Did America ACTUALLY have 400 years of slavery?

Harv

Emperor
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Dec 16, 2008
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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.

Quoted, because I did not read all four pages of discussion. So I don't know if my questions have been addressed already. Sorry in advance.
What is the claim you are exploring? Do we have a source of the original statement?

I think the claim is, "America had 400 years of slavery."

Here is how I look at it right now:
By "America," we must mean North and South America. I thought slavery in North and South America started with Columbus. Based on that, I will start with the year 1500. That gives 365 years to 1865, which can round to 400.

By "Murrica," I mean the United States of America. Here in Murrica, America is always understood to mean Murrica. If a statement is being passed around in Murrica, "America had 400 years of slavery," then that will be interpreted as "Murrica had 400 years of slavery," but Murrica has not even existed for 400 years, only in colonial form.

Is the claim that the 400 years is running from 1619 to the present - and that it still exists today?
 

Alvarez

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Jul 25, 2012
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178
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Barreiras, Bahia, Brasil
Here is how I look at it right now:
By "America," we must mean North and South America. I thought slavery in North and South America started with Columbus. Based on that, I will start with the year 1500. That gives 365 years to 1865, which can round to 400.

Actually, here in Brazil slavery was legally abolished only in 1888. No proud in that. Plus, there are still a lot of cases to this day where black women have been enslaved as housekeeping maids and black men as rural or construction workers. I'm not talking about underpayment here. I'm talking about jobs without any payments at all, and often on degrading sanitary and poorly fed conditions in confinement.
 
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