Poll: When Would the CSA Eliminate Slavery

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by kernals12, May 9, 2019.

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By What Point Would The Confederacy Have Eradicated Slavery?

  1. 1870

    1.2%
  2. 1875

    0.9%
  3. 1880

    5.8%
  4. 1885

    5.8%
  5. 1890

    13.5%
  6. 1895

    7.4%
  7. 1900 or After

    65.3%
  1. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    If and when slavery becomes massively uneconomic it may die off, certainly not before well in to the 20th century. Having said that given many more decades of slavery and attendant color based racism, if and when slavery goes away the position of the former slaves is going to be terrible. Apartheid etc would be the least of it - once they are no longer slaves/property, food and shelter will become problematic. This is not saying slavery is good, but given the capital value of slaves most owners would neither have them sleep in the open nor starve them. A CSA with a large "free" black population is going to be having tremendous internal strains. A slave may want to be free, may be thinking of rebellion but compared to someone who is starving and seeing their family starve their drive for immediate and violent action is much reduced.
     
  2. marathag Kicked

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    Queen Victoria might have some opinion on the matter, and would let that be known to Disraeli and Gladstone.
    Close?

    No, I don't believe so.

    They had interests.
     
  3. Fiver Curmudgeon

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    Oct 28, 2007
    The 1914 US Census of Manufacturing shows that 9.5% of US manufacturing was in the former Confederate States, including Oklahoma. If we go with the numbers in Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of Great Powers for 1913, then an independent Confederacy would have about 3% of global manufacturing output. That would narrowly edge out Italy, be roughly 2/3rds of Austria-Hungary's output, and a little under half of France's output.
     
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  4. Fiver Curmudgeon

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    Oct 28, 2007
    The Confederacy was the most important source of cotton.

    The Economic History Association has complied data on export values between 1840 and 1900. Crunching those numbers shows that the US provided

    * 84.8% of world cotton exports in 1840
    * 84.3% of world cotton exports in 1860
    * 68.6% of world cotton exports in 1880
    * 69.2% of world cotton exports in 1900
     
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  5. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Peterborough, UK.
    IIrc Spanish Cuba retained slavery into the 1880s. Did anybody boycott them?
     
  6. galanx Member

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    Aug 10, 2006
    Or the Soviet Union abandoning communism.
     
  7. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    As an additional detail, US cotton export market share rose after 1880 until sometime in the 1890s (I forget the exact year) and then declined again by 1900.

    This was a combination of two trends: in the 1870 and 1880s the southern US was still recovering market share from India. In the 1890s Egyptian cotton exports began to become a serious competitor, reducing US market share again.
     
  8. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Because the US provided alot of food to the UK. CSA does not, they have no risk from anything the CSA can do.
     
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  9. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    But that assumes Britain and others continue to buy "slave" cotton. I can see the other sources built up during the war (India, Egypt - to a lesser extent Persia) continuing if the CSA wins with market share under 50% by 1880. Brazil was losing it's slaves by the 1880's and I can't see CSA retaining theirs any longer.
     
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  10. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

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    Jan 26, 2011
    Before the war was only 30 years after slavery had been fully abolished in the British Empire. Even so the British attitude to Brazilian slavery was considerably more robust than towards the USA. Post a CSA victory I can see the same pressure as was applied to Brazil being applied to the CSA.
     
  11. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Location:
    Midwest
    IMHO slavery only ends in the CSA when it becomes significantly uneconomic or "international" pressure forces the end, or some combination of the above. The existence of a CSA suited British geopolitical interests as well as the cotton trade, and don't forget that the economic philosophy of the southern elites was to be a raw material supplier and get manufactured goods from elsewhere. If the CSA becomes independent, the market for British manufactured goods in the CSA would be much greater than OTL when such goods came from the north. France also saw an advantage in a weakened USA which would then not be interfering with the French efforts in Mexico, the CSA would either not be upset by this and/or really in no position to do anything about it.

    After a few decades, at least some of these interests might fade, however geopolitically a weak CSA is not much check on the USA, and the USA could be tempted to "regain" some or all lost territory if the CSA was sufficiently weak and isolated from international support. The willingness of the British or French public to endure economic pain by significant boycotting of buying/selling to the CSA to end slavery might eventually come about but this sort of sensibility is definitely something you would not see until well in to the 20th century.
     
