Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 11 to 15 of 15

Thread: Slavery enabled the political principles which helped end slavery

  1. Top | #11
    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    MN, US
    Posts
    2,924
    Archived
    8,446
    Total Posts
    11,370
    Rep Power
    66
    I never suggested the concept didn't exist, or even cases on the fringes where it did exist. My claim is that the conditions for large scale slave enterprises did not exist, and it was deeply uneconomical, and falling into disuse. And I would point out that the slavery inflicted before colonialism was, as you said, entirely for non-christian prisoners of war, and was not inheritable, and thus is quite different from slavery as it existed in Roman or Colonial times.

    Since the specific example used was Jefferson and the British colonies, I pointed out that in England, the disuetude of slavery was particularly well advanced; more so than in the Catholic regions who were more exposed to the Ottoman Empire. One of the common objections that early Abolitionists used was that slavery was contrary to English law and custom, which it definitely was.

    Perhaps the OP claim is trivially correct; in that it is hard to decide that something is bad if you don't have it in the first place. But the claim seems to go deeper than that, in that the idea is that modern society cannot have come to be without slavery; a common argument among certain people these days. Given that the northern states, with little and fast ending slavery developed their economy faster than the south, and England, where there was never slavery was the first to enter the industrial revolution, gives the lie to these arguments.

    Perhaps not using slavery might have slowed the exploitation of the resources of the new world, and perhaps that, in turn would have slowed the accumulation of capital and delayed the industrial revolution (and, in turn, the ultimate replacement of the slave with the machine). However, I don't think so. Indeed, the very shortage of labor caused by not using slavery would probably have sped the coming of the industrial era, as the need for labor saving devices would have increased. Rome never had an industrial revolution, despite having everything else it needed for it, except for a shortage of labor.

  2. Top | #12
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    4,800
    Rep Power
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    I never suggested the concept didn't exist, or even cases on the fringes where it did exist.
    You claimed that it had "died out" (i.e. stopped existing) "prior to colonialism" (circa 1600) and suggested that this was because "there was because pre-colonial philosophers and legal cases had already established its inherent immorality.

    This is proven false by the fact that the second there was clear profit in it, slave trading became a booming widespread practice in England throughout the 17th and 18th centuries with its government deriving almost half its income from slave related activities and a large % of England's wealthy benefiting. The ease with which slavery practices by the English (it's government and it's merchants and wealthy) were-accelerated during colonialism shows that any temporary dip in slavery in England was just an artifact of pragmatics devoid of any principled moral and legal foundation.

    And 800,000 active slaves owned by 50,000 English households in 1833 is hardly "the fringes". And that number is 26 years after new slaves could no longer be traded and thus most slaves had died off in bondage. This suggests that in the mid 1700s, there were likely closer to 2 million active slaves living in England, with about 15% of the English households owning a slave. IOW, even as Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, owning a slave was still a common mainstream practice among the English upper class. And that doesn't include the many many more people in England who up until the 19th century profited either from the slave trade or economic activities involving slave labor.

    My claim is that the conditions for large scale slave enterprises did not exist, and it was deeply uneconomical, and falling into disuse.
    It was only fell into disuse temporarily due to pragmatics that change with time, and thus did reemerge and would still continue to do so where it was profitable, if not for its formal abolition on principled philosophical grounds, which did not occur in England or most of the world until the late 18th to early 19th centuries.

    And I would point out that the slavery inflicted before colonialism was, as you said, entirely for non-christian prisoners of war, and was not inheritable, and thus is quite different from slavery as it existed in Roman or Colonial times.
    Yeah, killing people so you can steal their resources and enslave the women and children you didn't kill (i.e., "prisoners of war") requires the same kind of dehumanization and lack of respect for persons and individuals as colonial slavery did.

