Paternalism of Genovese; social darwinism of Fogel; Re: Wallerstein on s...

Borba100 at Borba100 at
Mon Oct 23 00:36:55 MDT 2000

In a message dated 10/21/2000 4:31:19 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
xxxxxxxx at writes:

 Genovese idealizes the institution of black slavery as a  cultural "weapon of
 defense" in a society shaped by "paternalistic relations"  (which is sort of
 letting slavery off the hook). >>

For awhile I hd the good fortune to work with Herb Gutman whose monumental
"Black Family in Slavery and Freedom" was in part a rebuttal to Genovese.  A
tiger rebutting a vicious mouse.

Genovese speculates that slave culture was entirely derivative and
"politically" passive.  Gutman shows it was internally dirven (and quite
different from slave-owner culture, e.g., slaves would not marry first
cousins, slave owners did, slaves had quite original marraige customs and
were not promiscuous, and so on.) I haven';t read Genovese for twenty years,
but I recall that he speculates that slaves didn't mind having their children
taken away.  (He speculates a lot and his speculations often  sound racist)
Gutman's book has a wealth of letters written for destraught slaves by
literate scribes and smuggled to family members wrenched away, as slave
families were broken up and the members sold to plantations in the
ever-deaper south in the biggest forced migration of the 19th century. Slave
required ever more territory to find land not exhausted (yet) by intensive
cotton cultivation.

On the question of  the civil war in america, here is an essay by Karl marx
which may shed some light:

Karl Marx
The Civil War in the United States


Written: Late October, 1861
Source: Marx/Engels Collected Works, Volume 19
Publisher: Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1964
First Published: Die Presse No. 306, November 7, 1861
Online Version: 1999
Transcription and HTML markup: Bob Schwarz and Tim Delaney



"Let him go, he is not worth thine ire!" Again and again English
statesmanship cries-recently through the mouth of Lord John Russell-to the
North of the United States this advice of Leporello to Don Juan's deserted
love. If the North lets the South go, it then frees itself from any admixture
of slavery, from its historical original sin, and creates the basis of a new
and higher development.

In reality, if North and South formed two autonomous countries, like, for
example, England and Hanover, their separation would be no more difficult
than was the separation of England and Hanover. "The South," however, is
neither a territory closely sealed off from the North geographically, nor a
moral unity. It is not a country at all, but a battle slogan.

The advice of an amicable separation presupposes that the Southern
Confederacy, although it assumed the offensive in the Civil War, at least
wages it for defensive purposes. It is believed that the issue for the
slaveholders' party is merely one of uniting the territories it has hitherto
dominated into an autonomous group of states and withdrawing them from the
supreme authority of the Union. Nothing could be more false: "The South needs
its entire territory. It will and must have it." With this battle-cry the
secessionists fell upon Kentucky. By their "entire territory" they understand
in the first place all the so-called border states-Delaware, Maryland,
Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas.
Besides, they lay claim to the entire territory south of the line that runs
from the north-west corner of Missouri to the Pacific Ocean. What the
slaveholders, therefore, call the South, embraces more than three-quarters of
the territory hitherto comprised by the Union. A large part of the territory
thus claimed is still in the possession of the Union and would first have to
be conquered from it. None of the so-called border states, however, not even
those in the possession of the Confederacy, were ever actual slave states.
Rather, they constitute the area of the United States in which the system of
slavery and the system of free labour exist side by side and contend for
mastery, the actual field of battle between South and North, between slavery
and freedom. The war of the Southern Confederacy is, therefore, not a war of
defence, but a war of conquest, a war of conquest for the spread and
perpetuation of slavery.

The chain of mountains that begins in Alabama and stretches northwards to the
Hudson River-the spinal column, as it were, of the United States-cuts the
so-called South into three parts. The mountainous country formed by the
Allegheny Mountains with their two parallel ranges, the Cumberland Range to
the west and the Blue Mountains to the east, divides wedge-like the lowlands
along the western coast of the Atlantic Ocean from the lowlands in the
southern valleys of the Mississippi. The two lowlands separated by the
mountainous country, with their vast rice swamps and far-flung cotton
plantations, are the actual area of slavery. The long wedge of mountainous
country driven into the heart of slavery, with its correspondingly clear
atmosphere, an invigorating climate and a soil rich in coal, salt, limestone,
iron ore, gold, in short, every raw material necessary for a many-sided
industrial development, is already for the most part free country. In
accordance with its physical constitution, the soil here can only be
cultivated with success by free small farmers. Here the slave system
vegetates only sporadically and has never struck root. In the largest part of
the so-called border states, the dwellers of these highlands comprise the
core of the free population, which sides with the Northern party if only for
the sake of self-preservation.

