We've all seen a ton of 'Civil War' movies and docudramas that inform us
that the noble Union army was a body of soldiers gotten together so they
could go South and free the slaves held by those mean, nasty Southern
plantation owners. And, of course, everyone knows that, in the South,
everyone had hundreds of slaves that they gleefully beat every morning
before breakfast, because, as we all know, that was how those mean and nasty
Southern racists got their jollies for the day. Well, what about slavery in
the North? Oh, that wasn't really worth mentioning - a manor house here or
there had an occasional black servant, but that was about it. So goes the
standard line of propaganda we have all been fed over the past several
Sorry to burst the bubble, folks, but the science of archaeology is busily
giving the lie to such hogwash. Archaeologists have been busy digging in
several places in the North, and guess what? They are finding Northern
plantations that were operated by slave labor in the same manner as those in
the South were.
An article by Mike Toner, for The Atlanta Journal Constitution says
"Slaveholding plantations, usually thought of as uniquely Southern
institutions, were deeply rooted in the fabric of 'free' states of the North
as well, new archaeological studies are showing. The hidden history of
Northern plantations and their slaves is emerging - one shovelful of soil at
a time - from excavations in and around historic manor houses in
Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York."
The article goes on to note that while slavery was abolished in the North
before the War of Northern Aggression, recent excavations are now showing
that during the late 1700s and early 1800s many of what would now be called
manors were, in fact, full-fledged plantations and they kept black slaves
under about the same conditions that existed further South. Cheryl LaRoche,
a historical archaeologist with the University of Maryland has observed:
"Historians are stunned by some of the evidence...The popular notion is that
slavery in the North consisted of two or three household servants, but there
is growing evidence that there were slaveholding plantations. It's hard to
believe that such a significant and pervasive part of the past could be so
completely erased from our history." With all due respect to LaRoche, it is
not at all hard to believe that this portion of our history has been
"erased." All you have to remember is that in any given war the winners get
to write, or rather rewrite, the history books.
Since the North won the War of Northern Aggression and she supposedly fought
to free the slaves, it would hardly look very good for them to admit that
the same kind of conditions pertaining to slavery existed in the North, only
a few decades earlier than what they were supposedly combatting in the
South. Therefore, that rather embarrassing part of Northern history needed
to be shoved down the memory hole, to be conveniently forgotten, lest future
generations question why the North didn't do something about the slavery
problem sooner than it did. LaRoche also commented that: "America was a
slaveholding country - North and South - Over the years that reality has
been lost, stolen, or just strayed from the history books." Rather than
lost, stolen, or strayed, how about 'deliberately deleted?'
After all, it would be a little difficult for the Northern carpetbaggers and
radical abolitionists to flaunt their moral superiority in the South should
it be discovered that while they had been busily castigating the South for
slavery, similar conditions had existed in their own states up until a
couple decades before the war.
Donnie Kennedy, in his book Myths of American Slavery noted that: "Some
states, such as New Jersey, maintained slavery by redefining it as
'apprenticeship.' Thus, as late as 1860, the Federal census listed slaves in
New Jersey." Kennedy also tells us that slavery was abolished in the North
in order to protect white workers from competition with slave labor. He
tells us that Connecticut prohibited the importation of slaves into her
territory because "the increase of slaves is injurious to the poor." He
notes that: "...pecuniary interests, and not 'liberty, equality, fraternity'
had more to do with the abolition of slavery in the North."
And now, what the politically correct 'historians' have shoved down the
memory hole for decades is being scooped back out by archaeologists with
shovels and trowels. Maybe it's time for those self-righteous radical
abolitionist types to admit to the world that they are at fault for slavery
every bit as much as any Southern plantation owner. And if there were still
slaves in New Jersey in 1860, years after the radical abolitionists in the
North started crusading against Southern slavery, why didn't the
abolitionists deal with the problem in their own back yard first?
They didn't do so because to do so didn't fit their political agenda, which
was to eventually destroy the South and Southern Christian culture. Slavery
aside, that is what radical abolitionism in the North was all about--and the
Northern abolitionists were not above working with and helping Unitarians
and socialists who shared the same agenda.