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. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    You mean like how Britain refused to buy slave-grown cotton before and during the ACW... except wait, they had no problem with that before. Why would they have more of a problem buying slave-grown cotton now? This is not to suggest that Britain will like the CSA very much - far from it - but if they were prepared to hold their noses and buy slave-grown cotton from the USA before the ACW, and other slave-grown products from Brazil right up to abolition, I don't see why they would they would stop buying Confederate cotton just because it's grown under a new flag.

    Also, those alternative sources (India and Egypt being the biggest two) are not viable competitors in the aftermath of the ACW. Indian cotton was inferior quality because it had a shorter staple (fibre length), which is why the USA was regaining market share from India in OTL. Egypt simply could not produce cotton at a viable price after the end of the ACW. During the ACW, they were only able to do so because cotton prices were high enough that they grew cotton and imported food instead. When cotton prices collapsed after the ACW, Egyptian cotton production virtually vanished, and it took them decades of slow learning to improve their cotton-growing techniques to the point where they could be competitive again - roughly until the 1890s. An independent CSA does nothing to change that.
     
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  2. NolanFoster Tulsi 2020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Location:
    Ohio
    Good relations, then, if close is too strong a choice.

    Ideas arise and evolve to serve political objectives, that is absolutely true. And the rise and fall of the Lost Cause is one of the single best examples of that in history. Slavery was deemphasized in the national memory for over a century, going as far as to give rise to alt-history memes where the Confederacy abolishes slavery on its own soon after independence. To the country as a whole, it gave us a national myth about bloodshed between brothers, a giant misunderstanding about different ways of life, a war between the states with heroes on both sides, all useful for unity. To the south, it negated the war, reconstruction, and the rights of all the beneficiaries. The hold on power of the redeemers and the Jim Crow system gained legitimacy and gave poor whites a social stake when they were no longer above slaves on paper. Likewise it's not a coincidence that the "neoabolitionist" push to dethrone the Lost Cause from historiography came at the time of the Civil Rights movement.

    But slavery could only be deemphasized because it was no longer useful itself. Rather, it became a liability. And that was because it no longer existed. Southern elites had to contend with a reality on the ground where slavery was dead, the south was at the mercy of the federal government, and life went on. And they adapted brilliantly, becoming a cohesive regional bloc again in the form of the Solid South. But we're talking about a situation where the Confederacy was successful and the antebellum order is still alive and well in an independent nation. The push for reform, when it comes in the 20th century, is going to be a flashpoint for division, and is going to receive pushback. The racial fear that held the system together effectively is going to be put to use. Any end to slavery could see expulsion of blacks or some extreme form of segregation. But there is no comparable reason to deemphasize slavery. It will have been expounded as the most natural, free, and efficient order for so long that white rule will be the common sense of the masses. The end of white rule would be tantamount to the slippery slope to black rule. The southern leaders who want to abolish slavery, no matter how economically unviable it is by mid-century, will be fighting an uphill battle while riding on a powder keg.
     
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  3. Fiver Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    You are right about Indian cotton, but not about Eygptian cotton.

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

    * 1.2% of world cotton exports in 1840
    * 2.4% of world cotton exports in 1860
    * 12.1% of world cotton exports in 1880
    * 18.4% of world cotton exports in 1900

    Quintupling their market share between 1860 and 1880 sure doesn't sound like "Egyptian cotton production virtually vanished" after the Civil War. Egypt produced Mako cotton, which was considered better than Upland cotton from the US. As the Smithsonian Magazine put it, "Looking back, it might seem as if there were a certainly inevitability to Egypt’s capture of much of the American market share. With its foothold on the Mediterranean, it was much closer to Liverpool than its competitors, and to the ports at Marseille and Trieste, through which France and the Austro-Hungarian Empire funneled cotton north to their mills."
     
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  4. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    I would say 1890s or no later then 1900. Segregation would take place right after in most cases. How racial ideas and views develop could vary greatly depending on the progress and success of the CSA. The CSA has the potential to become a major regional power depending on how the civil war goes and how they handle themselves. They will be more imperialistic then the US. I think slavery will also depend on the success of their expansion campaigns and what lands they take.
     
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  5. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    1875-1890

    The CSA would be easier to pressure than the US, so it'd end it earlier than alot of people might think.
     
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  6. sloreck Grunt Bear

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Midwest
    The issue of "war veterans" needing to be off the playing field so that reform with abolition can proceed is not realistic. Only one household in four in the south owned even one slave and during the ACW there was the "40 slave law" exempting owners of large plantations (and therefore many slaves) from conscription so they could "control" the slaves, and there were lots of complaints "rich man's war, poor man's fight". There was a significant sentiment amongst the southern elites to reinstate financial requirements for the frnachise, with one idea being that since the non-voting white man was forever above the highest black man, and could aspire to own slaves, not having the franchise would not be seen as a hardship. Also, by not having the "mob" voting, the elites couldmanage things above politics and personal interest (HA!).

    Slavery will rise or fall based on the perceptions of economic usefulness and how having a slave society negatively affects the CSA internationally in ways that matter. These decisions will be made by the elites. Non-slaveholding whites will not be in a hurry to end slavery, as this would mean increased competition on the labor market, even if only at the low end.
     
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  7. Tsochar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Eagleland
    Regarding boycotts, the term itself was coined in 1880. The Free Produce movement itself was not considered by abolitionists to be a worthwhile endeavor; in the 1820s, there were products advertised as not being made by slaves, but by the 1840s that practice had mostly died out. At best, the British would have the CSA stop importing slaves as a prerequisite for resuming cotton trade (in fact, it's very likely they would, considering that's what they were already doing), but I doubt they would be very enthusiastic about enforcing that particular law.

