What Was So Wrong with Slavery?

“What was so wrong with slavery and why did it cause the Civil War?” This question was asked of a seasonal park ranger at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center a few years ago. This question was asked by a white mother from New York, with her husband and teenage children beside her. As she finished asking the question, she must have seen the expression on my face – an expression of disbelief! I could not believe that someone would ask that question in the 21st Century.

Slaves provided the economic wealth of the South. Without slavery, the planters could not work the fields of the large plantations. Plantations would not have been profitable if not for free labor. Paid labor would have been much more expensive. Plus, you cannot borrow money on people you do not own; however, you could borrow money using slaves as collateral. After the international slave trade ended, slaves became more valuable, and the planters began breeding slaves. There was a market to sell slaves to the Deep South and Midwest. Another reason for the breeding: if you cannot buy slaves, then you can rely on the already enslaved to produce more children, increasing the number of slaves you own, thereby increasing your wealth.

Slavery was very cruel to most black slaves, especially the field hands. Slaves were beaten, whipped, castrated, branded, pierced, had limbs amputated, and killed in various ways. Slave women were often sexually abused by white masters, their sons, and overseers. More importantly, many slave families were separated when members were sold. In a lot of situations, the most fertile enslaved women and men were often chosen to be together in order to produce more children. Most slaves were forbidden to marry unless their owners permitted it, and many marriages were not formalized until slavery ended.

Slaves were forbidden to learn to read and write, kept ignorant so that they would not be aware of their plight. It would be a contradiction for them to find out that they were living enslaved “in the land of the free.” Slaves were told that it was in their best interests to remain slaves. They were forbidden to congregate, especially for religious services, unless approved by their masters and overseen by whites. Many of these laws were enacted in 1831 after the Nat Turner Rebellion in Virginia killed more than 60 whites.

After that rebellion, freed slaves were supposed to move out of the Southern states, and free blacks were no longer supposed to own slaves. Most of the free blacks who did own slaves owned their own relatives, so that their families could remain together. Of course. there are exceptions to every rule and law: there were some blacks who owned slaves and treated them the same way white slave holders treated their own slaves. Also, there were some free blacks who stayed in the South, mainly those with skills, for example blacksmiths.

A most glaring truth was that free blacks were hated by most slave owners because they were a contradiction to slavery in slave territory. They were a bad influence on the enslaved. It made slaves want the freedom that these blacks had. However, it was a very tense freedom that could be taken away easily. The death of a slave, based on the circumstances, could be reimbursed by the state or local jurisdiction; meanwhile, the life of a free or freed black was worth nothing in a slave society.

Most blacks hated slavery. However, a class system developed on many plantations between field hands and house “servants.” Many house servants thought that they were better than the field hands. They were generally treated better, and many of them were the offspring of their owners or someone else in the family. For example, Sally Hemmings was the half-sister of Thomas Jefferson’s wife.

While the overwhelming majority of slaves wished they were free. some slaves became spies for their masters and received special favors. Children were used to tell the mistress what the other slaves were saying back in the slave quarters. Some of the children were given candy and other little treats when they revealed information against other enslaved. However, when the other slaves found out who betrayed them, those slaves were ostracized. In many cases, the adult enslaved would not say very much around their children because they knew how the children were used by their oppressors.

Slave women cultivating tobacco [Photo from Official NPS Website: Bernard Slave Cabins]

I have read many books about slavery and the cruelty of slavery. Slaves who ran off toward freedom, if caught, suffered very drastic punishment, including severe whipping, branding, jailing, and even amputation. However, death was usually the most severe punishment, although to some slaves, the selling off of their children was more severe than even that. If you did not work hard enough in the fields or you did not pay the proper respect to a white man or woman, you could be whipped or punished in another way.

There are stories where some white owners or overseers would go to slave cabins to have relations with the slave women, and their “husbands” would have to leave. If the men or women complained, they could be punished or killed.

For all these reasons, the life expectancy of a slave was far lower than the average American.

Now, let’s look how slavery caused the Civil War. Most blacks were not considered Americans, and in 1857, the Supreme Court stated in the Dred Scott Decision that blacks were not American citizens. Officially blacks became full American citizens after the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution.

Congress had reacted to slavery by passing a series of compromises, but also had a gag order during the 1830’s and 1840’s not to discuss slavery and upset the Southern congressmen.

Although abolitionists and the Underground Railroad helped turn some in the North away from slavery, these other events helped bring the nation to war:

  • The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was an effort to preserve the balance between slave and free states. Missouri was admitted as a slave state and Maine was admitted as a free state. The compromise included a law that stated that slavery was not permitted in the Louisiana Territory above the 36′ 30″ latitude line.
  • The Compromise of 1850 upset the balance of slave and free states because California was admitted as a free state and the slave trade in Washington, DC, was abolished. In return, the Fugitive Slave Act was amended and strengthened. This was very costly to people in the North. If they harbored escaped slaves, they were committing a Federal crime.  The federal government became responsible for capturing and returning fugitive slaves. Citizens harboring slaves were subject to a $1,000 fine and up to a six-month jail sentence.
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)

    The book Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe showed the cruelty of slavery to this country and the world. It became a best seller but was banned in the Southern states. The book made more Northern people aware of the cruelty of slavery, and many of them looked negatively upon the South as a result. The South now thought that most of the people in the North were abolitionist, but this was not true.  Only about 10% of the North was truly abolitionist.

  • The Anthony Burns Case in 1854 centered on a slave who had been hired out but escaped to Boston. He wrote a letter to his brother, still owned by their slaveowner, who received the letter. The slaveowner went to Boston to claim his “property.” Burns was arrested and taken to jail.  Two groups of abolitionists, one small black group and a larger white one, charged the jail in an attempt to free him. One deputy was killed, and two men who got inside the jail were beaten back. President Franklin Pierce ordered the Marines and some artillery to go to Boston and escort Burns back into slavery. A large crowd watched as the Federal force took Burns back to the South. However, an African American church raised $1,300 to buy Burns, and a year later he was back in Boston.  The most important issue here was the president of the United States used the United States Marines to bring back a fugitive slave. Think of the cost for bringing back one slave. How did that look to the North, when a slaveowner, backed by the U.S. president and military, went to Boston to bring back one escaped slave.
  • The Kansas–Nebraska Act overturned the Missouri Compromise. Through the notion of “popular sovereignty,” the people who settled the territories were given the right to decide if slavery would be legal in the territories. Both pro- and anti-slavery groups flocked to the territories and actually fought each other from 1854 through the Civil War. This act definitely moved the United States toward Civil War, but Kansas became a free state in 1861.
  • In 1856 in “Bleeding Kansas,” John Brown became a household name as he led attacks against pro-slavery settlers.
  • John Brown’s Raid in Harper’s Ferry occurred in 1859, right before the Civil War. He wanted to lead a slave rebellion to capture the armory at Harper’s Ferry in order to arm the slaves he would free in the Southern States. Colonel Robert E. Lee would lead Marines to capture Brown, who was then tried and convicted by the State of Virginia. He was executed, but he became a martyr for the abolitionist cause and rightly predicted that the slavery question would be settled by bloodshed. The South was horrified: a slave rebellion was led by a Northern white man, using escaped slaves. Every Southern state begin opening military schools, if they did not already have them. (Virginia already had the Virginia Military Institute [VMI]). War was now imminent.

Slavery is the overwhelming cause of the Civil War. Let’s examine the Confederacy’s cause of states’ rights: the only “states right” that was an issue that could not be negotiated was slavery. In the Confederate Constitution they state it, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens states it, and so did Confederate President Jefferson Davis. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Here are other primary sources that discuss slavery as a cause of the war.]

Slavery was the economic system of the South. If you took it away, you took away the wealth of many of the planters. The only way plantations could survive was for slaves to work the property. I have seen wills of large plantation owners where the majority of their wealth was in the value of their slaves. In 1860, the 4 million slaves in the South were estimated to be worth $3 billion. After the war, many of these owners could no longer afford their homes without their slaves.

The North was not innocent, either. Some Northern states did not want any blacks, whether free or slave, to live within their borders. The North was just as racist as the South in this regard. Many white men and white immigrants did not want to compete with slave labor or free blacks, as that would bring down wages and take away some of their jobs.

Inside enslaved quarters at Ben Lomond Historic Site.

I want to tell this story from Andrew Ward’s book The Slaves War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves. A former slave woman told her granddaughter the story of a former slave, who got married after the war. One day she and husband talked about their old days in slavery. She told him about her baby boy sold away from her and about a distinctive scar on his arm. Her husband had that same scar on his arm and when he discussed his story, they found out that they were mother and son. He soon left her because he could not stay married to his mother. That is a tragedy and they may not have been the only couple that had that problem. There were other stories in that book of families meeting and siblings not recognizing or knowing their kin. After the war, many slaves searched the South to try to connect with their families—some were successful, but most were not!

A couple of years ago, we had some interpretive training at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park , whereby, when explaining sensitive history, such as slavery, we ask people to put themselves in the other person’s position. In this case, I would have the mother put herself in the position of the slave woman. Suppose her children were sold away from her, suppose her husband was put out of their cabin while a slaveowner stayed with her and, when her husband complained, he was severely whipped. How would she then answer her own question, “What was so wrong with slavery and why did it cause the Civil War?” What do you think her answer would be?

About Steward T. Henderson

Civil War historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and living historian with the 23rd Regiment USCT and 54th Massachusetts Infantry Co. B. I am also a member of the Trail to Freedom Committee in the Fredericksburg, VA area and a member of the John J. Wright Museum in Spotsylvania, VA.
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137 Responses to What Was So Wrong with Slavery?

  1. Mark Harnitchek says:

    I just had the same look on my face reading that lady’s question — hard to believe…but i guess am not surprised…one of the pillars of the Lost Cause, where slaves were really OK with that “peculiar institution”, apparently lives on…or maybe her only knowledge of the Civil War is from Gone With the Wind…hopefully your response changed this family’s thinking…thanks for this post.

  2. John Pryor says:

    An excellent post, but from the standpoint of 160 years after the Civil War. A better question by the woman would have been to express surprise why a system so economically profitable and with powerful Northern allies felt so threatened? Perhaps the South’s consistent political success in forcing compromises from 1820 onward led it to fatally underestimate the political, if not moral, indignation of the North. It is easy to see slavery as the “cause” of the war, particularly as a means of directly refuting the absurd “states rights” overreach of the post war Lost Cause partisans. But the Unionists were fueled much more by anti-Southern animus than anti slavery indignation, at least during most of the war. The slave as a human really was an abstraction to most Northerners, but seen as part of a system a tool of Southern power as a means of extending Southern political and economic influence “slavery” was anathema. It was, as Lincoln recognized it, a refutation of free labor and personal growth, the very ideals, in an admittedly imperfect way, the North was seeking to achieve. Tragically, this dichotomy between the north’s hatred of the system but apathy about the individuals caught in the system partially explains the ease by which the Lost Cause myth took purchase during the Jim Crow era. That, and the enormous physical, human and emotional toll the war itself took.

  3. John Foskett says:

    Incidents such as this always remind me that you and your colleagues are required to have a unique skill set which I, for one, lack – the ability to deal professionally with astonishingly ignorant questions. I’ve seen other situations where NPS personnel – at NMP but also at other parks – get asked questions which your average second-grader might laugh at. They were handled with a straight face and without a hint of sarcasm or exasperation. The incident you describe also supports my firm belief that we do an abysmal job of teaching US history in our educational system.

