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Race in America A Short But Philosophical History of Relations Between Blacks and Whites in the U. S.

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Presentation on theme: "Race in America A Short But Philosophical History of Relations Between Blacks and Whites in the U. S."— Presentation transcript:

1 Race in America A Short But Philosophical History of Relations Between Blacks and Whites in the U. S.

2 First Stage: Slavery ( ) Second Stage: Reconstruction ( ) Third Stage: Segregation ( ) Fourth Stage: The Present ( )

3 Slavery ( )

4 A Philosophical Question: Why is slavery bad? Slavery is, by definition, loss of freedom. Why is the loss of freedom bad? What’s so important about freedom?

5 Two Theories: Freedom is intrinsically valuable. Freedom is valuable because it has good consequences—people who are free have better lives. Another Possibility: Freedom is a necessary condition for having a life.

6 By 1600, slave trade to new world was well-established. Slaves were brought first to the Carribean/South American colonies of Spain and Portugal; then to North America.

7 Slave Ship — Cargo Hold Awkward fact: The crew members died too--just as often. (1997)

8 A Problem that historians face in describing life on a plantation: Do we emphasize the brutality... (and make the slaves seem like nothing but pitiful victims)

9 Slaves on a South Carolina Plantation... or the ordinariness of life on the plantation? (and make slavery seem like a benign institution)

10 How slaves managed to make lives for themselves, and sustain their own families and culture, despite their circumstances. 1974

11 1776: Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

12 1776: Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

13 “Man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect freedom and an uncontrolled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of Nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power not only to preserve his property- that is, his life, liberty, and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men...” John Locke, Second Treatise on Government (1690)

14 1776: Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

15 1776: Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” What is this?

16 He [the King] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opproprium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. —draft of the Declaration of Independence

17 He [the King] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opproprium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. —draft of the Declaration of Independence

18 He [the King] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opproprium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. —draft of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson seems to have believed the transport was especially dangerous.

19 Jefferson and Sally Hemmings?

20 1787: Constitutional Convention

21 “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

22 1790 Census Total U.S. Population: 3,929,625 (half in South) Slaves: 697,624 Free Blacks: 59, % are slaves 8% of blacks are free. But in the South, 36% are slaves.

23 1807: Importing slaves is banned.

24 A Right to Rebellion? Are people sometimes justified in rebelling against political authority? Almost all modern philosophers say yes.

25 A Right to Rebellion? “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.”

26 Slave Rebellions In 1739, in North Carolina, a revolt led by a slave called “Jemmy” results in the deaths of 25 whites. There were about 20 notable rebellions. Some examples:

27 Gabriel Prosser ( ) In 1800, Gabriel Prosser organized an assault on Richmond. Plot was betrayed by two slaves who did not want to see their masters killed.

28 1822 Ex-slave Denmark Vesey organized more than a thousand blacks in a plot to take over Charleston. The plot was betrayed and the conspirators were rounded up. 37 were hanged. The militia had to be called out to control the crowds of Vesey’s supporters.

29 1831, Virginia, Nat Turner organizes an army of followers. About 60 whites killed, including Nat’s master and his family.

30 The Amistad Incident (1839) 53 kidnapped Africans seize the ship and kill the captain Arrested in New Haven Case argued before Supreme Cout by John Quincy Adams Not guilty; all released

31 Political Compromises, No. 1 Northwest Ordinance of 1787 No slavery But fugitive slaves must be returned to their “owners”

32

33 Political Compromises, No. 2 Missouri Compromise of 1820 Shall Missouri be admitted to the Union as a slave state? Compromise: Missouri slave, Maine free; other territories specified as slave or free

34 Missouri Compromise of 1820 Shall Missouri be admitted to the Union as a slave state? Compromise: Missouri slave, Maine free

35 Political Compromises, No. 3 The Great Compromise of 1850 California admitted to Union as free state Slave trade, but not slavery, abolished in D.C. Utah and New Mexico territories open to slavery Fugitive slave act passed, requiring citizens to cooperate in apprehending runaway slaves.

36 The Compromises Collapse: The Dred Scott Case (1857) a slave is like a mule Missouri compromise (and all the other compromises) declared void: only states have the right to decide question of slavery

37 William Lloyd Garrison ( ) “The abolitionism which I advocate is as absolute as the law of God, and as unyielding as his throne. It admits of no compromise. Every slave is a stolen man; every slaveholder is a man stealer.”

38 Lewis Tappan ( ) Founded Oberlin College, open to both blacks and whites Founded the first American Anti-Slavery Society in New York in 1833 Had his house burned down in 1834 They were serious, and it was dangerous.

39 Do moral arguments matter? Philosophers like to think so. But do they make any real difference? We will return to this question later, when we come to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.

40 Did the moral arguments about slavery matter? Was slavery already on its way out, from an economic point of view? 1974 At the time of the civil war, slavery was still an economically sound system

41 Civil War ( ) Emancipation Proclamation signed January 1, 1863

42 Reconstruction ( )

43 13th Amendment abolishes slavery (1865) 14th Amendment guarantees “due process” and “equal protection” to all citizens (1868) This means that states may not violate the rights of citizens under the federal constitution. And it guarantees that former slaves will be full citizens.

44 Civil Rights Act of 1866 Makes all Blacks citizens Denies states the power to restrict their rights First time Congress had overridden a Presidential veto

45 Reconstruction Acts, starting in 1866 South divided into military regions, under the control of generals

46 “The Carpetbaggers” N. C. Wyeth ( )

47 Ku Klux Klan founded in 1867 The plan: reduce blacks to political impotence by intimidation, terror, murder Nathan Bedford Forrest The first Grand Wizard

48 (Mr. Duley has already told us about the lynchings.)

49 The inevitable end of the Northern Occupation: Carpetbaggers leave, whites take control once again.


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