Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
June 20, 2018, 06:59:58 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: As you may have noticed, this is a very old backup, I'm still working through restoring the site.  Don't be surprised if you post and it all goes missing....
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 ... 157 158 [159] 160 161 ... 165
  Print  
Author Topic: American History  (Read 29436 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
thanatopsy
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 501



View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #2370 on: May 21, 2008, 10:54:50 AM »

One's milieu undoubtedly has much to do with one's viewpoint.

In Massachusetts folks were dead set against slavery while Pennsylvania had a history of tolerating it to some extent. I am sure that if BF remained in Boston he would have developed the same disdain for the peculiar institution as did so many other Yankees.

Logged

''Love much & be forgiven''

- - - Margaret Fuller
Bob
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 671


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #2371 on: May 23, 2008, 03:29:11 AM »

Well, I don't know that they were more dead set against slavery--slavery existed in the Bay state as well as it did in the Keystone State, but I think it was to a lesser degree----which brings me to an interesting point--one would think that the Puritan belief system would be more amenable to slavery given their more rigid, conservative belief system (Southern belief in slavery was in part justified by Anglican theological beliefs), while the Quakers, who were more into freedom and liberty, would be more oppositional to slavery than they were.  But it as the opposite.   Both states abolished slavery within three years on one another.

But it's an interesting proposition to think that environment would have changed Franklin's early thought on slavery.

I give him much credit for his ability to recognize his need to change his beliefs, not only about slavery, but about things in general. He was very open minded.
Logged
thanatopsy
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 501



