03 June 2015

Could Slavery Still Exist in the U.S. in 2015?

I just read a post at Civil War Memory in which Kevin Levin seems to be suggesting that if the Civil War had never occurred, slavery would still exist today in the United States (yes, in 2015) due to the hurdles in the U.S. Constitution. (At first, I thought I had to be misunderstanding something, but I guess not.) Levin is apparently convinced of this due to a recent article in which the author, a recognized legal scholar, writes the following:
Had the 15 slave states all remained in the Union, to this day, in 2015, it would be impossible to end slavery by constitutional amendment, since in a 50-state union, it takes just 13 states to block an amendment. [Emphasis mine.]
This assumes, of course, that there would be 13 states that would block an amendment to end slavery (in 2015). And that assumes, of course, slavery would had continued to exist in the most advanced nation in the world. Frankly, I find the notion preposterous. Does anyone really believe that there would be 13 states in 2015 that would block an amendment to end slavery? Regardless, does anyone really believe that slavery would have survived in the U.S. over the last 150 years? Apparently, yes. I think the problem with that view is multifaceted (to say the least), but what I'm really finding difficult to comprehend is how one must view their fellow Americans in order to be able to come to that conclusion.

There's not a nation in the world where slavery (legally) exists today, but we're to believe the U.S. would be the lone one? Really? Suffice it to say I'm unconvinced.

10 comments:

Eddie said...

According to the illogical reasoning of some, Southerners are the evilest of the evil. I guess somehow that portraying them as such is supposed to give moral justification for all the savagery and destruction which was unleashed on Southerners during the War, armed and unarmed. Apparently they are desperate to feel good about their "righteous" views.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I don't know about all that, but I do think the notion is about the preferred narrative of America's "evil" founding and subsequent history, etc, etc.

We have drones delivering packages, cars driving themselves, smart phones that can regulate the thermostat in your home from anywhere in the worlkd and robots filling many manual labor jobs yet we're supposed to believe slave labor would be a viable economic system in 2015 in the U.S.? I keep thinking I have to be misreading something.

ropelight said...

Actually, Paul Finkelman's silly fabrication is a good example of the depths to which extreme partisans blindly stoop putting lipstick on their favorite pig - you know, if Lincoln hadn't subverted the Constitution and crushed the South, blacks today would still be picking cotton instead of living in the Big (White) House.

Although Finkelman's academic reputation earned him a law school teaching position, he embarrasses himself in the opinion pages of the NY Times with an argument so obviously specious it wouldn't warrant passing marks in an undergraduate term paper.

And, to make matters worse, Levin touts Finkelman's delusional claim as though it was revealed wisdom. The blind leading the blind.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I thought surely someone would comment on Levin's blog about the absurdity of slavery possibly existing in the U.S. in 2015, but it was not to be. Absolutely amazing.

Michael Bradley said...

What Mr. Levin has done is reveal the flimsy basis of the charge that the South seceded to protect slavery. By his own argument slavery was firmly protected by the fundamental law of the land, the Constitution.That law could not be easily changed. The South did not need to secede to form a slave owning republic, it was already part of such a republic, the United States of America.

Under the Constitution there was no peaceful way Lincoln, the Abolitionists, or any other group could end slavery immediately. The South needed do nothing.

Since, as Mr. Levin had demonstrated, slavery was not protected by secession, why did secession take place? Was it fear of domestic terrorism, eg, John Brown? Was it economics reflected in tariff laws? Was it the desire to preserve a union of sovereign states? These are questions the multi-causalists settled long ago. Now those who say slavery was the sole cause of the war must answer the arguments Mr. Levin has publicized.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Michael - painted into a corner. David Blight did the same thing in a piece he wrote a couple of years ago in which he stated: "the Confederacy is to this day the greatest conservative resistance to federal authority in American history" - so, if slavery was *THE* cause of the WBTS, then what is this persistent "resistance to federal authority"?

He’s right and he unwittingly provides evidence that this “conservative resistance” was the underlying principle which brought North and South to war in 1861. Since this resistance has been alive for generations, and since Blight admits it was the same sentiment alive in 1861, he undermines his whole notion that slavery was "the" cause of the WBTS. Did Blight commit a Freudian slip and thereby admit that much of the South’s inherent “conservative resistance to federal authority” was as much a cause of the WBTS as anything else?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

You'll notice he took the link to this post down. What's he afraid of?

ropelight said...

What's he afraid of?

Michael Bradley!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Brother Juniper said...

Slavery would have ended by the Southern states' own actions without any need for a constitutional amendment or any action by the federal government.