Misconceptions About Human Slavery & the USA

By Walter E. Williams

Abu Simbel Slave Carvings Slavery
Abu Simbel Slave Carvings
Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Too many people believe that slavery is a “peculiar institution.”

That's what Kenneth Stampp called slavery in his book, “Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South.” But slavery is by no means peculiar, odd or unusual.

It was common among ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, Persians, Armenians and many others. Large numbers of Christians were enslaved during the Ottoman wars in Europe. White slaves were common in Europe from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages. It was only after A.D. 1600 that Europeans joined with Arabs and Africans and started the Atlantic slave trade.

As David P. Forsythe wrote in his book, “The Globalist,”;

“The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.”

While slavery constitutes one of the grossest encroachments on human liberty, it is by no means unique or restricted to the Western world or United States, as many liberal academics would have us believe.

Much of their [liberal educators] indoctrination of our young people, at all levels of education, paints our nation's founders as racist adherents to slavery, but the story is not so simple.

At the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, slaves were about 40 percent of the population of the Southern colonies. Apportionment in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections would be based upon population. Southern delegates to the convention wanted slaves to be counted as one person. Northern delegates to the convention, and those opposed to slavery, wanted only free persons of each state to be counted for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College.

The compromise reached was that each slave would be counted as only three-fifths of a person.

Frederick Douglass
Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise…

Many criticize this compromise as proof of racism. My question to these grossly uninformed critics is whether they would have found it more preferable for slaves to be counted as whole persons. Slaves counted as whole persons would have given slaveholding Southern states much more political power. Or, would the critics of the founders prefer that the Northern delegates not compromise and not allow slaves to be counted at all. If they did, it is likely that the Constitution would have not been ratified. Thus, the question emerges is whether blacks would be better off with Northern states having gone their way and Southern states having gone theirs, resulting in no U.S. Constitution and no Union?

Unlike today's pseudointellectuals, black abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise, saying that the three-fifths clause was “a downright disability laid upon the slaveholding states” that deprived them of “two-fifths of their natural basis of representation.”

Douglass' vision was shared by Patrick Henry and others. Henry said, expressing the reality of the three-fifths compromise;

“As much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids its abolition.” With this union, Congress at least had the power to abolish slave trade by 1808. According to delegate James Wilson, many believed the anti-slave-trade clause laid “the foundation for banishing slavery out of this country.”

Many of the founders abhorred slavery. Their statements can be read on my website, walterewilliams.com.

The most unique aspect of slavery in the Western world was the moral outrage against it, which began to emerge in the 18th century and led to massive elimination efforts. It was Britain's military sea power that put an end to the slave trade.

And our country fought a costly war that brought an end to slavery. Unfortunately, these facts about slavery are not in the lessons taught in our schools and colleges. Instead, there is gross misrepresentation and suggestion that slavery was a uniquely American practice.

About Walter E.Williams

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. Williams is also the author of several books. Among these are The State Against Blacks, later made into a television documentary, America: A Minority Viewpoint, All It Takes Is Guts, South Africa's War Against Capitalism, More Liberty Means Less Government, Liberty Versus The Tyranny of Socialism, and recently his autobiography, Up From The Projects.

  • 38 thoughts on “Misconceptions About Human Slavery & the USA

    1. The basic problem is that foks just want to believe what they want to believe instead what is obviously and historically the truth. Of course, the Bible says to treat slaves well – as any wise man would treat his property. Of course, just as some abuse their BMW’s and M-Benz’s, some stupid Southerners abused their slaves. But what you over-educated, yet ignorant fools who just want to write words without meaning, overlook is that Slaves were treated much better as a whole in the US where their numbers increased instead of the sugar plantations in the Caribbean where they died like flies. If you want to whine about the natural condition of slavery, then you need to look elsewhere. The basic issue is, that if you look at the prison population, some people cannot exist in society except as slaves.

      1. Not all Southern slave holders treated their slaves poorly. The reason being it was economically unsound. If you want someone to work, you’re not going to gain anything by beating them so badly they have to recover. Not to mention the fact that some slave fought alongside their owners during the WTBS. Most slaves were treated like family members excepting for the fact that there wasn’t as much intermingling of the races as some Yankee historians want you to believe. In fact some of the slave women were subjected to Northern depredations during Sherman’s March – there’s something you don’t hear about.

