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While doing some research for a Civil War diary, I found a document which says a lot about slavery in a very small space. It's a receipt issued in "Augusta" [Georgia]?, September 20, 1864, for the purchase of a woman known only as Susannah, and two children, probably Susannah's, for the price of $7,500.

Have a look at this:

SlaveReceipt1864GAJohnson

What is extraordinary about this is the ordinariness of it.  It's a pre-printed form, which states:

Received of ____ ___Dollars, being in full for the the purchase of ___ Negro Slaves named ______ the right and title of said Slaves _ warrant and defend against the climes of all persons whatsoever, and likewise warrant ___ sound and healthy in mind and body, and slaves for life.
Note what appear to be decorative features on the left side also double as rather primitive anti-forgery features.  Receipts like this were important legal documents which proved ownership, in this case of human beings, and were just as susceptible to forgery as any similar documents.

We all look for the big events in history, D-Day, moon landing, etc.  But for me it is the mundane detail that shows more.  Ordinary pre-printed legal forms are the mark of a stable legal system.  In this case of course the legal system had stabilized around the keeping of human beings as chattel.  

When one combines this observation with the realization that this was no accident, but was in fact contemplated within, and protected by, the 1787 constitution of the United States, a rather different understanding emerges as to the meaning and history of the American experiment.

Originally posted to Plan 9 from Oregon on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community, White Privilege Working Group, History for Kossacks, Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (134+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftyguitarist, BOHICA, freelunch, Horace Boothroyd III, tonyahky, Carol in San Antonio, Serendipity, crystal eyes, BoiseBlue, The Geogre, trivium, Justus, Manny, Timaeus, wayoutinthestix, Shaking the Tree, RUNDOWN, Denise Oliver Velez, SanFernandoValleyMom, janmtairy, swampyankee, Chitown Kev, Ishmaelbychoice, tytalus, JoanMar, palantir, nuclear winter solstice, Bob Love, justintime, mahakali overdrive, yella dawg, Dave in Northridge, jan4insight, howabout, ruleoflaw, maracuja, Progressive Witness, FishOutofWater, Newzie, Melanie in IA, mithra, claude, old wobbly, rwsab, kpardue, shaharazade, MeToo, seishin, anodnhajo, Aaa T Tudeattack, dragonlady, Lily O Lady, rmonroe, DCBlue, bnasley, LSmith, Sychotic1, ardyess, Smoh, Gowrie Gal, owlbear1, slowbutsure, chantedor, greengemini, implicate order, Its a New Day, Joy of Fishes, Ahianne, Renee, Sanuk, Habitat Vic, vivian darkbloom, svboston, 2thanks, Thinking Fella, BYw, walkshills, jadt65, paul2port, 88kathy, JaxDem, devis1, BlackSheep1, DvCM, pixxer, TheFatLadySings, carolkay, eve, Throw The Bums Out, jwinIL14, Pat K California, Keone Michaels, FarWestGirl, tobendaro, JKTownsend, bluedust, Shockwave, Cassandra Waites, Larsstephens, mjfgates, No one gets out alive, Texknight, Cintimcmomma, terabytes, nio, enufisenuf, Anjana, elginblt, harlinchi, wbr, LilithGardener, Chi, Hastur, HeyMikey, oortdust, mofembot, lazybum, sfbob, Orinoco, WakeUpNeo, George3, Nulwee, jazzence, parse this, kurt, jhop7, MichaelNY, chira2, WI Deadhead, RO45, cherie clark, UFOH1, dwayne, CA wildwoman

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:16:30 AM PST

  •  This encourages my theory about the finance of (34+ / 0-)

    slavery.  Slavery was more about perversion than money.
    You can make more money paying people slave wages than you can enslaving them. The slavers were perverted, and did what they did for the sadism, rape, murder, privilege,
    etc. Slavery just doesn't make economic sense compared to the alternative, give poor people no choice but to work for peanuts. Thoughts?

    "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

    by leftyguitarist on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:28:57 AM PST

    •  Agreed. nt (7+ / 0-)

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:30:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I must disagree with the evil motive theory (20+ / 0-)

      No doubt there were slave owners who were cruel,  perverse, etc.  But eventually those emotions run out and can't be used to build a permanent society.  

      The quiet legal-fication (if I can make a word there) of slavery, and its permanent incorporation into the economic environment were much more effective.

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:33:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, I believe you have re-enforced my theory, (13+ / 0-)

        it is truly perverted to be around people and not recognize them as people.

        "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

        by leftyguitarist on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:35:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree, but slavery was far more than personal (20+ / 0-)

          cruelty, which can only go so far.  Bank loans etc. were made based on slaves as collateral.

