US Slavery

US Slavery

When slavery was first practiced in the

Americas during the early colonial period, it was purely for economic use.

The use of slaves in sugar, tabbaco, and cotton plantations brought a great
deal of profit and thus slavery was implemented into the whole system where
there was harsh agriculture. These regions were located within the equator,
where the climate was warm and apt for agriculture. However, as time past
industrialization started influenzing the non-agricultural regions of Americas.

Hence, two distinct types of economies emerged as well as the consequent
friction between the two. Those who remained dependent on agriculture needed
slavery as an economic factor; but those who were industrialized did not,
thus they had no reason not to oppose slavery as a moral issue. (In the

United States there was contrast between North being industrialized and

South being based on agriculture). Those who politically opposed slave-owners
or slavery-adherents found it practical to use slavery as an excuse to
reproach (besmirch) them, not because they felt anything incorrect about
slavery itself. (Political leaders favored slaveowners inorder to obtain
support such as in Peru, Venezuela, etc). Nonetheless, religion cannot
be accounted as reasons for opposition because both sides pursued religion
as their justification; even those who supported slavery used Christianity
to defend slavery such as the Southern slaveholders in the US. Therefore,
opposition to slavery originated from those who regarded it as morally
and religiously wrong but was further supported by those who took advantage
of it for political (machiavellian) reasons.

The abolition of slavery in the Americas
occured upon fits and starts. Slavery was an institution entrenched both
in economic life and in the social fabric of essentially hierarchical societies.

The commodities produced by slave labor, particularly sugar, cotton, and
coffee, were crucial to the exopanding network of transatlantic trade.(1)

In Brazil and Cuba slaveholding was also widespread in the cities and in
some food-producing regions. Thus while the ideological transformations
accompanying the growth of capitalism in Great Britain set the stage for
a general critique of chattel slavery and championing of "free labor",
it took more than a changing intellectual climate to dislodge the institution.(2)

Abolitionism took on its greatest force when it coincided with economic
change and domestic social upheaval, and particularly when it became an
element in the defining of new nations or new colonial relationships. (3)

Similarly also in the United Sates, according
to thorough study of antebellum Southern industry, the Southern lag in
this category of development resulted from any inherent economic disadvantages
- not shortage of capital, nor low rates of return, nor nonadaptability
of slave labor - but from the choices of Southerners to invest more of
their money in agriculture and slaves than in manufacturing.(4) Their attitude
was: "We want no manufactures; we desire no trading, no mechanical or manufacturing
classes."(5) The free labor image of North and South did not, of course,
go unchallenged during the 1850\'s. It was during this period that the activity
of the pro-slavery theorists reached its peak, and in fact the Republican
defense of the northern social order and their glorification of free labor
were in part a response to the attacks of these same writers, especially

George Fitzhugh. The pro-slavery writers insistsed that in free society
labor and capital were in constant antagonism, and that as a result the
laborer was insecure and helpless.(6) They denied that any real social
mobility or harmony of interests existed in the North. In his famous "mud-sill"
speech, South Carolina\'s Senator James Hammond declared that in all social
systems "there must be a class to do the mean duties, to perform the drudgeries
of life," and Fitzhugh divided northern society into four classes: the
rich, the highly skilled professionals, the poor thieves, and the "poor
hardworking people, who support everybody, and starve themselves."(7) For
this last class there was no hope of advancement - not one in a hundred,
as South Carolina\'s Chancellor Harper said, could hope to improve his condition.(8)

For all practical purposes, according to pro-slavery writers, slavery existed
in the North as well as in the South. As Hammond put it, "Your whole class
of manual laborers and operatives, as you call them, are slaves."(9) Thus,
slavery was too profitable in the economies of agriculture, including the

Southern United States, that it could not have been opposed without a significant
social or economic change.

The rising tide of nationalism caused
some Latin Americans to question dreary racial concepts. To accept the

European doctrines, they finally realized, would condemn Latin America
perpetually to a secondary position.(10) The nationalists concluded that
the doctrines were simply another means devised by the Europeans to humiliate
and subjugate Latin America. In due