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Did we allow slavery BECAUSE of democracy, not in spite of it?

Mensch

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There seems to be a lot of this gung-ho support for democracy, as if democracy is, and should be, the cornerstone of our political existence. However, perhaps we should stop to wonder if we allowed slavery because of this glorious system, not in spite of it? The heart of democracy is the equal vote. Liberty and justice have nothing to do with democracy. Our democracy allowed a majority to continue enslaving millions for the benefit of the privileged.

Democracy also allowed segregation to last for nearly a century. People got together and collectively thought it would be a good idea, so it went forth. And it continued until the majority finally wised up.

This is why I strongly believe that liberty supersedes democracy in its righteousness (or whatever wholesome word you wish to use). Liberty is more important than democracy.

I've recently made in a point in another thread which I wish to reiterate here. Why is the political left so quick to support a populist movement, where the people are strong and can induce change, but are so quick to dismiss individual freedom as anarchy? They seem to think that "the people" are strong and ambitious, but the individual is stupid and incompetent. They always warn we can't let individuals to be left to their own devices. They'll just run wild and shoot themselves in the foot. I'm not buying it.
 

Yossarian

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To quote F. A. Hayek:

It is possible for a dictator to govern in a liberal way. And it is also possible for a democracy to govern with a total lack of liberalism. Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism.
but,

At any rate, the advantages of democracy as a method of peaceful change and of political education seem to be so great compared with those of any other system that I can have no sympathy with the antidemocratic strain of conservatism. It is not who governs but what government is entitled to do that seems to me the essential problem.
The point is that democracy is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.
 

CriticalThought

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Democracy = tyranny of majority.

However, that is irrelevant as far as the United States is concerned. The United States is not a democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic. Slavery was initially enshrined in our Constitution.
 

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Slavery had as much to do with economic interest as with social interest at the time. I agree with your larger, tyranny of the majority point, but in this specific example, I don't know if democracy would have made much of a difference.

Overall, I agree with Yossarian; a liberal dictator (if there could be such a thing) is preferable to a lynch mob. However, realistically, I see at least a good amount of democracy as necessary to hold officials accountable, albeit with plenty of restrictions on their power. Officials could be held accountable to a liberal dictator, but in the long run, after he dies, then what?
 
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DrunkenAsparagus said:
Slavery had as much to do with economic interest as with social interest at the time.
This, definitely. The civil war was essentially the competition of two different modes of production for dominance. The south was bound to lose as its economic base was historically obsolete.
 

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Democracy = tyranny of majority.

However, that is irrelevant as far as the United States is concerned. The United States is not a democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic. Slavery was initially enshrined in our Constitution.
The US is a democracy so stop deluding yourself. A Constitutional Republic falls under the definition of democracy.
 

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Why was the Civil War brought up in a slavery thread? Slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War.

The main reason for the war was states' rights and taxes. It was fought because the South wanted its independence form the United States due to taxation without representation. Lincoln didn't even want to get rid of slavery until about two or three years in the war, and only did so to get more support. Most southern states were in the process of doing away with slavery and a lot of the slaves were sold to the northern states. Slavery was ending all over the United States and Confederate States. It's a shame that most of the world now believes the war was over slavery.
 

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The nature of slavery in the Americas was more in the realm of economics than state politics when it first arrived. And yes, slavery had quite a lot to do with the Civil War, even if at times that connection was esoteric or seemingly a secondary issue.
 
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Why was the Civil War brought up in a slavery thread? Slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War.
Slavery as a social/rights issue was peripheral for most of the war, but slavery as an economic mode of production in the south was exactly what the war was about.
 

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There seems to be a lot of this gung-ho support for democracy, as if democracy is, and should be, the cornerstone of our political existence. However, perhaps we should stop to wonder if we allowed slavery because of this glorious system, not in spite of it? The heart of democracy is the equal vote. Liberty and justice have nothing to do with democracy. Our democracy allowed a majority to continue enslaving millions for the benefit of the privileged.