          You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

          by Cartoon Peril on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:41:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  assets (17+ / 0-)

            I agree with you that it is the mundane and the level of normativity that is the most perverse, especially when viewed from our era.    

            Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

            by a gilas girl on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 11:11:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, perverse. That is the word that I was using (6+ / 0-)

              in my original comment. That is the discussion I am looking for.

              "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

              by leftyguitarist on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:00:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It was all about the money. (0+ / 0-)

                I personally do not see the benefit of dwelling on a situation that was ended more than a century ago by a civil war overwhelmingly fought by white people.

                The diarist seems eager to prove "perversion". I call it slave porn, and people interested in it seem distressingly similar to other pornography addicts.

                Yes, racism exists. So does misogyny. As does pedophilia and other evils. If someone wants to wallow in victimhood, that is entirely their choice.

                If one feels the need to discover their "roots", that's up to them. But I believe where one comes form is less important than where one is or where one is going.

                And wasting time on slave porn is not helpful.

                "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

                by glorificus on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:06:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually there's great value (13+ / 0-)

                  To be had in understanding how fundamental "realities" about human consciousness do in fact change over time...and these examples presented in this diary illustrate how understandings about something as basic as what constitutes a person vs. property are not in fact universals at all.

                  You may not see any value in it personally, but that doesn't mean that other people, with an eye toward understanding the way human beings make the conditions of their existence meaningful (and to some degree real) over time and in different places.

                  Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                  by a gilas girl on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 06:14:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You could have skipped the diary - you do have (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  swampyankee, Cartoon Peril, MichaelNY

                  freedom to choose which diaries you read.

                •  You don't see the benefit of consciousness-raising (4+ / 0-)

                  about slavery? That's really too bad. Slavery and the murder and dispossession of the Native Americans were two of the most fundamental aspects of American history, and the more we study and are conscious of the way they were begun and perpetuated, the better we understand ourselves.

                  And you confuse the diarist here with others responding to the diary:

                  The diarist seems eager to prove "perversion".
                  Nope. Read what Cartoon Peril says:
                  I must disagree with the evil motive theory

                  No doubt there were slave owners who were cruel,  perverse, etc.  But eventually those emotions run out and can't be used to build a permanent society.  

                  The quiet legal-fication (if I can make a word there) of slavery, and its permanent incorporation into the economic environment were much more effective.

                  Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                  by MichaelNY on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 01:23:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're correct, I mis-identified the comment (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cartoon Peril

                    I responded to as the diarist.

                    I apologize to Cartoon Peril.

                    And no, I don't see the benefit to conscious-raising about slavery, beyond saying it's immoral and evil. I think some find the stories of slaves being raped and abused as titillating - that's why I call it slave porn.

                    I do see a benefit regarding the genocide attempted against the Indians and in the Holocaust against the many groups the Nazis didn't like.

                    And Great FSM,

                    the more we study and are conscious of the way they were begun and perpetuated, the better we understand ourselves.
                    Where and what is evidence of this greater understanding?

                    Voter suppression?

                    I'm not impressed.

                    "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

                    by glorificus on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:17:15 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You apparently think (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      swampyankee

                      that learning about history, which is where we came from, is rarely useful. I don't understand why. It's like questioning why we should be interested in astronomy or biology or geography. All those disciplines help us to understand the context in which we live.

                      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                      by MichaelNY on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:19:38 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I think learning about history is great, and we (0+ / 0-)

                        don't do enough of it. I see the focus on slave porn here at DK where little else is brought forward as lop-sided and, as I said, unnecessary.

                        Maybe there have been lots of diaries on here discussing American political history or the benefits of Marovengians or philosophies of ancient China and I haven't seen them.

                        "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

                        by glorificus on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:29:34 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Where's the porn in this? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          swampyankee

                          It's a legal document.

                          Besides, I disagree with you on that, too. You think photographs of slaves or genocides are not important historical documents?

                          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                          by MichaelNY on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:36:04 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Enslaving a people or individual can be (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          swampyankee, glorificus

                          accomplished in more ways than actually physically having ownership of their bodies. The financial aspect is really important because we continue to enslave in the general sense everyday thru low wages, lack of opportunity and poor educational options. Citizens of whole countries are enslaved, again in the general sense by things like Colonialism. It is one thing to be able to go to the bank and borrow against the value of your slaves, but we also moved to oppress whole groups like Native Americans, take everything of value and giving them nothing in return. Colonialism did the same thing striping everything of value while ignoring the welfare of indigenous people. Slavery in all its forms is hardly gone, just evolved into something less likely to be recognized for what it really is and in some ways more socially acceptable in modern day capitalism.

