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“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?”

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1 “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?”
“This Mighty Scourge” “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” (Political Science 565)

2 Missouri Compromise of 1820

3 Missouri Compromise of 1820
To Holmes: “This momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. it is hushed indeed for the moment. but this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. a geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once concieved and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. “

4 Slavery in the US 1620-1865 Chattel slavery
1860 US Census: 31,443,321 persons 3,953,761 of them slaves 12.7% Philosophical abstraction & concrete suffering Power & empathy


6 John C. Calhoun "the Union, next to our liberty, the most dear." From South Carolina, endorsed SC’s position in nullification crisis. Federal gov’t becoming tyrannical, infringing on Const’l rights of the states Champion of the South, states’ rights in Senate, 1st half 19th C. Major figure in antebellum Democratic party VP Under J.Q. Adams, Jackson; Sec. of War under Monroe “Slavery a Positive Good” – Feb. 6, 1837

7 John C. Calhoun Strong states’ rights Right to secession
“The subject [slavery] is beyond the jurisdiction of Congress - they have no right to touch it in any shape or form, or to make it the subject of deliberation or discussion ” Exactly what powers were and were not ceded to the Federal government in the Constitution? Right to secession People in non-slave states soon “will have been taught to hate the people and institutions of nearly one-half of this Union, with a hatred more deadly than one hostile nation ever entertained towards another. It is easy to see the end. By the necessary course of events, if left to themselves, we must become, finally, two people.”

8 John C. Calhoun Southern partisan: Slavery: something for everyone
“We of the South will not, cannot, surrender our institutions.” The South feels that the federal government is a tool of the Northern, anti-slave faction. They see it as hostile and oppressive. Slavery: something for everyone For (elite) whites: freedom from labor leads to greater accomplishments: “there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other.” (While other figures also believed in the supremacy of whites, it did not play as central a role in their vision of power & government)

9 John C. Calhoun Benefits of slavery to slaves:
“Never before has the black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually.” John Hubbard, AR House of Representatives (2012): “The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.”

10 John C. Calhoun “in few countries so much is left to the share of the laborer, and so little exacted from him, or where there is more kind attention paid to him in sickness or infirmities of age.” Better than being an industrial laborer, a more gentle, paternal form of power Thus, slavery stabilizes society: “There is and always has been in an advanced stage of wealth and civilization, a conflict between labor and capital. The condition of society in the South exempts us from the disorders and dangers resulting from this conflict; and which explains why it is that the political condition of the slaveholding States has been so much more stable and quiet than that of the North ”

11 The “Mudsill” Speech (1858)
James Henry Hammond, Senator from South Carolina The South is a mighty, vast, populous, economic powerhouse “The population of the North is fifty per cent. greater than ours. I have nothing to say in disparagement either of the soil of the North, or the people of the North, who are a brave and energetic race, full of intellect. But they produce no great staple that the South does not produce; while we produce two or three, and these the very greatest, that she can never produce. As to her men, I may be allowed to say, they have never proved themselves to be superior to those of the South, either in the field or in the Senate.” “All the enterprises of peace and war depend upon the surplus productions of a people. They may be happy, they may be comfortable, they may enjoy themselves in consuming what they make; but they are not rich, they are not strong.”

12 Cotton is King “It is commerce that breeds war. It is manufactures that require to be hawked about the world, and that give rise to navies and commerce. But we have nothing to do but to take off restrictions on foreign merchandise and open our ports, and the whole world will come to us to trade. They will be too glad to bring and carry us, and we never shall dream of a war. Why the South has never yet had a just cause of war except with the North. Every time she has drawn her sword it has been on the point of honor, and that point of honor has been mainly loyalty to her sister colonies and sister States, who have ever since plundered and calumniated her. But if there were no other reason why we should never have war, would any sane nation make war on cotton? Without firing a gun, without drawing a sword, should they make war on us we could bring the whole world to our feet.” “No, you dare not make war on cotton. No power on earth dares to make war upon it. Cotton is king.”

13 Social Harmony But, sir, the greatest strength of the South arises from the harmony of her political and social institutions. This harmony gives her a frame of society, the best in the world, and an extent of political freedom, combined with entire security, such as no other people ever enjoyed upon the face of the earth. Society precedes government; creates it, and ought to control it; but as far as we can look back in historic times we find the case different; for government is no sooner created than it becomes too strong for society, and shapes and moulds, as well as controls it. A mismatch between society and gov’t “brought on the American Revolution. We threw off a Government not adapted to our social system, and made one for ourselves. The question is, how far have we succeeded? The South, so far as that is concerned, is satisfied, harmonious, and prosperous, but demands to be let alone.”