Democracy also allowed segregation to last for nearly a century. People got together and collectively thought it would be a good idea, so it went forth. And it continued until the majority finally wised up.

This is why I strongly believe that liberty supersedes democracy in its righteousness (or whatever wholesome word you wish to use). Liberty is more important than democracy.

I've recently made in a point in another thread which I wish to reiterate here. Why is the political left so quick to support a populist movement, where the people are strong and can induce change, but are so quick to dismiss individual freedom as anarchy? They seem to think that "the people" are strong and ambitious, but the individual is stupid and incompetent. They always warn we can't let individuals to be left to their own devices. They'll just run wild and shoot themselves in the foot. I'm not buying it.
Get your history right.

The United States did not allow slavery because of democracy. Rather, the U.S. included slavery in order to provide a united front against European powers.

At that time, the main economic base of the rural South was through plantation agriculture, and the best way to maximize the profits of agricultural products was through labor without pay, or slavery.

See, farming (and I know this through first hand experience) requires a massive amount of manpower. It's not easy to manage the land in order to get crops to grow, harvest it, and then get the land ready to plant again. It takes a lot of work. So much work that if every person involved had to get paid the costs would be so high nobody would be able to pay for it.

This is why I really fear the energy crunch of loss of petroleum fuels.

See, the only reason why we don't have slavery now is not because of democratic ideals. Rather, it is because machine-power has replaced manpower when it comes to agricultural labor. Rather than hire a plantation full of slaves to do slow, long, break-breaking work to raise crops, a much smaller number of people can instead use tractors to do said work faster and at a more cost-effective rate - so long as fuel for the tractors remain cheap.

If it should increase so high so that farmers unable to cultivate their crops, then trust me - some form of slavery or indentured servitude will be established in order to raise that food.

After all, this is the reason why various types of slavery had been established throughout history. During the time of Sparta, for example, helots were essentially slaves who did nothing but raise crops for themselves and Sparta's citizens. Because of this dedicated caste of farmers, it freed up other social classes of Sparta to do other things beside gather essential resources - food and water and shelter. What those other classes in Sparta did with their free time was focus on warfare.

This was why Sparta was able to become professional soldiers during those ancient days - the tasks of gathering and cultivating essentials were forced upon others, giving them the chance to develop military professionalism.

Likewise, this was the basis of the system of serfdom during the age of feudalism. Serfs were tied to land, essentially enslaved farmers. Why? Because someone needed to cultivate crops for food to be eaten by themselves and the other professionals of the age. And who was given the land that the serfs were tied to?

That's right. The professional soldiers of that age: knights. In the feudal system, the king technically owned all the land of the kingdom, but he parceled it out to the warriors who served him. This gave those warriors a steady supply of food. In return, those knights were obligated to call up military forces for their liege.

So slavery has nothing to do with democracy - rather, it has to do with the undeniable fact that there will always be **** work to do only nobody likes to do it because it is hard and because the **** work that needs to be done is relied on by everybody it has to be cheap enough so that everybody can acquire it.

So no - we did not allow slavery because of democracy. Rather, the Founding Fathers chose to be united as a nation because one region of the colonies exploited slaves for agricultural labor. However, slavery was becoming less and less required because of advances in machinery - the steam engine, the cotton gin, and others. This meant that because slavery was less required for manpower, it was becoming more and more institutionalized. That is, the South didn't have slaves because they needed them but rather the South had slaves because they wanted them.

It had become so ingrained in the society of the South that even when slaves were unneeded for the manpower to cultivate crops, the South would continue to maintain the institution of slavery.

However, it could also be said that the abolition of slavery also spurred on agricultural technology - that is, because plantations could no longer use slaves, farmers and engineers were required to use their education and ingenuity to create machines that would allow fewer people to cultivate the same amount of crops, thus keeping agricultural goods low enough to be bought.