                          The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

                          by cherie clark on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:47:23 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

      •  the evil motive side worked to delay abolition (14+ / 0-)

        not setting it up in the first place... all situations in the present are the result of a lot of previous steps and decisions that followed the path of least residence and the largest return... once headed in a particular direction accidental and intentional additions to the landscape and the decision making and moral justifications tend to keep things heading in the same direction... usually long past where the original reasons work any longer or the balance sheets add up or the increasing moral and economic destructiveness far outweighs the now obsolete justification.

        Labor shortage, labor force unwilling to migreate... slavery is a solution as well as convict labor. Slaves bought in Africa (Or kidnapped by traders cut out of the "legal" sources)were cheaper originally... transport costs were a  bigger part of the expense... But as the wholesale cost in Africa kept going up year after year... keeping most the "cargo" alive became more and more of a priority ... faster ships marginally better "care" on legal slave ships... but the costs just going up anyway. The energy and effort kept going in the direction of extending the age of slavery not as much abolition and finding alternatives... (like fossil fuel today vs. renewable, existing investment, moneyed interests and denial are powerful things... but in comparison slavery did have other perverse payoffs for some)

        Once importation of new slaves from Africa was made illegal... the whole market in the US turned to breeding the domestic supply and the laws of supply and demand and the entrenchment of the use of slaves and the dominance of the landed gentry in economics and politics of the South meant they could drag their heels on any changes that might go with the inevitable flow of history and make sure laws favored keeping slavery "forever"...

        And part of the whole keeping of it the way it was does link up to the sadism, exploitation etc by at least a sizable percentage of the enablers and benefiters of slavery... they could have been a minority of those invested in it but they would have had extra dimensions of motivation... and higher levels of enthusiasm and activism... Those who get extra buzz and  or have more secret guilt over their sick abuses...

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:50:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Cartoon Peril: have you seen the "Bluebird" ads? (8+ / 0-)

        Wal-Mart really is a "company store" -- they even offer an alternative, now, to banks and credit unions.

        The legalization of slavery through the back doors our corporate overlords have enjoyed installing since 1980 continues unabated, but now there's a major American financial company (American Express) backing up the "race to the bottom" leader in treating workers rottenly, creating the sorriest possible work environment, denying access to benefits and dominating even the employee's off-hours ("constant availability" which means that even though you can only work 35 hours a week you have to be able to say "yes" to a call in at any time).

        We need bigger reforms than anybody imagines, I fear.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:50:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I believe the word you were looking for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cartoon Peril

        was legitimization.

    •  Disagree to some degree (14+ / 0-)

      Slavery in the South happened because there was no way to get enough voluntary workers in the fields. Pay would have had to go up dramatically and anyone who who wanted to farm could go out west and get some land rather than work for a landowner. Indentured servants were more expensive than slaves and they had rights that had to be respected.

      Slavery didn't work in other areas of the country because there wasn't the differential in value between slaves and laborers.

      The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

      by freelunch on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:41:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Euguene Fox Genovese (10+ / 0-)

      The Moral Economy of Slavery, but be prepared for a flat out metric ton of criticism.

      No, "evil" won't explain it. Yes, the economics argued against its continuation. No, that doesn't mean it was ending. No, that doesn't mean it kept going for Evil. Yes, it means that the economic structure of the south was headed for a massive crash and tremendous capital fall, if not internal revolution.

      If money is the root of all evil, then what is Mitt Romney?

      by The Geogre on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:43:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Slavery was about a fundamental worldview of how (18+ / 0-)

      society should be ordered. A worldview that supports slavery is fundamentally different than one that does not.  The book "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America" by Colin Woodard, describes how the elites of the Deep South are descended mainly from the owners of plantations from Barbados.  These owners were the younger sons of the British nobility who'd run out of land in the Caribbean islands and came to the southern American colonies in search of more land.   These aristocrats brought with them a culture that was fundamentally different from the northern colonies. As Woodard says, "From the outset, Deep Southern culture was based on radical disparities in wealth and power, with a tiny elite commanding total obedience and enforcing it with state-sponsored terror. "

      •  "British nobility".... (9+ / 0-)

        ...is a crucial part of this whole equation too. The plantation class really did descend primarily from a British (prevailingly Anglo-Norman, with all the suppression of the Saxons they conquered that that entails) aristocracy steeped in royal blood and pretension, and in the rights, privileges, and entitlements of feudalism. Given the status of serfs in feudal Europe, it's no coincidence that the descendants of feudal lords would be slave owners in America.