  4. John Pryor says:

    Actually, if we only teach United States history without putting our social system in the world context we might create a false negative paradigm, and come to false conclusions. Slavery, particularly in the earlier years of the Republic, was hardly an exclusively American phenomenon. But there is something inherently repellent about it in a Republic whose foundational document boldly claims “all men are created equal.” It was a tragedy that the southern climate in the newly acquired states in the lower Mississippi basin and the technological achievement of the cotton gin, along with the ability of mechanized mills to process as much cotton as could be grown gave renewed life to a dying system. England could eliminate its own system of slavery due to the growth of their own cotton mills as a source of wealth to replace sugar, as well as the relatively few freedmen residing in the home countries. The slaveholders were no fools; they knew that without expansion their wealth, tied up in mortgaging against next year’s crop, was fragile. And for a century, they had been aware that cotton rapidly depleted the existing soil.

  5. Douglas Pauly says:

    I personally find it hard to believe that such a question would be asked by any white person of a black one in this day and age in the USA. The author seems to condemn the woman. I wasn’t there. ,But might some aspects of her question be sensationalized for the sake of ‘outrage’ as opposed to considering that perhaps she could have just asked the question in a better way? Was this woman an American? Personally, I think it a fair question if one bothers to avoid the understandable inclination to ask it from the perspective of ‘presentism’ and to try to get answers via the perspectives of the times. I thought historians were supposed to take those things into consideration?

    We ALL KNOW that slavery IS wrong. But we also know that it was perfectly legal THEN. Southern farms and plantations had let themselves get into a cycle where human labor via the human ‘property’ that were slaves was the only way to make those places profitable. The term “land rich but money poor”, or words to that effect, often accurately described what those plantations could be about. Thomas Jefferson could expound on that.

    If I asked “What was so wrong with Judaism that compelled Hitler to go to war in Europe”, would I get outrage or an intelligent, informative answer? I think the real KEY to the woman’s question is “..and WHY DID IT CAUSE THE CIVIL WAR?” And along those lines the author here DOES deliver a cogent, informative response that provides real answers. If there is any reason to be disappointed with the question, perhaps any real outrage should be directed at our educational system?

    • Meg Groeling says:

      I think this goes beyond the educational system. How about the moral & ethical system the family is supposed to instill within its confines that ultimately creates the moral, ethical, and empathetic individual that comes from said family? That there was a teenaged child there and mom still asks such a harebrained question is simply appalling.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        Well, again, it’s all a matter of perspective. None of us were there. If I am going to give the author the benefit of the doubt I am also inclined to offer that to the ‘offending’ woman. If the question had been phrased as “What was so wrong with slavery that it led to the Civil War?”, i.e., as ONE question instead of two, I see merit in that. To me, if what is said to have happened indeed did in the way it was reported, I have to ask the author this: did he really believe the woman didn’t see anything wrong with slavery, period? I’m just not inclined to buy that at this time.

    • John Foskett says:

      There’s absolutely nothing about the post which suggests that the author is in any way “sensationalizing” the question. He also stated that she was from New York, so it appears that she was an “American”.Talk to any NPS employee who deals with questions from the visiting public and you will hear things that are astonishingly stupid or callous. Since none of us were there, I see no reason not to accept his account as accurate. Nothing about his reflection on this suggests otherwise.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        And if you actually bothered to read what I posted, you would see where I gave BOTH of them ‘the benefit of the doubt’. But I will still question aspects of it, such as is it his belief that the woman doesn’t believe slavery is a bad thing? I thought all who fancy themselves as ‘historians’ are SUPPOSED to ask questions, to NOT just take anything and everything at face value? Or if certain subjects are to be discussed, does that not apply? Oh, and of course, everybody from NY is a ‘citizen’. Just like everybody from California and Florida and elsewhere is, right? LOL.

        But I digress. I will give the benefit of the doubt that she IS a citizen. He did volunteer that she is white. He IS black, and an expert in his field. So I still question whether the author finds her ‘ignorant’, or worse? It appears that he doesn’t see anything good about her! He says her teenage children were with her. Meg above made mention about them. To that, I will ask if anyone thinks it’s possible that the woman was asking such a question FOR the benefit of those children, as in asking an expert a straight up question in simplified terms so that that expert can provide the kinds of answers that will benefit her children going forward?

      • John Foskett says:

        I did “bother” to read all of your comments – maybe you should do likewise. My point stands. Your perfunctory statement that you gave the author the benefit of the doubt ignores the fact that (1) you only did so in the hypothetical (“If…”); (2) you only did that in your second comment; and (3) here you then follow up with a string of questions undermining the author’s points. People ask stupid or ignorant questions every day in these settings. The author was right to address this stupid/ignorant question as he did.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        Let’s also question your comprehension faculties while we’re at it. My questions stand. Is it the author’s belief that the woman has no problem with slavery? Or just that she’s stupid and/or ignorant? Or that maybe the woman was asking in a way so that ‘the expert’ could convey answers that her children could benefit from? He made it a point to speak about her skin color. But I still give him the benefit of the doubt, as I do HER, despite any heartburn that causes you! You are free to do or believe as you wish about him or what he claims. The authors ‘points’ are in no way ‘undermined’, so do try to come up with some other kind of hyperbole. His ‘points’ about slavery and the war are very well taken. They are NOT what I question.

  6. Mike Maxwell says:

    Having taught primary school for a time, it was my experience that children will ask “questions that should not be asked” on occasion. They are not being obtuse; they genuinely do not know. And it is not appropriate to “shout them down,” and make them feel less than human for having posed an inconvenient question. The question should be addressed (even if it means discussing the topic in presence of the child’s parents, in another setting.) Like it or not, some adults have the same awareness of History as children.
    In the case of slavery, and its inherent evil, the answer should be easy for everyone. And in the case of America, a War was fought that brought that evil practice to an end.
    My two bob.

  7. Robert Denney says:

    Whenever I read about slavery in America, I wonder what the discussion would be like if only 5 words had been omitted from the Declaration of Independence: “all men are created equal”.

    In 1776 I dare say there was even one white man in all of America that thought a black man was his equal. Certainly, there were very few in 1861, but the war came anyway.

  8. Lyle Smith says:

    Regardless of how history is taught, there will always be people who are generally ignorant of it. Many peoples’ minds are not attuned to learning it well. They could have the greatest teachers and learn nothing.

    Then there is the truth that we’re all ignorant, because it isn’t possible to know or understand everything even with the brightest of minds.

  9. stewardthenderson says:

    I would like to respond to the many comments that I have received of this post. The woman who made this comment made it to one of my white colleagues, but her voice and tone were loud because the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center was crowded. Her voice was heard by everyone standing close to her, in front of and behind the counter. I was waiting on another visitor when I heard the question. Her children may or may not have been paying attention to her and I do not know why she asked the question. She may have asked the question because one of her children may have been working on a Civil War project or maybe it was because she was aware that slavery was the major cause of the Civil War. Since she knew that information, I do not think her question was an ignorant one. I have heard and read far worse, since I have worked at this National Military Park.

    This family was going on the next guided tour of the Sunken Road and I was going to lead it. I chose to use her question as a teaching experience and spent an extra five to ten minutes to discuss slavery on the tour. I had recently conducted a History at Sunset program with our Chief Historian, John Hennessy, who is an expert on slavery. Therefore, I discussed slavery using Fredericksburg as my Civil War example. I explained that local, state, and Federal laws protected slavery in Fredericksburg and in the southern states. I briefly explained slavery in Fredericksburg and contrasted it with the surrounding counties. I discussed the first Union occupation of Fredericksburg from April to August 1862, when over 10,000 slaves escaped from the city and the surrounding counties – including a couple from the Richmond area. I also touched on my favorite subject, as I told the group that many of those escaped men returned as soldiers in the 23rd United States Colored Troops and became the first African Americans to fight in directed combat against the Army of Northern Virginia. In essence, I did not take her question as one of ignorance, but as one which need a legitimate response.

    As far as my background in interacting with white people, in most of my professional life, I have had jobs and two careers, where most of my colleagues were white. I worked at the National Institutes of Health for one summer, while I was in high school and I worked briefly at the old Civil Service Commission, which is now the Office of Personnel Management. I spent 35 years in the financial services industry, working my way up from a part-time teller to an Area Manager and Senior Vice President in Retail Banking. I have spent the last 14 years in the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park as a volunteer, an Interpretive Park Ranger, and a sales associate, in the bookstores. So I have developed a lot of patience in interacting with people of all races and ethnic groups. So, when I am asked a question, I try to give an intelligent answer or as in this case, give the answer by giving the individual the information in an interpretive talk.

    I have seen visitors who ask questions to provoke arguments, make jokes about learning about the Civil War, and just because they were not taught or did not learn about the Civil War. I have had thousands of Civil War conversations in my life. Many of them occur because many of our schools do not teach American History or Civics (government), I was lucky because I was taught those subjects in elementary, junior high, and senior high schools. I learned a significant amount of information about the antebellum period and Civil War because it was my favorite time period in American history. I have learned a great deal more in my time with the National Park Service. Since I have been at this park, I have learned that all school systems are not the same in teaching Civil War history and so many Americans, young and old, do not know much about the Civil War. I feel that it is my job to try to educate them, when they go on my tours or ask me questions.

    I have heard and seen many comments from Americans that show there are a lot of Americans, who are still saying the same things that were said over 150 years ago. There are still people who do not believe slavery was a cause of the war.

    In fact, there was an Asian American woman, who was visiting Chancellorsville with a group of Germans. It was after closing, as I was leaving, I was in my park ranger uniform, they asked me some questions about the Civil War. I talked to them about the war for about 30 minutes and at the end, the Asian American woman said that she did not believe that slavery was a cause of the war. I referred her to several sources of Civil War history, plus I informed her that she could read the southern states secession documents. She just walked away and said she just did not believe it. I had just spent my own time, giving her group a short history of the Civil War and the Germans thanked me, but she walked away in disgust. I find that there are many foreigners who know more about our Civil War, than Americans know.

    Whether that Asian American woman even ventured to look at the documents or read any books about the war, I cannot say. However, I think that she was more ignorant about the war than the white woman who asked the question, what was so wrong with slavery and why did it cause the Civil War.

    • Jan Croon says:

      I can verify that in Virginia, students are required to pass a course in US/VA Government to graduate from high school. They also must take a course and pass an end-of-year test in American History. I have taught both.

    • eshek3 says:

      Thank you, Mr. Henderson, for clearing that up. I hope you are our tour guide.

    • Mr. Henderson….

      So we have two questions.

      1. What was so wrong with slavery? Well what was so wrong with Slavery? What was so good about it? If you can’t rationally consider these questions and answer them then what do you really know about it? And can you answer them truthfully without being emotionally or racially biased?

      2. Why did it (Slavery) cause the Civil War? A better question is why didn’t Slavery cause the War? What other issues were prevalent or equally as central to dividing the United States? If you can’t rationally consider these questions and answer them then what do you really know about it?

      • nygiant1952 says:

        There was nothing good about slavery. Period.

        The South left the Union because the tide had turned against that peculiar institution as the United States expanded. Rather than work within the system, the South decided to leave a Union that the FF intended to be perpetual.

        In 1860, the South wrote that they were leaving the Union because of slavery.’
        After the South had been defeated on the battlefield and surrendered tot he North, they South made up reasons eBay they left the Union….all States Rights issues, that meant slavery.