So no - we did not allow slavery because of democracy. Rather, we allowed slavery because of the Southern economy. The Southern states would not have joined the Union if slavery was abolished by the outset, and, economically speaking, that is understandable. However, if the South did not join in the United States then that would have meant that there were two major powers in North America vying for control of the continent, and that would have meant that a war between North and South would have been fought much much earlier.

However, I'm not sure if all that is the answer you were looking for with regards to your question. If that's the case, I think this one may do.

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest." - Winston Churchill
 

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Why was the Civil War brought up in a slavery thread? Slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War.
If that was the case, then why did the CSA Constitution explicitly deny the Confederate Congress the ability to regulate or possibliy end slavery?

Article I said:
No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.
 

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There seems to be a lot of this gung-ho support for democracy, as if democracy is, and should be, the cornerstone of our political existence. However, perhaps we should stop to wonder if we allowed slavery because of this glorious system, not in spite of it? The heart of democracy is the equal vote. Liberty and justice have nothing to do with democracy. Our democracy allowed a majority to continue enslaving millions for the benefit of the privileged.

Democracy also allowed segregation to last for nearly a century. People got together and collectively thought it would be a good idea, so it went forth. And it continued until the majority finally wised up.

This is why I strongly believe that liberty supersedes democracy in its righteousness (or whatever wholesome word you wish to use). Liberty is more important than democracy.

I've recently made in a point in another thread which I wish to reiterate here. Why is the political left so quick to support a populist movement, where the people are strong and can induce change, but are so quick to dismiss individual freedom as anarchy? They seem to think that "the people" are strong and ambitious, but the individual is stupid and incompetent. They always warn we can't let individuals to be left to their own devices. They'll just run wild and shoot themselves in the foot. I'm not buying it.
Edwards: Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.
Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.
That's why I don't trust the left, or buy their ideas. They are collectivists. They abhor individualism, and are all about groups (people).
 

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Get your history right.

The United States did not allow slavery because of democracy. Rather, the U.S. included slavery in order to provide a united front against European powers.

At that time, the main economic base of the rural South was through plantation agriculture, and the best way to maximize the profits of agricultural products was through labor without pay, or slavery.

See, farming (and I know this through first hand experience) requires a massive amount of manpower. It's not easy to manage the land in order to get crops to grow, harvest it, and then get the land ready to plant again. It takes a lot of work. So much work that if every person involved had to get paid the costs would be so high nobody would be able to pay for it.

This is why I really fear the energy crunch of loss of petroleum fuels.

See, the only reason why we don't have slavery now is not because of democratic ideals. Rather, it is because machine-power has replaced manpower when it comes to agricultural labor. Rather than hire a plantation full of slaves to do slow, long, break-breaking work to raise crops, a much smaller number of people can instead use tractors to do said work faster and at a more cost-effective rate - so long as fuel for the tractors remain cheap.

If it should increase so high so that farmers unable to cultivate their crops, then trust me - some form of slavery or indentured servitude will be established in order to raise that food.

After all, this is the reason why various types of slavery had been established throughout history. During the time of Sparta, for example, helots were essentially slaves who did nothing but raise crops for themselves and Sparta's citizens. Because of this dedicated caste of farmers, it freed up other social classes of Sparta to do other things beside gather essential resources - food and water and shelter. What those other classes in Sparta did with their free time was focus on warfare.

This was why Sparta was able to become professional soldiers during those ancient days - the tasks of gathering and cultivating essentials were forced upon others, giving them the chance to develop military professionalism.

Likewise, this was the basis of the system of serfdom during the age of feudalism. Serfs were tied to land, essentially enslaved farmers. Why? Because someone needed to cultivate crops for food to be eaten by themselves and the other professionals of the age. And who was given the land that the serfs were tied to?

That's right. The professional soldiers of that age: knights. In the feudal system, the king technically owned all the land of the kingdom, but he parceled it out to the warriors who served him. This gave those warriors a steady supply of food. In return, those knights were obligated to call up military forces for their liege.

