GDG- NPS, Slavery and Economies
CWMHTours at aol.com
CWMHTours at aol.com
Thu Jan 5 11:59:27 CST 2012
I have heard two positions on the issue of economics and slavery.
I have heard that slavery was in decline and on it's way out by the time
of the Civil War.
Then I have heard that slavery was on the rise in the 1850s.
I lean towards the second. Cotton was king, until the war and British
crops in Egypt. A slave's value then was comparable to the price of an
automobile today. A young healthy male was worth the price of today's luxury
If you were a wealthy plantation owner and owned say 100 slaves you were a
millionaire or better.
And one way to bring a misbehaving slave into line was to threaten to sell
him into the deep south- La, Miss, where the lifespan was short.
My understanding is that the premier slave markets prior to the war were
in DC and Alexandria (Why I don't know). The markets in Alex were thriving
right up til May 1861. In fact, it is said that the reason for the
retrocession of what is now Arlington county back to VA in 1846 was the law to ban
slave sales in DC, which would have prohibited it in Alex.
Yes- economics and slavery. Hand in hand.
Your Most Obedient Servant,
In a message dated 1/5/2012 12:45:07 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
amills at jplcreative.com writes:
Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
My apologies as I am not the best at getting ideas and thoughts out of my
head and rationalizing them so others can understand.
Having made my disclaimer, I am curious as to why the war wasn't all about
Secession caused the war and slavery caused secession, I think based on
emails I have read over the last couple days, everyone agrees with this
But what caused slavery? The immediate cause was the need for cheap labor
centuries before the civil war, so the underlying cause of slavery was
money, ergo money caused slavery and slavery caused secession so the root
cause was money?
I understand that by 1860, there was also a racial element to America's
slavery and part of the reason for maintaining the system was this racial
element but I don't think this was the major force in maintaining the
"peculiar institution", as the major force was simply put: money.
So why wouldn't the root cause then be economics, that without allowing
slavery into the territories, slavery would slowly die and as a result, so
would the way of life for the slave holding aristocrats of the South and
their desire to maintain slavery was a desire to maintain their statuses,
One example would be Hampton Plantation outside Baltimore. It was one of
the largest and richest prior to the Civil War but slowly fell into a
period of decline once slavery was banished from the country until the NPS saved
the mansion future generations (yes, I know other organizations originally
saved it in 1948, but didn't want to go into all the history of it). We
can look at many of the James River plantations that had to open their doors
to the public to preserve and protect their properties because they were
no longer sustainable once slavery was abolished.
I agree that the original south seceded to protect slavery, but underneath
that, slavery was there to support their income / economies, so if you
want to say slavery led to secession which lead to the war, why can't you
further define it that money led to slavery which lead to secession which led
to war and as such, the root cause is the all powerful dollar?
I understand this is a simplistic view and possibly an incorrect view of
the situation, but to me, secession caused the war and a desire to protect
slavery led to secession (I understand that you can't separate slavery from
1860 South), but the root cause of slavery was money. American slavery /
chattel slavery wasn't like the Native Americans that took slaves from rival
tribes to help replenish their population, or Rome that took slaves from
captured armies. Slaves in those societies were not the basis of the
economies as it was in the Antebellum South.
I hope this makes sense, but wanted to get some viewpoints to see if this
is a valid opinion or is full of holes.
From: gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com]
On Behalf Of John Lawrence
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2012 8:48 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- NPs & Slavery
>I am not arguing whether not Lincoln could have have chosen another
>method to react to secession. I'm not arguing Lincoln did not go to
>war to preserve the union. I am simply stating the historical fact
>that secession was caused by slavery and war was the result.
>It is impossible to have any discussion of the causes of the war or the
>cause secession without the inclusion of slavery.
>The indisputable point is slavery was the cause of secession which was
>the cause of the war.
>The other what-ifs do not apply to that.
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