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

Slave sale, Charleston SC

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 times was, ceteris parabus, the most powerful in war, and it is the remark of one of the best American students of antiquity that if there had been a State in Greece without slaves, the probability is, it would quickly have been overthrown by the neighboring slave States. We find, in the Jewish system, slavery formally established by a Divine decree. Long before the foundation of that system, we find the patriarch Abraham going to battle with a force of slaves, which the Scriptures inform us were “born in his house and bought with his money.”

The Egyptians held slaves, as their monuments prove, and many of these slaves were negroes, as is clear from the representations on the royal sepulchres. The Greeks held vast numbers at the time of their greatest strength, and each nation in proportion to its powers in war. Sparta had eight slaves to one freeman, and Athens nearly as many. The slaves of these nations greatly aided in their splendid conquests. At Pataca five thousand Spartans were attended by thirty- five thousand Helots as light troops.

Slavery increased pari passu in Rome with the greatness of that country until the number of slaves in and around Rome exceeded the freemen in the proportion of twelve and fifteen to one. Industrial pursuits were almost entirely intrusted to slaves and freedmen, and as the country advanced these were enrolled as soldiers and trained as gladiators. It was only with the disappearance of slavery that domination of Rome over the rest of the world passed away; that her manners became corrupt, and she fell an easy prey to northern barbarians.

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