Let us consider the contested territory in detail.

 Delaware, the most north-eastern of the border states, is factually and
morally in the possession of the Union. All the attempts of the secessionists
at forming even one faction favourable to them have since the beginning of
the war suffered shipwreck on the unanimity of the population. The slave
element of this state has long been in process of dying out. From 1850 to
1860 alone the number of slaves diminished by half, so that with a total
population of 112,218 Delaware now numbers only 1,798 slaves. Nevertheless,
Delaware is demanded by the Southern Confederacy and would in fact be
militarily untenable for the North as soon as the South possessed itself of

In Maryland itself the above-mentioned conflict between highlands and
lowlands takes place. Out of a total population of 687,034 there are here
87,188 slaves. That the overwhelming majority of the population is on the
side of the Union has again been strikingly proved by the recent general
elections to the Congress in Washington. The army of 30,000 Union troops,
which holds Maryland at the moment, is intended not only to serve the army on
the Potomac as a reserve, but, in particular, also to hold in check the
rebellious slaveowners in the interior of the country. For here we observe a
phenomenon similar to what we see in other border states where the great mass
of the people stands for the North and a numerically insignificant
slaveholders' party for the South. What it lacks in numbers, the
slaveholders' party makes up in the means of power that many years'
possession of all state offices, hereditary engagement in political intrigue
and concentration of great wealth in few hands have secured for it.

 Virginia now forms the great cantonment where the main army of secession and
the main army of the Union confront each other. In the north-west highlands
of Virginia the number of slaves is 15,000, whilst the twenty times as large
free population consists mostly of free farmers. The eastern lowlands of
Virginia, on the other hand, count well-nigh half a million slaves. Raising
Negroes and the sale of the Negroes to the Southern states form the principal
source of income of these lowlands. As soon as the ringleaders of the
lowlands had carried through the secession ordinance by intrigues in the
state legislature at Richmond and had in all haste opened the gates of
Virginia to the Southern army, north-west Virginia seceded from the
secession, formed a new state, and under the banner of the Union now defends
its territory arms in hand against the Southern invaders.

 Tennessee, with 1,109,847 inhabitants, 275,784 of whom are slaves, finds
itself in the hands of the Southern Confederacy, which has placed the whole
state under martial law and under a system of proscription which recalls the
days of the Roman Triumvirates. When in the winter of 1861 the slaveholders
proposed a general convention of the people which was to vote for secession
or non-secession, the majority of the people rejected any convention, in
order to remove any pretext for the secession movement. Later, when Tennessee
was already militarily over-run and subjected to a system of terror by the
Southern Confederacy, more than a third of the voters at the elections still
declared themselves for the Union. Here, as in most of the border states, the
mountainous country, east Tennessee, forms the real centre of resistance to
the slaveholders' party. On June 17, 1861, a General Convention of the people
of east Tennessee assembled in Greenville, declared itself for the Union,
deputed the former governor of the state, Andrew Johnson, one of the most
ardent Unionists, to the Senate in Washington and published a "declaration of
grievances," which lays bare all the means of deception, intrigue and terror
by which Tennessee was "voted out" of the Union. Since then the secessionists
have held east Tennessee in check by force of arms.

Similar relationships to those in West Virginia and east Tennessee are found
in the north of Alabama, in north-west Georgia and in the north of North

Further west, in the border state of Missouri, with 1,173,317 inhabitants and
114,965 slaves-the latter mostly concentrated in the north-west of the
state-the people's convention of August 1861 decided for the Union. Jackson,
the governor of the state and the tool of the slaveholders' party, rebelled
against the legislature of Missouri, was outlawed and took the lead of the
armed hordes that fell upon Missouri from Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee, in
order to bring it to its knees before the Confederacy and sever its bond with
the Union by the sword. Next to Virginia, Missouri is at the present moment
the main theatre of the Civil War.

 New Mexico-not a state, but merely a Territory, into which twenty-five
slaves were imported during Buchanan's presidency in order to send a slave
constitution after them from Washington-had no craving for the South, as even
the latter concedes. But the South has a craving for New Mexico and
accordingly spewed an armed band of adventurers from Texas over the border.
New Mexico has implored the protection of the Union government against these

It will have been observed that we lay particular emphasis on the numerical
proportion of slaves to free men in the individual border states. This
proportion is in fact decisive. It is the thermometer with which the vital
fire of the slave system must be measured. The soul of the whole secession
movement is South Carolina. It has 402,541 slaves and 301,271 free men.
Mississippi, which has given the Southern Confederacy its dictator, Jefferson
Davis, comes second. It has 436,696 slaves and 354,699 free men. Alabama
comes third, with 435,132 slaves and 529,164 free men.

