South and Slave Trade and Slaves and Slaveholders
Questions and Answers on Slavery and the American Civil
Politically Incorrect History of Slavery in the United States
Controversial Questions and Answers for Slavery in the United States
There are numerous falsehoods and myths regarding the South, slaves,
slavery, and the Civil War (1861-1865).
The South was responsible for slavery in the United States.
Southern slavery caused the American Civil War.
If slavery was really the cause of the Civil War (1861-1865), the United States could have
averted the entire conflict. (President Abraham Lincoln on Slavery.) The United States could have proposed and passed a bill or
constitutional Amendment before the Civil War witnessed its first shot. Why didn't the United
States abolish slavery prior to the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) or the 13th Amendment (1865)? Because slavery had nothing
to do with the cause of the Civil War, but secession did. (Lincoln on What Caused the Civil War) Slavery only became an issue, a political decision, when the United States
feared that it was losing the Civil War in late 1862, and that both England and France were about to become allies with
the South and her states. (Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from
Slavery, American Civil War and International Diplomacy, The Trent Affair, and Preventing Diplomatic Recognition of the Confederacy.)
The Atlantic Slave Trade, also known as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,
and slavery were products and direct results of Southern society.
The Slave Trade and Slavery were products of rich white Southerners.
Most slaves were imported into the South or Southern states.
Slavery was a "Southern" institution.
Slavery was an attempt solely by white Southerners to subjugate
the black race.
Absolutely false, slave owners were white, black, and red, and slaves themselves
were black, white, and red.
The U.S. Civil War was waged by the Northerners to defeat slavery, and
the Southerners were motivated solely by a desire to protect slavery.
The American Civil War was necessary to destroy and abolish slavery
and the slave trade.
Said claim is not only false, but is actually a myth and even a lie.
Slavery had died out everywhere in the world except Brazil, and was on its way out in the Southern American States. Slavery
had ended almost everywhere in the world without war. Was the death of more than 600,000 Americans
worth ending slavery 10 or 15 years sooner?—or than ending it as it had been ended peacefully everywhere else in the
world, by compensated emancipation? Furthermore, President Lincoln proclaimed, after the conflict had been fought for
merely two years and to a stalemate, that slavery was now to be abolished. Why? Lincoln understood that both England
and France would not support a nation that embraced slavery. Lincoln's politically driven decision was based solely on
preserving the Union. (President Abraham Lincoln on Slavery and Civil Rights, American Civil War and International Diplomacy, The Trent Affair, and Preventing Diplomatic Recognition of the Confederacy.)
Public schools, history books, and historians all agree that the Civil
War was about slavery.
First, they don't all agree about what caused the Civil War. Second, many
purport that the war was about slavery to justify why 360,000 Northern boys and men were killed. Third, if
slavery was the main cause or reason why the Civil War was fought, then why didn't the United States, prior to the very first
shots of the conflict, offer compensated emancipation? In other words, why didn't the U.S. free or emancipate all slaves
by paying or compensating the owners as the following nations had demonstrated and accomplished without war: Argentina, Bolivia,
British Empire, Chile, Colombia, Danish colonies, Ecuador, French colonial empire, Mexico, Central America, Peru, Spanish
Empire, Sweden, Uruguay, and Venezuela. One must also always remember that the winner enjoys writing its "history
version." (President Abraham Lincoln and Southern Secession: Why did the South
Secede and What Caused the Civil War? and Abraham Lincoln History Homepage.)
The Northern Abolitionists were motivated by goodwill toward blacks.
Anti-black sentiment and racism was much more widespread in the North than
in the South. Slavery was abolished in the North not because of any moral superiority, but primarily because whites wanted
to protect jobs for white laborers.
Before the Civil War, the Southern churches were highly segregated.
Absolutely false, because in 1860, slaves constituted about 26 percent of
the Southern Baptist church membership.
All slaves moved to the North during or after the Civil War.
Totally false, according to 1870 U.S. Census records the total black population
in the South almost doubled compared to the 1860 Census (includes both free blacks and slaves).