        PW

        "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." --MLK

        by Progressive Witness on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 11:22:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that premise is over simplified (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          My family, Highland Scots, Chieftain class learned their lessons the hard way being hunted like animals. They came to this country nearly 30 years before the Revolutionary War. They bought land worked that land and never ever owned slaves. That is not to say all Scottish immigrants felt the same way, clearly they didn't. But I think my point is not every english speaking settler thought slavery was a good thing, or thought they were entitled to anymore than a fresh start.

          The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

          by cherie clark on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:00:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Except you aren't taking into account (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril, Nulwee

      one of the uglier aspects of slaveholding: start with two slaves of different gender, and you can breed your own "stock."

      That makes slaveholding much more profitable than employing people even at a pittance.

      •  Yes and no. The slave-owning class had this (10+ / 0-)

        all worked out on a bell-curve.  The value of young children and old people was reckoned at next to nothing, because the price of a human being was reflective solely as a function of the labor which could be extracted from him or her.  

        In this case, the purchaser of Susannah and her children must have calculated that he could extract more than $7500 worth of labor from them, after paying for expenses such as food, shelter, etc.

        Note in this receipt the pre-printed warranty that Susannah and her children were "sound and healthy in mind and body" -- should this not be true, the purchaser's business decision might prove a bad one.

        You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

        by Cartoon Peril on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:54:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just a note that may help understanding (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tennessee Dave, Nulwee, MichaelNY

          The bill of sale was drawn in 1864, which means that the $7500 would have been Confederate money.  

          "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

          by Yamaneko2 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 06:53:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  elmo, you're brushing the edge of the argument (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nulwee

        that cost Jimmy the Greek his job.

        But take another look at that argument.

        I really think Jimmy the Greek was not making a racist statement -- or if so, he was accusing, not excusing, the slaveowners. Abstract this with me:

        We accept, even laud, the development of more robust and higher-yielding forms of property THAT ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS nowadays. Our worldview HAS changed since the days when Americans regarded slavery as legitimate. At the same time, we have not yet as a whole reached a point where we no longer consider it wrong to "breed for better" in roses or horses, in beef cattle or high-yielding grains, in cotton or chickens (and here I do not include genetically-modified organisms, as I'm quite certain most of those are going to turn out to be as poorly planned as monoculture always is, with the possible exception of certain novelties -- cats that glow in the dark come to mind. I don't think that those novelties will reach such production numbers that they'll become commercially viable), in onagers or orchids.

         What Jimmy the Greek said was, in a world where slaves were not thought of as human beings but as livestock, Mendelian genetic engineering took place -- some on purpose -- in an effort to create a more valuable property.

        Unpalatable though that notion remains, it does contain a grain of truth. I am not saying the ends justify the means; I am saying, out of even evil at its blackest, some good can arise.

         

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:13:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just to back that up (6+ / 0-)

      I got curious about what $7,500 would be in today's money.  The inflation calculator I found only went back to 1913 but $7,500 in 1913 money is worth $175K in 2012 dollars.  That does see, apart for the moral abhorrence, like a very inefficient economic model.

      "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

      by Spider Stumbled on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:39:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  actually... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril, Nulwee, MichaelNY

      this does not seem logical to me...while slavery is evil on its face, that doesn't prove motive in all cases...many people who owned slaves were businessmen...$7,500 for a lifetime of slave work from three people  (and possibly more)...is pretty darn cheap...

    •  That wasn't the case. (5+ / 0-)

      At the us founding there was lots of land for cash crops but little labor available.   The cheapest way to obtain labor to turn the land into productive crops was forced labor--forced to come, forced to work, and prevented from homesteading on their own.  Notably the big struggles over slavery occurred when the us acquired big chunks of land that needed labor for exploitation.

      One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

      by Inland on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:52:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ship Building (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril, Nulwee, MichaelNY

      Years ago I remember reading that the Baltimore ship yards had an advantage over their New England competators because of slave labor. So if I'm remembering correctly this is a case where economics were driving things. Of course, this doesn't discount the viciousness of the slavers--it just explains their consistency.

    •  The Banality of Evil ~ Hannah Arendt. It is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      comprehending the consequences of the institutionalization of the practice by the society that crosses the rubicon.

      The dream knows no frontier or tongue,/ The dream no class or race. Langston Hughes

      by parse this on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 11:46:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice observation (27+ / 0-)
    But for me it is the mundane detail that shows more.
    The research in Slavery by another name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II. Is full of those mundane scraps of paper found in archives.
    The Age of Neo-Slavery

    In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—when a cynical new form of slavery was resurrected from the ashes of the Civil War and re-imposed on hundreds of thousands of African-Americans until the dawn of World War II.

    Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations—including U.S. Steel Corp.—looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of "free" black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery.

