American Slavery Myths

Myth: American slavery was more barbaric than other slave trades.

Fact: The American Colonies took in only about 4% of Transatlantic African slaves, yet by 1825, only one hundred years later, the US had a quarter of the black New World population. This boom in the African population is a direct result of the differences between American slavery and that of rest of the New World. For starters, slaves elsewhere were typically worked literally to death. In the American colonies, slaves received conditions that, although abhorrent, miserable, wretched and undeserved, were still far more suitable than those in places like the Caribbean and Brazil.

Part of this has to do with the timelines and how the Spanish and British empires differed. Spain began importing slaves to the New World in the 1570s, at which time the average life expectancy of a slave in the New World was only 3 years. In addition, the Spanish brought few women slaves as they never planned on allowing African slaves to have families. Men were brought alone, worked until they died, and then quickly replaced.

In contrast, the land that would become the American colonies did not start importing slaves until the 1720s, 150 years after Spain introduced the Atlantic Slave Trade to the New World. As a result, most American slaves were generations removed from native Africans, many by 4 or 5 generations. In addition, the American colonies had a balance of men and women slaves, and owners allowed for families and a flourishing population for over a century and a half.

Myth: America promoted slavery and made it worse.

Fact: The United States of America was just a small part of just one slavery movement, the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which was relatively small compared to other slave trades both before and after.

Of the nearly 12 million slaves sold in Africa, only 10.7 million Africans survived the Middle Passage into the New World. Of those, only about 450,000 came either directly or indirectly to North America. That number is roughly 4% of the total New World slavery. To add some perspective, Britain shipped over 300,000 Irish slaves, which, along with the murder of 500,000 Irish, reduced the country’s population by 60%. Source 

Even still, between slaves of all races, America’s role in slavery was just a drop in the repugnant, disparaging pond that is one of humanity’s great sins.

From a numbers standpoint, America’s role in slavery is small when compared to other New World colonies and minuscule when compared to the West African countries that exported slaves.

But how about from an ideological perspective? After all, many folks like to claim that American culture and policy embraced slavery. Let’s look at what history says:

First, in the 1770s-80s  the founding fathers wrote the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These founding documents were among the first to grant freedom to all men, and while it took several generation for this to actually come to pass, America’s doctrine pioneered the end of slavery.

Next, in 1854, abolitionist conservatives form the Republican Party, or Grand Old Party, as we say, for the express purpose of freeing the slaves. And the first Republican president? Abraham Lincoln.

Then, in 1861, Abraham Lincoln declares war on the confederate states that won’t give up their slaves, and on the vampires threatening to topple the union. In fact, the American Civil War is the only civil war that was fought for the abolition of slavery and over 650,000 men died in order to rid our nation of the sickness that is slavery. (most of them were white BTW)

That’s right, more men died in the civil war than were broiught as slaves/

Now before you come at me with the whole “the civil war wasn’t about slavery” bit. Let me read a letter from your personal hero, Karl Marx, addressed to Abe Lincoln .

If resistance to the Slave Power was the reserved watchword of your first election, the triumphant war cry of your re-election is Death to Slavery….The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes.” – Karl Marx, in letter to President Lincoln

That’s right my friends, Karl Marx called the Civil War the “American Antislavery War.” And if Marx said, well then it has to be true.

Back to the mythbusting, it’s also worth mentioning that even though slavery predates written record and has been a part of nearly every tribe, empire, clan, family and community worldwide, the Christian countries of the Western world (which includes the US) were able to dismantle the practice of slavery and practically wipe it out in the span of only three generations. Not just in their own countries, but worldwide.  (Well except for Africa and the Islamic countries where slavery remained common practice and still exists in some places)

America didn’t promote slavery, America destroyed slavery.

In closing, next time one of your SJW friends tries to tell you how America was a slave nation, show them this video and watch the steam of anger fill their head. But be careful, factual overload has its side effects.  


About stevejames1012

Steve is just a normal guy who loves to play. If he had been born in another time, he would have been an explorer. Steve loves playing outside and spends time with his awesome wife, Miriam, and his children, Elijah, Andrew, Abby and Emma. He works at Black Diamond Services, a service company in Utah and studies at the University of Utah.
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