10 Common Slavery Myths

Hey, Cypher here. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the institution of slavery, especially here in the United states. These myths often serve pernicious political purposes that can be highly detrimental to a proper conception of history, so here are ten of those myths debunked in no particular order. Since they aren’t in a particular order, each one is fairly different from the other so you should stick around because the list goes all over the place. Just as an aside, I’m going to be focusing mostly on the U.S, because this is where the myths serve their most malignant political purpose. If you are someone who is offended by these facts… Check my sources. As per usual, they are in the description. It is a common meme going around the internet. Anytime a Black Lives Matter issue comes up, I’ll see people putting these up on Facebook. Well, these are all wrong. White slaves did exist but not in the American colonies. Mostly on the Barbary coast where Muslim corsairs would capture and enslave Whites. In the New World, the closest whites got to being enslaved was indentured servitude. Indentured servitude is a system in which one is forced to labour for a limited period of time. Sometimes there were cruel bosses, but there were many more laws protecting against cruel masters of indentured servants than slaves and there was, in fact, a legal difference. Also, sometimes people were sentenced to indentured servitude for crimes they had committed. Their contracts could even be sold by owners, but generally these contracts would only be for five to twenty years Slavery indentured servitude was not some might call indentured servants sentenced to life slavery But that would be like calling a modern prisoner sentenced to life a slave That’s just weird. This myth tends to focus on the Irish who did in fact suffer tremendously under English rule some could be said to have been put into serfdom But that was in the old world in the new one the closest they came to slavery was indentured servitude And it was generally voluntary not coerced nor were they treated more brutally than black slaves the invention of slavery Predates history itself while it is generally incorrect to say that ancient persian and Egyptian States practice slavery, We know from their records that slavery existed in Surrounding States Furthermore there is archaeological evidence that shows it was a common practice throughout the world and nearly every place in the world Had slavery at some point in its history or prehistory chattel slavery as in the practice of hereditary race-based enslavement was something that was practiced throughout the middle East an Asian step for Centuries prior to 1492 [n Fact much of Islamic States practiced it until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and some well after that the last African country to abolish slavery was Mauritania, and it happened in 1981 and it is still a problem for many countries Several countries, especially Mauritania still have prominent illegal and De facto Slavery since the government is unwilling to enforce its mandates against slavery many people still hold slaves today European empires such as the Greeks and Romans Had practiced slavery and were crucial to their economies the only real reason why they stopped was that the system of serfdom? implemented after the Roman Empire made slavery kind of unnecessary for a while no black man was the first slave owner in America as Internet memes are apt to say the person they’re referring to was an Angolan indentured Servant [Naydon] Anthony Johnson who in turn came to own indentured Servant contracts after he earned his freedom he even had the first written record of Refusing to accept the end of an indentured contract thereby making the man named John Kaiser a legal slave But there had been slaves in that colony since before the Kaiser lawsuit in 1655 African slaves were sold in 1634 there and I’m not referring to indentured servants either. I mean straight-up slaves This is normally meant to show that slavery in the new world was colorblind But that doesn’t show it in the slightest it had been racially based since the second voyage of Columbus Spanish Colonies had been practicing chattel slavery for over a century Including in Florida it took a while for the racism to build up in the English colonies But it did so regardless of who owned the slaves The Civil War was not initially fought to end slavery Abraham Lincoln was very clear in 1862 by stating if I could save the union without freeing any slave I would do it and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone. I would also do that The emancipation proclamation was not an easy decision on his part [for] there were slave states fighting for the union, but it was prompted by people like John C Fremont declaring slaves emancipated under Their own authority as Military governors it also gave a crucial purpose to the Union’s fight as people were becoming more and more disillusioned [of] the Civil war Instead the North Fought to keep the union intact Ending secession was their chief motivation of course the reason for secession in the first place is a bit different oh boy is this a thorny issue I’ve done an entire episode on the causes of the Civil war But it is absolutely undeniable that slavery was a chief motivation for secession in every document proclaiming Secession slavery is explicitly mentioned This is part of lost cause revisionism they try to say that slavery was a minor factor and that the North had been trampling over the rights of the south as Independent states they bring up the tenth amendment to the constitution which states that any power expressed by the Constitution would instead be given to the states rather than the federal government they call out that there was a tremendous Difference in culture and that terrorists were choking farmers these were all factors for sure but not the most important one Lincoln being elected was and the South’s