The last of the contested border states, which we have still to mention, is
Kentucky. Its recent history is particularly characteristic of the policy of
the Southern Confederacy. Among its 1,135,713 inhabitants Kentucky has
225,490 slaves. In three successive general elections by the people-in the
winter of 1861, when elections to a congress of the border states were held;
in June 1861, when elections to the Congress in Washington took place;
finally, in August 1861, in elections to the legislature of the State of
Kentucky-an ever increasing majority decided for the Union. On the other
hand, Magoffin, the Governor of Kentucky, and all the high officials of the
state are fanatical supporters of the slaveholders' party, as is
Breckinridge, Kentucky's representative in the Senate in Washington,
Vice-President of the United States under Buchanan, and candidate of the
slaveholders' party in the presidential election of 1860. Too weak to win
over Kentucky for secession, the influence of the slaveholders' party was
strong enough to make this state amenable to a declaration of neutrality on
the outbreak of war. The Confederacy recognised the neutrality as long as it
served its purposes, as long as the Confederacy itself was engaged in
crushing the resistance in east Tennessee. Hardly was this end attained when
it knocked at the gates of Kentucky with the butt of a gun to the cry of:
"The South needs its entire territory. It will and must have it!"

>From the south-west and south-east its corps of free-booters simultaneously
invaded the "neutral" state. Kentucky awoke from its dream of neutrality, its
legislature openly took sides with the Union, surrounded the traitorous
Governor with a committee of public safety, called the people to arms,
outlawed Breckinridge and ordered the secessionists to evacuate the invaded
territory immediately. This was the signal for war. An army of the Southern
Confederacy is moving on Louisville, while volunteers from Illinois, Indiana
and Ohio flock hither to save Kentucky from the armed missionaries of

The attempts of the Confederacy to annex Missouri and Kentucky, for example,
against the will of these states, prove the hollowness of the pretext that it
is fighting for the rights of the individual states against the encroachments
of the Union. On the individual states that it considers to belong to the
"South" it confers, to be sure, the right to separate from the Union, but by
no means the right to remain in the Union.

Even the actual slave states, however much external war, internal military
dictatorship and slavery give them everywhere for the moment a semblance of
harmony, are nevertheless not without oppositional elements. A striking
example is Texas, with 180,388 slaves out of 601,039 inhabitants. The law of
1845, by virtue of which Texas became a State of the Union as a slave state,
entitled it to form not merely one, but five states out of its territory. The
South would thereby have gained ten new votes instead of two in the American
Senate, and an increase in the number of its votes in the Senate was a major
object of its policy at that time. From 1845 to 1860, however, the
slaveholders found it impracticable to cut up Texas, where the German
population plays an important part, into even two states without giving the
party of free labour the upper hand over the party of slavery in the second
state. This furnishes the best proof of the strength of the opposition to the
slaveholding oligarchy in Texas itself.

 Georgia is the largest and most populous of the slave states. It has 462,230
slaves out of a total of 1,057,327 inhabitants, therefore nearly half the
population. Nevertheless, the slaveholders' party has not so far succeeded in
getting the Constitution imposed on the South at Montgomery sanctioned by a
general vote of the people in Georgia.

In the State Convention of Louisiana, meeting on March 21, 1861, at New
Orleans, Roselius, the political veteran of the state, declared:

"The Montgomery Constitution is not a constitution, but a conspiracy. It does
not inaugurate a government of the people, but a detestable and unrestricted
oligarchy. The people were not permitted to have any say in this matter. The
Convention of Montgomery has dug the grave of political liberty, and now we
are summoned to attend its burial."

Indeed, the oligarchy of three hundred thousand slaveholders utilised the
Congress of Montgomery not only to proclaim the separation of the South from
the North. It exploited it at the same time to reshape the internal
constitutions of the slave states, to subjugate completely the section of the
white population that had still preserved some independence under the
protection and the democratic Constitution of the Union. Between 1856 to 1860
the political spokesmen, jurists, moralists and theologians of the
slaveholders' party had already sought to prove, not so much that Negro
slavery is justified, but rather that colour is a matter of indifference and
the working class is everywhere born to slavery.

One sees, therefore, that the war of the Southern Confederacy is in the true
sense of the word a war of conquest for the spread and perpetuation of
slavery. The greater part of the border states and Territories are still in
the possession of the Union, whose side they have taken first through the
ballot-box and then with arms. The Confederacy, however, counts them for the
"South" and seeks to conquer them from the Union. In the border states which
the Confederacy has occupied for the time being, it is holding the relatively
free highlands in check by martial law. Within the actual slave states
themselves it is supplanting the hitherto existing democracy by the
unrestricted oligarchy of three hundred thousand slaveholders.

