1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Did America ACTUALLY have 400 years of slavery?

Discussion in 'World History' started by caketastydelish, May 24, 2019.

  1. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish 49ers 2019

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    8,052
    Gender:
    Male
    First, I'm not a slave apologist, or a libertarian or ron paul fan or whatever.

    That said, a phrase that keeps popping up here in America (especially around black history month) is "America had 400 years of slavery". But how true is this?

    America was founded in 1776 and slavery was abolished in 1865. That's less than 100 years - not even close to 400.

    "but we mean the colonies in the geographical region that would later become America".

    Well, that's not the same as America, but I'll be generous and give it to you. The first African slaves to reach any of the British colonies didn't arrive until the year 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia. That adds up to 246 years - still well short of 400.

    In conclusion, "America had 400 years of slavery" is not actually true, but even if I'm generous with what they mean by "America" it still isn't close to true.


    I think slavery for even 1 second is wrong, let alone 250 years and I'm no CSA fan or whatever. But why do we spread lies?

    edit: I did the math and even if you go all the way back to 1492, when they started making contact with the new world period, (long before African slaves were introduced and none of that geographical area at the time would become the United States regardless) adds up to 373. Still short of 400.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    AtlantaMarty likes this.
  2. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    19,101
    I recommend you read up on the Redeemers and Reconstruction. While that statement isn't necessarily true, it isn't necessarily inaccurate.
     
  3. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish 49ers 2019

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    8,052
    Gender:
    Male
    How is it not inaccurate? Even if I'm far more generous with the statement than any reasonable person would be in the first place, it still isn't 400 years.
     
  4. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    19,101
    If you think everything was hunky-dory for the black population after 1865, and that the white elites (largely in the south but not exclusively) didn't try and use every legal, political, social, and economic tool in the book to keep the black population in a state of de facto slavery, you may need to ask for a refund on your education.
     
    Thorvald of Lym likes this.
  5. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish 49ers 2019

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    8,052
    Gender:
    Male
    I never it was "hunky dory". I said America didn't have close to 400 years of slavery. Because that's what they're actually saying.

    edit: Keep in mind this is coming from the same country who at the same time had white people (even children) in factories working 80 hours or a week or more with practically no regulations whatsoever and often literally getting their fingers chopped off.
     
    AtlantaMarty likes this.
  6. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,587
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    We still have slavery. And the population affected is, very predominantly, still black people.
     
  7. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish 49ers 2019

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    8,052
    Gender:
    Male
    How do we still have slavery?
     
  8. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,587
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    XIII Amendment:

    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
     
    Thorvald of Lym and Phrossack like this.
  9. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish 49ers 2019

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    8,052
    Gender:
    Male
    Is that really what they mean when they make the "400 years of slavery" statement? I don't think so.
     
  10. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Messages:
    45,355
    Location:
    US of A
    The first slave ship loaded with African slaves landed in Virginia in the first quarter of the 1600s. It's not the first quarter of the 2000s. Do the math. Slavery changed in the 1860s. And again in the 1960s. But it has never ended.
     
  11. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,587
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I don't really know who "they" is, nor do I speak for "them".

    But it must ought be noted: the authors of the XIII amendment thought prison labor qualified enough as a form of slavery as to classify it as an "except" to the constitutional ban on slavery.
     
  12. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish 49ers 2019

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    8,052
    Gender:
    Male
    If this is what you all think then we are done.
     
  13. red_elk

    red_elk Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    11,530
    America likely had many thousands years of slavery. USA had only about a hundred.
     
    caketastydelish likes this.
  14. Alvarez

    Alvarez History Master

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Messages:
    170
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Barreiras, Bahia, Brasil
    Well, since this is the "world history" forum, why should anyone consider America = USA in the first place? I'm still in the continent called America living here in the southern hemisphere. And here, in the American continent, black slavery was largely practiced from the 1500's to the near end of the 1800's.
     
  15. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish 49ers 2019

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    8,052
    Gender:
    Male
    That's a more reasonable answer, thank you.
     
  16. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish 49ers 2019

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    8,052
    Gender:
    Male
    Fair point. We are harsh on the Spanish for their atrocities (and rightfully so) but the Aztecs get a free pass, because "it's their culture" and they're not white.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
    AtlantaMarty likes this.
  17. Bugfatty300

    Bugfatty300 Buddha Squirrel

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,810
    Location:
    Mexico
    Who gives the Aztecs a free pass? It's just that the western hemisphere is still living in the aftermath of the industrial scale slavery of the triangle trade. It seems pretty fair that European slavery is discussed and lamented a bit more than the ritual slavery and sacrifice practiced by a long-extinct Aztec kingdom.
     
  18. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    21,839
    Location:
    Sovereign State of the Have-Nots
    People who read a little too much postcolonial theory and spend too much time on Facebook. I once encountered a guy who who insisted that the Americas were some kind of giant anarcho-communist paradise with no gender oppression, no imperialism, no slavery, no land ownership etc. until the Europeans showed up.

    Arguing with him (or even simply pointing out the facts of the matter) would have gotten me banned from the group for being a pro-genocide racist.

    I don't mean to overstate the significance of such scattered, ah, eccentric individuals however.

    What the hell are you talking about? "Generous"? it literally is the same as America, like the exact same in every way. One of the important similarities is of course the persistence of slavery before and after political independence from the UK and the ratification of the Constitution.

    Otoh there are significant differences between the prison labor era and the antebellum era. I am no fan of prison labor, obviously, but it is not really comparable to a society that reproduces itself primarily by surplus extraction under a system of chattel slavery. Take prison labor away from the US today and it would't change much. Take chattel slavery away from the antebellum South and...it looks like Radical Reconstruction. Very different scenarios.

    Incidentally, here is an excerpt from a piece by a guy who agrees that the claim (or rather, a closely related claim) taken at face value is silly:

     
  19. red_elk

    red_elk Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    11,530
    • Infraction for flaming
    The guy is even crazier than you.

    Moderator Action: Please don't flame other members. --LM
    Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2019
  20. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Messages:
    31,728
    Location:
    Scotland
    I mean, does it? What ultimately replaced slavery was a system of peonage that ensured the basic continuity of pre- and post-bellum Southern planter economy. It's not as if the South stopped producing tobacco, cotton or rice, after all. The ultimately significance of abolition wasn't liberating Southern blacks from the plantation, but providing the legal basis for their grandchildren to do so, and it's possible to imagine that if the United States had achieved a non-military resolution to the "slave question", it could have transitioned directly to peonage.

    The expansion of convict labour after the Civil War mostly served to fill those roles previously occupied by slaves that could not easily be filled by agricultural peons, such as public works and industry. There's enough continuity in how slave labour and convict labour were use that Congress' legal identification of convict labour with slavery seems less like a technicality and more like prescience. I don't know how far that continues down to the present, but it's worth consideration.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    Thorvald of Lym likes this.

Share This Page