    The neoslavery system exploited legal loopholes and federal policies which discouraged prosecution of whites for continuing to hold black workers against their wills. As it poured millions of dollars into southern government treasuries, the new slavery also became a key instrument in the terrorization of African Americans seeking full participation in the U.S. political system.

    Based on a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude. It also reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of hum

    The hardest book I have ever tried to read. I can only read about half a chapter before wanting to puke. But I've wanted to read it since it came out because of the truth it tells.

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:33:27 AM PST

  •  Was inflation that bad in the Confederacy? (7+ / 0-)

    That appears to be a very high price to pay for three slaves, particularly if two were kids.

    My understanding is that slaves generally cost well less than $2,000 on the eve of the Civil War (a mother and two kids might be worth $3,000), so there must have been some sort of inflation, either because the Confederate Dollar was suffering severe inflation or because slaves were disappearing at such a high rate that the price of the remaining ones was going up.

    The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

    by freelunch on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:35:05 AM PST

    •  I would say this is about 3x the 1860 price (6+ / 0-)

      but without a comparison to other prices in the area, it's hard to say if this was a decline in real terms due to pressures from Union forces, etc.

      It's amazing that there was such a thing as prices and a ready market for human beings, but this was the case in those days.

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:45:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In the book referenced above (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril, freelunch, kyril, MichaelNY

      They were sold for as little as $10 - $75.

      White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

      by BOHICA on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:54:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There could have been a back-story in this (6+ / 0-)

      case. It could be that they were related to the purchaser who  was prepared to pay a premium to get them.

      866-OUR-VOTE!!(866-687-8683) Lyndon Johnson: The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.

      by JoanMar on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 09:48:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This probably reflects both inflation & deflation (4+ / 0-)

      By September 1864, the South was pretty devasted and close to being finished off. An investment in a slave was a really, really bad investment considering that the South was losing badly, Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and Union generals were freeing slaves pretty much wherever their armies tramped around the South.

      The South was experience Weimar levels of inflation by this point. By late 1864 one Union dollar was worth about 20 Confederate dollars, and $7500 Confederate dollars was worth 1/20th of that face value, so the price of these three slaves was about $370 Union, which I assume reflects the likelihood that they weren't going to be slaves for long.

      I don't think we can rationally analyze this price. On the one hand, Confederate dollars were almost worthless. On the other hand the value of a slave was also almost worthless.

    •  freelunch: you could sell a bale of cotton in (3+ / 0-)

      Confederate dollars for enough to pay off a house loan.

      It cost nearly as much to buy a loaf of bread as you could make selling a week's gather of eggs in Atlanta.

      Yes. Inflation was that bad. It started about the middle of the summer of 1864 and increased steadily through the end of the war, but instead of algorithmically during the last three months of the war, it rose by orders of magnitude.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:17:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not so settled (9+ / 0-)

    In fact of the "slave for life" is an interesting clause, because in the Confederate states there had been a series of degrees and troubles prior to the war. Indians, in particular, had been placed into slavery, and yet the legal claim to taking them into slavery could be and was contested. Further, any enslaved African ancestry individual might well be descended from a manumitted individual, and the form puts a legal burden on the seller that the person being sold is, in fact, subject to sale.

    In the history of the southeastern tribes, there are many tribes whose names we do not know due to having vanished into slavery. The tribes who survived made a deal and became, themselves, slavers.

    If money is the root of all evil, then what is Mitt Romney?

    by The Geogre on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:40:44 AM PST

  •  Figured this would be about the electoral college (4+ / 0-)

    Given the timing relative to the election, I expected this to be about how Madison would've liked presidential elections by popular vote, but that wouldn't have played with the southern states so we have that artifact of slavery known as the electoral college.

    But aside from my confounded expectations, it's interesting, and a very worthy diary.  Thx!

    •  My understanding (5+ / 0-)

      (and I am not an expert) is that the many of the Founders were distrustful (at best) of "Mob Rule" and as well as being distrustful of allowing too much of the federal government to be beholden to the legislatures of the various states. So we wound up with the Lower House elected by popular vote, the Upper House chosen by the State Legislatures (later changed by the Seventeenth Amendment), and the President chosen by the Electoral College. The Constitutional Convention was a series of compromises.

      "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."--Will Rogers

      by vgranucci on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:28:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another thing that is striking to me (8+ / 0-)

    is the use of legal language that reminds me of the language we still use in modern deeds to real property.

    The phrase:

    the right and title of said Slaves I warrant and defend against the claims of all persons whatsoever
    is similar to a phrase commonly used in warranty deeds:
    And Grantor does hereby fully warrant title to the land conveyed hereby and will defend the same against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever.
    And the phrase "and slaves for life" is eerily similar to the concept of "fee simple" or "fee simple absolute" ownership in real estate.
    An estate in fee simple denotes the maximum ownership in land that can be legally granted; it is the greatest possible aggregate of rights, powers, privileges and immunities available in land.
    See Wikipedia.