  10. Mike Maxwell says:

    It is said that Atlanta, Georgia resident Margaret Mitchell, who wrote “Gone with the Wind,” was an avid listener to stories “about the war” …and did not realize the South lost that war until she was in High School. Some people fail to get the word; others choose not to believe it. In the end, the effort to dispense Truth must be continued, one person at a time.

  11. John says:

    Blacks went from being enslaved by other African Blacks in Brutish Tribal Warfare to having reliable food, shelter, medical treatment and constructive work. Guess what? Most Europeans at the time lived in some sort of Feudal, Indentured Servitude which wasn’t much better. Blacks today still live on the Democrat hand-out plantation as hapless, witless creatures needing someone to take care of them. So no, it really wasn’t that bad. In fact, compared to Africa, it was Paradise. The White Man’s Burden never ends…

    • patyoungcarecen2019 says:

      John, it is a shame that the “paradise” of slavery was not available to white men as well as blacks. Perhaps you might want to escape your “White Man’s Burden” by offering yourself as chattel to a local African American family.

      • Phil R. says:

        It is indeed available, Pat. People like John who enjoy displaying their ignorance, bigotry, and hatred are shackled to a unique form of latter-day slavery. They’re our postmodern mudsills.

      • And yet Whites were and are no less equally enslaved. You might be enslaved yourself. Now how could that be? What do you labor for and for whom? And what would be the results if you didn’t labor as such?

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Whites earned a wage…slaves didn’t. Whites were able to move and offer their services….slaves couldn’t/t.

  12. “Walk a mile in my shoes.” Many schools do a less than adequate job of teaching about slavery and the Civil War, witness the lady who was on the tour at Fredericksburg and asked her “shocking” question. When you dehumanize an entire race, then it is easy to treat them in a bad way. Maybe if the lady had thought about it, and put herself in a Black person’s shoes, at ANY point in this country’s history, she might truly understand that NO, slavery was/is not right.

  13. ATD says:

    Ho, ho, ho… and the punchline of this emotional dramatisation – the photo of the author at the end. Overall, the experience of the average slave would have compared favourably with the alternative – 19th century darkest Africa. Or do you believe that was some sort of garden of Eden, populated by “The noble savage”? None of the disadvantaged and racially abused in modern America feel so aggrieved as to consider moving back to The Gambia, even with all the comforts provided by modern day western civilisation and infrastructure projects Buy hey, keep up the group politics – that’s really making everyone happier.

    • patyoungcarecen2019 says:


      Surprised to see “Move back to Africa if you don’t like it here” raised as an argument.

      Apart from the obvious bias implicit in the suggestion, I would note that a modern African American can hardly be encouraged to “move back” to a place they have likely never lived to begin with. I could as easily suggest to ATD that if he/she/they doesn’t like the current conversation about race and slavery, he/she/they might also “move back” to the place his/her/their ancestors came from, but that would be silly. Democracies are designed to resolve issues like this without resort to mass expulsions, coup attempts, or the demand that those who disagree with us leave the country.

      I also found ATD’s opening line “Ho, ho, ho… and the punchline of this emotional dramatisation – the photo of the author at the end.” Why would an author’s photo be the punchline of an article? Steward T. Henderson, the author, is not in clownface, but perhaps ATD finds his photo laughable for other reasons. I would prefer not to know what they are.

      -Pat Young

  14. Judy Scarlata says:

    I don’t get your hard response to my comments. I was taught to think how the OTHER person might feel…, you know ( or maybe you don’t, “The Golden Rule?”) This had nothing to do with the color of one’s face. My mother never manifested any form of prejudice in all my years of growing up and she taught us accordingly. She was of the WW2 generation and ahead of her time in many ways.
    And as far as group politics is concerned, I could care less. I don’t believe in anything the “left” is putting out there. As far as I’m concerned, our country is being destroyed by the same” group politics- that’s really making everyone happier.”

  15. Judy Scarlata says:

    Was ATD responding solely to my comments, perhaps? If so, it’s incredibly rude, and if not, then it’s incredibly stupid and may I say “bigoted” to actually tell someone to “go back to where you came from.” Why do you think they came here in the first place? My husband’s people were Italian and they had a next door neighbor that shouted this same bigoted phrase across the fence every time one of the family accidentally stepped on the neighbor’s lawn.

  16. nygiant1952 says:

    very nice article.

    We are still living with the after effects of the Civil War. The 2nd round of Jim Crow laws has just started in Georgia.

    • Douglas Pauly says:

      Yeah, requiring ‘evil’ things like the picture IDs virtually all blacks already have sure is ‘Jim Crow’ revisited. As always, only the white Democrats who own and operate the plantation can provide for blacks or anyone else who isn’t the proverbial ‘straight, white male’. Of course, that said, the ones who would surely know ‘Jim Crow’ and the Klan are those who created such, like today’s Democrats. Some things just can’t be hidden. .

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Sorry…wrong. All Blacks do NOT have a government picture ID.

        Recall that you have to prove who are when you register to vote, and not when you vote.

        Nice try though.

        BTW, all that about the Klan and the Democratic Party….all wrong.


      • Douglas Pauly says:

        Why would blacks not have the requisite IDs when they have the ones needed for air travel, Vaccine passports, welfare access, school access, acquiring medicines, buying alcohol, you know, the very SAME ONES the rest of us have? This is the usual LIE your Democrat Party puts out to protect their ability to get ILLEGALS to the polls. It’s why they created ‘sanctuary cities’ so that things like vote tallies can never be accurately tallied, thanks to their dependence on ILLEGALS voting. But as always, blacks are THE tools the Democrats use and exploit. Some things never change with your kind Giant. It;s ALWAYS 1860 when it comes to your party!

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Doug, Democrats allege that the laws will disenfranchise minorities, who less often have valid IDs. Why do minorities have fewer IDs? Because a lot of minorities don’t have much use for them. The most common voter ID is a driver’s license, and minorities are less likely to drive. Minorities are less likely to have driver’s licenses because they are more likely to be poor and to live in urban areas. If you can’t afford a car, or if you don’t need one because you take the bus or subway, you are less likely to have a driver’s license. Students are less likely to have driver’s licenses for the same reasons (plus the fact that they can sometimes rely on student IDs, and may just have not gotten around to getting a driver’s license yet). Moreover, minorities may be more likely to have lost their driver’s licenses.

        Driver’s licenses are not the only accepted forms of identification, but minorities may face extra challenges in securing other legally valid IDs. Passports, military IDs, and other government-issued photo ID are generally accepted, and some states accept student ID cards from state universities. Texas accepts concealed-weapons licenses, but New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice points out that African-Americans are also less likely to have these concealed-gun permits.

        Of course, minority voters aren’t the only group likely to be disenfranchised. Seniors, for example, are also less likely to drive.

        Poor people are less likely to fly, since they can’t afford the ticket.

        Vaccine passports…NOT the law of the land.

        As far as students are concerned,Students are less likely to have driver’s licenses for the same reasons (plus the fact that they can sometimes rely on student IDs, and may just have not gotten around to getting a driver’s license yet).

        Recall from Civics 101, that you only have to prove your identity when you register to vote.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        LOL. Oh my, how HELPLESS all those ‘minorities’ are without you white Democrats to look after the and provide for them. The ONLY ‘minorities’ who do not have requisite IDs are those here illegally! Period! You MUST have a valid, acceptable ID to take part in the vast majority of what is called American life! You can’t sign up for school without said ID. You can’t get loans without them. You can’t get prescribed medicines without them. You can’t buy alcohol. Thanks for displaying the always present RACISM yet again behind the typical leftist’s excuse for trying to keep certain people subjugated. but thank GOD you are there to take care of them Giant. How will they ever get through this life?

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Doug, You only need to provide a valid ID in order to register to vote. All states have that.

        As far as the rest of your comment, it’s lacks an understanding of US History. Please read about the 5 Civil Rights cases decided in 1883 or so, that paved the way for Jim Crow Legislation. It was the Republicans o the Supreme Court who gutted the 14th and 15 Amendments.

        When you vote, you sign the voting rolls with your signature. It is much more difficult to forge a signature that it is is the get a fake ID.

    • Douglas Pauly says:

      I don’t need lectures on US history from you Giant. The indisputable fact is that YOU Democrats have determined that blacks and blacks only do not have the ability or capacity to provide for themselves. It’s the absolute definition of the ‘racism’ you and yours so freely throw around regardless of the subject matter. When Democrats speak about ‘minorities’ and more specifically ‘people of color’, it is blacks that they are talking about only. By making everything about blacks it is their )your) attempt to deflect from the real agenda that includes getting the illegals your side needs so desperately in elections to the polls. THAT is ‘historical fact’.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Actually Douglas, it was the abandonment of the Blacks by the Republican Party in 1876 agreeing to do away with Reconstruction, and in 1883 by a Supreme Court, which led to Jim Crow.

        More likely, it was the Klan which determined that Blacks were not to vote. There is no connection between the Klan and the Democratic Party.

  17. Taylor says:

    I’m not sure I understand.

    “…you only have to prove your identity when you register to vote.”

    Without some sort of reliable ID, how can anyone verify that the person showing up to vote is the same person who is registered to vote?

    Is ID not required in other democratic countries?

    If a person does not have current government picture ID then in other countries there are various means to show the people staffing the polling station that you are who you say you are and that you reside in the electoral area. These can include expired ID, utility bills showing your name and address together with some other form of ID, sworn declarations by other residents, etc., perhaps together with a voting notification of some sort that the resident receives ahead of election day.

    Also, how difficult would it be for a state to offer free (or nominal cost) state identity cards with picture, perhaps through the motor vehicle licensing offices and other suitable state government offices?

    • nygiant1952 says:

      People have fought and died for the right to vote. Voter ID laws prevent people from exercising this right. Accessing a photo ID is much more challenging for the young, the elderly, people of color, and people with low incomes. All of these groups are more likely not to have photo ID, which means they aren’t authorized to work, and may not have access to their local shelter or food bank.

      All of this concern about voter iD, is just to suppress the Afro-American vote. It’s just another “Jim Crow”, and a return to the United States of 1875.

    • Karen Connair says:

      The state of Virginia does offer a picture ID; it is not a driver’s license but you can get one at any DMV. I had an elderly friend in her 80’s who never drove a car, but she needed an ID so she obtained one easily enough through her local DMV at a nominal cost. I am sure all states have a set up like that, or they should.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        You cannot apply for a VA ID card online or by mail. Minorities may face extra challenges in securing other legally valid IDs, cost being one of those.

        No matter how you cut it, requiring some form of ID to vote, when you had to show some ID in order to register to vote, is just a way to hamper one’s ability to vote.

        And when you look at the history of voting in the United States it has always been one of expanding the vote, and not to hinder the ability to vote.

  18. Taylor says:

    Yes, it could be said that tens of millions in the last century alone fought and died for, among other things, the right to vote. However, how do you prevent voter fraud?

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Pennsylvania tallied 3 million votes by mail. Voters who applied for a mail ballot had to give their name, address, date of birth, voting district and how long they have lived there, Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania secretary of the Commonwealth, has told the state Supreme Court. The court ruled that mail ballots could not be rejected on signature comparisons.

      In Michigan, another pivotal state that Biden flipped into the Democrats’ column, a registered voter must fill out and sign an application that requires knowing a birth date and other personal information. Voters can mail in the application, take it in person to a clerk’s office or email a picture of the application to the clerk. The emailed picture must show the application’s signature.