So slavery has nothing to do with democracy - rather, it has to do with the undeniable fact that there will always be **** work to do only nobody likes to do it because it is hard and because the **** work that needs to be done is relied on by everybody it has to be cheap enough so that everybody can acquire it.

So no - we did not allow slavery because of democracy. Rather, the Founding Fathers chose to be united as a nation because one region of the colonies exploited slaves for agricultural labor. However, slavery was becoming less and less required because of advances in machinery - the steam engine, the cotton gin, and others. This meant that because slavery was less required for manpower, it was becoming more and more institutionalized. That is, the South didn't have slaves because they needed them but rather the South had slaves because they wanted them.

It had become so ingrained in the society of the South that even when slaves were unneeded for the manpower to cultivate crops, the South would continue to maintain the institution of slavery.

However, it could also be said that the abolition of slavery also spurred on agricultural technology - that is, because plantations could no longer use slaves, farmers and engineers were required to use their education and ingenuity to create machines that would allow fewer people to cultivate the same amount of crops, thus keeping agricultural goods low enough to be bought.

So no - we did not allow slavery because of democracy. Rather, we allowed slavery because of the Southern economy. The Southern states would not have joined the Union if slavery was abolished by the outset, and, economically speaking, that is understandable. However, if the South did not join in the United States then that would have meant that there were two major powers in North America vying for control of the continent, and that would have meant that a war between North and South would have been fought much much earlier.

However, I'm not sure if all that is the answer you were looking for with regards to your question. If that's the case, I think this one may do.

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest." - Winston Churchill
You make a lot of points with a lot of historical errors. I wish I could respond in more depth, but I haven't the time at the moment. So, you'll have to forgive the shorter response (thanks for the thoughtful post, though).

First, you seem to argue that the lack of technology was the driving force behind eliminating slavery by making slavery obsolete. I do realize there were many spikes and dips in the number and importance of slaves in the South. But following the invention of the cotton gin, it is commonly noted in mainstream historical sources that the invention of the cotton gin greatly increased the importance of slaves to plantation owners. The cotton gin had nothing to do with picking cotton. The cotton gin meant that more labor was needed to pick more cotton.

Though I do not deny that economics has a great deal of importance to this debate, I also believe there was a social hierarchal system in the South that was against freedom for all. They were a democracy, but a slave-owning democracy. What else besides their own voting consensus gave them the legitimacy to own people? It was the votes of the majority that made slavery legal. And it was the votes of the majority of the whole nation that allowed slavery to exist for as long as it did. Following slavery, what other human institution gave white man the power to disempower the newly freed slaves? It was rule of law according to their democratically-based government. What else, besides their consensus and the power to turn consensus into action, gave them the power to enslave and segregate others? A tyrannical majoritarian government.

I personally prefer a liberal democracy, but it absolutely must be liberal before it is a democracy.
 

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You make a lot of points with a lot of historical errors. I wish I could respond in more depth, but I haven't the time at the moment. So, you'll have to forgive the shorter response (thanks for the thoughtful post, though).

First, you seem to argue that the lack of technology was the driving force behind eliminating slavery by making slavery obsolete. I do realize there were many spikes and dips in the number and importance of slaves in the South. But following the invention of the cotton gin, it is commonly noted in mainstream historical sources that the invention of the cotton gin greatly increased the importance of slaves to plantation owners. The cotton gin had nothing to do with picking cotton. The cotton gin meant that more labor was needed to pick more cotton.

Though I do not deny that economics has a great deal of importance to this debate, I also believe there was a social hierarchal system in the South that was against freedom for all. They were a democracy, but a slave-owning democracy. What else besides their own voting consensus gave them the legitimacy to own people? It was the votes of the majority that made slavery legal. And it was the votes of the majority of the whole nation that allowed slavery to exist for as long as it did. Following slavery, what other human institution gave white man the power to disempower the newly freed slaves? It was rule of law according to their democratically-based government. What else, besides their consensus and the power to turn consensus into action, gave them the power to enslave and segregate others? A tyrannical majoritarian government.