    Since the specific example used was Jefferson and the British colonies, I pointed out that in England, the desuetude of slavery was particularly well advanced;
    In 1800, there were as many slaves owned by the residents of Britain as there were slaves living within the newly formed United States, about 800,000 in both cases. That isn't "well advanced desuetude by any stretch of the imagination. And you seem hung up an the irrelevant red herring of how many slaves were on large plantations in England tilling English soil. That is simply a matter of the land constraints and the types of crops. From the standpoint of whether England had rejected slavery on principle, there is no meaningful difference whether the English were having the slaves work on English soil or elsewhere, or even whether they owned the slaves or profited off of buying and selling them. It all requires the same kind of pre-Enlightenment inhumanity and failure to conceive of each person as having basic rights over their own person.

    Perhaps the OP claim is trivially correct; in that it is hard to decide that something is bad if you don't have it in the first place. But the claim seems to go deeper than that, in that the idea is that modern society cannot have come to be without slavery; a common argument among certain people these days. Given that the northern states, with little and fast ending slavery developed their economy faster than the south, and England, where there was never slavery was the first to enter the industrial revolution, gives the lie to these arguments.
    ????"England, where there was never slavery."???? Are you on crack?
    The English economy depended heavily upon slavery right up until the Industrial Revolution. They not only used millions of slaves as labor in the 17th and 18th centuries but additionally profited from buying and selling slaves to others. Both of these practices were a huge % of the British economy and constitutes free/stolen wealth that paid for much of the science, education, and technological development that allowed the Industrial Revolution to even happen. It is not a coincidence that the most accelerated period of scientific and tech progress immediately followed the two centuries of the most extensive worldwide slavery. In fact, slavery was widespread in 18th century Scotland in large part b/c most coal miners were slaves (not just African, but kids sold into slavery for life by their parents). This slave labor that existed until the end of the 18th century is who produced the "cheap" fossil fuels that enabled the Industrial Revolution, and slavery is what made it so initially cheap that it was worth mining lots of it, which in turn made it cheap to forge Iron, etc..

    The uses of coal central to the Industrial revolution were sparked by attempts to make use of a product that was "cheap", but this extremely harsh and dangerous work was only so cheap b/c slave labor was heavily used to get it both in England and in the US. Even northern states like PA used slaves for coal up through late 18th century, and when they did actually hire workers they were often former slaves who they could get on the cheap b/c of their fear and desperation. Even after the civil war, the south still used a form of slaves to fuel their industry by falsely arresting blacks and them forcing them to work in mines.

    Plus, the success of textile mills that were heavy in the north directly benefited from the cotton they got on the cheap due to the slaves that picked it. It isn't just slave owners that benefit but everyone they do business with and the people those people employ, etc..
    For example, a northern tycoon like Vanderbilt who never owned slaves still made much of his wealth due to making of business of transporting slave-picked cotton to the northern textile mills via steamboat and rail. The size of that industry and profit margins he made were directly tied to the cheap slave labor of the cotton. That

    In addition, the full role of slavery requires a much longer timescale. Industry in the northern United states was heavily funded by wealth accumulated by past slavery, and by ideas emanating from a culture of learning and scholarship made possible in part by centuries of slavery, in addition to genocidal killing and taking of other people's resources.

  3. Top | #13
    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    MN, US
    Posts
    2,924
    Archived
    8,446
    Total Posts
    11,370
    Rep Power
    66
    In 1800, there were as many slaves owned by the residents of Britain as there were slaves living within the newly formed United States, about 800,000 in both cases.
    And the relative populations? 800,000 in all of the British isles is a small amount vs the colonies. And it was me that pointed out that the land restrictions in Europe vs the new world triggered the vast growth of slavery. You are essentially stealing my argument and drawing the opposite conclusion. That's fine, but please don't be so insulting of me if you are going to just reuse my argument. If I'm so stupid, you can come up with a better argument.

    Your argument is that slavery benefits areas where there are few or no slaves more than those areas where the slaves actually are. Not entirely a bad argument, but very hard to prove or disprove. After all, if your theory is correct, then it would be impossible to find a counter example: You can dismiss the prosperity of any place with no slavery as being dependent on economic gains from slavery somewhere else. I do not dispute that the non-slave north and england benefitted from capital accumulated from slavery: see my quote above about how not having it might have slowed the accumulation of capital. However, I stand by my belief that labor shortages drive technological progress, and slavery and unfree labor inhibit it.