View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #2372 on: May 23, 2008, 07:58:33 AM »

~~~ slavery existed in the Bay state  ~~~

This is true. However, people in Massachusetts were largely against slavery for two reasons: first, as an urban and industrialized environment, they did not want to compete with slaves for wages who were not paid; second there was a genuine anti-slavery sentiment. The Quock Walker case was an example where people sympathized with the claimant who sought freedom in the courts. Lastly, it is no small coincidence that the anti-slavery movement began in that state.

Isaacson does mention that the Founders were unsettled by the idea that they were fighting for freedom and the fact that slavery still existed.  And it was the Revolution that compelled some of them to free their slaves.
Logged

''Love much & be forgiven''

- - - Margaret Fuller
weezo
Poll Manager
Superhero Member
****
Posts: 3431


Resue when he was a cute little kitten


View Profile WWW

Ignore
« Reply #2373 on: May 25, 2008, 06:04:51 PM »

Finished reading Franklin at the beach. It took three chapters for Isaacson to end the book - I guess he was enjoying it so much he didn't want it to end!

And yes, despite the fact that Franklin had owned one or two slaves at times in his life, in the end he seemed to come out squarely against, accepting the appointment to lead the anti-slavery groups.

Logged
Bob
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 671


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #2374 on: May 25, 2008, 08:42:55 PM »

 The fact is he held slaves for a protracted period of time over many years and died seized of a slave after he petitioned Congress to end slavery. Why is it that Jefferson, who did substansially the same thing, except held many, many more slaves is faulted as a hypocrite , but Franklin is not? Hmmmm!!! Roll Eyes Is it a numbers game? Is it a North v South attitude--the Southerners always being in the wrong, the Northerners seeing the light in the end? Not very many biographies of Franklin even mention his slaveholding, fewer acknowledge he died holding a slave. All they see is his being the head of the anti-slavery organization.

The number of slaves he held at any particular point seems not to me to be the relevant issue. The relevant issue is that he was a slave owner and that historians rationalize this.

Here's an interesting point. His last slave, Bob was given to Benjamin Franklin Bache. He didn't free him, he transfered him, kept him in the family. Then, in his Will he he writes that Bache will not get one of his legacies unless he frees Bob. According to what I know Bache then freed Bob--who then petitioned that he be re-enslaved as he couldn't make it on his own (perhaps because of his drinking) and died as a slave of Bache anyway. While I'm not faulting Franklin for this I find it a very interesting point.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2008, 10:04:52 PM by Bob » Logged
weezo
Poll Manager
Superhero Member
****
Posts: 3431


Resue when he was a cute little kitten


View Profile WWW

Ignore
« Reply #2375 on: May 25, 2008, 11:20:30 PM »

Bob,

I think at least much of the issue is that Jefferson owned many slaves, and freed only those who are suspected of being his own offspring. Jefferson's wealth and income were dependent on slave labor. He used and, as such, abused, these human beings. Franklin, on the other hand, did not depend on the slaves he held from time to time as the substance of his wealth, nor did his income depend on the labor of slaves. You could drive a Mac truck through the differences in these two "slaveholders".

Logged
Bob
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 671


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #2376 on: May 26, 2008, 03:35:34 AM »

Excellent points.

But, is not  slavery the deprivation of freedom? At base, they are in the same boat, and who is to say (in the absence of evidence) that Franklin didn't abuse his slaves. The ultimate abuse is the deprivation of liberty--the denial of ..."liberty and the pursuit of hapiness,"  and absolute control over another human being's life--a total contradiction of the rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence. In these respects Jefferson and Franklin are the same. No man has the right to enslave another--and just because you treat your slave well doesn't excuse the act itself. in the end Franklin and his family had made Bob so dependent on them he couldn't survive freedom and spent the rest of his life enslaved on a voluntary basis. That's a total ruination of another man's life.
Logged
weezo
Poll Manager
Superhero Member
****
Posts: 3431


Resue when he was a cute little kitten


View Profile WWW

Ignore
« Reply #2377 on: May 26, 2008, 06:23:50 AM »

Bob,

I agree with you on the ruination of a life. Do you know how long Bob was enslaved by the Franklin's? How old a man was he when he was given his freedom? Was he given any opportunity to learn a trade other than step-n-fetch? How was he employed? Did he work less hard as a slave than a free man? Was he able to get other employment? Or was he at the time of his freedom, too old to enjoy it?

I think much of the difference in perspective, was that Franklin was perceived to be a rather easy-going person, a person who you may enjoy working for. Benny may also have been easy-going and fun to be around. It is interesting that Bob chose to return to slavery, the only life he knew, than be employed in a similar capacity of work, for wages. Perhaps this is an instance where history does not provide us with the full information on which we can make a judgement. We may need to know more about Bob than that he was enslaved. We may need to know more about how Bob experienced freedom.

Consider the difference in people who are free to either work for someone or to become an entrepreneur of their own business. I have a sister who has swung, over her and her husbands adult lives, between working for others and having their own business. They enjoy certain freedoms as employees, including that of being able to take vacations to visit family and to have decent health care, that they do not enjoy when they are in business for themselves. When they are in business for themselves, they are unable to afford health care either for themselves or for their employees, which concerns them quite a bit. Also the fact that when they are in business for themselves, they cannot provide full-time employment and are stuck with the need to lay of good workers when times are slow, whereas when they are employees, they are not responsible for lay-offs.

