Re: Reparations

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Jul 31 2001 - 08:44:52 MDT

Greg Burch wrote:
> This doesn't look right to me, either. The number of slaves in the U.S.
> topped out at about 600,000. (Contrasted with 6 MILLION in the Carribean --
> source: "A Brief History of the Caribbean : From the Arawak and the Carib to
> the Present", Jan Rogozinski).
> This is not to say that conditions on "the Middle Passage" weren't horrific;
> they were.
> BTW, regarding the question of the historical burden of slavery, I like to
> say that the current cost in the U.S. of slavery is the present value of the
> price of 40 acres and a mule in 1865.

Yes, and while not every slave received this, a fair number did, most of
which later abandoned the land for industrial work in the north. Most of
those who did move to industrial jobs were younger sons who didn't
inherit those 40 acres to begin with.

In the post civil war era, there was a significant scandal during
reconstruction where it was found that former slave holders were using
local law enforcement to put freed slaves back into a state of peonage
and to prevent voter registration, as well as passing local laws which
prevented freed slaves from being armed to defend themselves and their
land against lynching and seizure of property. Congress put together a
commission about this matter, which resulted in them proposing what
became the 14th Amendment, which congress mandated rebel states ratify
before they would be readmitted to the union, and specifically mandated
that freed slaves be allowed to arm themselves, and those who failed to
enforce it lost reconstruction funding. Most southern states refused to
accept reconstruction funding rather than enforce the 14th amendment
locally, which is why the south languished economically until WWI.

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