      When Trump registered to vote in Florida last September, he put 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as his address. The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections rejected his application, because the state requires you have an in-state address to register. A month later he submitted an application with his Mar-a-Lago address and was accepted.

      That error was caught because Florida has a vast system of checks and balances to ensure that elections aren’t rigged and to detect potential voter fraud, from the secretary of state on down to county supervisors of elections and local canvassing boards.

      Bottom Line: Bipartisan sources agree that voter fraud – for instance, stuffing ballot boxes or voting multiple times – is an an exceedingly rare crime with almost no chance of affecting the presidential election. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, keeps a voter fraud database, which contains only 207 entries, a tiny fraction of the number of local, state and national votes tallied since 1979, which is as far back as the database goes.

  19. Taylor says:

    Thank you. I appreciate receiving the information.

  20. JudyScarlata says:

    If both parties, Republican and Democrat are concerned with the elderly, people of color, the young and people with low incomes not having the proper I.D.s to vote, why don’t they draw up a joint commission from both parties to go nationwide and enlist volunteers from both parties to help these people and any others who don’t have an I. D. Less complaining people, more doing and helping others to participate in the American system!!!

  21. judythek says:

    I was thinking that the comments that people have made in this discussion, appear to be nothing less than leftist “excuses” for minorities for not having some form of proper I.D. to vote.
    I know, if my grandmother didn’t have an I.D., I’d bring her to get one. If the “young” really want to make a difference and vote, they can go and obtain an I.D., they know how to! They know how to obtain other things they need, they’re not dummies! They just don’t WANT to be bothered, if they can take an easy way out. And, nygiant1952, the comment you made that minorities are more likely to have lost their driver’s licenses….well, whose fault is that? Isn’t it time for everyone to again realize the importance of accepting personal responsibility? How do you account for minorities that have risen above “racism” and got their I.D.s, went through the processes for success like the rest of us. Their numbers are too numerous to count. Are they anomalies or just hard workers? Did they play the race card or did they choose to ignore it and rose on their own abilities and hard work? It is unfair to the majority of hardworking people of all races in this country to give ANYONE a pass on taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for those common sense things that that would make life so much easier for all of us, like each of us having an National I.D. card to use for many things, and above all to vote with. Now how could that be “racist” since we’d ALL have one?

  22. nygiant1952 says:

    Sorry Judy…they are NOT excuses….they are real life events.

    And, you only have to show ID when you register to vote.

    All this showing an ID in order to vote, is nothing more than a Jim Crow poll tax, hindering a minority to vote.

    And you know from reading the Constitution, that a poll tax is barred now.

    • Judy Scarlata says:

      So what’s the matter with having a National I.D., given out by the government to everyone free of charge that we can use for everything , including for voting. If everyone has the same I. D., where is the racism in that?

      • nygiant1952 says:

        The problems with a National ID?

        1.A national ID card system would not solve the problem that is inspiring it.
        2.An ID card system will lead to a slippery slope of surveillance and monitoring of citizens.
        3. A national ID card system would require creation of a database of all Americans
        4. ID cards would function as “internal passports” that monitor citizens’ movements
        5. ID cards would foster new forms of discrimination and harassment

      • Judith K. Scarlata says:

        I think we have all of the above already, except for your #1. it’s hard to respond to you, giant, because I don’t think you want to be responded to. I find your answers, again, to be excuses and lack of taking responsibility. Isn’t the word “responsibility” defined the same in all dictionaries?
        Anyone else have any comments or are they tired of this twisting of words and reasoning, too?
        Sorry giant, I just don’t get you. You only see things one way.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Judith, just a couple of points….

        As far as #1 is concerned,…A national ID card system will not prevent terrorism. It would not have thwarted the September 11 hijackers, for example, many of whom reportedly had identification documents on them, and were in the country legally.

        Terrorists and criminals will continue to be able to obtain — by legal and illegal means — the documents needed to get a government ID, such as birth certificates. Yes, these new documents will have data like digital fingerprints on them, but that won’t prove real identity – just that the carrier has obtained what could easily be a fraudulent document.

        And their creation would not justify the cost to American taxpayers, which according to the Social Security Administration would be at least $4 billion.It is an impractical and ineffective proposal – a simplistic and naïve attempt to use gee-whiz technology to solve complex social and economic problems.

        As far as #s 2,3,4,and 5 are concerned…I am not at all comfortable with Big Brother watching me, as other Americans are. Every so often, I re-read 1984.

        Words have specific meanings…that’s why we have dictionaries, and SAT English exams.

        I tend to hold ones feet to the fire, to make sure that they know what they are talking about.

      • Judith K. Scarlata says:

        Giant, I guess you know everything, so I really find no further point in trying to articulate my ideas. Maybe that’s why no one else has further responded to you. Thanks for the Democratic party line.
        I am sure I will be seeing you in the new socialist state you have planned for the rest of us.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Judith, it’s not that I know everything. I don’t!

        It’s just because I am well read, and debated the Civil War with friends, many nights, over a few pints of ale. Being well versed in American History, and having studied it, gives me a wider perspective than most people. Much to the chagrin of the Mrs. Giant, I have books galore on all aspects of American History, and I make sure I know both sides of an issue , before discussing it. THAT, is what makes my comments so erudite.

        As far as the new socialist state you mention, plans have already been advanced. Take Social Security for instance. The Social Security Act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement.

        Look at Medicare. Realize that in 1965, 56 percent of Americans over the age of 65 were not covered by health insurance. Medicare was passed so that the members of the Greatest Generation, the Generation that survived the Great Depression, and went to war to protect our freedoms, would not have to go to the poorhouse, because of medical disease as they aged.

        Do you receive Social Security and Medicare? I know you have participated in it…both are Socialist programs.

        Or are you planning to hand back that money to the Government?

  23. jennifer smith says:

    when my husband worked in Saudi Arabia, we lived there for 2 years. There are slaves in The Kingdom today! Men and women from around the world live with wealthy families and work 24/7 with no pay. Several Filipino and Thai women slipped me notes when I was at the local mall. They could not reach their families and their passports had been taken away. They hoped I would contact their families in the Philippines to let them know they were okay. Americans spend a lot of time wringing their hands over slaves that have been dead for 100 years while caring very little about the slaves that are alive right now.

    • Jennifer,

      I think we are very Americo-centric in our country, thinking a lot of the time only of OUR history and of what happened to US, here in our lands. I for one, had no idea about those “slaves” you refer to. That was eye opening to me and I try not to think of myself as too naive.
      It is good to remember those slaves from 100 years ago here in our country (and that we fought a civil war to get rid of slavery) but there are actual slaves existing in the world today and human trafficking that contributes to this.
      We can bring to light wrongs in other countries but we only (still) have the power to legally rectify wrongs that happen only here in our own country.
      I think we need to wake up about a number of things in this country. We are NOT the center of the world as we think we are. We were/are the center of the FREE world and we all had better start thinking more about that operative word, FREE.
      If we are not vigilant about what is going on in THIS country and in the world, we WILL become the slaves that we speak about!

      Judy Scarlata

  24. Judy Scarlata says:

    Response to Karen Connair: Hi Karen, if you look farther down in the conversation, about 5 down, I have basically articulated the same thing you just said. Voters should have a proper and legal ID . And it’s the voter’s responsibility to get that I.D.! This is especially true now in light of the fiasco going on over in Afghanistan! When responsibility in negated, situations like this result. I don’t believe this needed to happen in this manner. Like voting, when you relegate your responsibility to others, you start losing your rights, one by one. A President who can leave Americans and those that fought with us behind, has forgone his responsibilities not only to those people but to ALL of us. If he can do that, if he can irresponsibly let thousands in the southern border who, no doubt, will, lacking a REAL Voter ID, allow him to push his Socialist/Communist agenda onto a nation that was “once” free. We will see the importance of each voting eligible citizen having a Voter I.D. Card to prove their identity when they vote- ONCE!!!

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Having to pay some government official in order to obtain an ID, sounds too much to me, like a Poll Tax.

      Now, I carry a copy of the US Constitution with me where ever I go. According to my copy, the 24th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the federal and state governments from imposing poll taxes before a citizen could participate in a federal election.

      This business about paying for a government ID, sounds un-Constitutional.

      I think this should put to bed any discussion about providing ID in order to vote.

      As an aside, how many other members carry with them a copy fo the US Constitution to refer to when confronted with something that is un-Constitutional?

      • Judy Scarlata says:

        Hello my friend, Giant! I knew we’d hear from you. Could you quote what the Constitution says a poll tax is… exact quote, please! I know in upstate NY, we have to show our driver’s license ( a form of GOVERNMENT I.D. that we have to pay for and that we also have to use in order to vote.) We also have to sign a roll book that has our signature from each time before when we voted. You can’t fake that! The poll people are right there, watching you. You certainly wouldn’t be able to go in and vote several times to commit fraud.
        I also commend you for being a strict conservative in your interpretation of the constitution, and not interpreting it a more specious manner. Thanks

      • nygiant1952 says:

        A few things…
        1.Here is the 24th Amendment to the uS Constitution..Section 1
        The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

        Section 2
        The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

        2. IN NYS, I NEVER had to show ID in order to vote. IN NYS, I only showed ID in order to REGISTER to vote. Once you sign in the book, you go ahead and vote.


        Nice try though.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Judy…this is from a NYS voting website…

        New York does not require voters to present identification while voting. However, if a voter does not provide valid identification at the time of registration, he or she must show identification at the polling place when voting for the first time.

        Voters can present the following forms of identification:

        A current, valid photo ID, including but not limited to a drivers’ license or a DMV-issued non-driver photo ID
        A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document with the voter’s name and address


        Can you show me a cite where it says you MUST present ID when you vote.

  25. Judy Scarlata says:

    We have to show our driver’s license up here in the hinterland of New York State. No doubt they want to make sure we are who we say we are. Then we sign. We don’t have a problem with it. So, I guess in your opinion, a NYS drivers license is a poll tax. Ok. We need the Supreme Court to interpret that one. Once more we disagree. It’s ok. That’s what makes America. Just hope we keep that freedom to disagree and don’t lose it because of election fraud and don’t lose it so we get another worthless yahoo of a President like we have now.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Do I need ID when I go to vote at the polls in NY?

      Generally, you do not need to bring ID to vote in New York. You simply sign your name, which will be compared with the signature the Board of Elections has on file. If, however, you did not provide ID when you registered to vote, you will be asked to provide ID the first time you vote at the polls. Acceptable ID at the polls includes a (i) current and valid photo identification such as a student ID, or (ii) current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and address. N.Y. Elec. Law § 8-303.

      There….I found the citation.


  26. nygiant1952 says:

    Well, your rights are being violated. And since you aren’t complaining, beware that they might take away more of your rights.

    I gave you a citation above that says in NYS, you do not have to show iD to vote. You only show ID to vote if you have NOT registered.

    I’d appreciate you giving me a cite where it says in NYS you have to show ID even if you are registered. If you can’t, then I would have to say that your rights are being violated.

  27. It is interesting how this article keeps popping up to the Top 10 list long after it was originally written.

  28. Judy Scarlata says:

    I think this is true for a number of reasons. We who were born in the 20th century and who were formally educated in that century are still trying to understand the ramifications of that system. We who are Caucasian, have a totally different experience being Americans in this country as do our fellow citizens of the Negroid race. I’ve thought about that my whole life and have had school friends in high school and college that were black and we always had such great times together. It is only recently that I have run into black women that have been disrespectful to me out of no fault of my own. One said she was angry… I was just unfortunately in the way when she called me a “whitey.” I let it go because I knew there would be a scene. It was at the Y swim class and we were all having a pleasant discussion. We just don’t know what set her off. Nothing mean or provocative was said. I think the whole country is tense right now. Too many bad things going in what I feel is a leaderless country.??