Abraham Lincoln, the "Great Emancipator," was a friend of the black
|History of Slavery
|Transatlantic Slave Trade Map
Abraham Lincoln was the Negroes friend. This was far from the truth.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified after President
Lincoln's death in 1865. Seven years before said ratification, in his 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln exclaimed:
I will say, then, that I am
not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races
– that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to
hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between
the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political
equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must
be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned
to the white race.
In his First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861, Lincoln stated:
Apprehension seems to exist
among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their
peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed,
the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly
all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that –
I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution
of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many
similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as
a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:
Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and
especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively,
is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce
the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of
In his letter to Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune, dated
August 22, 1862, Lincoln declared:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either
to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by
freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.
What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear
because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
Just before Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861, Congress proposed an amendment,
commonly referred to as the Corwin Amendment, to the Constitution that would have protected slavery:
In his First Inaugural Address, Lincoln
specifically mentioned this amendment, and voiced no objection to it:
I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution – which amendment,
however, I have not seen – has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with
the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have
said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now
be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable. (President Lincoln, Slaves, Emancipation, Black Colonization and
the Black Colony.)
And who can forget Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, dated January
The North believed it was losing the Civil War (1861-1865), so Lincoln
drafted this desperate measure, known as the Emancipation Proclamation. It was designed to keep England and France from
siding with the South, but the racist proclamation only freed those slaves that were under the control of the Confederate
government, which means that it basically freed no one. Lincoln declared that only "persons held as slaves within said designated
States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States,
including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons." (American Civil War and International Diplomacy, The Trent Affair, and Preventing Diplomatic Recognition of the Confederacy.)
Here are the states and parts of states that Lincoln listed:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines,
Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans,
including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except
the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City,
York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the
present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward, remarked about the Emancipation
Proclamation only applying to slaves in areas that were in a state of rebellion against the United States: "We show our sympathy
with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free."
Slavery was an economically backward and inefficient Southern institution.
To the contrary, slavery was protected and promoted by both the
United States Constitution and Federal laws, and not by the South or Southern states. Furthermore, many of the most progressive
societies in the world had slaves.
Slavery was always based on race.
Not until the 15th century was slavery associated primarily with people
of African descent.
Europeans physically enslaved Africans or hired mercenaries who captured
people for export or that African rulers were "Holocaust abettors" who were themselves to blame for the slave trade.
Although Europeans did engage in some slave raiding, the majority of people
who were transported to the Americas were enslaved by Africans in Africa.
Many slaves were captured with nets.
Only in Hollywood, because there is no evidence that slaves were captured
with nets; war was the most important source of enslavement.
Kidnapping was the usual means of enslavement.
War was the most important source of enslavement; it would be incorrect
to reduce all of these wars to slave raids.
The Middle Passage stripped enslaved Africans of their cultural heritage
and transformed them into docile, passive figures wholly receptive to the cultural inputs of their masters.
No, the evidence reflects that slaves engaged in at least 250 shipboard
The first slaves arrived in what is now the U.S. in 1619.
The first slaves arrived in Spanish Florida at least a century before 1619
and a recently uncovered census shows that blacks were present in Virginia before 1619.
Masters assigned names to slaves or slaves imitated masters' systems
In fact, slaves were rarely named for owners. Naming patterns appear to
have reflected African practices, such as the custom of giving children "day names" (after the day they were born) and "name-saking,"
such as naming children after grandparents.
Slaveholders sought to deculturate slaves by forbidding African names
and languages and obliterating African culture.
While deculturation was part of the "project" of slavery, in fact African
music, dance, decoration, design, cuisine, and religion exerted a profound, ongoing influence on American culture. Slaves also adapted religious rites and perpetuated a rich tradition of folklore.
Slaves engaged almost exclusively in unskilled brutish field labor such
Actually, much of the labor performed by slaves required high skill levels
and careful, painstaking effort. Masters relied heavily on slaves
for skilled craftsmanship.