    The fact is that the value of slave products shrank in general proportion to the total GNP of the USA. You say that railroads made their money transporting slave goods? Well, there were vastly more miles of railroads in the North than the South, despite the South being larger in area. I doubt that all that northern rail was moving imported cotton back and forth, but was likely transporting northern goods.

    Also, you seem to be equating exploitation of cheap labor with slavery, which is not correct. I abhor exploiting the poor as much as anyone, but it is a separate problem. I more or less agree with you that people will exploit one another at the drop of a hat, in any way they can get away with. People who inconvenience themselves for the sake of their principles are rare.

    Reread my argument again: While I am guilty of making generalizations that are not entirely true, my point is that while slavery can speed up the accumulation of capital, it doesn't create it as efficiently as other economic forms. I also will never subscribe to any argument, which directly or indirectly implies that slavery was somehow necessary for civilization. Slavery was common because it made individuals rich and powerful, not because it benefited society as a whole. Nor will I believe that the rich and powerful people fostered by the system were the ones responsible for getting rid of it. Jefferson was a fluke, and a hypocrite, not a visionary, not the norm. Two things combined to destroy slavery: one is the self interest of the free workers, who were harmed by competing with slaves. That is what ended slavery in the north. The second is the machine, which the slave cannot compete with. Neither of these are the products of philosophy. Jefferson was the best that the slave aristocracy ever produced. The intellectual products of that entire class were dwarfed by what was produced by northern schools, which were largely paid for by northern taxes.

  4. Top | #14
    Formerly Joedad
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    PA USA
    Posts
    4,939
    Archived
    5,039
    Total Posts
    9,978
    Rep Power
    73
    The OP is a funny, almost conspiratorial argument. If it is true, then we can thank smallpox, diphtheria, cholera, tuberculosis, ebola, polio, bubonic plague, diabetes, cancer arthritis, anemia, gonorrhea, typhoid, syphilis, etc. for the advent of medicine. It's like saying we can never have peace without war.

    Natural selection is certainly true, that those advantageous inheritable traits are passed on, but to argue that because of smallpox we have hospitals is rather canned.

  5. Top | #15
    Elder Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Here
    Posts
    21,766
    Archived
    16,553
    Total Posts
    38,319
    Rep Power
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    The OP is a funny, almost conspiratorial argument. If it is true, then we can thank smallpox, diphtheria, cholera, tuberculosis, ebola, polio, bubonic plague, diabetes, cancer arthritis, anemia, gonorrhea, typhoid, syphilis, etc. for the advent of medicine. It's like saying we can never have peace without war.

    Natural selection is certainly true, that those advantageous inheritable traits are passed on, but to argue that because of smallpox we have hospitals is rather canned.
    We're not talking about some natural phenomena.

    We're talking about people getting rich owning other people and forcing them to labor.

    And this lasted a long time.

    But it ended when wage slavery was introduced.

    The wage slave was cheaper. You did not have to house or feed or clothe the wage slave. If the wage slave got sick or injured so what? You just got another at no additional cost.

Similar Threads

  1. Were Confederates mainly fighting to maintain slavery?
    By fromderinside in forum Political Discussions
    Replies: 61
    Last Post: 08-22-2017, 01:43 AM
  2. Replies: 56
    Last Post: 03-28-2017, 08:27 PM
  3. Islam on Slavery
    By Derec in forum Political Discussions
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: 02-03-2017, 02:56 AM
  4. Marco Rubio endorses slavery
    By ksen in forum Political Discussions
    Replies: 71
    Last Post: 07-14-2015, 04:36 AM
  5. The Three Laws of Robotics and Slavery....
    By NobleSavage in forum Morals & Principles
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 01-03-2015, 06:52 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •