The South Might have Wanted Out of Slavery

Not the whole South, certainly, but the most important state, Virginia.

Click to access historyofslaver00blak.pdf

“In the year 1772, a disposition favorable to the oppressed Africans became very generally manifest in some of the American Provinces. The house of burgesses of Virginia even presented a petition to the king, beseeching his majesty to remove all those restraints on his governors of that colony, which inhibited their assent to such laws as might check that inhuman and impolitic commerce, the slave-trade: and it is remarkable that the refusal of the British government to permit the colonists to exclude slaves from among them bylaw, was enumerated afterwards among the public reasons for separating from the mother country” (Blake 177).

England said no.

2 thoughts on “The South Might have Wanted Out of Slavery

  1. Virginia’s freedmen populatio soared over the eighteenth century as tobacco became a poorer market commodity. Virginia’s re-embrace of slavery came through the use of the slave as capital, buying insurance premiums on slaves or using them as collateral to get loans for buying new land (though it wasn’t just Virginia, but big banking/investment firms in NY, PA, and MA too). And then, by 1850s and 1860s, there were experimentations with using slaves as yeo-man farmers in a diversified local economy (perhaps the precursor to share-crop slavery) and slaves as industrial factory workers, whose master received a kind of wage-compensation for loaning the factory its property.

    Without denying the reality of racism at a local, psychological and experiential level, it existed as a social structure by its economic viability. No one wants to go there, but if usury were illegal, the whole mass-chattel slavery phenomenon would never have gotten off the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

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