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Sunday, 23 May 2010


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Too hot outside for me. So let me disagree.
"Only then did this heinous institution disappear." It didn't 'disappear', it was killed off.

"Slavery was killed by capitalism because..": oh balls, it was killed principally by Tory evangelical Anglicans backed up, eventually, by the Royal Navy.

What an old grouch you are today, 'DM', just because the temperature is in the 80s and burning your Scottish freckles! I think Boudreaux was writing specifically about slavery in the USA, but even so, if you read his former article he makes a very good point that the rise in industrialisation, and the skills required to maintain it, acted against slavery.

Just an 'observation' from the American South - but industrialization was in high gear north of the Mason-Dixon Line and practically non-existent south of it - prior to our Civl War.

One, if not the primary reason, the South "lost" was the very capitalist invested, industrialized North could manufacture the 'machinery of war' whilst the South could only 'manufacture' cotton.

Exactly the point Boudreaux emphasises in his second article.

If he's thinking only of the US, then it is even more true that it was killed off, rather than merely disappearing. Capitalism had a role to play, in that the North was far richer than the South, but then again terriorism had a role to play, from the start - with John Brown - to the end, with Sherman.

"it was killed principally by Tory evangelical Anglicans backed up, eventually, by the Royal Navy."

True, up to a point. But the same version of the "truth" would say that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand "caused" WW1. The asassination was certainly a proximate cause of the war but, God help us, there were lots of other things feeding into that conflict. In the same way, and this is not to underestimate or disrespect the good Tory Wilberforce nor John Brown, the productivity released by capitalism, a freeish market and the industrial revolution made slave-owning - as an economic enterprise - doomed. There was no point in preserving an institution which had no economic benefits and was, moreover, of dubious morality. The compensation given to British slave-owners also smoothed the path for the abolitionists. I wonder if the South would have acceded to abolition and, perhaps, avoided the Civil War, had the North been prepared to cough up sufficient compensation: we'll never know.

There was one place in the American South of the late 1850's where a fairly high degree of industrialization was taking off - Harper's Ferry, Virginia. It's primary manufacture? Armaments (primarily in the form of rifled muskets, but also some artillery).

Alas, John Brown in "engineering his plot" to take Harper's Ferry Arsenal was more fruitcake than terrorist.

(I hope my friends in Georgia don't find this comment) but the "scorched earth" tactics employed by Sherman had previously been employed by a Confederate General [Thomas Hindman] in his AOR - coincidentally, within his 'adopted home state' - the Trans-Mississippi theater in, of all places, Arkansas.

Napoleonic formation and seige warfare combined with rifled weaponry had, I consider, (with the benefit of hindsight of course) the inevitability of devolving into "battles of attrition." In such a set of circumstances, Sherman cannot be held up as the poster-boy of American Civil War terrorism.

Heck, just Google "The Battle of Poison Spring."

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