Slavery is a horrible act that occurred from 1620-1865 in America and I hope that nobody ever has/had to endure it. The stigma of slavery has been stuck on all of the white people of the world, and it just simply isn’t true. A very small percentage of white people owned slaves, and free black people also owned slaves. Time to sift through all of the data!
The majority of these numbers will be hard for you to believe, so I intend to include multiple sources. The worst of the sources I saw had 25% of white people owning slaves, which matches up with up with a book I read by Alan Brinkley. This really doesn’t make sense to me upon investigation, as the 1860 census refutes this. I think it may have meant 25% of southern families, but that still wouldn’t put it in the ballpark. Assuming each family was a family of 4, that would quadruple the percentage to be 16% of southern whites and 8% of all white people (see next paragraph). That rounds off the number to match the census, as the census puts the slave owning family number at around 8%.
There were 26.7 million white people (460,000 free blacks) and 3.95 million slaves at the height of slavery in 1860. There were 393,000 slave holders, some of whom were black (estimated at 3,000 who owned 20,000 slaves). This means that 1.4% of white people nationwide owned slaves and 3.9% of white people in the south owned slaves (assuming you add with the population of the midwest). 0.6% of free blacks owned slaves (shocker right?). 88% of those who owned slaves owned 20 or fewer, refuting the abundant plantation farming narrative that has been perpetuated. Yes it did happen, but nowhere to the extent that people would make you believe. Did this raise your eyebrows?
The 225,000,000 white people (a lot of whom are immigrants, 75 million immigrants since 1860 who had nothing to do with slavery) are all blamed for the actions of 8% of the population’s actions. Is that insane or what? Not to mention, why berate me for the actions of someone who may or may not have been my great great great great great grandfather? If your ancestor killed mine, does that give me a right to request reparations and blame all of the wrongs in my world on you? I have more Cherokee blood (around 16%) running through my veins than that of slave owners… Does that mean I belong to a victim class as well even though I identify as white? I mean my ancestors were so effectively killed off that only 1% of them are left in the population today. I am not advocating the victim hood mindset, just highlighting the argument.
Robert E. Lee actually wrote a letter in 1856 stating how slavery was a “moral and political evil” but that they were better off there rather than in Africa. I do not have a source to back this up, but my history professor stated that often, slaves on small farms were treated like a member of the family. The psychology behind this is that they don’t need to be Alphas of the farm to keep everyone “in line” and, at the time, it would be like beating your only cow or horse… It doesn’t make sense to beat your only help. However, this doesn’t change the fact that the overwhelming majority of slaves were treated horribly regardless of whether or not my professor was correct.
I have heard that the Civil War was about state’s rights which is slightly true, because the main issue at hand was the state’s right to own slaves. This is evident when you view their letters of secession. The atrocities of slavery were rightly pointed out, but what is forgotten is all of those who died to free the slaves. 620,000 people died in the civil war in the fight over the slaves. When you consider that only 1.6 million people are part of a family that owned slaves, I believe the debt was paid to the oppression Olympics.
Another thing I want people to understand is that Lincoln was a Republican! So black people, start voting for the party that doesn’t play to the feelings of the majority! The U.S. established a country for free slaves (Liberia) in 1820 and defended them well in to the 1900s, so they allowed the people to return to Africa is they chose.
Every single race on Earth has been a slave and owned a slave. African slaves were traded for because of their physical acumen and their resistance to disease. It was called the “Slave Trade” for a reason. White people traded Rum and Guns to Africans and Muslims who had already enslaved other Africans, it wasn’t a kidnapping. In fact, 1.25 million white people were enslaved by Africans in the Barbary Slave Trade (where they were abducted). Of the 12.5 million slaves traded (1.8 million died on the voyage), only 388,000 were sent to America (slavery was continued through birth). Brazil received 4.86 million slaves but they aren’t viewed as vile racist scum are they (these are just a few examples of every race owning slaves)?
Yes, I do understand that Native Americans (Indians is a misnomer perpetuated by Columbus because he thought he was in India) were also enslaved. The practice was quickly abandoned due to their weak resistance to disease and the fact that they could easily blend in to the local population. I couldn’t find any numbers on this but it implied that a couple thousand was the extent of the slavery before they figured out it didn’t work. It is estimated that the total population of the Americas was between 50 and 100 million and 80-90% died after the arrival of Europeans. Alan Brinkley stated that up to 95% of those deaths were from uncontrollable factors, such as smallpox epidemics. The rest can be attributed to westward expansion, wars, and events such as the trail of tears.
The slaves that got the worst treatment were the Irish slaves (they had more rights but got the worst jobs due to their expendable nature). Irish slavery is often attributed to indentured servitude (which is true to a certain degree, people who ignore Irish slavery generally provide no stats, just platitudes) but 400,000 were taken as slaves and 500,000 were murdered by the English. Indentured servitude is a practice where the nobles would offer a farmer land to work for 4-7 years (the nobles would take a yield) to finance his trip across the Atlantic and the noble frequently would find random ways to prolong the 4-7 years, or simply take such a high percentage of the crops that the farmer ends up starving to death. A common way to prolong the sentence was to fabricate “theft” of the crops, which was punishable by extending the sentence or beatings. Indentured servants were frequently chosen for the most dangerous work, such as clearing swamps for farm land, which is why less than 40% of them succeeded in finishing the sentence.
White people were the first people to end slavery and it continued legally in Africa until 2007. As many as 680,000 people are still enslaved today. Which place would you decide to live?
The Irish are successful members of society today, why can’t black people rise above? Some people say that it is because of discrimination, to which I respond with the Holocaust. Jewish people came here by the millions after the Holocaust in the 1940s with nothing and were among the most successful demographics in society by the 80s. That is a 20 year head start if you considered the Civil Rights Act as the beginning of opportunity for black people (which is wasn’t, although it was difficult). That means black people should be at the same level by now if you follow the same reasoning.
This is not to dismiss the travesties of slavery or the early 1900s discrimination, it was horrible. The purpose of this is to toss aside the victim narrative. Everybody did it and everybody had it done to them. The beauty of it is that is never happened to any of us and every avenue is open to us in the present day. Some people need to stop using slavery as an excuse for failure and harassing white people.