Category Archives: Slavery

June 29, 1865: Ending slavery in Kentucky

The New York Times reports a speech by Kentucky governor Bramlette. He advocates ratification of the 13th Amendment and establishing a free labor system. I’m not sure what his point was about the ownership of land; was he advocating redistribution … Continue reading

Posted in 13th Amendment, Abolitionism, Emancipation, Kentucky, Slavery | 1 Comment

May 18, 1865: Was the war a victory for democracy?

The New York Times comments on a letter to the London Times, in which the writer argues that “”Sir, the North has succeeded, but not because it is a democracy; the South has failed, but not because it is an … Continue reading

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March 31, 1865: A letter about arming the slaves

Images of a black Union soldier suggest a problem with this scheme. ************************************************* The New York Times publishes a captured letter a Tennessean in 1863, advocating the arming of slaves. The writer, who is left anonymous, feels that it’s not … Continue reading

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March 26, 1865: Slavery in Kentucky

Gov. Thomas E. Bramlette ***************************************** A New York Times correspondent describes the situation in the loyal border state of Kentucky. LEXINGTON, Ky. In my last I barely touched upon the breaking up of the patriarchal system in this State, as … Continue reading

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March 9, 1865: Abolition will make us like Canada

The Richmond Daily Dispatch speculates about the consequences of abolition for the American economy. There was considerable discussion throughout this period of the relative merits and productivity of free vs enslaved labor. Poundage of cotton picked per hand peaked in … Continue reading

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March 2, 1865: The nation with the most slaves always wins

The Richmond Daily Dispatch informs us that, despite appearances, the south will certainly win, since the lesson of history is that having slaves is sure to bring victory. All history has shown that the nation with most slaves in ancient … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Half Has Never Been Told

The Half has Never Been Told: Slavery and the making of American capitalism, by Edward E. Baptist. New York: Basic Books, 2014. I can’t praise this book enough. Baptist has written one of the best history books I’ve ever read, … Continue reading

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February 8, 1865: Free the slaves to win the war

The 13th Amendment New York TImes: AUGUSTA, Me., Tuesday, Feb. 7. The Maine Legislature to-day ratified the Constitutional Amendment abolishing slavery, and a salute of one hundred guns was fired in honor of the event. ST. LOUIS, MO., Tuesday, Feb. … Continue reading

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January 21, 1865: “… not more than forty acres of tillable ground…”

Sherman allocates abandoned plantations to the freedmen; the original order is dated Jan. 16, but the one actually putting the order into practice is dated Jan. 21; both are below. Abolitionist and medal of honor recipient general Rufus Saxton was … Continue reading

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January 19, 1865: Southern discomfort

The New York Times runs a collection of items from Southern papers critical of Confederate leadership. There’s a very pointed critique of Jefferson Davis. As usual, the Charleston Mercury is appalled at the thought of arming slaves — the editor … Continue reading

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