    Shameful.

  •  the banality of evil (5+ / 0-)

    to republicans rape is "God's will" but homosexuality is somehow a "choice". republican yahweh is a dick.

    by bnasley on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:30:05 PM PST

  •  True. The cons are big on the rule of law. (5+ / 0-)

    Using the law as an intermediary to inflict deprivation is likely a singular American contribution to the history of jurisprudence.
    It gives new significance to the common refrain, "there ought to be a law."
    We assume that the law supports justice at our peril. Deprivation under cover of law has been with us from the start and resurrected not so long ago as DADT and DOMA.

    Deprivation of rights is supposed to be reserved as punishment for crime, but that's not always how it works. And then there's the habit of criminalizing basic human behaviors, like what we eat, what we drink, what we excrete and where we go.
    Perhaps it didn't occur to the framer of the Constitution that such basic human functions would be proscribed by the law.  But then, the law was used to describe some humans as less than whole. In the beginning there were 3/5 persons. More recently, a thimble full of fetal tissue was considered for personhood.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 01:35:02 PM PST

  •  I completed a two semester course (7+ / 0-)

    at an ivy league university a  while back. The first semester covered American slavery and the second semester covered slavery in Jamaica. I was greatly impressed with the depth of knowledge of the professor concerning the economics regarding institutionalized slavery on the island. Most plantations were owned by English royality who existed as owners in absentia. These plantations were generally run by plantation "managers" who were paid a salary plus a bonus with the bonus based purely on over production. most managers receieved a portion of the profit derived from the amount of over production sustained by the plantation. The English plantation owners recruited their managers generally from Scotland, and preferred these individuals even over native Englishmen. The plantation manager had complete control over all plantation operations and finances even to the purchasing of the African slaves.

    The English made many attempts to capture the local Jamaican island indians and force them into slavery, but they eventually found out that this was a losing strategy. The indians knowing the island better than the English would be freed by lightning bloody raids on plantations by warriors against those who were holding their kinsmen as slaves. However, the most significant problem the English found in using indians as slaves was in the fact that indians were poor producers and many failed to survive the brutal whipping and beatings designed to make them work harder.

    Plantation managers generally considered a maximum 2 year life span for their imported male African slaves, and this was documented in their budgetary planning for plantation operations. African slaves were worked from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week. No medicine was imported for the slave population, and extremely sick slaves were often forced out of bed to resume their work in the fields.

    Most managers built the plantation workforce out of a population of male African slaves. They imported a few female slaves for household tasks and to provide limited nursing duties for sick or injured male workers.

    Jamaican plantations were strictly high pressure production operations simply because two levels of the white social class were expecting to make outstanding profits from each venture. The English noble class owners expected for their respective plantations to finance their lavish lifestyle back home in England. The white plantation manager expected to make eventually make his fortune, accumulated after a few years of hard work on this far away "God forsaken" island. And all of these heavy  financial expectations had to be realized out of the hides of the dramatically shortened lives of the male African slaves.

    •  y'know, otherwise, it'd be instructive to compare (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril, WakeUpNeo

      this with the way the big ranches were run between about 1880 and about 1930:

      Most plantations were owned by English royality who existed as owners in absentia. These plantations were generally run by plantation "managers" who were paid a salary plus a bonus with the bonus based purely on over production. most managers receieved a portion of the profit derived from the amount of over production sustained by the plantation. The English plantation owners recruited their managers generally from Scotland, and preferred these individuals even over native Englishmen.
      Lots of outfits had English / Scots / European owners in absentia, who sent or hired managers locally.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:32:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some commenters here seem to think (6+ / 0-)

    that slavery was due more to economic factors than not.

    In 1820 John Quincy Adams, in my view, described V. Tyrannica (one of the two living varieties of humankind) when he noted the characteristics of those who practiced and supported slavery. Adams was Secretary of State in the cabinet of President James Monroe when he was called to a meeting in Monroe’s office to consult on the admission of Maine as a free state and on the Missouri Enabling Act. Adams recommended that Monroe approve both, even though he, Adams, was against slavery and Missouri was likely to be admitted as a slave state. He thought that the Constitution prevented the government from abolishing slavery. After the meeting, Secretary Adams continued the conversation about slavery with Secretary of War John C. Calhoun of South Carolina as they walked back to their offices. Afterwards, Adams made some entries in his diary which, in my view, explain the differences between tyranni and democrati very well:

    The discussion of this Missouri question has betrayed the secret of their souls. In the abstract they [the defenders of slavery] admit that slavery is an evil, they disclaim all participation in the introduction of it, and cast it all upon the shoulders of our old Grandam Britain. But when probed to the quick upon it, they show at the bottom of their souls pride and vainglory in their condition of masterdom. They fancy themselves more generous and noblehearted than the plain freemen who labor for subsistence. They look down upon the simplicity of a Yankee’s manners, because he has no habits of overbearing like theirs and cannot treat Negroes like dogs.