My perception is that when Franklin had slaves, he treated them more as employees rather than slaves. This was not the case with Jefferson, who perceived his slaves as assets - wealth - rather than as employees. Franklin's slaves seemed to be free to "run away" when they chose, whereas Jefferson, who allowed certain slaves to "run away", it was only those that we suspect to be his offspring, and not the rank and file of his slaves, whom he did sell to pay off debts. If Franklin sold any slaves, it seems not to have been recorded.

Jefferson also sought to make himself look "better" in the eyes of the public by hiding the fact that he made a large sell-off of his slaves to pay off debts while he was in the white house. He was careful to sell these people through agents (who were not interested in the welfare of the slaves so much as in the moneys they brought in), so that his name was not connected to the sale and he could keep the fact from the press.

I have always had an admiration for Jefferson, but consider Franklin to be a lovable and beloved person. I cannot see Jefferson as "lovable". Even the women that Jefferson pursued in life, seemed more inclined to eschew his advances than to embrace him or sit upon his knee!


Logged
Bob
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 671


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #2378 on: May 26, 2008, 09:15:44 AM »

Quote
  Do you know how long Bob was enslaved by the Franklin's? How old a man was he when he was given his freedom? Was he given any opportunity to learn a trade other than step-n-fetch? How was he employed? Did he work less hard as a slave than a free man? Was he able to get other employment? Or was he at the time of his freedom, too old to enjoy it? 

According to Nash, Deborah acquired Bob while Benjamin was in England and was given to Richard Bache  after 1775. I get the impression (Idon't from where) that he was "up there"  in age, but have no source or proof of age. From what little I know of Franklin and his slaves, they were used for domestic purposes (no whips or chains here) and probably worked no more or no less than the average Philadelphian of his age. He might have been debilitated by age and drink (I got the impression he was alcoholic) by the time he was freed, thus he asked and was granted re-enslavement.

These are mostly impressions and judgements made over the years by me and are not to be relied on as history. The only history is that he was purchased by Deborah while Ben was in London and around 1775 was given to Bache, who freed him in accordance to the provision of Franklin's Wil and re-enslaved.

There is an excellent article on this:FRANKLIN AND SLAVERY by Gary Nash and published in PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, Volume 150, Number 4  December 2006,  pages 618-635

I could not track down a link to the article on the internet

Here's a link to the Franklin will

http://www.fi.edu/franklin/family/lastwill.html
« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 09:18:30 AM by Bob » Logged
Bob
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 671


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #2379 on: May 26, 2008, 09:25:59 AM »

Four of Franklin's slaves just disappear from history with no record of how they left (Joseph, Jemima, Jack and Peter)

King ran away in London, Othello died, George died  after being given to Sally

Along with with Bob, these are all the known slaves of Benjamin Franklin--there may have been more according to Nash. Seven were purchased,  George was given to Franklin in payment of a debt owed to him by James Parker, a business partner of Franklin's.
Logged
weezo
Poll Manager
Superhero Member
****
Posts: 3431


Resue when he was a cute little kitten


View Profile WWW

Ignore
« Reply #2380 on: May 26, 2008, 12:41:43 PM »

Bob,

If the slave, Bob, was up in years when his freedom was granted, I can understand why he would prefer the security of returning to slavery rather than trying to get and keep a job as he was probably of lesser strength and ability by then. He was probably facing starvation and homelessness, which would be strong reasons to return to the safety of kind "masters".

I know there were laws in Virginia the forbid freeing elderly slaves because they would be unable to support themselves, and no family in freedom to help them out. Such slaves were often "given their time", as a means of relieving them of work, but providing the basics for their survival. This is what happened with Sally Hemings. She was too old to be freed at the time of Jefferson's death, so Martha, who inherited her, "gave her her time" and she lived out her life in a small house in nearby Charlottesville. I don't know if those laws existed in Pennsylvania to keep former slaves from becoming a "burden" on the community.

Logged
weezo
Poll Manager
Superhero Member
****
Posts: 3431


Resue when he was a cute little kitten


View Profile WWW

Ignore
« Reply #2381 on: May 26, 2008, 03:09:08 PM »

Bob,

You seem to have an interest in the South and Southerners. This review is about a new book on the Confederacy which you may want to read. It also mentions a great number of other books which would be of interest to anyone studying the south in the 19th century.
This book review was posted yesterday on H-Net's H-South list. Please
respect the letter and spirit of the copyright notice at the end of the
review.

-----Original Message-----
From: H-NET List for Southern History [mailto:[email protected]] On
Behalf Of Ian Binnington
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 4:48 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Crosspost: H-CivWar Review, Nash on Sheehan-Dean, _Why
Confederates Fought_

H-NET BOOK REVIEW
Published by [email protected] (May, 2008)

Aaron Sheehan-Dean. _Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil
War Virginia_. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press,
2007. xvi + 291 pp. Appendix, notes, bibliography, index, tables,
illustrations, maps. $34.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8078-3158-8.

Reviewed for H-CivWar by Steven E. Nash, Department of History,
University of Georgia

It Is All in the Title

The title of Aaron Sheehan-Dean's new book, _Why Confederates Fought:
Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia_, captures both its strengths
and weaknesses. On the broadest level of analysis, this work continues
the ongoing debate over what inspired Confederate soldiers to fight what
proved to be a long and destructive war. The author's answer to the
question raised by his short title is that Confederate Virginians fought
to protect their families and secure their fledgling nation. In
particular, Sheehan-Dean stresses the importance of soldiers' families
in holding men in the ranks against mounting adversity. Such an argument
clearly reflects current debates over the extent and nature of
Confederate nationalism, namely, that it was an ongoing process fraught
with difficulty. His treatment of the subjects in his subtitle, however,
demonstrates the limits of his study.

Virginia is fertile ground for Sheehan-Dean's study of Confederate
voluntarism. It exceeded all other Southern states in terms of numbers
of soldiers in Confederate armies, and it achieved a truly remarkable
mobilization rate--roughly 90 percent of its military-aged white men. An
impressive statistical analysis informs Sheehan-Dean's view of
Confederate soldiers. His numbers challenge claims of deep class
divisions within Confederate ranks, revealing that regiments from all
across the state served in the Southern military. The author compares
county and enlistment data to assess the backgrounds and context of
Virginian men's enlistments as well as their desertion. Sheehan-Dean's
data reveal that nearly 60 percent of Virginian soldiers, from all
social classes and all sections of the state, volunteered to fight
within the war's first five months. Although the future state of West
Virginia failed to provide the Confederacy with troops comparable to its
eligible manpower, other sections of the state contributed more soldiers
than their white military-aged population suggested was possible. In
terms of desertion, Sheehan-Dean also finds that most Virginians who
fled the army did so in 1862. These statistics augment his criticism of
the "rich man's war, poor man's fight" thesis, which faulted sagging
morale among lower-class Southerners for Confederate defeat.

Virginia's Confederate soldiers are the true focus of Sheehan-Dean's
book. Like Gary W. Gallagher in _The Confederate War: How Popular Will,
Nationalism and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat_ (1997),
William A. Blair in _Virginia's Private War: Feeding Body and Soul in
the Confederacy, 1861-1865_ (1998), Anne Sarah Rubin in _A Shattered
Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, 1861-1868_ (2005), and
others, Sheehan-Dean argues that white Virginians fought doggedly for a
separate Confederacy and clung to that ideal to the end of the war and
beyond. As is true of the best recent scholarship on Confederate
nationalism, Sheehan-Dean carefully delineates the evolution of
Virginian soldiers' national commitment amid the bloody crucible of the
Civil War. Confederate nationalism was not a natural spring pouring
forth from all white Southerners' hearts; it took time to create.
Sheehan-Dean follows David M. Potter in defining nationalism as a
composite of familial, communal, state, and sectional loyalties, but he
demonstrates that the war created additional meaning to the Confederate
nation.[1] In particular, he argues that a hardening Yankee war effort
intensified Virginian soldiers' will to resist. Confederate Virginians'
anger grew as they struggled to relieve the residents of Fredericksburg
after battle seriously damaged their town in December 1862, to stifle
the restlessness inspired among their slaves by Abraham Lincoln's
Emancipation Proclamation, and to resist the hard war waged by Philip
Sheridan in 1864. The source of Confederate troubles, they felt, could
be easily located north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Such a high demand for
sacrifice and endurance made it clear to the soldiers that their nation
was unlike the Northerners they now abhorred.

A significant component to this evolving nationalism, as described by
Sheehan-Dean, was the development of a new masculinity. Drawing heavily
on the work of Stephen W. Berry II (_All That Makes a Man: Love and
Ambition in the Civil War South_ [2003]), Peter S. Carmichael (_The Last
Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion_ [2005]), and
others, the author contextualizes Virginian soldiers within a world in
which white men coveted their family's emotional rewards as much as
economic success. The idea of defending their families, especially after
the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, invigorated Virginian
troops. As Confederates gave ground in Virginia and settled into a siege
around Petersburg in 1864, Virginian soldiers experienced a crisis in
morale. Soldiers worried that they no longer fulfilled their patriarchal
responsibility to their families. According to Sheehan-Dean, Virginian
soldiers emerged from this crisis as both stronger Confederates and
hardened soldiers. Animosity toward their Yankee antagonists
strengthened soldiers' bonds of affection with their families.
Sheehan-Dean's argument that men rededicated themselves to staying in
the army as a means to protect their families partially responds to Drew
Gilpin-Faust (_Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in
the Civil War_ [1996]) and other historians who have suggested that
women withdrew their support as the war escalated in terms of
destruction and sacrifice. Virginian soldiers convinced themselves that
they could only protect their families from their posts within Southern
armies. In other words, it was no longer a matter of physically
protecting their homes; Virginia's Confederates determined that only
ultimate victory and independence could secure their families in the
future.

Just as the strengths of Sheehan-Dean's book flow from his short title,
his subtitle encapsulates many of its weaknesses. While he addresses the
important role of familial responsibility and Virginian soldiers'
commitment to defend their loved ones, he relates few voices from the
home front. This omission constitutes a troublesome tension within the
author's argument. He places Virginia's Confederate soldiers within a
world in which emotional bonds with their families were central parts of
their lives, yet those homes remain peripheral to the story.
Sheehan-Dean seems to suggest that while the men in the ranks worried