    2. @ Ammolad is there a faster way to pull up old posts such as a search bar ? Is there such a file ? How far back would it go ? Thanks


      1. OV We have a search bar in the top right corner of every page, click on the word “Search” and type in the drop down box. We have every single article we ever posted, still online and readable (60,995 and growing). I would get a very large pot of coffee before you sit down to read them all.

        AmmoLand News Search Bar

    3. This is why the Common Core B.S. must be eradicated from the school curriculum – it promotes the State Sponsored view of history, not the real facts. If people here understood more of our real history they would understand what they have let slide away through ignorance and negligence.

    4. Perhaps 50% of teh white Europeans who came to North America came as slaves as voluntary payment for passage for them and often their family. Indentured Servitude is still legal, but generally only forced prison labor remains as constitutional in the USA.
      The Democrat Party is the party of slavery. After the Civil War the Democrats formed the KKK.
      Check the facts at http://www.elbertguillorysamerica.com

    5. Slavery is evil, why? Since a lot of Conservatives like to use the Bible as a measure then slavery is okay. Christianity says to treat your slaves kindly which, in the days of the Roman Empire, quite progressive. Hence Biblically speaking how you treat your slaves is the problem not if you own slaves.

      1. Good thing ignorance is not painful or you would be dead by now. Check out Galatians 3:28. P.S. Next flight to Canada departs in 10 minutes. You won’t be missed. Buh-bye!

        1. Clark Kent, you are definitely not a Biblical superman as that passage also says that there are no men nor women.

          1. that passage refers to the individual standing and worth BEFORE GOD of anyone… it is NOT dependent upon status, citizenship, national origin, age, gender, economic status….

      2. Actually, Christianity says that we are all equal: Galatians 3:26-29… For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. King James Version (KJV) Jesus Christ’s redemption, his death for our sins, enables us to do away with identity politics; we are all sinners, equally redeemed and saved by a loving God through the death of his son. No identity politics? Could that be why so many progressives are anti-Christian!

        1. People have always been equal in the sight of God, but not in the sight of men. That is why there was Biblically-condoned slavery. If God really wanted people equal, then he could get off his lazy duff and make it happen rather than considering earth to be his own reality TV show. The Civil War was instigated by Northerners who forgot that their grandfathers transported and sold slaves to the South,

          1. the bible does nowhere condone the form of slavery practiced in the American colonies. Search and study what the bible condones. Remember, too, since that book is mostl a history of God and His people, much is recorded there as “news”, that is, what happened, often with little commentary as to whether it was “good” or “evil”. BUT… the people to and for whom that Book is addressed knew full well, without any explanation, that when a king lusted for the married lady next dooir, sent and took her for his own pleasure, that was wrong. As was the urder that king arranged to “cover” for his kidnapping and adultery. It was simply recorded as it happened. Same with the four hundred years of slavery forced upon the people of Israel under the paharoahs of Egypt….. there was no need of any “judgement” upon that mistreatment.

          2. And no, the War of Northern Aggression was started by politicians that wanted to forcefully tell those who had seceded, left the voluntary union they had joined when the terms of that aggregation were changed such that the seceders no longer wished to live under the “new rules”. It was the old cause that sparked the ealier War for Independance: they had a mind that they would tell us how we should live, and we had a mind that they shouldn’t. A quote from one of the men who stood with Captain Parker early that April morning at Lexington as the lobsterbacks marched up to disarm the locals.

          3. WW states so many wrong presumptions, religiously, historically, and politically that I don’t even know where to start. It is as if he has never read a book at all.

            1. I have NO DOUBT that Mr. Williams intelligence far outstrips your low level IQ Billy Boy. GO read and study and try to LEARN the truth and FACTS before spouting off.

            2. @Colonial Girl, I see that my writing has not been clear. When I wrote WW, I was referring to William Weddendorf, whose comment appears only a little bit above here, not Dr. Walter Williams. My apologies for the confusion.

            3. lol. The natives are restless tonight. ColonGirl and Old Useless Bill going at it. Not exactly clash of the titans though.

              low level IQ Billy Boy, you need to apologize more convincingly. NO DOUBT.