  29. Josh U A says:

    If you show your ID to register to vote, why can’t you show that same ID to vote?

    • nygiant1952 says:

      “Voter ID laws deprive many voters of their right to vote, reduce participation, and stand in direct opposition to our country’s trend of including more Americans in the democratic process. Many Americans do not have one of the forms of identification states acceptable for voting. These voters are disproportionately low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Such voters more frequently have difficulty obtaining ID, because they cannot afford or cannot obtain the underlying documents that are a prerequisite to obtaining government-issued photo ID card.”

      • Judy Scarlata says:

        Smart observation, Josh! I agree with you. the solution is so simple! If the government can try to put trillions of dollars into questionable programs that the Socialists “feel” we need, why can’t the government then provide everyone with a simple ID card for FREE that everyone can carry as a legal form of ID? This would solve the problem of identification for those who do not have drivers’ licenses or other forms of legal ID that might be needed. They don’t need to pay for it…it’ll be FREE, do that wouldn’t be an issue anymore for anyone.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Sorry, but the concept of providing an ID to vote, restricts the right to vote, pure and simple. Look at it as a Poll Tax, which is really is. The 24th Amendment to the US Constitution made a Poll Tax, illegal.

        To mention anything “Socialist” is just a diversion from the real issue…which is to restrict the vote.

    • mark harnitchek says:

      i tried to check out a library book at my very liberal university and needed an ID — not a driver’s licence or a military ID, but a student ID

      So, i agree with you … in the interest of public confidence in the electoral process — which i am not sure we have these days — i don’t think its too much to ask of citizens to produce a photo ID to vote.

      And i don’t buy that racial, ethnic minorities, and the poor can’t figure how to get a photo ID … talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

      I am off to vote in the VA elections tomorrow with photo ID in hand … just in case they ask 🙂

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Actually , you are comparing apples with oranges. Checking out a book at a university library is a process that you are attending the university, and also is one of accountability if you lose the book.

        To vote, you have already used an ID to register to vote, thus providing the accountability.

        As far as confidence in the electoral process, President Trump commissioned a group to look into voter fraud, and that group dis-banded because they could not find no voter fraud.

        This who have studied this in the past, have found about 32 cases of voter fraud in over millions of votes cast.

        Facts are, voter ID laws target the poor, and Blacks and other ethnic minorities. And raises issues of Jim Crow with the intent to restrict the vote of people you don’t want to vote.

  30. Judy Scarlata says:

    Ok, guys! My husband and I just voted at the firehouse in our small little Town of Nassau, NY, in Rensselaer County, upstate NY. You walked in and all was usual, they had NYS voters’ rights charts, how to vote stuff, etc. out, the usual stuff you see when you come in to vote. You had the choice to use your Drivers License that ID’d you and you signed on the electronic screen or you could just sign in on the regular rolls. We chose the machine… interesting and high tech and quick! Fascinating! Now don’t tell me that the Town of Nassau was breaking some kind of voting law in NYS by using that handy dandy machine, when no doubt many other municipalities are using it, too! So, was it a poll tax being levied? We’re my rights being violated? I didn’t feel so and I don’t believe any of the other voters there using their drivers licenses and that machine felt that way either! I am sick of people making excuses for those that don’t have ID cards! Find someone to take you to get a legal ID and use it. I am sick to death of excuses like poll taxes, etc. For that matter, maybe a driver’s license could be considered a poll tax! Go look up how our rights are being violated by this proposed trillion dollar “Build BackBetter” scheme that the radicals are trying to push thru Congress! We won’t have any rights left if that radical group gets their way. Maybe they could give everyone an ID free that doesn’t have one so we could all be equal. Then we could ALL vote!
    YAY!! No reason not to. Pick your Battles!

    • nygiant1952 says:

      A few things,

      1. You acknowledge that you can still sign the rolls…which means that you showed ID when you registered to vote.

      2.With all the complaining about Dominica, I am surprised that anyone would want to use a new-fangled , handy-dandy voting machine.

      3. I know how you feel. I am sick and tired about hearing how the election was stolen, when it has been proven that it was the most fair and legitimate election ever!

      4. Build Back Better helps the middle class. https://www.whitehouse.gov/build-back-better/

      What’s wrong with affordable housing? post-high school education? Strengthening the ACA, and decreasing premiums?

      6.Let’s try and keep on the topic at hand….slavery and the Civil War.

    • mark harnitchek says:

      just voted volunteered in the VA state elections — Gov, Lt. Gov. AG and Reps … ID was required which i happily showed … and to Mr.Giant’s point about disenfranchised minorities, there were literally hundreds of African Americans, Asians and Hispanics with their own ID cards … imagine that.

  31. Judy Scarlata says:

    But didn’t you realize? The Civil War is still being fought!

    And if you believe those things that you just wrote, then I feel sorry for you.
    You are assuming things about me that might not be true and I resent that.

    Affordable housing…..we had that before…ever hear of Johnson’s Great Society? What happened to that one? You give people FREE things (like free housing) and they don’t care about them because they have no investment in them. When people work for something, they are invested, they take care of things a lot better when they OWN them, when they pay taxes on them. They have PRIDE. You EARN pride, it’s not something the government gives out for free and all of a sudden you’re “proud.” ……Ooops, I’m digressing!

    And yes, lets keep talking about the Civil War and Slavery.
    We may just yet solve the problems that have never been solved before now and since that war by much greater minds than ours.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      A few more points,
      1. The topic of this thread is “What was so wrong with slavery.” You keep changing the subject, talking about voting rights, and socialism.

      2. The Civil War ended when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, on April 9, 1865, for all practicable matters.

      3.I can only respond to what you write.

      4. Affordable housing just might decrease the number of homeless people in this country.

      5. As far as the Great Society is concerned…
      a. Social insurance, worker protections, and aid to small farmers, small businesses, and electricity cooperatives, helped spread the benefits of economic growth beyond the financial elite.
      b. The infant mortality rate decreased.
      c, reduced poverty by reforming healthcare, environmental, immigration, and education policies. … The differences between the New Frontier and the Great Society were the decreases in poverty and the increase in the standard of living for all Americans.
      d. The two most significant programs of the Great Society was Medicare and Medicaid.

      Now, if you want to continue, perhaps you an address the Civil War, and the continued attempts to restrict the voting rights of minorities.

  32. Judy Scarlata says:

    Well, go right ahead and accuse me of wanting to deprive others of the right to vote. Hope you sleep well at night accusing others of things that you ASSUME to be true. This IS a discussion, isn’t it? And our discussion is an outgrowth of theCivil War and slavery. No one, not even this many
    Years after the war, can deny that all of the items you accuse others of not wanting people to have, like voting rights and housing, etc. are not still items that are outgrowths of the Civil War. That’s why they still ARE items. War never settled anything and the issues just change form or go underground until they surface again later begging to be resolved. Thus the problems we still deal with.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      No one is accusing you of wanting to deprive others of the right to vote. All we are doing is presenting the facts as to why a picture iD is not necessary to vote.

      I voted today and just have to sign a book where they had a copy of my signature. No ID presented. No ID asked for.

      The housing problems today is an out growth of home prices that are increasing at twice the rate of wage growth.

      • Judy Scarlata says:

        You are a tough customer, you really should run for Congress, Giant. I can see you and Ted Cruz debating one another, now. We’ll, I’ve had enough for one day. I know you enjoy picking on me. Try going after one of the other ones sometime, ok, and please give me a break. I can’t make any comments without being attacked by you, that’s how I feel and I am tired of it.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Yea, I could take Cruz in a debate, as long as we discuss the facts and not make believe facts.

        NO, I’m not picking on you. It’s the opposite, I am just helping everyone understand that just because one disagrees it isn’t because of Socialism.

  33. This post is back in the Top 10 once again!!!!

  34. Judith K. Scarlata says:

    I don’t think Mark got the memo about this being a discussion site about the Civil War and Slavery.
    Did you get that one now Mark? We must not digress!

  35. mark harnitchek says:

    thanks Judy … i just reviewed that guidance from El Supremo … i read and obey 🙂

  36. nygiant1952 says:

    Evidently, the US is still dealing with slavery and its after-effects. And since this thread has turned into a rant about voting and Socialism, showing an ID has become a topic, even though the Government officials stated this was the most secure election in US history.

  37. Judy Scarlata says:

    I stopped believing the government a long time ago for a lot of things…. Around the time of Vietnam, I believe. I was in high school and college during Vietnam and that was a pretty lying time on the part of our leaders, I remember. I don’t believe most of what is said now, esp. with what went on during the 2020 election. Too much sleaziness, too much stuff that was going on that I believe was “hushed up.” I’m not a conspiracy theorist but when you’ve seen sneakiness before, you probably are quite likely to see it again. Being a Baby Boomer, I’ve seen it lots before and no doubt will see it again. I think they call it “politics” and very few who get down in its mud are able to truly get totally clean again… with some very few exceptions! Maybe Abraham Lincoln comes to mind.

  38. Pingback: Book Review: Slavery: Interpreting American History | Emerging Civil War

  39. If you have no problem with war, you have no problem with slavery.

    Slavery itself is an invitation to war. Keep it in your brain.

  40. nygiant1952 says:

    Nice to see that this thread is still popular with members of the Emerging Civil War!

  41. Henry Fleming says:

    Read the story of his life of slavery and escape by William Wells Brown. Read Henry Box Brown’s brief story of slavery and escape. You cannot think positively about how Americans treated slaves after that. The horrors are too much to describe in this website. Horrible horrible things. By Americans.

  42. Judith K Scarlata says:

    It’s so very hard to veer away from this topic. It is so human and compelling in all of its aspects.
    I keep imaging myself, as a strong white female of the 21st century, becoming a female black slave of the 19th century, having to be at the sexual beck and call of “The Massa.” That is so scary and inhumane to me. I would be producing children that would never have the same rights as his white children, then they would become slaves themselves. This treatment of the black woman slave alone is so disgusting and degenerate in all of its aspects and horrific to even contemplate by our modern free society. These “people ” called themselves “Christians?” What branch of so-called “Christianity” were they affiliated with?

  43. Joe Ryan says:

    The challenge with explaining to adults, much less children, the History of slavery in the United Statesto adults, is that it is not explained objectively; it is explained to satisfy the listener’s emotional connection to it. The consequence the truth of it is lost, intentionally hidden, in the telling.

    For example, we are told here that slavery was the cause of the Civil War, when the objective reality is, it was caused by the presence of 4 million Africans bottled up in the Southern states. The whole white people of the United States, after seventy years living in the Union could not find the moral courage to live with the Africans as citizens in their political communities: the white people of the Northern states, through their domestic laws, blocked the migration of Africans into their communities, those Africans that slipped in, found themselves living “free” but not as citizens, and living on the fringes of the cities and the towns. The white people of the Southern states recognized that their counterparts in the North meant to use their swelling political power (German and Irish immigrants) to keep the Africans bottled up in the South, which meant (read Malthus) the Africans, in half or more of the States, would be the majority political power if they became citizens; and, the New Englanders screaming “freedom,” once it happened the natural order of human conduct would produce a war between the races for political control of government. This is the plain, simple objective truth of the matter: One must have an intelligent grasp of Economics, political science, and the history of the human race from the beginning of recorded time to 1789. A college educated audience might understand it, An ignorant audience, not.