I personally prefer a liberal democracy, but it absolutely must be liberal before it is a democracy.
Okay. I'm going to say this right off the bat.

It seems to me that we agree, for the most part, concerning these issues.

However, I want to address one thing that you mentioned.

Though I do not deny that economics has a great deal of importance to this debate, I also believe there was a social hierarchal system in the South that was against freedom for all.
And, with regards to this, you and I agree. I will reference this from my post.

It had become so ingrained in the society of the South that even when slaves were unneeded for the manpower to cultivate crops, the South would continue to maintain the institution of slavery.
What I meant by that wasn't that, at the time, slaves were unneeded. Rather, that should slaves ever become unneeded for labor, they would still be enslaved and instead be used for other things besides the labor that technologically progressed machines replaced them for.

However, originally, slavery was used to exploit labor in an economic way for cultivation of crops. That is why there was a definite basis in the Southern economy. However, American slavery was based on racism, unlike other forms of slavery in the past, which was based more on conquest. Because of the racial component to slavery, it became a social component.

However, I still do not think that democracy caused slavery. To say that democracy caused slavery is very disengenuous to what the Founding Fathers were going through.

After all, there was a very big push to abolition slavery in order to gain the moral high ground of a nation of "life, liberty, and property" against the British Empire who were denying freedoms to the colonists. However, the Southern states would have refused union with the Northern states if slavery was abolished. The reason why? Both because of the economic basis of slavery and because of the social tradition of slavery.

So the North relented on the issue and chose not to make a push for abolition. Doing this allowed the Southern colonies to side with the other colonies and provide a united front against the British Empire.

Now this was a major boon to independence and the Founding Fathers. Why? Well, let's examine two possibiliities if the South refused to join with the North.

1) The South refused to join with the North and stayed aligned with the British Empire. While the North may have gained it's freedom, the British would retain a dual prsence in North America - one in Canada and another in the South. This would have endangered the early nation should hostilities break out later, as that U.S. would have to fight a 4-front war (one against Canada in the north, one against Native Americans in the western wilderness, one against the South in the south, and one against the Royal Navy off the Eastern Seaboard.)

2) The South refused to join with the North and achieved independence from the British Empire. While the South was no longer under British rule, neither would it join with the North. So they push the British Army out of the colonies, and they may, at first, be allies with each other. But both governments will force to compete with each other as they expand westward. This would invariably lead to military conflicts against the two nations as they compete for resources and land.

Both of these likely outcomes would have been disasterous for that early era in which the colonists were resisting European powers. So rather than risk conflict against each other sooner, delegates from the North decided to relent and make no stance on slavery in order to bring in the South to provide a united front against British and European imperialism.

So, to answer your question, no, the U.S. did not allow slavery because of demcracy - rather, the U.S. allowed slavery because of expediency. It was easier and safer for them to allow the South to retain slavery than it was to challenge the South to abolition slavery and have the colonies be divided which Europe could take advantage of.
 

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i dont believe slavery was allowed because of democracy, Blacks were looked upon as subhumans at that time, being sold like livestock, and toiling for hours for almost nothing. i guess i could be wrong though.:shrug:
 

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There seems to be a lot of this gung-ho support for democracy, as if democracy is, and should be, the cornerstone of our political existence. However, perhaps we should stop to wonder if we allowed slavery because of this glorious system, not in spite of it? The heart of democracy is the equal vote. Liberty and justice have nothing to do with democracy. Our democracy allowed a majority to continue enslaving millions for the benefit of the privileged.

Democracy also allowed segregation to last for nearly a century. People got together and collectively thought it would be a good idea, so it went forth. And it continued until the majority finally wised up.

This is why I strongly believe that liberty supersedes democracy in its righteousness (or whatever wholesome word you wish to use). Liberty is more important than democracy.