endlessly about their families and longed to be with them, many
Virginian soldiers apparently grew detached from the home front. The
Union's hard war tactics reaffirmed their commitment to fight and defend
their loved ones, but Sheehan-Dean offers little insight into the
families they vowed to defend. As these soldiers experienced a crisis of
morale, many of their families confronted Union soldiers and otherwise
embattled communities. The impression given by the author's conceptual
structure is that the home front mattered solely as an ideal, which is
an unsatisfying depiction of an important component of the masculinity
Sheehan-Dean presents.

Most historians will concede that the Confederacy existed as a nation,
but the inner workings of that nascent nation remain hotly contested. It
is for that reason that Sheehan-Dean chose to study Virginia. According
to the author, Virginia's location "along the border with the Union" and
its "large number of diehard Unionists" made it "an ideal place to
examine questions of loyalty" (pp. 7-8). This study only partly realizes
that promise. Sheehan-Dean defines Virginia in such a way that he
sidesteps the state's internal divisions. He argues that military events
defined the physical confines of Virginia and focuses on largely
Confederate areas--but even in these pro-Confederate regions, he
neglects Unionists, such as David Strother of the Shenandoah Valley and
James Hunnicutt of Fredericksburg. Defining Virginia in this way sloughs
off West Virginia and the northern neck, which allows the author to
avoid many messy issues. By eliminating areas troubled by occupation,
desertion, guerrilla violence, and peace organizations from his study,
the author violates his first stated principle for selecting Virginia.
The result is a neat version of Virginia within which the author
explores strictly Confederate loyalty without confronting the conflict
and messiness that defined not only parts of Virginia but also Southern
states like Tennessee, North Carolina, and others.

While Sheehan-Dean's short title asks a question familiar to Civil War
historians, the limits of his work should help steer us toward important
new questions. There were areas of Civil War Virginia that render some
of his conclusions problematic. Both Kenneth Noe, in his _Southwest
Virginia's Railroad: Modernization and the Sectional Crisis in the Civil
War Era_ (1994), and Brian D. McKnight, in his _Contested Borderland:
The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia_ (2006), have found
significant divisions within southwestern Virginia. In addition, in _The
War Hits Home: The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia_ (2001), Brian
Steel Wills has argued that a "no-man's land" existed in southeastern
Virginia late in the war. More broadly, William W. Freehling has
asserted, in _The South vs. The South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners
Shaped the Course of the Civil War_ (2001), that a major failing of the
Confederacy was its inability to unite all white Southerners behind the
cause. Focusing solely on Virginia's Confederate soldiers prevented
Sheehan-Dean from fully capturing both the commitment of the soldiers
and the tribulations of their families, which points to a troublesome
dilemma in terms of the Confederate nationalism debate. That tension is
a great opportunity to consider where next to take these issues. The
seeming disconnect between the soldiers and their families that
developed late in the war reveals the need for a reassessment of
day-to-day life within the Confederacy. Historians must account for all
Southerners whether they opposed the Confederacy, supported it, or
simply longed to survive the exigencies of war with as little sacrifice
as possible. Sheehan-Dean's struggle to connect the challenges facing
soldiers and their families reminds us not to lose sight of the broader
social and political issues confronting common citizens throughout the
Confederacy. Perhaps, Sheehan-Dean's study will prompt a new wave of
much-needed scholarship that grounds these loyalties within Confederate
daily life.

Note

[1]. David M. Potter, "The Historian's Use of Nationalism and Vice
Versa," _The American Historical Review_ 67 (1962): 924-950.



Copyright (c) 2008 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the
redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational
purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web
location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities &
Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews
editorial staff at [email protected].

______________________________________
To subscribe, change options, or unsubscribe please see the instructions at
http://listlva.lib.va.us/archives/va-hist.html
Logged
Bob
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 671


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #2382 on: May 27, 2008, 06:19:42 PM »

weezo:  looks like an interesting book. I have McPherson's oin the subject of why men fought in the Civil War in general. Yours covers a more specific population. I'll certainly look into it---(I haven't read McPherson, but it might be interesting to read both books at the same time), Thanks.
Logged
Bob
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 671


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #2383 on: May 27, 2008, 06:28:59 PM »

Any suggestions for our next book?  There's tons of Lincoln books coming out----How about Lincoln? Doesn't have top be new---perhaps something older and more available so we don't have to go out and invest much?

There is a new book out on the Girl on the Red Velvet Swing-Evelyn Nesbitt and Harry Thaw and Stanford White--Sex, Money, and Murder in old New York. If not that book, then another on the same subject. I think one them is actually entitled THE GIRL ON THE RED VELVET SWING.

The new title is AMERICAN EVE
http://www.amazon.com/American-Eve-Paula-Uruburu/dp/1594489939/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211927442&sr=1-2
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 06:33:30 PM by Bob » Logged
weezo
Poll Manager
Superhero Member
****
Posts: 3431


Resue when he was a cute little kitten


View Profile WWW

Ignore
« Reply #2384 on: May 27, 2008, 07:18:13 PM »

Bob,

A book on Lincoln would suit me better than one on murder and mayham in NYC.
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 157 158 [159] 160 161 ... 165
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!