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Old 12-24-2018, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Houston
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You have to look at the successful slave revolt in Haiti. One here would have required intervention by a foreign power combined with abolitionists and slaves and former slaves.
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Old 12-24-2018, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Houston
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In 1790 congress actually looked into the possibility of purchasing all the slaves and possibly exporting most of them. It was a budget buster in an era where fiscal conservatism was not just a campaign slogan.
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Old 12-24-2018, 09:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Nothing comes to mind. They were mostly illiterate, had no money nor political power. Maybe if there has been some sort of deadly plague which only killed Caucasians, which wiped out most of the master race. Of course I don't know if that would count as freeing themselves.

We also don't know if a violent uprising could have worked. It is extremely difficult to organize a widespread rebellion when you are confined to a small area, aren't permitted to travel freely, and lack the ability to use written communications. Revolution worked in Haiti because it was confined to a relatively small area and the blacks outnumbered the whites 28 to 1. In the US South the slaves would have been outnumbered by about 5 to 3, and if things really got out of hand, the white controlled government of the nation would certainly have intervened on behalf of the southern whites rather than helping the slaves in rebellion.
And look how well Haiti has prospered ever since.
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:22 AM
 
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They couldn't have. The court of international opinion may have eventually forced the issue if our key international trading partners decided to engage some type of economic sanctions, but they would have to be in a position not to hurt themselves. The Confederacy was paying for war goods with cotton, which the British textile firms wanted.
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:35 AM
 
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Yeah I see no possible scenario where slaves could have freed themeselves. However former slaves that were now freedmen in the non-slave north were slowly gaining some political clout and could have exterted enough political pressure to turn the tide given time. Fredrick Douglas is a good example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motion View Post
I was wondering because what if the civil war had never happened? How long would slavery had lasted? What would have been the slaves' options for gaining freedom?
My guess is they would follow the Brazil model - with phases of gradual manumism followed by total elimination of slavery by the 1890s. The reason being - most in the south knew it was a dying institution, a few die hards in position of leaders held on to the old ways, unfortunetly those were the ones in power before and during the civil war. Given another generation however reality would have set in - The southern economy was suffering regardless, because slavery was a self-defeating business model, industrialization was taking over, and international political pressure would have taken hold.
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:45 AM
 
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Slavery still exists today. There is no real reason to think that the US would have followed Europe's lead in slavery any more than it has adopted the metric system.
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
In 1863 Lincoln freed the slaves, and The Czar also freed the serfs the same year. The Czar was smart enough to provide each serf with 40 acres and a mule. Did Lincoln really do the slaves a favor?
Immensely amused about that last statement. The Czar was smart enough to free his serfs but not smart enough to leave out the loopholes - the redemption payments that essentially continued them into an alternative form of slavery - bonded labor. The life of former serfs continued with misery until it bubbled up into the Russian Revolution. Smart? How did it turn out for the Czar of that time? - him and his family did not survive.
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Old 12-24-2018, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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Thousands of enslaved did free themselves, it just didn't happen en masse. One could argue that it was these self-emancipated slaves that forced the steps to the Civil War, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law being the most obvious one. The abolition movement, Free Soilers, the Republican Party likely don't happen without self-emancipation, but the contributions of fugitives from slavery tended to be under appreciated historically, in large part because of the lack of documentation and records. Most runaways didn't report about themselves, exceptions like Frederick Douglass and Henry Brown notwithstanding.
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Old 12-24-2018, 11:23 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
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Sojourner Truth essentially walked away and was taken in by a sympathetic family (but that was in New York state as emancipation was almost becoming the law). Individually, they were able to run off but were often caught. Some made it to freedom. In Missouri, slaves could run for the borders (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas) but there's not a lot of documentation that they did so.
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Old 12-24-2018, 11:27 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
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Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Immensely amused about that last statement. The Czar was smart enough to free his serfs but not smart enough to leave out the loopholes - the redemption payments that essentially continued them into an alternative form of slavery - bonded labor. The life of former serfs continued with misery until it bubbled up into the Russian Revolution. Smart? How did it turn out for the Czar of that time? - him and his family did not survive.

Don't confuse the Russian Revolution with an oppressed people rising up against its oppressor. "Bolshevik" after all, means "Minority." My peasant farmer family left Russia in 1913 when they saw the rise in the under-handed revolutionary techniques of the Bolsheviks.


The Czar at least had a plan for the serfs to feed themselves, even if it wasn't a great plan. Lincoln had no plan at all and was playing politics, not being altruistic. The American African population is still trying to dig out of the rut of helplessness he left them in. (Like the kid in Christmas Story climbing up the slide, they were starting to make some progress until Johnson, like Santa, kicked them back down the slide.)


There was a short lived movement in the 60s (Stokely Carmichael/Black Power)for the US to concede a whole state to come under black control-- until they realized they would have little economic strength. The sociology & economics wouldn't really support that sort of thing. It was more of a symbolic gesture than a real plan.


You know the old saying about being careful of what you wish for.
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