West and Central Africans received their first exposure to Christianity
in the New World.
To the contrary, because Catholic missionary activities began in the central
African kingdom of Kongo half a century before Columbus's voyages of discovery, and Kongo converted to Catholicism in 1491.
A sizeable community of African Christians developed around Portuguese settlement.
Priests and missionaries were primarily responsible for converting slaves
In Latin America the slaves were instructed not by European clergy but by
African Christians, who spread a specifically African interpretation of Christianity.
Upon arrival in Latin America, slaves were given hasty instruction in
a complex foreign religion in a language they could barely understand.
No, because a certain number of slaves were baptized Christians and others
were familiar with Christianity.
The Catholic Church did not tolerate the mixture of Catholicism with
traditional African religions.
To the contrary, because in Kongo and in Latin America the Church did tolerate
the mixture of Catholicism with African religions, allowing Africans to retain their old cosmology, understanding of the universe,
and the place of gods and other divine beings in the universe.
Slave Christianity was essentially a "religion of docility."
No, because Christianity was dual edged and marked by millennialist possibilities;
whites could not prevent black preachers from turning Christianity into a source of self-respect and faith in deliverance.
Slaves were brainwashed and stunned into submission and rarely resisted
Resistance took a variety of forms ranging from day-to-day resistance, economic
bargaining, running away and maroonage, and outright rebellions.
(Related reading below.)
Recommended Reading: The South Was Right!
(Hardcover). Description: Kin Hubbard said "'Tain't what a man don't know that hurts him; it's what he does know that just
ain't so." Much of what people "know" about the causes, conduct, and consequences of the Civil War "just ain't so." The Kennedy
brothers make a strong case that the real reasons and results of the War Between the States have been buried under the myth
of Father Abraham and his blue-clad saints marching south to save the Union and free the slaves. Sure, the tone is polemical.
But the "enlightened" elements of American opinion have been engaging in a polemic against the South and its people for decades…
This book adopts the "following the money approach" to analyzing who profited
most from slavery – a convincing argument that reflects that much of the wealth went to the North. It also points out
that slavery was not new to Africa, and was practiced by Africans against Africans without foreign intervention. A strong
case is made that the North and Lincoln held strong racist views. Lincoln proposed shipping, or transporting, blacks back
to Africa… The blacks residing in the Northern states were in a precarious predicament (e.g. draft riots and lynchings
in NY City). The authors, however, do not make any argument supporting slavery - their consistent line is the practice is
vile. The fact that many blacks served, assisted and provided material support to Union and Confederate Armies is beyond refute.
Native Americans also served with distinction on both sides during the Civil War. “A controversial and thought-provoking
book that challenges the status-quo of present teachings…”
Recommended Reading: Myths & Realities
of American Slavery: The True History of Slavery in America. Description: With the slave reparation issue
a hot topic in the 21st century do Americans today really know what slavery was like in the 19th century? Myths and Realities
of American Slavery explores this issue in great detail. Author John Perry in this study helps to dispel the myths of American
slavery and shed new light on the realities of the practice. Continued below...
Discover the answers to these important questions:
Did slavery cause
the Civil War?
Were slaves found only in the South?
Did most Southerners own slaves?
Were all slave owners white?
Were all African Americans in the South slaves?
Were all the slaves relegated to fieldwork?
Were large "Tara" plantations the norm?
Were the majority of slaves taken from Africa sent to the United States?
the Author: John C. Perry was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Perry received a bachelor’s degree in history and taught history
in public schools before beginning a successful business career. He continued to study American history throughout his life
and wrote about it with a strong emphasis on both the War Between the States and the pre-war years. He has written a number
of articles on the war and is the editor of two newsletters on the War Between the States.
Recommended Reading: The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln,
His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. Description: It hardly seems possible that there is more to say about someone who has been subjected to such minute
scrutiny in thousands of books and articles. Yet, Thomas J. DiLorenzo’s The Real
Lincoln manages to raise fresh and morally probing questions, challenging the image of the martyred 16th president
that has been fashioned carefully in marble and bronze, sentimentalism and myth. In doing so, DiLorenzo does not follow the
lead of M. E. Bradford or other Southern agrarians. He writes primarily not as a defender of the Old South and its institutions,
culture, and traditions, but as a libertarian enemy of the Leviathan state. Continued below...