fear of his position on slavery made them secede Everything else is peripheral to this one problem. If you want more on that go watch the episode that I mentioned before In 1860 the time of the last census before the Civil war Roughly 36 percent of freeman in the south owned slaves That would seem insignificant since they were in the minority overall but as one article pointed out men is roughly the same percentage of Americans with college degrees right now [it] is not an insignificant number Furthermore the Southern Social system was entirely dependent on their peculiar institution So even if they were not slave owners most were heavily entrenched in a way of life That was absolutely dependent on slavery I’ve heard this from actual graduate students hell, Karl Marx made a similar argument in dust capital it’s that tired Marxist terminology of wage slavery ”We have been paid in two weeks and We want our wages.” ”wages. You want to be waste slave answer me that.” ”costs not but what makes way slaves” ”Wages I want you to be free” But this is a false equivocation as I pointed out in class back then when one possesses different legal rights It is impossible to say those same people are equal slaves had far less legal rights than white Factory workers in some States They had no rights whatsoever [if] a factory owner whipped their workers They could be sued or even jailed for assault as a side myth busting Americans were far more likely to sue each other prior to world war one than ever since Lawsuits were extraordinarily common in comparison to today and that myth needs to go away because it is perpetrated by big businesses and benefits them only anyways there were many business practices such as Chaining workers to their factory position that were decidedly cruel, but that is nothing compared to what many slaves Experienced now it is also a myth that all slave owners were cruel and abusive For many slavery was not as unpleasant as movies like to make it out to be after all one had to keep slaves controlled and love is often a far more potent force of coercion than fear the various acts of Rebellion that were prevalent throughout the history of Slavery had to be curtailed Somehow and many Masters were kind to their slaves But the peculiar institution had a corrosive effect on anyone involved It is true that there were slaves who were forced to work for the confederacy There is no record of slaves voluntarily working for the confederacy save for one particular instance Towards the end of the Civil war the Confederate congress passed a bill [that] allowed for a slave regiment to be created It was supposedly voluntary but then again so was their conscription act and conscription by no stretch of the definition can be defined as Voluntary in either case the regiment that was created never saw action and was a divisive issue for the confederates in General The Columbian slave trade was created by Europeans and the place that they received slaves was in West Africa But unlike what is commonly conceived they did not just go raiding inland with nets to grab up unsuspecting tribesmen the African slave [trade] was Predicated on Africans selling other Africans it was a system already in place Before Columbus arrived to take the first slaves to the new world in 1498 like most slave Institutions. It was created by capturing prisoners during warfare Europeans had no need to kidnap Africans like they show in movies all the time Africans were already doing that for them they developed an entire economy around that trade this Devastated western Africa which has yet to recover from the economic circumstances imposed by the transatlantic slave trade that doesn’t Vindicate Europeans for their slave trading of course two wrongs don’t make a right let alone How europeans would encourage the trade through their economic incentives and political maneuvering in Africa? It was a lucrative business after all it just means that Africans were active participants [in] the trade and not only victims of it First of all slavery is still an ongoing issue many countries throughout the world have Clear slavery and not just coerced labor like Chinese factory workers. I mean chattel slavery still exists We weren’t allowed to be reporting on slavery. It’s a practice the government tries to hide from outsiders But as we would find slavery is everywhere in Mauritania If you know where to look it is illegal worldwide But practiced anyways in a number of countries so slavery has not ended Furthermore abolishment of slavery was not an invention of white people the qin dynasty were the first recorded Abolitionists, they are the reason why we called that country China, *Donald Trump repeating the word china* and the first Chinese emperor was an abolitionist Slavery fluctuated throughout world history the idea that slavery is inherently wrong does not originate in Europe nor is it particularly unique their Abolition was also motivated by slave Revolts slaves were not just docile servants But often actively opposed their own enslavement slave Revolts happened throughout the Modern period One of which culminated in the liberation of Haiti long before most European countries Abolish slavery even when they were forced into the most wretched conditions possible aboard ship on the middle passage there were around 250 shipboard slave Revolts it was such a problem that slave ships often had Barricades to defend themselves against such revolts. There’s also a kind of disgusting side to claiming that whites freed the slaves *sarcastic tone* For how wonderful it is that the captors freed the captives? How nice of them to just decide on their own volition to stop oppressing people? This is a particularly pernicious myth, because it makes slaves Objects rather than actors in their own right as well as completely forgetting the western powers were Particularly egregious when it came to the abolition of slavery ALL of these myths need to be stopped

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