Were it to relinquish its plans of conquest, the Southern Confederacy would
relinquish its capacity to live and the purpose of secession. Secession,
indeed, only took place because within the Union the transformation of the
border states and Territories into slave states seemed no longer attainable.
On the other hand, were it to cede the contested territory peacefully to the
Southern Confederacy, the North would surrender to the slave republic more
than three-quarters of the entire territory of the United States. The North
would lose the whole of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, except the
narrow strip from Penobscot Bay to Delaware Bay, and would even cut itself
off from the Pacific Ocean. Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Arkansas and Texas
would draw California after them. Incapable of wresting the mouth of the
Mississippi from the hands of the strong, hostile slave republic in the
South, the great agricultural states in the basin between the Rocky Mountains
and the Alleghenies, in the valleys of the Mississippi, the Missouri and the
Ohio, would be compelled by their economic interests to secede from the North
and enter the Southern Confederacy. These north-western states, in their
turn, would draw after them into the same whirlpool of secession all the
Northern states lying further east, with perhaps the exception of the states
of New England.

What would in fact take place would be not a dissolution of the Union, but a
reorganisation of it, a reorganisation on the basis of slavery, under the
recognised control of the slaveholding oligarchy. The plan of such a
reorganisation has been openly proclaimed by the principal speakers of the
South at the Congress of Montgomery and explains the paragraph of the new
Constitution which leaves it open to every state of the old Union to join the
new Confederacy. The slave system would infect the whole Union. In the
Northern states, where Negro slavery is in practice unworkable, the white
working class would gradually be forced down to the level of helotry. This
would fully accord with the loudly proclaimed principle that only certain
races are capable of freedom, and as the actual labour is the lot of the
Negro in the South, so in the North it is the lot of the German and the
Irishman, or their direct descendants.

The present struggle between the South and North is, therefore, nothing but a
struggle between two social systems, the system of slavery and the system of
free labour. The struggle has broken out because the two systems can no
longer live peacefully side by side on the North American continent. It can
only be ended by the victory of one system or the other.

If the border states, the disputed areas in which the two systems have
hitherto contended for domination, are a thorn in the flesh of the South,
there can, on the other hand, be no mistake that, in the course of the war up
to now, they have constituted the chief weakness of the North. One section of
the slaveholders in these districts simulated loyalty to the North at the
bidding of the conspirators in the South; another section found that in fact
it was in accordance with their real interests and traditional ideas to go
with the Union. Both sections have equally crippled the North. Anxiety to
keep the "loyal" slaveholders of the border states in good humour, fear of
throwing them into the arms of secession, in a word, tender regard for the
interests, prejudices and sensibilities of these ambiguous allies, has
smitten the Union government with incurable weakness since the beginning of
the war, driven it to half measures, forced it to dissemble away the
principle of the war and to spare the foe's most vulnerable spot, the root of
the evil-slavery itself.

When, only recently, Lincoln pusillanimously revoked Frémont's Missouri
proclamation on the emancipation of Negroes belonging to the rebels, this was
done solely out of regard for the loud protest of the "loyal" slaveholders of
Kentucky. However, a turning point has already been reached. With Kentucky,
the last border state has been pushed into the series of battlefields between
South and North. With the real war for the border states in the border states
themselves, the question of winning or losing them is withdrawn from the
sphere of diplomatic and parliamentary discussions. One section of
slaveholders will throw off the mask of loyalty; the other will content
itself with the prospect of a financial compensation such as Great Britain
gave the West Indian planters. Events themselves drive to the promulgation of
the decisive slogan-emancipation of the slaves.

That even the most hardened Democrats and diplomats of the North feel
themselves drawn to this point, is shown by some announcements of very recent
date. In an open letter, General Cass, Secretary of State for War under
Buchanan and hitherto one of the most ardent allies of the South, declares
emancipation of the slaves the conditio sine qua non of the Union's
salvation. In his last Review for October, Dr. Brownson, the spokesman of the
Catholic party of the North, on his own admission the most energetic
adversary of the emancipation movement from 1836 to 1860, publishes an
article for Abolition.

"If we have opposed Abolition heretofore," he says among other things,
"because we would preserve the Union, we must a fortiori now oppose slavery
whenever, in our judgment, its continuance becomes incompatible with the
maintenance of the Union, or of the nation as a free republican state."

Finally, the World, a New York organ of the diplomats of the Washington
Cabinet, concludes one of its latest blustering articles against the
Abolitionists with the words:

"On the day when it shall be decided that either slavery or the Union must go
down, on that day sentence of death is passed on slavery. If the North cannot
triumph without emancipation, it will triumph with emancipation."

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