book report: Slave Nation by Mr. and Mrs. Blumrosen part 2

Slave Nation by Blumrosen (2005) does a great job at exposing the crooked legs our nation was founded on. The cry for freedom was no less about freedom of commerce and assembly but also freedom to own property, which in Southern terms was the euphemism for slavery [like today "choice" is the euphemism for abortion].

Any mythology that proclaims that slaves were actually treated so nicely that they enjoyed the institution should be confronted with the results of the British to free any slaves who joined them against the rebels. The South "had not recovered from the brutal warfare in the later years of the war of the loss of a quarter of thier slaves who had been liberated by the British." p.178 Similarly, almost 90 years later, "of the nearly one hundred and eighty thousand black troops that served in the Union Army during the Civil War, at least one hundred and thirty-eight thousand were former slaves." pp.251-2

The book shows how the compromise of the Northwest Ordinance allowed a stronger government to form with the Constitution that replaced the Articles of Confederation. This compromise promised all the territory above the Ohio River to remain free, no slavery. One of the ironies of this moral compromise is the complete disregard for the nations that did live there already, who were not strong enough to resist the white invaders. But at least the Northern invaders, unlike the Southern invaders would not be bringing slaves. Blumrosen writes, "the Northwest Ordinance, by creating a slave-free area, broke the power of slavery. A populace evolved in the area who, because they did not exploit slave labor, were not blinded by self-interest into ignoring its evils." p.249 They were blinded by self-interest in grabbing land belonging to native nations, however. This still continues. They are still ignored.

As a citizen, all I can say is our country is on a trajectory. It seeks good ultimately, but has a hard time with accepting the pain and hardship that doing good entails. It prefers to pass it on to another generation, who may have a harder time solving the issues. We are still straigtening out treating all people as equals, but we did elect a black president. We are still ignoring the claims of American Indian tribes. We are still ignoring the realities of abortion.

I highly commend this history of our country's beginnings.


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