WI: Slavery legalised in the Indiana Territory?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Alexander the Average, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    Between 1800-1812 future US President and then governor of the Indiana Territory, at the time also comprising the region that would become the Illinois Territory, William Henry Harrison attempted several times to lift the ban on slavery in the Indiana Territory. Although he was able to get some restrictions lifted, allowing for slavery to have a limited presence in South Illinois and Southwest Indiana IOTL, his attempts ultimately failed, most notably in 1805 when the territorial legislature, which only had a single anti-slavery representative, refused to allow slavery due to Harrison's opposition to the creation of a separate Illinois territory (something Congress would eventually grant them).

    What would happen if he was able to get slavery legalised throughout the whole of the Indiana Territory and possibly the Illinois Territory as well if and when it gets formed?
     
  2. FillyofDelphi Banned

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    Personally, I doubt they'll be able to make it stick long term. Yankee Free-Soil settlers are going to swamp any trickle of those invested in the slave economy that make their way that far North, and will elect governments that protect free labor from slave competition as much as they possibly can. The Southerners can only spread themselves so thin across the West compared ot the deluge of small farmers/laborers being pushed in through the North
     
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  3. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    Probably not, honestly. Illinois with slavery legalized and perhaps with its Northern portions surrendered (as nearly happened repeatedly) would be firmly in the Southern camp and Indiana probably would be as well, based off its voting stance IOTL.
     
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  4. FillyofDelphi Banned

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    Northern settlers are going to go somewhere. Where do you propose that's going to be in the long term, especially since by hedging off the region early on you're blocking a solid chunk of Western land as easily integrable into the Northern infastructure system?
     
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  5. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    For one, Northern Illinois was nearly split off repeatedly. Ignoring that, I think IOTL Missouri is a good example.
     
  6. Socrates Well-Known Member

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    Further West perhaps. Plantation agriculture is so lucrative that banks will finance higher prices and loans for southerners looking to buy the land. The Yankees could well get outbid.
     
  7. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    I could see Illinois and/or Indiana being partitioned after achieving statehood as a compromise to maintain balance between Slave and Free States.
     
  8. Jared LoRaG is now published

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    In OTL, southern Indiana and Illinois had slaves in their southern regions, near the River Ohio, despite being illegal.

    If slavery is legal there, then it will continue to flourish for a time. Tobacco, wheat and other small grains, and (IIRC) hemp were grown profitably by slaves there in OTL. They could be grown for reasonable profits ITTL too.

    Big question is how this will affect the free-slave state balance ITTL. Even with a slaveholding Indiana, there were ways that free and slave states could be balanced by different borders. For instance, keeping Mississippi-Alabama as a single state, or carving Maine out of Massachusetts earlier.

    Two extra slaveholding states (Indiana and Illinois) may be a bit hard to balance, though. One obvious solution would be to redraw the territorial borders using an east-west dividing line instead of north-south. That would include the slaveholding portions of both territories in one state, and leave the northern halves (where most northern immigrants went) as free-soil.