Calculating the Value of the Union: Slavery, Property by James L. Huston

By James L. Huston

Whereas slavery is usually on the center of debates over the factors of the Civil warfare, historians aren't agreed on accurately what element of slavery-with its quite a few social, fiscal, political, cultural, and ethical ramifications-gave upward push to the sectional rift. In Calculating the worth of the Union, James Huston integrates monetary, social, and political historical past to argue that the difficulty of estate rights as they pertained to slavery used to be on the middle of the Civil conflict. within the early years of the 19th century, southern slaveholders sought a countrywide definition of estate rights that will realize and safeguard their possession of slaves. Northern pursuits, however, hostile any nationwide interpretation of estate rights end result of the chance slavery posed to the northern loose hard work industry, rather if allowed to unfold to western territories. This deadlock sparked a technique of political realignment that culminated within the production of the Republican get together, finally resulting in the secession predicament. Deeply researched and thoroughly written, this research rebuts contemporary developments in antebellum historiography and persuasively argues for a essentially financial interpretation of the slavery factor and the arrival of the Civil conflict.

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Extra resources for Calculating the Value of the Union: Slavery, Property Rights, and the Economic Origins of the Civil War (Civil War America)

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2 provides the population statistics of the Old South. 3 percent—some 3,950,511 or about 4 million—were slaves. As one went into the cotton South, the number of slaves relative to free people changed dramatically. Indeed, the eleven states of the Confederacy had 5,449,463 whites and 3,529,110 slaves; the border states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri probably did tilt the outcome of the Civil War in favor of the Union because those states housed 2,589,533 whites and only 429,401 slaves.

Attackers of slavery readily put slavery into the framework of individuals being unnaturally deprived of the fruits of their labor. ’’≤π Slavery was also rearing up an aristocracy in the youthful United States. An aristocracy did not labor but took the fruits of labor of others, and, as Quaker abolitionist John Woolman noted, the labor of slaves was used to ‘‘support us [slaveholders] in those Customs which have not their Foundation in right Reason,’’ or, in other words, in dissipation and luxury.

4. S. Department of the Interior, Eighth Census, vol. : vol. : vol. 4: Statistics, 295. Date in parenthesis in column 3 is date of passage of secession ordinance. sented wealth. For them the outward sign of wealth was land and buildings. Ω Given these tables, the question naturally arises about the economic debate between northerners and southerners for the two decades prior to the Civil War. The tables given here are not the usual ones depicting North-South di√erences; indeed, they are radically di√erent.

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