Slavery Does Not Define the Black American Experience

Slavery was horrible, but it was not the primary factor that built this country, and its historical existence does not permanently stain our nation’s legacy. It should never be denied — and no one in fact does deny this — that the “land of the free” once used captives from other societies almost as cattle. However, the reality is that virtually all societies existing before the modern era did so, and only one became the United States of America. Logically, something other than our past indulgence of evil must be responsible for our current greatness.

Slavery in the United States existed, by definition, only from our actual national founding in 1776 until the end of the Civil War in 1865, and existed almost entirely in the agrarian South during that period. There is essentially no evidence that the practice boosted the wealth of that region beyond that of the rest of the U.S.: The South was widely considered a feudal backwater even before the Union Army conquered it, killing roughly one in four military-aged males in the region during the process. Virtually all American industrial and economic development has taken place since that occurred.

Further, and importantly, slavery does not empirically seem to be the cause of most modern problems even in the black community. Remarkably, the black illegitimacy rate was far lower under slavery than it is today.

Every point just made matters and is worth hashing out. First, almost literally no one denies that slavery was bad. American bondage was a fairly harsh form of chattel slavery, a system within which individuals are deprived of personal liberty and forced to submit to an owner — who can buy, lease or sell them like any other form of property. The writings of the ancient Greeks, who knew this system well, describe (often unintentionally) its dehumanizing brutality. The writer Xenophon recommends treating slaves like intelligent domestic animals, while great Aristotle himself describes the life of a slave as being composed of “work, beatings” and if the poor fellow was lucky, “feedings.” American slave masters seem to have been no better than Greek ones: To read through slave narratives is to be deluged with stories of coarse and scanty food, brutal whip-wielding overseers, runaways chased down by dogs, and young children “sold down the river.” Portions of American, and human history, are written in blood and can be difficult for modern eyes to read.

But, with all that said and unexcused — this essay will not dwell on the significantly greater prevalence of slavery in Latin America, or the Muslim states of the Middle East, than in the United States — the plain fact is that the U.S. did not begin in 1619, and even slavery that existed in 1776 had a fairly limited impact on who we are as a society today. In 1619, the year during which the New York Times recently declared that America actually began, there were an estimated 210 English-speaking settlers on the North American continent, perhaps 20 of whom were black slaves. Even by the time of the first national census in 1790, more than a decade after independence, there were roughly 3.9 million Americans. Only 19.3 percent of these people were of African descent, and by no means were all of the blacks slaves. More than a few, in fact, were slave owners.

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12 thoughts on “Slavery Does Not Define the Black American Experience

  1. Why bother with the truth when you can blame all your problems on someone else? Personal responsibility be damned.

    1. Zach, children born out of wedlock are referred to as “illegitimate.” “Bastard” is also a commonly used term. Me thinks there is some willful ignorance in your comment.

  2. The new age of Slavery –

    It will define our future if the Marxist, Critical Theory people have their way.

    White Americans will become slaves emotionally and economically (through reparations) to blacks. Binary people will become the emotional slaves to the growing letter list called LGBTQ+.

    Our children will be put into slavery by their teachers who will segregate them into aggrieved classes of people that require obedience, restitution, and repentance for the sins of their forefathers. They will be taught that “silence is violence” and violence will be dealt with.

    Conservative voters will be enslaved to the will of Leftist voters through censorship and/or fabrication of news, along with uncontrolled voting systems.

    Then America as a whole will be slaves to the new and permanent Socialist/Democrat politburo who will determine what we buy, how much we earn and how much of that we can keep.

    This new slavery will be brutal because it is founded on hatred, anger, and irrational thought.

  3. The tyrants of the covid lockdown insanity pictured many blue state governors as want to be slave owners as they (mandated) less freedoms for all.

  4. Thomas Sowell has had this exactly right for decades. Watch some of his interviews with Peter Robinson on “Uncommon Knowledge” on YT if you haven’t already.

  5. An intelligent black man is kryptonite to liberals. Especially a highly intelligent, educated and articulate black man who understands WHAT THE GAME IS. What IS the game, you ask? Well. Give people FREE substandard crap, make sure they stay uneducated, unemployed, unhealthy and segregated via the free substandard crap, and threaten to take all the free substandard crap away if they deign to want something better. Convince them that it’s a horrible, racist world, and they will never have an equal chance of, say, getting a job or owning a home. Work is for suckers! Stay where you are for free, vote democrat, do a little burning and looting when we ask, and all the free substandard crap stays. And therein lies the recipe for the annihilation of human beings: take away any purpose to their lives (which for most people is WORK and FAMILY), keep them angry and victimized with unrelenting propaganda, and you not only keep them “slaves” but also ensure a healthy population for the private for-profit prisons. BTW: regarding “reparations” and “equity” — both of which are further gold standards of democrat diabolicalness — it is beyond question that the vast majority would end up right back where they started or, more likely, worse off (SEE “12 Reasons Why Most Lottery Winners Recklessly Blow Through All Their Cash”). Democrats know this and count on this, a scheme much like the housing bubble leading up to the 2008 crash. In sum: living off the government or anything or anyone other than your own work MAKES YOU A SLAVE.

  6. Sorry for the non-topical slide but the acronym “LGBTQ” has been hijacked and now stands for “Let’s Get Biden To Quit”.

  7. I agree with pretty much everyone here, except for the person who can not seem to grasp the phrase “black illegitimacy rate”, and that was an excellent article. I have listened incredulously to Black people come right out and exclaim that Black people built ALL OF IT! The entire USA. All of the big cities, all of the huge farms and ranches in the Midwest and West, all of the factories, EVERYTHING! I kid you not. They have been that deluded with propaganda. I find it truly sad, and even pitiful. I kind of felt sorry for them, but at the same time didn’t because some of that ignorance has to be willful, the truth is available, one only has to look.

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