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What this discussion can be... 
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Genius

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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
DWill wrote:
Taylor, I hope you will be part of the discussion. You seem to have a deep background in the subject. I live in the Old Dominion, Virginia, in a county that was more than half slave before the war. Tidewater planters relocated to this part of the Shenandoah Valley (I'm not entirely sure why), bringing their slaves with them.


Thanks, you compliment me, but I'm not certain I deserve to much credit as I am mostly relying on the limited material in my possession.

This past February I had a discussion with another Booktalk regular in which it was commented that slavery was written into the Constitution a statement to which I disagree with, but I'm not always certain of myself, so I've been checking it out because I wanted to be certain. That really is the crux of my interest. Those five underlined words are my focus, The problem is finding out whom the authority is as to whether those five words are the truth of the matter. The original constitution did not block slavery, in fact the way I read article one section two, Slavery was left to the states to manage. Ultimately there was a north-south divide, Its the subtleties of that divide that give us answers to the question of those five words. For me there're not easy to gloss over or wrap my arms around. I'm finding that much of it really does come down to colonial charters, both pre and post revolution, (the study of which takes large amounts of time, I'm not working on a doctoral thesis but I see the work involved if I use this topic as example) for me it suffices to think that by post revolution its too late, slavery is a cat that's out of the bag.
Among the many idea's such as ones you've proposed, cotton and tobacco and their roll in slavery we get only partial answers. For instance both commodities you mentioned were money makers, why? because of wage free labor, which was also a commodity.
Mind you, we are still not the USA, we're still colonies and as colonies we had to changed charters to comply with independence from Britain. Simultaneously the process of dehumanizing Africans had been rolling along, they were becoming chattel. In the midst of all this was changing values regarding indentured servitude and the growing mulatto demographic.
Some Georgia history: Georgia was a British buffer toward the French to the west south west, Georgia was also a buffer to the Spanish in the deep south, Louisiana and Florida respectively. The British charter for the state of Georgia prohibited slavery, post revolution the newly independent Georgia colonist changed their charter to legalize slavery. It was, in the beginning, a states rights issue, It had to be, otherwise there is no good ol USA. I see a very nasty compromise in the articles of federation, this during the supposed enlightenment. To be certain as Geo points out, there were many people who were anti-slavery but in my head their hands were tied, The repugnance of slavery was a no win. How did Geo put it? Zero Sum. I do not imagine these early authors of all our most important documents were naïve to the point that they were not aware of potential downsides, they new the hard road ahead. Ugly decisions are never easy to make. So was slavery written into the Constitution? I haven't read the remainder of Up From Slavery but at this point I don't feel strongly that I will find my answer there.



Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:30 pm
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
That may have been me you had the discussion on slavery with - that usually trips my trigger. If you take the phrase "slavery was written into the Constitution" to mean slavery was required by that document, then I agree that's not correct.
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The original constitution did not block slavery, in fact the way I read article one section two, Slavery was left to the states to manage.

As you imply, perhaps a better way of stating it is the original Constitution required slavery to be permitted. Obviously you're aware the Constitution never would have been approved otherwise. To that extent slavery was "written in" by our Founding Fathers, it unequivocally COULD NOT be banned!

I'm not gonna do a lot of research for you, but will recommend that you read Chapter 3 titled "The Silence" in Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis. It is astonishing what is enshrined in our Constitution prior to the 1st amendment! Few Americans are aware of this.

No, this book by Booker T. Washington will not answer your questions about slavery - as the title states, he is literally 8) moving onward and upward from slavery and encouraging everyone else to do the same. Americans now must also look back fearlessly in order to counteract the fairy tales we tell ourselves.



Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:58 pm
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
DWill wrote:
It's tough to be objective about slavery. The tendency is to reject any nuance in favor of blanket moral condemnation. That is the 'right" attitude, but it may get in the way of objectivity.

I don't get it, what is the "objective" stance on slavery? Are you with brother bob, who justified it all by claiming if parents were prevented from selling their children into slavery they would starve to death?

Taylor wrote:
The problem is that no matter how enlightened or benevolent the owner, there was still the crack of the whip.


Image



Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:11 pm
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
LanDroid wrote:
I'm not gonna do a lot of research for you, but will recommend that you read Chapter 3 titled "The Silence" in Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis. It is astonishing what is enshrined in our Constitution prior to the 1st amendment! Few Americans are aware of this.