    It is among the evils of slavery that it taints the very sources of moral principle. It establishes false estimates of virtue and vice; for what can be more false and heartless than this doctrine which makes the first and holiest rights of humanity to depend upon the color of the skin? It perverts human reason, and reduces man endowed with logical powers to maintain that slavery is sanctioned by the Christian religion, that slaves are happy and contented in their condition, that between master and slave there are ties of mutual attachment and affection, that the virtues of the master are refined and exalted by the degradation of the slave; while at the same time they vent execrations upon the slave trade, curse Britain for having given them slaves, burn at the stake Negroes convicted of crimes for the terror of the example, and writhe in agonies of fear at the very mention of human rights as applicable to men of color.

    Adams was no fool. He was the son of two important Founders; he was raised to understand America’s founding principles, he was well educated, he was Secretary of State and would soon become President. After he finished his presidential duties he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts. He was not an extremist; he was speaking plainly and his words represented very well the position of many American democrati of the time. His words found the most important point. He realized that the men who could “treat Negroes like dogs,” and who “burn at the stake Negroes convicted of crimes for the terror of the example,” performed those horrible, shameful acts because it was in them, in their souls, in their very beings—it was natural. Such men are tyranni. They are products of Evolution by Natural Selection.

    I do have one slight disagreement with Adams’ words. He said that slavery “taints the very sources of moral principle,” it “establishes false estimates of virtue and vice,” and it “perverts human reason.” He speaks as if slavery is not a creation of men but that it is created by nature and in turn corrupts men. But the opposite is true; slavery is created and supported by certain men who hold moral principles that other men regard as tainted, who hold views of virtue and vice that others reject, and who follow a kind of reason that other men think is perverse. The tyrannus who wields the whip means to do it—and he thinks, no, he “knows,” that he is right to do it. I know, it sounds overwrought, but that is the way things work. We are who we are. V. Tyrannica perform tyrannical acts.

    The more extreme tyranni are willing to use force to get their way. Such tyranni are ruthless, and very aggressive. They seek power over others wherever they can find it. This meant that every leadership position in government, North and South, was an eligible target for tyranni, but in the South the leadership requirements were so ghastly that democrati did not qualify, or at least did not have the will to “treat Negroes like dogs.” So once a culture of official violence developed, new tyranno-leaders who condoned that violence were more likely to win and keep power than those who preferred a softer, kinder approach. In 1820, the tyranno-governments of the solid, stolid, squalid, sullen, sordid, surly, sorry, slaveholding southern states were rotten, and America was not beautiful.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:42:32 PM PST

  •  I agreed with your diary's main point until... (4+ / 0-)

    ...I arrived at this:

    When one combines this observation to with the realization that this was no accident, but was in fact contemplated within, and protected by, the 1787 constitution of the United States, a rather different understanding emerges as to the meaning and history of the American experiment
    .

    To this, I am going to say, 'mundanely,' bull shit.

    The "American experiment" was not complete when it was envisioned by the founders. It was a project not to be complete but to be bettered as the people of the envisioned nation evolved with the time's passing. In other words, the constitution of the United States is an organic (living) document, not a static (dead) one. It was a blue-print, a foundation of a vision that could not be perfected during the time of its contemplation. The founders however had the wisdom to understand that given the "path," the people would eventually evolve into what we are today (imperfect but better) and what we will become beyond today. They were progressives, in other words.

    Let us not make these claims about the "American experiment" while America is still growing and evolving. The proof is with the Civil War and the Civil Rights moment following the presidency of Barack Obama, a black American. Againts all odds, the people have elected him twice for the highest office on the land and the very constitution you are talking about- in addition to the evens of American history-has layed the groundwork for it.

    "American experiment" is not over. Judging it, positive or negative, thus, is grossly premature, at best.

    Regards.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:50:00 PM PST

    •  well, I should have said "the first 87 years" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenox, WakeUpNeo, MichaelNY

      but in fact I think we are still struggling against slavery now.