14 Mud-Sill “In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life. That is, a class requiring but a low order of intellect and but little skill. Its requisites are vigor, docility, fidelity. Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement. It constitutes the very mud-sill of society and of political government; and you might as well attempt to build a house in the air, as to build either the one or the other, except on this mud-sill. Fortunately for the South, she found a race adapted to that purpose to her hand. A race inferior to her own, but eminently qualified in temper, in vigor, in docility, in capacity to stand the climate, to answer all her purposes. We use them for our purpose, and call them slaves.” “I will not characterize that class at the North by that term; but you have it; it is there; it is everywhere; it is eternal.”

15 Slaves North & South “The difference between us is, that our slaves are hired for life and well compensated; there is no starvation, no begging, no want of employment among our people, and not too much employment either. Yours are hired by the day, not care for, and scantily compensated, which may be proved in the most painful manner, at any hour in any street of your large towns. Why, you meet more beggars in one day, in any single street of the city of New York, than you would meet in a lifetime in the whole South. We do not think that whites should be slaves either by law or necessity. Our slaves are black, of another and inferior race. The status in which we have placed them is an elevation. They are elevated from the condition in which God first created them, by being made our slaves.”

16 Alexander H. Stephens Congressional Representative from Georgia before Civil War, after reconstruction Vice President of the Confederate States of America Governor of Georgia Initially opposed secession “Cornerstone Speech”: March 21, 1861, Savannah, GA Just after Lincoln’s inauguration

17 Cornerstone Speech Confederate constitution “amply secures all our ancient rights, franchises, and liberties. All the great principles of Magna Charta are retained in it. No citizen is deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers under the laws of the land.” But “Some changes have been made.” “Allow me briefly to allude to some of these improvements.” No taxes or tariffs to favor one industry or another Nullification crisis No redistribution of funds or resources between states by central gov’t Presidency a single, 6 year term

18 Cornerstone Speech “The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the ‘rock upon which the old Union would split.’ He was right. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away.”

19 Cornerstone Speech “This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition.” [Applause.]

20 Cornerstone Speech “This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind — from a defect in reasoning.” “If we are true to ourselves, true to our cause, true to our destiny, true to our high mission, in presenting to the world the highest type of civilization ever exhibited by man — there will be found in our lexicon no such word as fail.”

21 Frederick Douglass ~1818-1895 Born a slave
Escaped on 3rd attempt, 1838 Abolitionist & supporter of women’s suffrage Supported Irish home rule, but still popular in Britain Active in Reconstruction politics

22 Frederick Douglass “Why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?”

23 “The character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.”

24 The Humanity of Slaves “Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man, (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgement that the slave is a moral, intellectual and responsible being?”

25 “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham” “The Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? or is it in the temple? It is neither.” Slavery a betrayal of American beliefs

26 Background Issues Dred Scott decision (1857)
Slaves & descendents not, can never be citizens Federal gov’t can’t prohibit slavery in Western territories Slaves cannot be taken w/o due process (they are legitimate property) Fugitive slaves can be retrieved from free states Slavery to expand or be contained? Missouri Compromise Series of laws starting 1820 limiting slavery to southern part of US, reached between pro- and anti-slavery congressmen Kansas-Nebraska Act Overturns MC, each state now able to vote whether there will be slavery w/in its borders (Popular Sovereignty) “Bleeding Kansas”

27 Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865 Main themes:
Equality the defining characteristic of American thought National identity prioritized over state identity US points beyond itself to something higher The law and American political institutions make political freedom and equality possible Union politically inseparable from freedom

28 "A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South.

29 Nebraska Bill “‘It being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any Territory or state, not to exclude it therefrom; but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.’” "Popular Sovereignty” Each state may decide for itself if it wants to legalize slavery But vote only to legalize slavery or not, NOT to prohibit it

30 Dred Scott decison A slave remains a slave whether in a slave state, or brought into a free one "No negro slave, imported as such from Africa, and no descendant of such slave can ever be a citizen of any State, in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States.” “It should not be overlooked that, by the Nebraska Bill, the people of a State, as well as Territory, were to be left ‘perfectly free’ ‘subject only to the Constitution.’” Which the Dred Scott decision had ruled does not apply to people of African descent

31 This is what we have to do.”
Combination of Dred Scott decision and the Kansas-Nebraska Act effectively legalizes slavery in all states “We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making their State free; and we shall awake to the reality, instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State. To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty, is the work now before all those who would prevent that consummation. This is what we have to do.”

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