Slavery is a somewhat delicate topic if someone wants to tell the truth about it. The United States would not have been the “united” states had the non-slave states stood up and said to the slave-owning states, “Buzz off; all men are created equal so we will not have any slave states in our new country.”
Inevitably the slave-states would have walked out (as they ultimately did in January 1861); the colonies would have remained the colonies of England and that would be that. Slavery ended in England around 1834-38 (without a Civil War – just think of the song “Amazing Grace” written by one of the leaders of the anti-slave movement ) and the British Empire went about its empire-ish ways right up until that skinny Gandhi sat on the railroad tracks (so to speak) to demand human rights or get hit by a train.
The “united” states (that were not to be) would become (a kind of) Canada today but there would not have been a bloody Civil War (I’m guessing here).
So you, my Facebook friend, are at the Continental Congress and the Southern colonies are saying, “We keep slavery or we walk,” what would you do?
England is a great country (in my opinion). Still, it did build an empire through war and intimidation. Would you stay as an English colony way back when in order to not have slavery in your new country? Or would you bite the bullet and go for it knowing that slavery was a great evil?
In the United States the religious excuse for slavery was that the Negro was black because he was the offspring of Ham, one of the sons of Noah who removed Noah’s blanket exposing his father’s nakedness. (Actually the better version of the story has Ham cutting off Noah’s dick after Noah got sotted one night.)
Since Ham was dark-skinned and God’s punishment was for Ham’s offspring to be the slaves of his brothers — well, you get the picture. Black people were born to be slaves. This is, of course, total bullshit but those good old religious folks needed some religious excuse for keeping slaves. (Many of you might not know this but there were some white slaves too — evidently not enough to matter.)
THE NON-NOBLE SAVAGE
Today we have movements that try to mush white people’s faces in the fact that blacks were slaves in our country; as if to say that this is the only time and place where slavery existed or to make the existence of slavery elsewhere not as rife. (One of the biggest slave owners in America was a black man.)
Historically slavery was everywhere in every time of which we know; in every tribe and civilization.
I find it funny (actually snickeringly funny) that so many of my Facebook friends will put up pictures of the American Indian (often calling such people Native Americans as if those of us born in the Americas are not “native” to it) saying something to the effect that “it was their country and the Europeans and Americans” took such a country away from them, never noting that tribes often took other tribes’ land from them as well.
These postings often refer to the whites as immigrants to the Americas as if the American Indian was always here and did not themselves migrate to the Americas.
The American Indian is often portrayed as the “noble savage,” a phrase incorrectly attributed to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This noble savage could be found wherever savages existed (savages being those primitive tribes). These tribes were innocent and pure and lived much like Adam and Eve in a garden of earthly delights. Certainly this is a total B.M.
Even a superficial reading of research books shows the American Indians to be no more peaceful or noble than any other tribes anywhere else in the world. Brutal wars were fought among amongst them and genocide, rape and slavery were not unheard of or unpracticed or rare. These things were par for the course.
(An interesting aside here: Those tribes that gave out identity based on being born to a mother of that tribe as opposed to the father did so because they were constantly being invaded and enslaved, with their men killed and the women raped. To continue their culture, the woman had to be the port of ethnic call for them regardless of who the father happened to be.)
Go to the tribes of Africa who enslaved their enemy tribesmen and raped and pillaged and also sold their hated enemies into slavery to the Europeans and Asians countries. Go to Asia and…you are beginning to get the picture, yes? — I don’t want to list every place on Earth.
Take a time-travel trip to ancient Greece and Rome. Everyone knows that the Romans had slaves aplenty. But so did Greece. Beloved Athens, the lauded “golden civilization” of true democratic ideals, was composed of 10 percent citizens and 90 percent slaves. Ouch!
Certainly slavery is an abomination and we are well rid of it. Slavery (from the word “Slav”) is still practiced in a couple of countries but it has seen the last of its days. Good riddance.
Should those whose ancestors were enslaved be given reparations for such enslavement? No. You can’t move forward if you are constantly looking backwards. The slaves of the United States had ancestors who enslaved others; the slave owners of the United States probably had relations who had been enslaved sometime in the distant past as well.
The horrors of mankind can be found in every nook and cranny of human experience.