Ellis in his intro tells us that "with all the advantage of hindsight and modern racial attitudes as a moral guide, the revolutionary generation decided that the risks outweighed the prospects of success; they quite self-consciously chose to defer the slavery question by placing any discussion of it out-of-bounds at both the national and federal levels."

I pulled that quote from the link you provided, I'll get the book, I wouldn't expect all my research provided but a hand out now and again is permissible and appreciated. Thanks.



Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:03 pm
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
LanDroid wrote:
perhaps a better way of stating it is the original Constitution required slavery to be permitted

LanDroid wrote:
it unequivocally COULD NOT be banned!

LanDroid wrote:
Chapter 3 titled "The Silence" in Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis.


I'm just finishing reading the Ellis book, In it Ellis makes the case for LanDroid's points quite clearly and based on this reading I am prepared to think that Landroid (Ellis) are right.

Slavery was written into the Constitution.

The Supremacy clause of article six still leaves me with some doubt, but in the case of slavery it appears to have been toothless.



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Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:44 pm
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
Taylor wrote:
LanDroid wrote:
perhaps a better way of stating it is the original Constitution required slavery to be permitted

LanDroid wrote:
it unequivocally COULD NOT be banned!

LanDroid wrote:
Chapter 3 titled "The Silence" in Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis.


I'm just finishing reading the Ellis book, In it Ellis makes the case for LanDroid's points quite clearly and based on this reading I am prepared to think that Landroid (Ellis) are right.

Slavery was written into the Constitution.

The Supremacy clause of article six still leaves me with some doubt, but in the case of slavery it appears to have been toothless.


I found this short YouTube clip to show very succinctly why there may be confusion over slavery and the Constitution. We are informed that the word slavery does not even appear anywhere in the document, slaves were simply refered to as three-fifths of a person.
Ellis here explains why the Constitution may have been deliberately vague on the subject of slavery, "The Constitution was an artfully, ambiguous document that was specifically designed to permit the Northern delegates to go back to their constituents claiming that slavery was going to be ending and the Southern delegates to go back to their constituents claiming that slavery was now safe and protected".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNnXj5NSR64



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Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:35 am
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
We've had a very good discussion on slavery and the Constitution, let's hope it continues with the rest of this book...



Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:52 pm
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
DWill wrote:
LanDroid wrote:
It's tough to be objective about slavery. The tendency is to reject any nuance in favor of blanket moral condemnation. That is the 'right" attitude, but it may get in the way of objectivity.

I don't get it, what is the "objective" stance on slavery? Are you with brother bob, who justified it all by claiming if parents were prevented from selling their children into slavery they would starve to death?

Did I say "justified" anywhere? No, I simply meant that, as our great national sin, it is difficult to bring to the subject anything but a sense of outrage, which is not usually promising for doing history. It's not about having a "stance" on slavery, but following the facts wherever they may lead.
Taylor wrote:
The problem is that no matter how enlightened or benevolent the owner, there was still the crack of the whip.

If the owner was benevolent, presumably he wouldn't be cracking the whip at all.



Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:53 am
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
DWill wrote:
If the owner was benevolent, presumably he wouldn't be cracking the whip at all.


Agreed.

There is a contradiction in thinking or equating that the ownership of people and the altruism of benevolence are compatible . Stampp in "the Peculiar Institution" repeatedly makes the same point. The presumption was on the part of the owners, not with us in the here and now.



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Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:47 am
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
I'd like to reread that book by Stampp. Well, there are a lot of books I say that about, but...

I believe slavery is one historical practice of the U.S that pretty much everyone today labels as an unmitigated evil. That's fine and all, but it might be good to appreciate just how cost-free and easy that attitude is for us. We think, "Surely these people could have and should have done something about this horror, I certainly would have"--forgetting that there could have been no "I" in those times. There are evils that insinuate themselves into contemporary lives that we aren't as good at recognizing, much less doing anything about. Our descendants may have harsh judgments on our blindness and selfishness.



Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:10 am
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Post Re: What this discussion can be...
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That's fine and all, but it might be good to appreciate just how cost-free and easy that attitude is for us.

Yes. Also consider any white person expressing dismay at slavery in the deep south probably would have been killed.
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Our descendants may have harsh judgments on our blindness and selfishness.

Talking to young folks, it seems clear our attitudes towards race and homosex will receive the very harsh judgement of history. Consider the treatment of Alan Turing, one of the main heroes of WWII.

What else? Probably the U.S. drone program - bombing hospitals and wedding parties hoping to kill at least one suspect terrorist. This may take quite a while, it's still too soon to view Hiroshima and Nagasaki as acts of terror.



Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:35 am
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