    “Slaves provided the economic wealth of the South.” No kidding. The reason the Spanish monarchs seized upon the policy of transporting Africans from Africa to “America” (the New World in its entirity) was a pure matter of Economics, a matter of a labor system to reap the wealth of the new world for the benefit of the Spanish which then was the world power of the time. Fast forward to 1789 and you have hardly 200,000 Africans living in “The United States.” In the first Congress (1790) the proposal was raised that the Africans be emancipated by Government compensating the owners. South Carolina, then having a majority of its residents Africans, said, No. that civil war would be the result. But the deeper reason was simply, doing so, would leave the labor system in chaos, as it was to be from 1865-1870. This, because the Africans being “free,” they were free to move themselves elsewhere, leaving no one, there being no Germans or Irish laborers available, to maintain the economic system. The disaster would be as it was in 1865. So, surprise, the paramount principle of human nature–self-preservation–operated for seventy years to maintain the status quo, the whole white people of the Union being unable, unwilling, to accept the Africans into their communities.

    “Slavery was very cruel to most black slaves.” Silliness here. No, most black slaves had skills, intelligence, trades, arts the labor system needed, farm hands operated as skilled laborers in specialized teams. The owners of their labor, as a group, recognized the value of their laborers and treated them with fairness and concern and did not make a habit of treating they cruelly, as doing so would only result in the entire plantation going up in flames, cooperation ending, crops going to waste. Get over the myth.

    “Slaves were forbidden to read or write.” Not exactly so. State laws prohibited “teachers” from the North coming into the state to teach Africans, but these laws did not prohibit the African’s master from teaching her to read and write. Mary Custis Lee, for example, taught her house servants to read and write. Field hands, being distant and engaged in work in the fields, were on the whole not beneficiaries of this custom.

    “[F]reed slaves were supposed to move out of the state.” Not exactly so. State laws did require this, but with the qualification that the white people of the county in which the freed African resided, could petition the Legislature for exemption, on the basis the African was known to be a good person that the white people respected, and these petitions were routinely granted. An example is “Nancy and her children” which R.E. Lee inherited from his mother and who appear to have been freed and remained in Virginia.

    “Free Blacks were hated.” Silliness. Freed blacks established communities in Virginia, as well as other states, and were recognized members of the rural county communities in which they lived. Thousands of free Africans, along with hired-out Africans, lived in Richmond in the antebellum time, without a white mob every rampaging through their communities killing people and burning buildings down.

    “Now, Let’s look how slavery caused the civil war.” Unintelligible nonsense. Which sadly reflects the crap the kids are taught by “teachers” in school, to the extent they actually attend school seriously.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Joe, the slaves were so happy, the South needed a Fugitive Slave Law to bring any escaped slaves back to their happiness.

      • Joe Ryan says:

        Got to love objective reality. $700 billion in National debt as the result of the British Crown colonies in America establishing their independence,, the gentleman tells us; vs $245 billion to pay for WWII. So the point of the numerical calculation–assuming he’s got it right–is what?

        It shows that when this debt was paid down, in 1833, to zero, it was the year, the day, the hour, the minute for the politicians to offer a policy of emancipation and a policy of handing the freed Africans the means to get up on their feet, brush off the ciders from their elbows and knees and get in the race, like the rest of us.

        The Irish immigrants lived like slaves under English rule from 1000 AD to about 1820, a period of some seven hundred years. They were denied. access to their religion, to schools, to ownership of land, to civil rights. They were hanged, butchered, slaughtered, and finally expelled from their country. Coming to America they filled the cities, in slums, and competed with the Africans for the privilege of earning a dollar a day, if they were lucky, digging ditches. But, within a generation, they were up on their feet and in the race.

        Who knows what the gentleman’s point is, about the Fugitive Slave Clause. The Union, which is all that counts in the real world of men, could never have been formed, in 1789, without the supreme law recognizing the institution of slavery was not in the power of congress to abolish, without the consent of three fourths of the states concurring. When the white people (read English people) of the States, and each of them, ratified the constitution, making it their Union, they agreed that, if property of a person in one state ran into another State, that State was constitutionally bound to return the property to its owner. Don’t like reality? Prefer romance and fantasy. your choice.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        1. Check your numbers first.

        2. Mentioning the Irish is just a diversion from the reality of slavery.

        3. The original Constitution was a racist document to protect slavery where it existed, and the 3/5ths Clause affected all 3 branches of the Government. I just wonder if the saves were so content on the plantation as you infer, why woujld they leave? And why have a Fugitive Slave Law if they were content?

    • Judy Scarlata says:

      I think you left NY Giant practically speechless, Joe! The only fact he “ rebuts” you with are “numbers” on the National” debt. Don’t fear, however that we’re not spending enough! By the time this President is out of office, we’ll have a debt whole so deep we’ll be able to hand our debt checks personally to the Chinese!

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Judy, when the numbers are wrong, I can’t accept the rest of the comment.

        Please try and keep you comments to the American Civil War like I have.

    • Henry Fleming says:

      This is long and with no apology for that as it is a fitting response to the allegation that slavery was cruel to most black slaves is silliness. . Second, anyone who says, ““Slavery was very cruel to most black slaves.” Silliness here.” is going to minimize what I have to say, possibly trivialize my character (big deal), and minimize the matter in general. If you can brush off cruelty to hundreds of thousands.

      The full quote that I find wrong is ““Slavery was very cruel to most black slaves.” Silliness here. No, most black slaves had skills, intelligence, trades, arts the labor system needed, farm hands operated as skilled laborers in specialized teams. The owners of their labor, as a group, recognized the value of their laborers and treated them with fairness and concern and did not make a habit of treating they cruelly.” It appears his point is, the slaves would burn down the farm if cruelly dealt with, mutually beneficial, slaves needed owners, owners needed slaves, blah blah blah.

      I base this response upon the book, “The Great Escapes, Four Slave Narratives” a Barnes & Noble Classic. It contains, “Narrative of Henry Box Brown, who escaped from slavery enclosed in a box 3 feet long and 2 wide.”

      “On one occasion, while waiting for our grain, we entered a house in the neighborhood, and while resting ourselves there, we saw a number of forlorn-looking beings pass the door, and as they passed, we noticed that they turned and gazed earnestly on us. Afterwards about fifty performed the same act, which excited our minds somewhat, as we overheard some of them say, “Look there, and see those two colored men with shoes, vests and hats on,” and we determined to obtain an interview with them. Accordingly,…we followed these abject beings to their quarters; – and such a sight we had never witnessed before, as we had always lived on our master’s plantation, and this was about the first of our journeys to the mill…The one who gave us the information, said they had wives, but were obliged to marry on their own plantation. Master would not allow them to go away from home to marry, consequently he said they were all related to each other, and master made them marry, whether related or not.”

      “we became acquainted with a colored man from another part of the country;…he complained much of his hard fate…He said he was expecting to have some money in a few days, which would be “the first he ever had in his life.” He had sent a thousand hickory nuts to market, for which he afterwards informed us he had received thirty-six cents….This was the sum total of all the money he had ever been the possessor of! The whole of this man’s earnings had been robbed from him during his entire life, except simply his coarse food and miserable clothing, the whole expense of which, for a plantation slave, does not exceed twenty dollars a year. This is one reason why I think every slaveholder will go to hell; for the Bible teaches me that no thief shall enter heaven; and I know every slaveholder is a thief; and I rather think you would all be of my opinion if you had ever been a slave.”

      “If there is one thing which operates as an impetus to the slave in his toilsome labors and buoys him up, under all the hardships of his severe lot, it is the hope of future freedom…How often this hope is destined to fade away, as the early dew before the rising sun! Not unseldom, does the slave labor intensely to obtain the means to purchase his freedom, and after having paid the required sum, is still held a slave, while the master retains the money! This very often transpires under the slave system. A good many slaves have in this way paid for themselves several times, and not received their freedom then!”

      The same book contains these entries from escapee William Wells Brown narrative:

      “It is not uncommon in St. Louis to pass by an auction-stand, and behold a woman upon the auction-block, and hear the seller crying out, “How much is offered for this woman? She is a good cook, good washer, a good obedient servant. She has got religion!” Why should this man tell the purchasers that she has religion? I answer, because in Missouri, and as far as I have any knowledge of slavery in the other states, the religious teaching consists in teaching the slave that he must never strike a white man; that God made him for a slave; and that, when whipped, he must not find fault – for the Bible says, “He that knoweth his master’s will and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes!”


      “I was hired out [in St. Louis] to Major Freeland, who kept a public house. He was formerly from Virginia, and was a horse-racer, cock-fighter, gambler, and withal an inveterate drunkard…In fits of anger he would take up a chair, and throw it at a servant; and in his more rational moments, when he wished to chastise one, he would tie them up in the smoke-house, and whip them; after which, he would cause a fire to be made of tobacco stems, and smoke them. This he called “Virginia play.””

      There are much worse descriptions I dasn’t include. I couldn’t find the page to quote where he came upon a group of slaves, and they asked him how many times he had been whipped. When he replied none, they said he would never be a good slave til he had been whipped.

      This book has four different narratives from different parts of the south and the murders, the cruel deaths, torn family bonds, crying mothers, sisters, daughters, brothers, who know they will never, never, see their loved one again, the overall walking on eggshells every step you took as a slave, runs through them all. Anything but silliness.

      So feel free to minimize and trivialize me and my little post. Back up your statement with some Keynes or other expert who wasn’t there then. But i challenge all to read one of the four narratives from the book I just quoted; and I double dog dare Joe Ryan to read the full book and post a review of the book if you feel the statement that slavery was cruelty to slaves is silliness.

  44. Joe ryan says:

    Can’t live with em, can’t live without them: A conundrum. At the time the American Union was formed, in 1789, the Federal Government had as much war debt as it did after WWII. This economic fact made it hardly possible that the politicians in Congress could agree on a plan of emancipation based on compensation, in some degree, to the owners of the labor of the 200,000 Africans then residing in the States. But, by 1833, the national debt was paid down to zero, and the Federal Government was handing the surplus back to the States. This was the time, the year, the day, the hour, that the politicians might have faced the conundrum, wrestled with it, and provided a policy to resolve it.

    The policy is obvious: Some compensation must be provided to the labor owners, because, without question, their political communities will be financially devastated if not; and this fact will have a ripple effect of serious national consequences as creditors go unpaid; read New England money kings. think of it as a Marshall Plan.

    Second, emancipation necessarily means that the Africans are free now to migrate whether they please within the Union and its territories, How are they to live, work, earn a living, maintain themselves without the eternal need to be supported with checks from Government? The politicians, in addition to the Marshall Plan for the affected States, must provide a policy, such as a Homestead Act, which gives the Africans the opportunity to obtain title to a plot of land, with an initial contribution of farm animals and implements, and now they are one their own. The same must, in some measure, be provided to the city dwellers, the day laborers who now must compete with the destitute Irish to unload this ship’s cargo, or dig this ditch, or pave this road with cobblestones. And what happens when economic activity is slow, when there are no roads to pave?

    Two simple, ordinary economic policies easy to implement in the abstract. BUT, having passed these acts, established these policies, in 1833, what is the result in the real world of men, in terms of political control of the government of the communities in which the Africans, have been dispersed to, across the breath of the country? Being “”free,” the Africans must necessarily be “citizens” and as such have the right to vote.