I've recently made in a point in another thread which I wish to reiterate here. Why is the political left so quick to support a populist movement, where the people are strong and can induce change, but are so quick to dismiss individual freedom as anarchy? They seem to think that "the people" are strong and ambitious, but the individual is stupid and incompetent. They always warn we can't let individuals to be left to their own devices. They'll just run wild and shoot themselves in the foot. I'm not buying it.
Let's review the beginning of our Declaration of Independence, shall we?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Now yes, it says all men [by men, we'll assume human beings] are equal according to our form of democracy. However, when the vast majority of society doesn't see so-called ''slaves'' as human beings they don't, technically, have the same rights. If, as a society, we put the slave on the same hierarchy level as the pig, they wouldn't have any rights. What government in their right mind would allow a pig to buy land and vote? Slavery had nothing to do with us being a democracy. It was their long before us and it'll be there long after us.
 

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Why was the Civil War brought up in a slavery thread? Slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War.

The main reason for the war was states' rights and taxes. It was fought because the South wanted its independence form the United States due to taxation without representation. Lincoln didn't even want to get rid of slavery until about two or three years in the war, and only did so to get more support. Most southern states were in the process of doing away with slavery and a lot of the slaves were sold to the northern states. Slavery was ending all over the United States and Confederate States. It's a shame that most of the world now believes the war was over slavery.
It's a shame that you can't come to terms with the truth and have been taught wrongly by an ignorant person. Slavery was absolutely about economics. This was true with the Arab Slave Trade and the Atlantic Slave Trade. And it was true after the British made slavery illegal and dismantled the Atlantic Slave Trade. Unifying the country meant addressing slavery. Since Europeans and the North were benefitting from the slavery in the South, it was not an easy system to dismantle. However, the social movement in the North believed that the equality meant more than just between white people, which is why the escape paths led to the north (that doesn't mean they treated them equally). Slavery was not ending all over the U.S. It was simply not being implimented as states evolved in the West. For the Southern states that had established the system of slavery, the rich and powerful were never going to destroy the very system that encouraged and maintained their power. And when it came to European powers offering moral support for the South, it was far more about economic stability than it was about keeping America divided. In order to unify this country, slavery was absolutely a key focus of reform for everyone on both sides of the Atlantic.

So for someone like yourself to pretend that slavery was just some insignificant coincidental abolishment or post thought after the fact is pathetic. My immediate desire is to ask your age, but I know that in these days re-defining America into a cold, imperial, death machine is the fad.
 
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i dont believe slavery was allowed because of democracy, Blacks were looked upon as subhumans at that time, being sold like livestock, and toiling for hours for almost nothing. i guess i could be wrong though.:shrug:
It was worse in Protestant States than Catholic States. In Protestant States they had no rights and were absolute property. Since they were cheaper than cattle, they were subjected to greater abuses and disgarded easily. They simply were not "people." In Catholic states, owners were bound by prescriptions demanded by the Pope. They were to be treated as future Christians in need of conversion and could buy their freedom once they converted. They were also given rights in some of them (Louisiana for one) to report abuse to officials and to sue in court. Of course this didn't happen, but it is written in original state legislations.
 
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First, I'll say that I agree with you 100% in regards to your statements contained in your most recent post. However, the OP was not about why didn't the Founding Fathers abolish slavery with-or-without the South. I realize that the Founding Fathers were in a pickle and refusing to unionize with the South could have had devastating results for the newly created anti-slavery North and South America.

However, that has nothing to do with the OP. I'll respond further...

