's American system. One can do this in a still controversial book by Thos. DiLorenzo, the Real Lincoln. But that is not the tenor of modern American historiography. This is characterized by Edward H. Bonekemper III, The Myth of the Lost Cause. He has a good footnotes and a bibliography for a start on this, which is a quite involved question, well beyond the scope of the two books.

RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - L Verge - 10-23-2015 01:07 PM

(10-23-2015 01:15 AM)maharba Wrote:  What ended slavery in Brazil, the british west indies, and Cuba?
Vast civil wars?

Maharba - Your questions intrigued me enough to put off my non-essential work for today and do some research. I knew just generalizations about the abolition of slavery in other areas of the world, and here's some of what I learned in a brief online search today:

Great Britain was a great motivator during the late-1700s and into the late-1800s. They first abolished the slave trade (not the institution of slavery) with the Slave Trade Act of 1807, and instituted the West Africa Squadron of the Royal Navy to patrol the African coast and suppress the illegal trade. They are credited with having seized 1600 ships by 1850 and freeing and transporting 150,000 slaves, mainly to Jamaica and the Bahamas.

In 1823, Britain's Anti-Slavery Society was founded. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 was passed after a major slave revolt occurred in Jamaica in 1831. This Act automatically freed slaves who were under the age of six. Those older were designated as "apprentices" (to teach a skill for economic survival), and their servitude was abolished in two stages in 1838 and 1840, so that thousands would not all be "dumped" on society to survive at once. Owners were also compensated. This Act applied to British territories, with the exception of lands held by the East India Company, the Island of Ceylon, and the Island of Saint Helena. They had to wait until 1843.

BTW: The earlier Anti-Slavery Society was expanded in 1839 and renamed the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and began to work to outlaw slavery worldwide. Today, it is the world's oldest international human rights organization - known as Anti-Slavery International.

You also asked about Brazil and Cuba. Both of these were pressured by England, but it took awhile. Brazil participated in slave trafficking until it was outlawed in 1850. In 1870, they passed a Womb-Free Law making newborns of slaves automatically free at birth. In 1885, Brazil freed those aged 65 and older.

However, Brazil has the distinction of being the last country in the Western world to free its slaves. The Golden Law of 1888 went into effect when Imperial Princess Isabel of Brazil decreed it while acting as regent for her father, Emperor Dom Pedro II, while he was in Europe. Again, slaveholders were paid for their economic losses. As an aside, I did see a brief comment that Abraham Lincoln invited Dom Pedro II to meet with him before our Civil War to discuss Dom Pedro's anti-slavery crusade and how to prevent war breaking out over the issue. Has anyone seen reference to that?

On to Cuba. From the little that I read, Cuba had one of the worst slave systems of any country. They lived and worked under horrible conditions and codes, and males and females were gender-classified as to their "occupations," especially in Havana where slave women were designated to run taverns, eating establishments, lodges, serve as domestics and public laundresses, as well as being the town prostitutes.

Slave trade serving the vast sugar plantations did not end until 1867. Final abolition came by Spanish royal decree in 1886. Cuba then resorted to importing Chinese laborers, who worked under much the same conditions as the African slaves had endured.

What prevented civil wars in these three areas? I think Wild Bill is correct that the American war was based on other factors than slavery (although these other factors always seem to me to have an element of slavery attached to them).

End of history lesson for the day... Hopefully, some others will chime in.

RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - maharba - 10-24-2015 10:50 AM

How interesting that in all those historical slave nations there was no epochal war necessary to bring about the gradual ending of slavery. And what a great mercy indeed. Funny that the UK claimed to be in the vanguard of ending slavery, while all the years it profited from slave grown cotton, and it even fought wars insisting that the chinese essentially enslaved and must import english opium. The federals here joining the UK in waging war on china, and to actually mandate that they import and consume narcotic opium in the Boxer Rebellion.

RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - Eva Elisabeth - 10-25-2015 02:30 PM

As for Brazil, an interesting addition from Wiki and a NY Times article:

"Slavery was not legally ended nationwide until 1888 by the Lei Áurea ('Golden Act'), a legal act promulgated on May 13 by Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil. In fact, it was an institution in decline by this time (since the 1880s the country began to attract European immigrant labor instead). Brazil was the last nation in the Western world to abolish slavery, and by abolition had imported an estimated total of four million slaves from Africa. This was 40% of all slaves shipped to the Americas."

"Soon after Princess Isabel, officially ended slavery, disgruntled landowners united with the military to finish with monarchy altogether, forcing the royal family back to Portugal and founding Brazil's first republican government on November 15, 1889. A long series of easily forgettable presidents, backed by strong coffee and rubber economies, brought about some industrial and urban development during what's known as the Old Republic."

(My additional comment: ) Also serfdom in many European countries was the same as slavery. There were many serf/peasant revolts, and many serfs have been freed in the course of the Napoleonic Wars. And most of the many wars in the world and its history were led for ethically lower motives than democracy and emancipation.
Scroll down for a list of of states where serfdom existed and the respective dates of emancipation:

RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - L Verge - 10-25-2015 03:36 PM

So true, Eva, and yet so many (mainly Americans, I believe) continue to point fingers at just the southern colonies/states of the U.S. as being the evil slave masters. The history of the world often revolved around enslavement of many cultures and races -- and in some instances still does. To me, this is another case of needing to learn from the past and work to change things in the present and future -- instead of condemning the dead.

RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - Eva Elisabeth - 10-25-2015 03:48 PM

Here's some info about the serfs' live in the state of Schleswig - Holstein (where I live):
Not much different from slavery, wasn't it?
BTW, most of the land is still owned by the same aristocratic families.

RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - maharba - 10-28-2015 01:14 PM

I've heard it said, and better than I can put it here, that centuries of Slavery including indentured servitude of whites acted as a great drag and brake on technological progress of the South. Why bother to invent or use any time saving or labor saving device when you can get the slaves to do it for free? Less use or need for machines or devices to manufacture items, when the slaves are there to do the same work for free. If a person had invented some machine to pick apples or split wood or package cigars, you wouldn't find many buyers because again they had all the slaves standing ready to do it all for free. At every level of human progress, slavery was insanity.

RE: "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" - Gene C - 10-28-2015 01:34 PM

It is a mistaken belief to think slavery was free labor.
Looking at this only from a business perspective, Slaves had to be fed and housed, they became sick or injured and had to be cared for. Like other assets, they depreciated, they got older and couldn't work as hard as a younger person. Since they were used mainly in agricultural endeavors, any one involved in agriculture knows that having a good crop each year is not a certainty. When you have a good crop, everyone else does to and there could be an oversupply of your crop which drives pricing down. Growing cotton exhausts the soil. Slaves were an added factor to consider in operating a successful farm. Farming has been and continues to be, risky business.