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:44:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That, I fully agree... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cartoon Peril, WakeUpNeo

        We are still struggling against slavery, and that's a shame. But you must admit that things today are nowhere near the same as they were in those first 87 years. Maybe the point of history is the fact that 'perfection' is not attainable. Struggle towards perfection, is. The constitution of US makes that struggle possible. It gives us no promises other than guaranteeing the opportunity to struggle. And the "Declaration of Independence" speaks not of a "right to happiness" (a place to arrive) but the "pursuit of happiness."

        Here is an analogy to my thinking: As youth grow to middle age for example, they arrive to what is called full adulthood. The catch? It is all downhill from then on. I don't believe America has arrived to its full adulthood yet, and maybe that's a good thing.

        Thanks for the thought provoking diary, btw.

        "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

        by zenox on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:58:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  well done (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril

    thanks

  •  The Cradle to Prison system is all legal now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    It has become what African American and Latino poor kids have 1 in 3 and 1 in 6 chances to be swallowed by the largest Prison/Industrial complex in the world and even in history.

    And the forms with the names of the prisoners are very official.

    Slavery thinking still resonates in the collective mind of America.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 06:43:36 PM PST

  •  Evil can be so… (5+ / 0-)

    surprisingly mundane. That receipt and the thousands upon thousands like it simply reek of tragedy and heartbreak.

    Thanks for posting this.

  •  White supremacy was the justification for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, Cartoon Peril, swampyankee

    slavery in the antebellum South. What follows are the words of a high official of the South, a man who was present at the birth of the Confederate States of America (CSA). I think he is telling us what he and the rest of the tyranno-South believed at the time. There is only one conclusion to be drawn from his remarks.

    On March 21, 1861, Alexander Stephens, the new Vice President of the Confederacy, delivered his famous “Cornerstone” speech in Savannah, Georgia. The speech was printed in a local newspaper. Stephens took the opportunity to discuss the new Constitution of the CSA. His audience was very receptive. As one of my teachers once said about some other jubilant people, “They were filled with a great exuberance.” The key part of Stephens’ speech and the one that has gained the most historical notice over the years is about slavery, or as he called it, “our peculiar institution.” The following excerpt is from a newspaper report, and the eyewitness reporter inserted the “applause” notations. My emphasis is in boldface. Stephens said (emphasis in the original):

    But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other—though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution—African slavery as it exists amongst us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government [the U.S.] built upon it fell when the "storm came and the wind blew."

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us.

    …It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. With us [the people of the CSA], all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material, the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made "one star to differ from another star in glory."

    The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders "is become the chief of the corner"—the real "cornerstone"—in our new edifice. [Applause.]

    I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph. [Immense applause.]

    Thousands of people who begin to understand these truths are not yet completely out of the shell; they do not see them in their length and breadth. We hear much of the civilization and christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment, those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them [the black race] the lesson taught to Adam, that "in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread," [applause,] and teaching them to work, and feed, and clothe themselves.

    Stephens went on and on about it. There could be no doubt in his mind. The tyranno-South went to war to preserve and expand slavery. Stephens said so. Stephens even reminded his listeners that Thomas Jefferson predicted it. Stephens’ audience did not cry out, or walk out—they applauded. He repeated the fundamental argument put forward by Jackson of Georgia and Smith of South Carolina in Congress seventy years earlier: that blacks are inferior to whites. His remark about “work” and the “sweat” of one’s brow was noxious in the extreme coming from a leader of the ruling class of the tyranno-South who did no work and who got their bread from the sweat of forced slave labor.

    Some have said that the high-water mark of the Confederacy was reached at the battle of Gettysburg, but I think that Stephens’ speech is a better candidate for that distinction. At this point, March of 1861, just before the Civil War, the possibility of a tyranno-society spreading from coast to coast, which would take its rightful place among the leading nations of the world, must have seemed very real to Stephens, his applauding audience, and many others among the tyranno-rulers of the new Confederacy. But in less than a month the destruction of their peculiar tyranno-dream of white supremacy would start, and in a little more than four years its annihilation would be complete.

    The text above was taken from a newspaper article in the Savannah Republican, as reprinted in Henry Cleveland, Alexander H. Stephens, in Public and Private: With Letters and Speeches, before, during, and since the War, Philadelphia, 1886, pp. 717-729

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 02:39:12 AM PST

  •  History marches on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, Cartoon Peril

    with stops and starts, lurching back and forth, but the overall progression of mankind, of society, of goverments
    rising and falling, is toward greater enlightenment and social fairness, more liberty, more justice, more individual autonomy.  

    The narrow, self-absorbed establishment-oriented minority, who stand fast in opposition to this progression of history will ultimately, with great consistency, end up on the losing side.

    Why?  They are very literally the wrong side of history.

  •  Your poll should include... (0+ / 0-)

    "Pre-Civil War II era"

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