So, to answer your question, no, the U.S. did not allow slavery because of democracy - rather, the U.S. allowed slavery because of expediency. It was easier and safer for them to allow the South to retain slavery than it was to challenge the South to abolition slavery and have the colonies be divided which Europe could take advantage of.
Democracy, in and of itself, does not guarantee a slave-free society. A democracy is notoriously a majoritarian tyrannical government. As I've argued numerous times on this forum, democracy killed Socrates. The heart of the democratic movement is not liberty, but about the universal equal vote. Therefore, whether or not we're discussing people who have been viewed as animals or people who have been conquered, all democracy needed to legitimize slavery at that moment was a consensus of the majority. In short, democracy is weak and often tyrannical if it is not backed by a solid commitment to individual liberty, equal justice, and a rule of law.

There's nothing special about pure, unadulterated democracy.
 

Mensch

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i dont believe slavery was allowed because of democracy, Blacks were looked upon as subhumans at that time, being sold like livestock, and toiling for hours for almost nothing. i guess i could be wrong though.:shrug:
But who controlled the government? Were the individual Southern state governments run by dictators, or by democratic voters? The Anglo citiznes would legitimize slavery through a democratic government. You could argue that the Southern states were not a democracy at all because there was not universal suffrage. But you would face difficulty arguing such an assertion because slaves often came from Native American tribes who were not accepted as citizens of the democratic nation.
 

samsmart

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Democracy, in and of itself, does not guarantee a slave-free society. A democracy is notoriously a majoritarian tyrannical government. As I've argued numerous times on this forum, democracy killed Socrates. The heart of the democratic movement is not liberty, but about the universal equal vote. Therefore, whether or not we're discussing people who have been viewed as animals or people who have been conquered, all democracy needed to legitimize slavery at that moment was a consensus of the majority. In short, democracy is weak and often tyrannical if it is not backed by a solid commitment to individual liberty, equal justice, and a rule of law.

There's nothing special about pure, unadulterated democracy.
Ah! But the Founding Fathers did not implement a pure, unadulterated democracy. Rather, they were very much proponents for indirect democracy. This made sense at the time for a variety of reasons.

The first major reason was because there was no public education system. Most people were lucky to learn how to read and write and do arithmetic, and those who learned as children only did so they could read the Bible and so they could do the equations and measurements needed to farm and make change for money. While the Founding Fathers eschewed permanent class and social divisions, they favored people having the opportunity to raise themselves up on their own merits. However, they knew that such opportunities back then would be scarce, and so favored indirect democracatic processes so that the fewer people who were more educated could make decisions for the benefit of the rest of the citizens.

The second major reason was that they were attempting to forge a new society or republicanism (that is without inherited nobility or aristocracy) from an empire that had an aristocratic society for 700 years. They knew quite well that the United States would be an experiment, and how greatly different it was from the majority of political norms at that time. Because of that, they didn't stray too far - for example, only allowing white landowners to vote in elections. Why? Because, as I mentioned before, those were the ones most likely to have the economic wealth needed to invest in an education which would allow them to make better decisions on behalf of the country.

So again, to answer your original question it's still a no, did not allow slavery because of democracy because it was not a pure democracy that the Founding Fathers originally designed for our federal government, not was it a pure democracy used in state governments - rather, our nation started out utilizing indirect representative democratic processes and only through time have we developed political procedures that have relied more and more on direct democracy.

In fact it has the been the increase in direct democracy (giving minorities the right to vote, giving women the right to vote, abolition of poll taxes, striking down of Jim Crow laws to allow African-Americans to exercise their right to vote) that has allowed slavery and the vestiges of it to be struck out from our society.

So you still can't blame democracy for allowing slavery in our nation.
 

ShadowScythe13

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Democracy, in it's purest form, is a foolish way of deciding anything. Try going to a restaurant with your friends and 'democratically' figuring out who pays the bill. In a democracy everyone votes for someone else to take care of their problems, and in the end one unlucky person is stuck with the bill.

A Republic, especially a Democratic Republic based upon a Constitution or other legislation like that of the USA, is an attempt to stave off the dangers of 'mob rule' and the whims of populism. It is entirely possible for a candidate for president to win the 'popular' vote yet not win enough electoral votes to win the presidency. This is exactly as intended; the more populated states should not have total power over the more rural states.