    At the same time, pouring into the country are millions of Germans, most heading for the same countryside of farms, and the Irish, in lesser numbers but still millions, pouring into the cities, as illiterate laborers. So, now, we have economic competition between Africans and newly arrived Europeans, with the two groups having to live in close proximity with the other, and the two groups have completely different historical roots and social backgrounds. And, of course, the one group does not want, for plain reasons of natural human prejudice, to mix tribes, to work side by side singing songs, to dance together in the pubs at night, to marry their daughters. Look at the demographic maps of our cities today, and what to you find in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Boston? You find the cities occupied by the descendants of the dispersed Africans, with the “white” people now occupying the surrounding country, the descendants of the immigrant Irish and Germans, who got themselves educated and up and in the race, and the Africans did not. How is that?

    It becomes purely a matter of the evolution of the human race. Of thousands of years of separate development, one group, for whatever reason, gaining economic and political supremacy over the other; the other dragging behind the other’s upward mobility because of geography, climate, technology, education; and here we are today, in 2022, with millions of Americans of African descent having gained an education, a college degree, got a good job, a home, a family, raising good kids who will gain yet a better education, people nobody cares what the color of their skin is anymore. But, then, there is the lower backward, left behind class of such Americans: the tigers of the race, who live off government checks, live in squalor of their own choosing, who shun the idea of obtaining a college degree, of working at a job that produces a steady income, or caring what happens to their children who, in turn, are committing 90% of all violent crime in America, and who represent some 80% of persons sitting in the cells.

    Will the cycle ever be broken? The Black politicians and “professional” teachers still whine and claim the cycle will be broken, if only Government just cuts bigger checks, just keep throwing money at the social cancer eating the nation to death, and Behold! the losers will become winners, the fatherless babies will stop arriving, the mothers and fathers will start raising kids like the rest of us do, the kids will stop being tigers eating each other in the jungle. Good luck with that pipe dream becoming the reality any time soon.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Joe, you are a bit off in your numbers.
      In 1787, the National debt was $75 million. That translates to a best of $700 billion in 1945.

      In 1945, the National Debt was $241.86 Billion.

      • Joe Ryan says:

        The gentleman tells us that “The original Constitution was a racist document to protect slavery where it existed.” Gotta love the simple syntax of the fellow’s sentence.

        Of course the original constitution was a “racist” document to protect slavery where it existed. The descendants of the English people who established the political communities above the Mason Dixon Line did not want to live with Africans, period. Africans to them were aliens, a different race of humans who were, to them, very weird people, in custom, religion, intelligence, morals, the color of skin was at the bottom of the list. So, wanting “Union” as security against foreign powers more than they wanted “freedom” for the aliens, they signed on to the “racist” document, because they were racists. Of course, the people below the Mason Dixon Line did not want to live with Africans, for the same reasons, as citizens in their communities; especially since the policy of the English monarchs that saddled them with a labor force of aliens they now had no means of replacing without their whole world crashing down. How easy it is to sit on your high horse and smirch back at their struggles to evolve in a time you have no comprehension of.

        And did this attitude of theirs, as a “white” people living in above the Mason Dixon Line change during the seventy years run up to the war–the white people of the North, I mean? How many adults, much less kids, know that, on March 4, 1861, at his inauguration, Lincoln endorsed the Republican-controlled Congress’s resolution, passed on March 3, 1861, to amend the “racist” document to make slavery perpetual in the Union? How many know that Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, and Illinois ratified the proposed amendment, before the nature of the war forced the Federal Government to adopt the policy of ipso facto recognizing Africans in the seceded states as “forever free” at the Government’s perpetual expense?

        It was the six hundred thousand young Americans, who answered their elders’ call to duty, and sacrificed their lives in the fire of the war that changed the constitution from the “racist” document it was, to a supreme law that commands Government must treat all its citizens equally under its laws. A call to a duty, many of my generation refused to answer in the time of Nam, a time I doubt the gentleman was here to experience. And the nation now, led by the Black politicians, egging on the kids, spits on half of their graves.

        And, now with the harbinger of “Bruce’s Beach” we have a political party in control of Government poised to transfer billions of public wealth to a special class of Americans in violation of that supreme law those young Americans gave us through their sacrifice. Pitiful. See https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/1scp27qgez0884qvcmkcq/bruce-beach-story.docx-rev.docx?dl=0&rlkey=qmcyc3jb25fhqk8lqarjwopa1

        As for the gentleman’s hanging his case on the Fugitive Slave Clause of the Constitution, the great mass of Africans held as slaves in the South stayed in the South and lived better, more productive, happy lives than the mass of my ancestors, whoever they were, that lived under the whip of Englishmen. Africans who had the urge passed, in small numbers, through the Northern states and camped in Canada and upper New York State, living no better than before, while many Africans freed as groups by their masters established communities, supported by the masters’ wealth, in several rural counties on the Michigan/Ohio Border and near the Ohio River. But, whenever Africans became a visible presence, as a block of people, in New York City, or Philadelphia, or Cincinnati, the whites broke their communities up, rampaging through them burning the buildings down and killing people. This the mass was aware of, and thought it better to live where they were rather than fly to a worse place.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        1. I know I’ve won the debate when one disparages the the mechanics of a sentence.

        2. Your 2nd paragraph is a-historical. The North signed the document in exchange for the guarantee that slavery would not exist in the Northwest Territories.Plus that compromise had to be accepted in order to form the United States.

        3. More fake history. Lincoln would do anything to preserve the Union as stated in his Oath of Office. Plus, 3/4 of the states had to pass that Amendment…not just 4 or 5. I thought you knew that already?

        4.More fake history. It is now estimated that 730,000 lives were sacrificed to preserve the Union. You are not keeping up with modern scholarship! Plus the civil War was fought to preserve the Union. Mentioning Viet Nam is just a diversion from the issue at hand.

        5. This threads about the Civil War…your comment is a noter diversion.

        6. More fake history. Slave families were broken apart and sold to the highest bidder Anyone who says that living in bondage with no rights is better than being a citizen lacks an understanding of American History.

        Quite a bot of fake history there!

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Joe, since you can’t refute my numbers, Thanks for the validation!

  45. Judy Scarlata says:

    Here we have two debating “professors” with their “facts, damnable facts” about the Civil War. It’s all been debated endlessly, gentlemen. All been done before by minds far more brilliant than ours/yours.
    The fact is is that our Constitution was conceived by the brightest minds of its day. They wanted something better and knew there was something better. And so they set to task creating what would become the American Constitution, a document whose purpose was to give men freedom and not be subject to the whims of tyrants, nobles and nonsensical laws. Our forefathers knew it wasn’t perfect and in their hearts, they knew slavery was wrong. Thus the Bill of Rights came along so that amendments could be added in an orderly and legal way by the people. Unfortunately, slavery became such a hot issue that a war broke out in order to solve the question. And it was “solved,”technically by the 13th Amendment, but you cannot legislate morality nor can you legislate what people feel. Only living and accepting does this. Trying to understand where each group is coming from. But not giving in to unreasonable demands from any one group because of skin color. No one owes anyone anything in this country. There is no more slavery. If you want to reap the fruits of what 750,000 people died for, including people of all races that fought for freedom in the Civil War, get with the program, take education seriously, get a good job….And join the AMERICAN race.

  46. nygiant1952 says:

    Joe, you just might want to read Article 4 Section 2 of the US Constitution.

    Clause 3. No person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

    So, the Founding Fathers inserted a Fugitive Slave Clause in the US Constitution, to make sure that the North was aware that they had to return to the slave masters, their property.

    More evidence that the US Constitution was a racist document.

    • Taylor says:

      I realize that Article 4 Section 2 was used mainly against blacks, but I understood it to also include such persons as apprentices and indentured servants, who I thought were mostly white.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Hi Taylor,
        It is my impression that by 1675 slavery was well established in the American colonies, and by 1700 slaves had almost entirely replaced indentured servants.

      • Taylor says:

        “…by 1700 slaves had almost entirely replaced indentured servants.”
        I have not researched this, and it is stated by some sources that landowners turned more to the use of slaves in place of indentured servants after Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676-77, so indentured servitude would have declined because of that. However, I thought indentured servitude continued to a significant extent after Bacon’s Rebellion up to at least the time of the American Revolution, and to some degree well into the 1800’s, although perhaps mostly in the Northern states.
        As well, apprenticeships continued to be used, although progressive laws passed over the decades modified those arrangements..

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Taylor, I was under the impression that Indentured servants had a contact with the employer for length of service. Indentured servants weren’t considered property , as opposed to slaves. And I believe that indentured servants had some redress in the court system.

        There are probably some other differences too.

      • Karen Connair says:

        My ancestor came over from Germany to Pennsylvania about 1775 and he was a white indentured servant. So we can assume they were still around during the Revolution. He was freed, but I am not sure what year as I have no further record of him until the late 1780s when he is married with a family in Maryland. I would think most indentured servants would be used more in the Northern states, in cities as well as rural areas. When I took a tour of a former plantation house near Baltimore I was told that white indentured servants were not treated much better than the black slaves, at least on that estate.

      • Taylor says:

        Giant, you are correct in saying that Indentured servants had a contact with the employer for length of service. The conditions under which they served out their contracts in some cases may have been bad, but they were not slaves. My original point was that I understood Article 4 Section 2 applied to white indentured servants and apprentices as well as to black slaves. I am not saying that the provision was not used mostly against enslaved blacks. I have no doubt it was.
        Of course, even though indentured servants or apprentices may at law have had access to the court system does not mean that they had the knowledge, ability, opportunity or means to do that. Some did apparently, but I expect that others (who survived their term; certainly some indentured servants did not) just either ran away or put up with their condition until their term ended.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        By the beginning of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, only 2 to 3 percent of the colonial labor force was composed of indentured servants. We aren’t talking about a great number of people when compared to slaves.

      • Taylor says:

        Two to three percent according to Thomas Purvis’ “Revolutionary America 1763 to 1800″ as cited by Wikipedia. I will assume Purvis’ numbers regarding indentured servants are correct. Three percent of the colonial labor force in 1775 would still amount to a significant number of people, especially if, in comparison as I see from one figure found on line, the slave population of the thirteen colonies in 1776 was 67,443.

        However, apprenticeship was (and is) common. Whether Article 4 Section 2 was actually used to return many apprentices to their masters is another discussion.

        I understand your point to be that the provision was used almost entirely against slaves. I am not disputing that. Perhaps the provision was even intentionally generic and inclusive to mask its purpose. I don’t know, but my point simply was that, by its wording, the said Article and Section apparently applied to indentured servants and apprentices, as persons “held to Service or Labour,” regardless of colour or number.

    • Taylor says:

      Allow me to clarify one thing, I took the “colonial labor force” to mean all the labor force including but not limited to slaves.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        From understanding, the number 67,433 is not the number of slaves in the 13 Colonies. That number represents the number of slaves transported to the Colonies between the years 1776-1800. The Total slave population in the Unites States in 1790 was 694,207.

        One can’t compare slaves with indentured servants as the slaves had no chance of freedom while indentured servants had a contract for a specific number of years.

        Removing the number of slaves makes the number of indentured servants in the colonies a much lower number.

        I can provide the references if you wish.

