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> Do you ever wonder if freeing the slaves was more about breaking the back of the South's economic potential than it was about morality?

No, I never wondered that. What possible benefit would the North have gotten from ruining the South? The factories of the North, especially the textile factories, were benefiting just as much as Britain's from the agricultural production of the slave states in the South.

But yes, I have often wondered how much weight "morality" -- genuine concern for the welfare of the slaves -- really had for the so-called abolitionists compared to economic self interest. The controversy over slavery had been simmering for decades. Why did it suddenly become explosive and completely remake the US political landscape?

The Dred Scott decision. The real-world effect of that decision was to legalize slavery in all parts of the United States. Suddenly all the family farmers, sole proprietors, and self-employed artisans of the North faced the possibility of competition from slave labor. In their own communities, no less. Not just from another state. A slave plantation was more than just chain gangs of manual laborers. It was a self-contained economic unit with its own blacksmiths and other artisans. All working for (essentially) room and board. No wonder there was a political panic, destroying the Whig Part, creating the Republican Party, and splitting the Democratic party into North and South factions.

The Civil War really was "about slavery" -- but not in the way it is usually presented. It was about fear of slave labor. (Unfortunately, advances in transportation technology have made distance irrelevant and now we have been ruined by slave labor anyway...)



--
Like ancient Rome, we today are once more importing every form of exotic superstition in the hope of finding the right remedy for our sickness.
-- C. G. Jung
Richard Wilhelm: In Memoriam (1930), CW 15: pg. 60

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Lincoln asked Britain to help set up colony for freed slaves 661 Pete Vanderzwet 10-Mar-11 16:58
Re: Lincoln asked Britain to help set up colony for freed slaves 202 Aine 10-Mar-11 17:31
Re: Lincoln asked Britain to help set up colony for freed slaves 175 Pete Vanderzwet 10-Mar-11 17:42
Re: Lincoln asked Britain to help set up colony for freed slaves 195 Donna 10-Mar-11 22:13
Re: Lincoln asked Britain to help set up colony for freed slaves 211 Aine 11-Mar-11 15:03
Re: Lincoln asked Britain to help set up colony for freed slaves 467 Nolondil 12-Mar-11 00:25
Re: Lincoln asked Britain to help set up colony for freed slaves 189 Avatar 10-Mar-11 18:59


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