    I think the main opposition to slavery would be, ironically, from the expansion of the institution. As manufactured goods become more and more lucrative, it's only a matter of time before someone gets the bright idea to have slaves work in factories. With the CSA making manufactured goods more cheaply than the US, factory slavery would have a lot of powerful backers. However, it would be opposed by the labor movements led by poor whites- the presence of slavery would depress wages in comparison to the US and other industrializing nations.

    Here's how I think that would go: The elites would tighten their grip on the democratic process, introducing restrictions on press freedoms and so on, leading poor whites to rally around a farmer-labor type party. In the 1880s to the 1900s, there would be riot mobs burning down black districts and setting fire to factories with slaves locked inside. As the global left develops, however, the CSA's workers' movements are influenced by the global movements and begin to agitate for the limitation of slavery (though not necessarily abolition) in the 1920s. Some sort of political compromise is reached that limits the ability of slaveholders to operate factories on slave labor alone, making the institution less economically lucrative. When combined with the boll weevil invasion and growing international backlash, the CSA decides to end it, either quickly or gradually depending on the political and economic situation at the time.
     
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  8. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Location:
    Peterborough, UK.

    FTM, there was a brisk North-South trade in cotton even during the ACW, despite trade with the enemy being forbidden by both Union and Confederate law. See the fascinating chapter Trading With the Enemy, in Bruce Catton's Terrible Swift Sword. A lot of Americans got seriously rich out of it.

    Where there's a supply and a demand, they'll find a way to meet even during war, never mind peacetime trivia like boycotts. He who tries to stand between them is liable to get run over.
     
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  9. AnonymousSauce The 7 Deadly Butterflies of Shaolin

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    Aug 17, 2016
    Location:
    Ninjago
    They'd really be seeing themselves up well to have a popular general just go all Julius Caesar on the whole thing...
     
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  10. marathag Kicked

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    3rd Reich shows the limits of slave labor in manufacturing per quality control and life of tooling
     
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  11. sloreck Grunt Bear

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Midwest
    @tsoch: like @marathag pointed out, slave labor in factories, especially in more skilled trades or more complex products, is really a recipe for inefficiency. There are oral histories which clearly indicate that slaves worked just hard enough to avoid the lash and not one bit harder. The "efficiency" of the work they did for their own gardens or for handicrafts they could sell was substantially greater. While if you have supervisors/overseers constantly checking for quality control, tool conservation, and so forth you can reduce (but not eliminate) problems in these areas, but having a lot of overseers on the factory floor is an expense which means the savings for slaves is now reduced. Also if slaves are forbidden to be literate, and are minimally numerate, this limits what they can do in a factory. Custodial work, pushing bins of product or parts around, loading/unloading rail cars and so forth, sure. Being a skilled machinist or operating cranes, not likely.

    It is worth noting the well documented difference between the productivity of private plots versus communal land on Soviet state farms. Warren Buffet, a well known and highly successful US investment manager once opined;"in the history of the world, nobody washed a rental car".
     
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  12. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Except that it is well-documented that slaves were used in factories in the antebellum South, and the factory owners preferred the slaves to free workers because they were cheaper and they could get more work out of them.

    This is not to deny that the slaves had a variety of methods of resistance - they certainly did - but in cold-blooded economic terms, the slaves were a better deal than free workers.

    Southern slaveowners were the kind of people who would make calculations about what conditions would merely make slaves miserable and what would kill them. For instance, in the Black Belt region of Alabama, the accepted rate was that a slaveowner who got ten bales of cotton per slave per day was a good manager, but a slaveowner who got twelve bales of cotton per slave per day was a bad manager because they were working their slaves to death and thus destroying their own capital.
     
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  13. Kaze Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Then you better tell that to Gustav Krupp - it worked for him and even with his factory in utter ruin, he showed a profit by war's end. Sure he sold shells to the Nazis - but his worked damn it!
     
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  14. Derek Jackson Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Evil though slavery in the Southern USA was it was NOT the same as with the Nazis
     
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  15. Tsochar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Eagleland
    That's a fair point- as manufactured goods get more complex, they would be more vulnerable to poor workmanship. However, as others have pointed out slavery can still function in factory environments- it would result in a product with perhaps lower quality, but it would still be much cheaper, and that's a trade-off that many, many people are comfortable making in any timeline.
     
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  16. wtw Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    They will do it only at gunpoint
     
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  17. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    [Citation needed]
     
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  18. funnyhat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    I’m not sure a slave is actually cheaper labor, when you consider that you must provide food, clothing and shelter for the slave. But the advantage of slavery is control. You can work him as long as you want and he can’t quit or strike.
     
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  19. Tsochar Well-Known Member

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    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Eagleland
    Logically, you'd have to pay wage laborers enough to buy food, shelter, and so on; with slavery, you can dictate what food and clothing they get to ensure lowest cost, and if you have a bunch then you can get things in bulk.
     
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  20. funnyhat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    But there is also the matter of acquiring the slave to begin with. Either you purchase the slave at auction, which could be quite expensive, or the slave is born and will need years to grow up, during which you receive little to no return on the investment. A regular worker OTOH is simply hired when ready to work ; you do not have to invest time or money in him before this. The slave arguably is more expensive in the long run. But you have total control over him.
     
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