DiLorenzo holds Lincoln and his war responsible for the triumph of "big
government" and the birth of the ubiquitous, suffocating modern U.S. state. He seeks to replace the nation’s memory
of Lincoln as the “Great Emancipator” with the record of Lincoln as the “Great Centralizer.”
Recommended Reading: Abraham Lincoln: Friend
or Foe of Freedom?. Description: The Heartland Institute hosted its 23rd Anniversary Benefit Dinner on
October 25, 2007. Nearly 500 people gathered at the Hilton Chicago Hotel to hear outstanding presentations delivered by two
remarkable individuals. Many of us grew up and grew older regarding Abraham
Lincoln as one of our greatest presidents. He preserved the Union against the rebels, he freed the slaves, he urged reconciliation
during Reconstruction, he was humble and a leader of enormous charisma, and persistent. Continued below...
In recent years, however, others have challenged those assumptions. Yes,
he preserved the Union but where in the Constitution does it prohibit states from seceding? And by what legal right did Lincoln
prosecute the Civil War or, as one of our debaters tonight calls it, the war between the states, or, when he gets really personal,
Lincoln s war? Yes, the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, but only the slaves in the secessionist South, where the
proclamation had absolutely no force of law. Where the proclamation could have had some force of law, in the border states
that didn't secede, such as Maryland and Kentucky and Pennsylvania, it specifically permitted slavery to continue. Humble?
Yes, Lincoln in his speeches and his personal life dramatized an innate humility. But politically, when he won the presidential
nomination in 1860 here in Chicago, he had demonstrated the political savvy and cruelty that exploited the moment of the instance
that he was nominated. Reasonable people can discuss and disagree about Lincoln and his legacy. But we don t have to be disagreeable.
We all share a common respect for individual liberty, small government, the rule of law, and firm property rights. This book
presents the remarks of two articulate and informed scholars about whether and how those values played out in the life of
Recommended Reading: One Nation, Indivisible?
A Study of Secession and the Constitution. Description: Is secession legal under the United States Constitution?
"One Nation, Indivisible?" takes a fresh look at this old question by evaluating the key arguments of such anti-secession
men as Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln, in light of reason, historical fact, the language of the Constitution, and the
words of America's Founding Fathers. Modern anti-secession arguments are also examined, as are the questions of why Americans
are becoming interested in secession once again, whether secession can be avoided, and how an American state might peacefully
secede from the Union. Continued below…
"The federal government's growth of power at the expense of individuals
and natural human communities has been the trend so long now that it has seemed inevitable. But thoughtful people of late
have been rediscovering the true decentralist origins of the United States. Robert Hawes states the case beautifully for the
forgotten decentralist tradition - which may be our only hope for the preservation of freedom."
Recommended Reading: Days of Defiance: Sumter,
Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War. Description: Maury Klein's knack for words shows up on the
first page of this book: "How could the oldest, deadliest, most divisive conflict of a proud nation come down, after decades
of bitter strife, to a dispute over an insignificant fort squatting on a hunk of rock in the harbor of the South's oldest
and most defiant city?" Klein, a history professor at the University of Rhode Island, goes on to answer this question in lively
prose. The Fort Sumter saga, of course, has been told well by others, but Klein makes the tale worth reading again. Continued
From Kirkus Reviews: A dramatic narrative that depicts how secession struck
at the heart of republican government itself in the five months leading up to the Civil War. Klein (History/Univ. of Rhode
Island; The Life and Legend of Jay Gould, 1986, etc.) notes that the 1860 presidential election featured three candidates
(Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, and John Bell) splintering the Democratic Party along sectional lines, with the successful
Republican, Abraham Lincoln, taking only 40 percent of the popular vote, and all of his electoral votes were from the North.
