Showing posts with label American history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American history. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2019

Was slavery about business?

History is only offense to those who do not learn from it

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 19, 2019

While I do hate politics in general, I find it more distressful to witness facts being assaulted because someone does not like what history actually was.
“It shouldn’t be surprising since owning slaves wasn’t a decision predicated on race but on economics. It’s a business decision.”Republican state Rep. Werner Horn
I am an Independent because I no longer believe either party represents what I think. This is in no way a defense of a politician I know nothing about. It is however predicated upon the response that forced him to delete what he rightfully pointed out.

This is from the National Museum of American History.
The Business of Slavery Slavery created enormous profits not only for Southern planters and slave traders, but also for Northern cotton-mill owners and investors. Nearly one million enslaved Africans, defined as property, were wrenched from their upper South families. Some bought their freedom; more fought back by running away or even taking their own lives.
While our nation did try try to rectify this with the Civil War, it seems that has also been forgotten. Many African Americans who were freed joined the fight for their independence. After all, it is something they had done since the Revolutionary War

They have served in the military ever since the beginning.

If you know history, then you would know that as reprehensible as it was, slavery was always about business and making money using the cheapest labor instead of valuing those who provided the wealth the owners enjoyed.

Slavery existed around the world as one nation conquered another.

History of Slavery from History World
Slaves in Babylon: 18th century BC
Information about slaves in early societies relates mainly to their legal status, which is essentially that of an object - part of the owner's valuable property. The Code of Hammurabi, from Babylon in the 18th century BC, gives chilling details of the different Rewards and penalties for surgeons operating on free men or slaves. But it also reveals that the system is not one of unmitigated brutality. Surprisingly, Babylonian slaves are themselves allowed to own property.

But the first civilization in which we know a great deal about the role of slaves is that of ancient Greece.

Slaves in Greece: from the 7th century BC
Both the leading states of Greece - Sparta and Athens - depend entirely upon forced labour, though the system in Sparta is more properly described as serfdom rather than slavery. The distinction is that the helots of Sparta are a conquered people, living on their own hereditary land but forced to work it for their Spartan masters. Their existence is a traditional rural one to which certain rights remain attached.

The slaves of Athens, by contrast, have no conventional rights. But their condition varies greatly according to the work they do.

The most unfortunate Athenian slaves are the miners, who are driven often to the point of death by their owners (the mines are state-owned but are leased to private managers). By contrast other categories of slaves - particularly those owned directly by the state, such as the 300 Scythian archers who provide the police force of Athens - can acquire a certain prestige.

The majority of Athenian slaves are domestic servants. Their fortune depends entirely on the relationship they develop with their owners. Often it is close, with female slaves looking after the children or acting as concubines, or a male slave running the household as a steward.

No free Athenian works in a domestic capacity, for it is considered shameful to be another man's servant. This inhibition applies equally to a subsidiary position in any form of business.

As a result male slaves in Athens do all work of a secretarial or managerial nature, for in these contexts they are unmistakably somebody else's personal assistant. Such jobs include positions of influence in fields such as banking and commerce.

Slaves in Rome: from the second century BC
The same loophole, offered by the self-esteem of free citizens, provides even greater opportunities to slaves in imperial Rome. The most privileged slaves are the secretarial staff of the emperor.

But these are the exception. In the two centuries before the beginning of the empire (the last two centuries BC) slaves are employed by Romans more widely than ever before and probably with greater brutality. In the mines they are whipped into continuing effort by overseers; in the fields they work in chain gangs; in the public arenas they are forced to engage in terrifying combat as gladiators. There are several slave uprisings in these two centuries, the most famous of them led by Spartacus.

Slaves in the Middle Ages: 6th - 15th century
In the period after the collapse of the Roman empire in the west, slavery continues in the countries around the Mediterranean. But the slaves are employed almost exclusively in households, offices and armies. The gang slavery characteristic of large Roman estates does not reappear until the tobacco and cotton plantations of colonial America (one notable exception is the salt mines of the Sahara).

Nevertheless the slave trade thrives, and the Mediterranean is a natural focal point.
Go to the links above to learn more before more history is deleted. It would be great if the people who are so offended would actually know the basics behind what they complain about today.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. To covet truth is a very distinguished passion."-George Santayana