          4. I guess if we all sat around and did nothing because our “grandfathers” saw the world differently, the human condition would never improve. Like a good leftist, you want to pigeon hole everyone as exactly the same. Truth is that, even during and after the War Between the States, there were those in the north who felt that slavery should continue. Those who did not numbered enough to elect representation to fight against it……………….and much of the impetus for that came from the Christian Pulpit.

      3. “slavery” as discussed in the bible was nothing like what the enslavement of the negro in the American Colonies was. READ your history, gillie…. no, slavery was acceptible for a season when one came upon financial hard times… a form of indentured service. Further, you completely disregard the curious institutioin, established by God, known as the Jubilee Year…. when ALL debts were cancelled, ALL servants free regardless of what portion of their debt had been worked off, ALL lands sold outside of the original family ownership returned…. in other words, a Red Button Reset.

        Further, Paul’s admonition to masters th treat their slaves/servants kindly, and to slaves to serve their masters wholeheartedly as unto the Lord, flies in the face of how things mostly were antebelum South…. slaves/servants were real human beings whom God had created, and in HIS eyes were equal to their own masters as HIS creation and fully human. Again, quite a different concept than the hordes of negroes kidnapped from their homes in Africa by moslem raiders, shipped as cargo to North America, and sold forever as work animals to be used/abused as their “owners” wished…..

        The very concept of one man “owning’ another is antithetical to all the bible teaches about people. Indentured servitude was a VERY different institution. Yer iggorunts are showing again, gill

        1. Tionico, what do you know about slavery in the Bible? What do you know about anything other than parroting what you were told by some other misinformed history-challenged fool.

      4. I have said it before, if anyone wants to whine about how slaves were treated in this country suggest you study up on how the American Indian was treated by this country ! Remember they were here before you were. Illegal aliens are only trying to do to this country what this country did to the Indian.

      1. @Roy, XX (aka TS, Teen Snot, and eXtra, eXtra Teen Snot) has admitted that he is paid $5 per reply. Only trolls get paid so he must be a troll. A troll paid to type untruthful, liberal, socialist, Soros supporting tripe. He may have gotten $5, but it was worth it to smoke him out.

        1. Old Useless Paranoid Bill, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It would be easy to continue to chump you ad infinitum, but that’s really not that entertaining for me either. Nobody pays me. The sad irony is that you support Russia, the very enemy that seeks to undermine this great and free country. It’s the dirty Ruskies who plant propaganda trolls in key news/discussion outlets, but I doubt this one is even on their radar.

          However, Old Useless Paranoid Bill, you are a slave to your narrow-minded prejudices and worldview. You don’t need me to make you a “natural” slave–you have done it to yourself. A slave making excuses for slavery; now that is just delicious.

      2. @Roy, Now, extra large Teen Snot says he is not paid. Two opposing statements on the same day. Either he lied the first time or he lied the second time. So now we know that either he is a liar or a paid troll and liar.

        1. @WB As long as he keeps paying into our social security do we care where he gets his money?

          Pay Day should be this wed. for me.

            1. Old useless Bill, if you reply to this I will make my monthly bonus, and get a gold star from George Soros himself. By my calculation I have already made close to $1000 off you alone during our little “chats.”

              Thank you both for your service. I am glad that my tax dollars put food in your bellies.

    6. If it must be discussed, then the truth should come out, and Dr. Williams is the one to do it. For most of human existence slavery was a natural condition and not deplored, as it is now, by our morality and ethics.
      It is also a little known fact that slavery in what is now the U.S. was started by two black persons. One owed the other money that he could not repay, and suggested that he become the creditors slave in repayment of the debt. I saw it on the History channel.

      1. Yes, Old Useless Bill, you are my slave. That seems very “natural” to me. You do my bidding and I pay you in copious amounts of ridicule. Woof Woof!

        1. There would have to be a struggle to determine who would serve whom. I’m up for it. See you at the Yantis Texas bank. Let me know when you’ll be there.

          1. Cha-ching! You answered my post, crusty nuts, that’s $5 more in my bank account. Thanks for the service. You are out of your depth, Old Useless Bill, at every level. You are “naturally” a slave, just as you believe that it is a “natural condition.”

            1. XX
              I’d love to get my hands on you yellow belly coward to see if you are a real man or just some punk who things he’s a man. Bill is real and I can trust him but you are something that needs a lesson in human nature. I thing most good real men see you as something to not step in because of the smell. >>> Oldmarine

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