      • Taylor says:

        Yes. I grabbed the wrong number. Of course it was more than I quoted. Thank you for that correction. I think I need to drag myself away from my computer and give my brain a rest.
        If you omit slaves from the calculation of the total colonial labor force it does reduce the number of indentured servants using a percentage calculation. It would still be thousands however. If you include slaves in the calculation of the total colonial labor force it increases the number of indentured servants using a percentage calculation.
        I did not mean to give the impression that I was simplistically equating the position of indentured servants to that of slaves. I mostly agree with you. However, that does not change the strict wording of Article 4 Section 2.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Thank you for validating my numbers.

        While the Clause was intended for the return of slaves primarily,, the way it was written not only added indentured servants as you mention, but also includes apprentices. However, it has come down to us as the Fugitive Slave Clause. ( And another part of the US Constitution intended to keep slavery legal).

  47. nygiant1952 says:

    Good Morning Judy! How are you doing on this fine day?

    Since your comment was addressed to the “debating ‘professors””, I was hoping that you would indulge me with a response to the following points. And in the spirit of a nice discussion.

    A couple of points you made I need clarification on.

    1. The 3/5ths clause of the US Constitution insured that slavery would be protected by all 3 branches of the US Government. Slave states had more representatives in the House of Representatives, which would affect legislation, they had more votes in the Electoral College which elected the President, and in the Supreme Court, the elected President nominates the Justices. The Southern Slave states had about 10 more representatives in the House than Northern states nor early nation. That one Clause affected all 3 branches of the US Government.

    2.The Bill of Rights doesn’t protect slaves. Only the 2nd Amendment, with the right to have arms in order to have a militia affected the slaves. The militia was needed to put down any slave rebellions. Slave insurrections were the great fear of slave owners.

    3. I am confused a to what the “AMERICAN race” is. The US Census Bureau defines race as a person’s self-identification with one or more social groups. An individual can report as White, Black or African American, Asian, American Indian and Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, or some other race. Survey respondents may report multiple races.

    4. The 13th Amendment only freed the slaves. The 14th Amendment made them citizen ( birth right citizenship) and the right of due process. The 15th Amendment gave them the right to vote.

    5. I’m confused by the comment…”But not giving in to unreasonable demands from any one group because of skin color.” Is the right to due process an unreasonable demand?

    6. I’m also confused by the comment…”No one owes anyone anything in this country.” For 40 years, I paid into Social Security and into Medicare. That was an agreement between the American people and the US Government to have a safety net when one retired. I’m owed that.

    • Judith K Scarlata says:

      Let’s be friends, Giant, not adversaries. Please try to understand that these are my opinions and feelings about things. My degrees are in art education and my interests are many including the Civil War. Been to Gettysburg? I find that place so very peaceful, despite all of the death that occurred there. My husband and I go back as often as possible. For example, I try to imagine the courage it took Chamberlain and his troops charging down that hill into the troops from Alabama and Texas and Pickett’s men spread over an open mile of field going for the copse of trees knowing that many of them will be killed. I’m interested in the humanity, what does it take for soldiers to perform these kinds of actions in the face of certain death? The ” American Race” is a euphemism for ALL of us together. We all live here in this country and the problem is, we’ve been divided by what happened in the past. ALL of came from somewhere else…that’s part of who we are. We should leave the past there and stop let it keep influencing our current life like it does. The Civil War divided our country and left a lot of psychological wounds that continue to this day. Lincoln wanted us to bind up the wounds, but I don’t think he was thinking that this far down the road, the wounds would still be festering and causing problems. Memories are long and they die hard, that’s what we need to work on.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Judy, we all welcome your comments!!

        The Civil War divided this country. The Democrat Party was split into 2 parties, each with their own Presidential candidates. The Baptist Church was split into 2, and is still split! And house-holds were split.

  48. Joe Ryan says:

    The 1790 census, estimates revised, indicate that, in that year, the total population of Virginia was about 747,000, of which 292,000 were African slaves.

    In that year the total population of South Carolina was 249,000 of which 107,000 were African slaves.

    In that year, the total population of Massachusetts was 374,000 of which 5,400 were African slaves.

    Of the approximate 700,000 African slaves residing in the Union formed in 1789, approximately 650,000 resided in the States of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia, with some in the territories of Florida, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.

    So, sit at the table, pro and con, and define the political agreement that solves the problem of unacceptable density of Africans where they are, vs. the proposal to emancipate the lot by constitutional amendment in 1790. Tell us the terms of the political agreement you think objectively reasonable English people, actually living in 1790, would have accepted as the obvious solution to the problem of oil not mixing with water in 1790.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Joe, Northern states didn’t push too hard on slavery issues. Their main goal was to secure a new government. They feared antagonizing the South. Most of them saw slavery as a dying institution with no economic future.

      There were 4 great compromises made during the Constitutional Convention.

      1.The Great Compromise…..we end up with a bicameral legislature, one part where representation is based on population and one where each state is equal.

      2.Electoral College…electors are to be chosen by the states.

      3. 3/5ths Compromise….This resulted because states didn’t know how many electors to assign which led to the controversial ? compromise that counted black slaves as three-fifths of a person.
      The United States used this compromise to determine the number of representatives and electors to assign as well as the amount of federal taxes.

      4. Compromise on the importation of slaves….en states had already outlawed the slave trade but three states- Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina- threatened to leave the convention if the slave trade was banned. A special committee was created and decided that Congress would have the power to ban the slave trade, but not until 1800. The convention voted on the idea and decided to extend the date to 1808.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Joe, I have to dispute your numbers….The 1790 census recorded no slaves in Massachusetts

      • Joe Ryan says:

        Thanks for making the point more emphatic. So, you have no plan to offer, explaining how you, had you lived in the time, could have made slavery disappear?

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Joe, I stopped reading you comment after reading about the # of slaves in Massachusetts.

        I don’t partake of what ifs, and what never was.

        If the Founding Fathers couldn’t agree to make slavery disappear in 1787, no one could. I think the compromises were appropriate, if we were to have a Union.

    • Lee Connair says:

      Looking at the 1790 census, out of all the states, only Massachusetts and Vermont record 0 slaves. New Hampshire had 157 and there were over 900 in Rhode Island. Other Northern states had larger numbers. I don’t see where the 5,000+ number comes from for Massachusetts.

  49. Joe Ryan says:

    Please, my remarks you are certainly welcome to ignore, as they are addressed to serious students who actually think.

    For those of you who fit the bill, here’s what the founders actually had to wrestle with, in thinking through, in 1790, what to do with the Africans.

    First, is the financial matter of a sudden disappearance of wealth which is the basis of the nascent country’s credit system. The money kings of New York and New England want their loans and mortgages and promissory notes paid, and unless the slave owners receive cash in compensation for the disappearance of their capital, the country will need FDR and his New Deal quick. This seems an impossible hurtle to clear, but if the slave owners will take, say, 30 cents on the dollar the payment of which the Federal Government (Congress) will guarantee perhaps the negotiators might move on to the next matter.

    Second, The Africans being free, they are free to roam wherever they wish in the country. Some percentage of them have trades or specialized skills: e.g., tanners, blacksmiths, weavers, carpenters, farmers etc. Assuming the land owners have cash in hand, they might easily establish for these a wage system, for the farmers a form of share cropping, but still the land owner has to have cash to provide the supplies on credit, including a lot to live on. He has to pay them enough to hold them where they are, as many of the skilled laborers, knowing they have a skill employers pay for, may tend toward moving somewhere new, away from old memories.

    What percentage of the 700,000 Africans fit into this class of workers, is for the economists to say. But, a larger percentage of the whole were probably unskilled laborers, capable of using their brawn to shoulder loads, dig ditches, canals and such, being paid by private contractors, or by state agencies. Where do they live?

    What happens, as is the case in the real world of today, when a large percentage of this work force drops out, too lazy, become homeless wanderers in the countryside? Who is to foot the bill to support them? The State in which they are found? Where does the money come from? Tax the land owner?

    Third, the children must be educated, at least with knowledge of the three Rs. This, at a time, when no public elementary school system existed in the country. Each county would have to tax the landowners to fund the creation of a system. Can the parents, now on their own, afford to let their children sit in school nine months or more a year? Probably not, so education will be bare bones to say the least. The Black kids today can’t even beat the Hispanics on the AST, despite the fact the Hispanics have a language barrier, and a culture barrier and, on average, are as economically deprived as Black kids.

    Fourth, being free the Africans must necessarily be recognized as citizens of the States in which they reside, with civil rights; with some percentage of them possessing the right to vote based on some criteria.

    Finally, given the pressures, political, social, economic, the transition will plainly cause, is Massachusetts willing to take into her community a pro rata share of the 700,000 Africans, say 60,000? Find employment for them, living accommodations, health care, education? Is New York? Pennsylvania? Ultimately, this final point is the key to the solution: Each of the thirteen States (with the financial backing of the Federal Government) takes responsibility for 1/13 of the 700,000 Africans, with a similar pro rata division being applied as the western territories are developed.

    But, what if 60,000 of the 300,000 Africans residing in Virginia, in 1790, refuse to migrate to Massachusetts. They prefer to remain where they are, where their ancestors are buried, where they have roots, where they are familiar with the countryside, know their way around, where the roads go, where they have relationships? Is it to be like the Partition of 1948, where the Muslims went east and the Indians west?

    Can such a plan, the points, actually be executed, given the resources available to the Englishmen constituting the ruling class in 1790? With the National debt what it is? Can this epochal transition actually be executed? If not then, when?

  50. nygiant1952 says:

    Joe, still waiting for you to cite your source that claims Massachusetts had 5400 slaves in 1790.

    BTW, how do you like that sentence’s syntax?

  51. Joe Ryan says:

    Under point three might well be added the problem of the class of Negroes today, who can’t get up on their feet and get in the race, of the dysfunctional marital relationship. In 1790, the Africans would have came to their new state of freedom, without a tradition of the permanency of marriage, and the legal and social responsibilities that come with it. A tradition the lower class of their race in America, today, seem incapable of shedding.

    In the Africa of 1500-1800 the institution of marriage recognized that the father was responsible for his children, though the mother was not. Marriage, under Ashanti Law, was not so much a contract between the individuals directly concerned ,as one between the two groups (clans) of individuals they represented. (See, Rattray, Ashanti Law and Constitution (Negro University Press 1911)

    Sold by the tribe chief for profit, Africans found themselves on ships heading for America, and some of them, a very few of the whole, found themselves in the British Crown colonies on the continent. It became the master’s responsibility to provide the necessities of life to the children, whose parents might be separated from them at any time. As the generations came and went, over a stretch of several hundred years, the concept of a social tie between mother and father, much less between them and their progeny, had no conscious meaning to any of them. At best, because of the law of slavery as it was in Antebellum America, the social tie, to the extent it was felt to exist, was between Mother and child, because wherever the mother went as a purchased slave went her children. If she was free, they were free. If she was a slave they were slaves.

    So, in 1790, now free, the male had no feeling of obligation to support his children; they, as far as he was concerned, as a generality of expression, were the responsibility of their mother, and so he was free to go where he pleased without regard for them. How was this social attitude to be dealt with now that the Africans were free. How was suddenly a family structure supported by law, not custom or habit or social attitude, going to be imposed, so that the male was legally responsible for the well-being of his children? Otherwise, again, we must call on the landowners to pay taxes so that the State can support the mother and children with the father a ghost wandering as he wills.

    This is a legacy of slavery that still dominates the brains of a substantial number of Black persons in America today; and the Government is still cutting the checks to support the children the mothers have, the fathers being nonexistent. The worst example of this reality is the Black population of Baltimore, a city still emershed in the tradition from which it appears the poor devils cannot escape.

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