The party system, Klein writes, mirrored a country riven by differences arising from a growing immigrant population and, more
important, from state and local customs regarding ``every shared national concept--democracy, religion, [and] freedom.'' Slave
states, threatened by John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 and Republican opposition to extending slavery into new territories,
seceded one after another. Klein's focus on how individuals on both sides stumbled their way through this crisis throws these
issues of nationalism into sharp relief. In Washington, lame-duck Democratic president James Buchanan, exhausted by sectional
controversies, impotently declared that the South had no right to secession and the North no power to impede it. In Charleston
Harbor, Major Robert Anderson, after waiting in vain for explicit orders from Buchanan, sought a more fortified position by
moving his command to the supposedly secure ``island prison'' of Fort Sumter. Meanwhile, Congress debated and peace commissioners
from North and South met to no effect; Secretary of State William Seward gave private assurances to Confederate emissaries
that Fort Sumter would be evacuated; and Lincoln, whose inscrutability matched his inexperience, finally hit upon how to place
the onus for starting the war on the new Confederate government: by providing provisions to Sumter but no reinforcements.
A compelling account of the folly and brilliance displayed as the nation veered toward collapse. (2 maps, 8 pages of photos)
Recommended Reading: Allegiance: Fort Sumter,
Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War. Description: Original and deeply human, this tense and
surprising story, filled with indecisive bureaucrats, uninformed leaders, hotheaded politicians, and dedicated soldiers, is
a clear and intimate portrait of the prolonged drama that unfolded at Fort Sumter and incited the first shot of the Civil
War on April 12, 1861. Continued below...
The six-month-long agony that began with Lincoln's election in November
sputtered from one crisis to the next, and finally exploded as the soldiers at Sumter neared starvation. With little help
from Washington, D.C., Major Robert Anderson, a soldier whose experience had taught him above all that war is the poorest
form of policy, almost single-handedly forestalled the beginning of the war until he finally had no choice but to fight. Skillfully re-created from a decade of extensive research, Allegiance exposes the passions
that led to the fighting, the sober reflections of the man who restrained its outbreak, and the individuals on both sides
who changed American history forever. From Booklist: The basic facts concerning
the siege and bombardment of Fort Sumter are not in dispute, but historians differ substantially in the interpretation of
those facts. Did Lincoln deliberately provoke the Confederacy by attempting to resupply the fort? Had he acted sooner, would
South Carolina have backed down? Had the fort been abandoned, could the removal of this inflammatory issue allowed peace negotiations
a chance to reach a compromise. Detzer, professor emeritus of history at Connecticut State University, examines various aspects
of the Sumter crisis in a riveting and moving narrative. At the center of this unfolding drama is Major Robert Anderson, a
Kentucky-born professional soldier with a disdain for war and deep devotion to the Union. Detzer portrays Anderson as an admirable
and tragic figure caught up in events beyond his control. Detzer also provides an interesting portrait of antebellum Charleston,
a surprisingly diverse and vibrant city plagued by progressive anxiety as the crisis deepens.
Recommended Reading: Year of Meteors: Stephen
Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War. From Booklist: Perhaps, as
Willliam Seward asserted in 1858, differences between the North and South were leading to an irrepressible conflict. But the
outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861 was not inevitable. Egerton credibly asserts that the reason strains evolved into
full-scale hostilities was the result of actions by a relatively few men. Continued below...
Egerton views the election of Lincoln, which seemed inconceivable at the beginning of 1860, as the trigger
for secession. He suggests that to some extent the election was the result of what amounted to a conspiracy on the part of
Southern radicals. Northerners, including Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, played their parts. Douglas is seen as a particularly
tragic character. The little giant was brilliant, a devoted Union man, but indifferent to the evils of slavery; his efforts
to dance around the issue pleased neither Northerners nor Southerners. But it was hard-line Southerners who determined to
split the Democratic Party while painting Lincoln as an abolitionist, furthering their goal of secession and establishment
of a slaveholding republic. Provocative and well argued.