Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Slavery In The North: So Much Smaller Than In The South, So Not Immoral?

Some Northern apologist attempted a rebuttal of my post about Limbaugh's error (see previous post below).  He argued, that yes, there was slavery in the North, but it was much smaller than that of the South.  Therefore, he implied, the North was less guilty of the stain than the South.

His argument didn't really address the point of my post, that Limbaugh's assertion of Northern innocence was fundamentally erroneous.  The North did not have strong objections to slavery, did not compromise their principles to encourage the South to join the union, as Limbaugh asserted.

However, the reader's comment about the low number of slaves in the North intrigued me.  Just how low was the number?  Was it indeed so  low that it doesn't matter?  I decided to do some research, and went looking for the Census of 1800, as it was close to the Revolution of 1776.

I found that the Northern states in 1800 had 150,075 slaves (17%) compared to the South's 743,530 slaves (83%).  Yes, the weather of the Southern states was much more amenable to cotton and tobacco farming, and for economic reasons (not moral ones), the South had more slaves.  So if our study in comparative morality and awesomeness depends on slave numbers alone, the reader might have a point.  But I doubt it.  Consider:  if the Northern states have ONLY 150,075 slaves, are they under the bar at which slavery becomes immoral?  I think not.  The argument is self-serving.

Of course, the North's greatest contribution to slavery lies in its slave trading.  For every slave the Yankees sold the South, they sold 20 more to Brazil, Cuba and the West Indies.

The summary of slaves per state in the 1800 Census is below the fold.

1800 Census Slave Totals by State or Region

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