We all should know the basic history of America as it was founded to today. Here are a few interesting points I have gleaned that might shade some folks view of our history.
America was a colony of the British Empire. We were established by people seeking a place for religious freedom but, we were also established as an economic money machine by the wealthy noblemen of England.
While New England became an industrial economic force, the south was predominantly vast land holdings called plantations where products such as tobacco and cotton were the main crops. These massive holdings were owned afar by English elites who sought to reap as much wealth from the land as they possibly could.
Slavery was introduced in the south as a means of obtaining a work force that was inexpensive and permanent as well as able to replicate and increase numbers over time. The Slaves were sold by Africans (blacks) to Dutch traders who then transported them to various locations in the new and old worlds. They were sold to plantation owners to work the lands. Please note that as a general rule, the procurement, transport and purchase of slaves was not by freedom seeking American colonists but by absentee landlords who wished to reap the maximum bounty from our continent. The average colonist who made up the majority of the population outside of the plantations were subsistence living families who could barely afford to buy the products they needed at the British approved and sanctioned shops and these ‘average’ people did not own slaves. Keep in mind as well, not only blacks were enslaved. Irish and other peoples of Europe were sold into indentured servancy here as well owned for a specified period of time as chattel no different than the Africans who were imported as well.
Fast forward and the movement to liberate America as a free nation started in the north whose economies were far more affected by British taxes and rules regarding the manufacture of goods in the colonies. First skirmishes of our revolutionary war took place in the north. While the leadership of the revolution became a widespread group from all colonies, keep in mind that it was the initial freedom seekers in the north who rebelled against the rule of the Empire which not only included taxes and controls but also the institution of slavery in the colonies.
Once our nation’s freedom was won, the abolition movement began almost immediately as an organized effort to abolish slavery in our nation despite it being allowed under our original founding. This movement grew to such an extent that in 1860, when Abraham Lincoln, an avowed anti slavery candidate, ran and won office, the states in the south, still embodying the plantation concept of the British from before the revolution, started to secede. The abolition movement was extremely strong in the north and unified the northern states in their resolve to subdue the ‘Southern Insurrection’ as it was thought of to restore the Union and in the process resolve the slavery issue. America was one of the first nations in the world to ban the institution of slavery and it took 100 years for most of the rest of the world to banish slavery and yet, in Africa and other places it still exists to this day.
What is important is that the areas of the nation that initially sought freedom, as a colony of England and after as the nation the United States who then sought to establish freedom for all in our nation were the hard working, self reliant families who did not embrace the British model of the Plantation system. These people were then and are now, the backbone of our nation.
Slavery was never an American Institution. It was imposed upon our continent by foreign land owners who sought to reap the wealth out continent offered with the least concern for the people who labored to provide it. Christian, moral and passionate people in America opposed slavery and acted to end it when the time came and did so at a high cost in lives and injury upon the battlefields during the Civil War. These people’s legacy should not be buried in any effort to condemn slavery and it should always be remembered that Slavery was the result of the British economics and not American in origin.