Forwarded from Anthony (Civil War)

dms dmschanoes at
Fri Jul 11 08:46:37 MDT 2003

For your consideration:

Just a couple of words on Anthony's theses to plot out lines of further
discussion and research:

1.  Plantation economy was not a product of a tropical climate.  It was a
precise historical and social formation of landed property organized by
demands of the world market.  Very little of the US South has a "tropical
climate."  The metereological differences among Delaware, Maryland, Georgia
and Virginia are relatively minor.

2. Regarding the example of the border states-- the "ambivalence" and
"ambiguity" is based not on climate but on organizations of property and
economic ties.  For Kentucky, it's geographic proximity to Ohio, and the
whole Ohio River Valley determined a specific economic allegiance to the

3. Slavery in Kentucky was practiced on a significantly different platform
from the South.  Given its proximity to the North, and the predominance of
small-scale agriculture (something common to tobacco growing areas), the
average slave-holding unit was a farm containing 5 slaves, and this was
concentrated in the areas around Louisville and other cities.  Much of the
state was hill country in which free farming, free labor was the practice.

4. Slavery in Kentucky was also about the reproduction of slaves. Literally.
Kentucky practiced, literally, the breeding and export of slaves.  Some
80,000 slaves, if I recall correctly were shipped South before the abolition
of the practice.

5.Regarding the West, primitive accumulation, and the indigenous peoples...
To state that a component, or precipitating element of the US Civil War was
a competition for primitive accumulation does not seem to be supported by
the existing studies. Actions by the slaveholding states clearly point to
the South's "blocking strategy" regarding the territories, that is blocking
the North and its free soil/free labor organization.  The South is quite
clear on its desire for other areas, i.e. Cuba, as slave territories, but
nothing appears to show the South's desire to "grab," "loot," or primitively
accumulate the product, wealth, labor of the indigenous peoples in the West.

6. There is a contradiction in the economic logic and economic analysis to
argue that 1. the West was unsuited for slave production, based on its
climate, geology, etc. (particularly when slavery was practiced in areas of
the West), and at the same time argue that the slave economy need to
primitively accumulate in those areas.  No economy exists in any area simply
for primitive accumulation without producing the social relations that
execute, organize, absorb the primitive accumulation.  The slave trade, a
source of primitive accumulation if ever there was one,  existed to
reproduce the relations of slave production.

Primitive accumulation is not simple looting. It requires the development of
social relations of production.  It requires, as all accumulation requires,
a system of reproduction.


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