  12. NolanFoster Tulsi 2020

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    Jul 8, 2015
    Location:
    Ohio
    Though I'd be careful about copy pasting this to the ATL, because the end of slavery, devastation of the war, and the boll weevil led to a diversification of the economy.
     
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  13. Gabingston Well-Known Member

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    Minnesota
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1804_Haiti_massacre
     
  14. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    Aug 29, 2007
    Put up with yes, close relations no.
     
  15. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    Aug 29, 2007
    That took 70 years which would take slavery out to 1935.
     
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  16. Gabingston Well-Known Member

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    I think that the CSA would abolish slavery in the Early-Mid 20th Century, but replace it with an Apartheid system like that in South Africa and OTL's American South.
     
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  17. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    May 27, 2013
    I’m not sure about the argument that abolition could only happen after the war veterans die. People are good at compartmentalizing. A lot of French republicans of the 1790s became Bonapartists. Vietnam declared that communism was an economic failure a decade after their war ended. If slavery is abolished, the official CSA narrative about the war would be rewritten to make it about « southern freedom » or something like that.

    Ultimately it probably comes down to when it no longer makes economic sense.
     
  18. Gabingston Well-Known Member

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  19. Fiver Curmudgeon

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    Oct 28, 2007
    I certainly wouldn't copy-paste the OTL's South onto an independent Confederacy, but it gives us ballpark for estimating. If the Confederacy did as well as OTL's South, then on the eve of OTL's Great War, their manufacturing would narrowly edge out Italy, be roughly 2/3rds of Austria-Hungary's output, and a little under half of France's output.

    I've seen posters claim that the independent Confederacy would be much more prosperous and industrialized than OTL's South, but that seems to be wishful thinking.

    An independent Confederacy is very unlikely to do as well as OTL's former Confederate states. The Confederacy would have a weaker currency, higher inflation, larger public debt, lower population, lower education, lower protection of native industries, inferior infrastructure, and almost certainly less territory than OTL's South of 1913.

    The Confederacy had a weaker currency than the US dollar, due to a complete lack of specie to back the currency. The Confederacy's currency reform did drop their inflation from a calamitous 700% to a merely ruinous 50%, but their inflation soon spiraled even higher as they continued to fund their government by massive deficit spending. By the end of the war, the per capita Confederate debt was massively higher than the Union per capita debt. A lot of that debt came from Confederate "greybacks', many of which were redeemable with interest between 6 months and 2 years after the end of the war.

    An independent Confederate population would be significantly lower than in OTL for several reasons. Roughly 1/7th of the slave population fled to the Union in OTL - none of them would voluntarily return. Lincoln's Loyalists calculates that roughly 10% of draft age men from Confederate states served in the Union army - few if any of them would dare to return to an independent Confederacy. An independent Confederacy would also get less immigrants than OTL's postbellum South. Census records show that hardly any immigrants went to slave states. In 1860, immigrants were about 1/6th of the population of the Union states, but only about 1/40th the population of Confederate states.

    An independent Confederacy would have lower education than OTL's South because it was illegal to teach blacks and a lot of Confederate leaders opposed public schooling as another form of "internal improvements". In OTL, a lot of the "carpetbaggers" were teachers who went south to create schools for the freedmen and poor whites. They won't be creating those schools in an independent Confederacy.

    An independent Confederacy would have less protection of native industries because they believed strongly in low tariffs. An independent Confederacy would have inferior infrastructure to OTLs South because their Constitution made it illegal for the government to fund "internal improvements". Southern railroads also wouldn't be getting the level of investment or standardization from northern financiers that they did in OTL.

    The Confederacy will also probably be smaller than the 11 states that seceded in OTL. Not even Robert E Lee could keep the Union from getting West Virginia. Unless the Confederacy can produce at least one general who exceeds Lee in skill, they will at a minimum also lose some or all of Arkansas and Tennessee, and they could lose quite a bit more.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  20. Fiver Curmudgeon

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