brimstoneSalad wrote: ↑
Sat Jun 07, 2014 12:55 pm
So, this was an interesting point from another thread, and I thought it might be a good discussion.
Any political/economic history buffs here? What are your thoughts on abolition as it occurred?
And while we can't go back in time, what do you imagine the effects of "new welfare" practices might have been, if that approach had been taken towards gradual emancipation?
Abolition, at least in the United States, was a mix of good and bad. The positive long term effects (permanently ending slavery) far outweighed the negative short term effects (rise of KKK).
The U.S. government of the day tried to ease the issue of slavery by just coming to a bunch of compromises instead of actually making a bold decision (Missouri Compromise, Compromise of 1850, Kansas Nebraska Act) because it was quite literally splitting the Union in two. They had to have an equal amount of slave states and free states mainly just to keep a balance in Congress.
The Missouri Compromise (1820) was the most successful I think, and it proclaimed that slavery was not allowed about the 36 30 parallel (excluding Missouri), and lasted until after the Mexican American War when America acquired the Mexican Cession, which meant more land to worry about.
The Compromise of 1850 admitted California as a Free state, and made stricter Fugitive Slave Laws, which didn't really make anyone happy. They put off everything else by making the rest of the acquired land into territories to let future generations worry about it. Obviously, this Compromise didn't really please anyone, and just increased tensions.
Now the Kansas Nebraska Act proposed Popular Sovereignty, which means that the states can decide on whether they can have slavery or not. However, all it did was just make a lot of pro and anti slavery advocates flood into the states and started killing each other in order to ensure that the state would become whatever territory they believed it should. It caused about 70 deaths, and has come to be known as Bleeding Kansas. It ended up being free territory, but it didn't really work in the long term.
Then the final nail in the coffin was when the Supreme Court made the Dred Scott decision, which stated that slavery was not to be banned in the territories, which just made things worse, and caused more violence in the territories.
4 years later when Abraham Lincoln was elected, the pro slavery south seceded then we get the Civil War, and everyone knows how that turned out.
With the ratification of the 13th amendment, slavery was abolished, and the next thing to do was to give equal rights to African Americans. Lincoln wanted to do that, and so did much of Congress, but Lincoln was assassinated and was succeeded by Andrew Johnson, possibly the worst president for such an era due to his white supremacy. While Congress overrode his vetoes on bills that granted African Americans equal rights, Johnson blocked some of their bills, and he was against the 14th amendment.
However, Ulysses S. Grant was later elected President and signed Civil Rights bills and also ratified the 15th amendment.
But there was also another thing happening; the KKK, which actively tried to kill freedmen and tried to oppress them as much as possible, and when the south gained back power when Reconstruction was disbanded, Democrats were back in control of the governments, and actively oppressed the freedmen.
Make of all that as you will.