Democracy can, and should, be blamed for slavery, just as it should be blamed for anti-immigration laws and other legalized-racism legislation. Everyone has prejudices, and when those prejudices are popular and accepted by the majority, it is entirely possible for the majority to vote those prejudices into law. Just look at Arizona; racism against Mexican Immigrants led to a bill which allows the police to take action against 'perceived' illegals, not only against actual illegals. Just imagine if the police were allowed to take action against 'perceived' speeders, not just speeders who were caught speeding.

In a pure Democracy, the whims of the majority rule. in a Republic, the representatives of the people hold the power, and the theory is that these representatives will be intelligent enough to recognize that the whims of the majority are whims, not facts, and that whims are not a good basis for law. With a constitution in place, even the whims of the majority cannot, theoretically, influence basic fundamental rights of citizens past a certain point.

Slavery was the foundation of the early American economy; cotton was labor intensive and the main US export for a long period of time. the Manufacturing facilities in the North depended on Southern slave labor to gather enough cotton and remain profitable. The loss of slavery would destroy not only the Southern economy, but the Northern as well. As the North continued to industrialize, however, they grew away from being cotton-dependent, and began to look at slavery at a moral evil rather than an economic necessity.

The civil war started at the time that it did because Lincoln won zero Southern states, and a majority of the Northern states, and yet still gathered enough electoral votes to gain presidential office. the south could no longer defend its way of life via a political and rational discourse, and it became clear that should the Northern politicians wish to eliminate slavery, there would be nothing the Southern politicians could do about it.

Blaming democracy for Slavery seems shallow, but it can be done. What the majority want, in a Democracy, they get. If the majority want racism, or segregated schools, it is racism and segregates schools that the whole country gets. it takes a strong leader to go against the flow of mob-rule, but that is why our country is not a pure democracy; that is why America elects representatives; in the hope that these representatives will not allow moral issues of civil rights to be voted upon by a prejudiced majority.
 

DarkWizard12

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Democracy = tyranny of majority.

However, that is irrelevant as far as the United States is concerned. The United States is not a democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic. Slavery was initially enshrined in our Constitution.
True but, it was simply to keep the states united in passing the constitution though. Without the clavery compromise, as well as all the compromises that went with it, it would have failed and the states would not have ratified it.
 

Aunt Spiker

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There seems to be a lot of this gung-ho support for democracy, as if democracy is, and should be, the cornerstone of our political existence. However, perhaps we should stop to wonder if we allowed slavery because of this glorious system, not in spite of it? The heart of democracy is the equal vote. Liberty and justice have nothing to do with democracy. Our democracy allowed a majority to continue enslaving millions for the benefit of the privileged.

Democracy also allowed segregation to last for nearly a century. People got together and collectively thought it would be a good idea, so it went forth. And it continued until the majority finally wised up.

This is why I strongly believe that liberty supersedes democracy in its righteousness (or whatever wholesome word you wish to use). Liberty is more important than democracy.

I've recently made in a point in another thread which I wish to reiterate here. Why is the political left so quick to support a populist movement, where the people are strong and can induce change, but are so quick to dismiss individual freedom as anarchy? They seem to think that "the people" are strong and ambitious, but the individual is stupid and incompetent. They always warn we can't let individuals to be left to their own devices. They'll just run wild and shoot themselves in the foot. I'm not buying it.
Our Constitution defines the parameters within which we vote. . . if it was *always* based on how we "felt" then my state would have been permitted to ban single-person adoptions and the burning of the American Flag would be a horrible crime - the Westboro Baptist Church people would be imprisoned for hate speech . . . and so on.

But slavery was enacted heavily before we formed the US with our Constitution.
And it was our very own Constitution that was used to end it.
And it was also the very core for ending Jim-Crow laws AND for trying to bring everyone onto the same level of equality.

Our country isn't perfect - but to claim that the very system when ended such practices is the reason why they were begun to start is silly.
 
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