SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: THE NORTH’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS BLACKS
By Jeff Paulk
We read and hear much about the north’s opposition to slavery by the abolitionists and Radical Republicans of the 19th century. Was it because of their high moral character and great love for the black race that they looked down their Puritan, blue-blooded, hypocritical noses at the south and condemned it for the institution of slavery which the north itself was largely responsible for? After all, it was the New England Yankees who built the slave ships and grew very wealthy from the slave trade, and they did this while at the same time spewing out hateful, venomous, and false propaganda from their pulpits and in their newspapers against the south. Let us take a closer look at just how these Yankees really felt about the plight of the black race, and the truth about how they were treated in the south.
Ever heard of the “Black Codes” for which the south must forever be shackled to the altar of repentance? Well, the “Black Codes” originated in the north, not the south. Some states, such as Oregon, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (the Land of Lincoln) refused to even allow blacks to enter them. They were subject to severe penalties if they did. Slavery didn’t end in the north because of the benevolence and high moral character of the northerners. It didn’t do well in an industrial society, and many northerners refused to work alongside of blacks, unlike southerners. Northerners, including Lincoln, disliked blacks and wanted them relocated out of the country. “But, Lincoln was the Great Emancipator. He loved the blacks and set them free.” If you believe that fairy tale then the government indoctrination has been successful on you. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed not one solitary soul. Read it. As he stated, it was a war measure designed to cause a slave insurrection in the south (which did not happen) and to keep Europe from joining the fight on the side of the Confederacy. The Emancipation Proclamation was intended to project the false image that the north was taking the moral high ground and was prosecuting the war to free the slaves, even though there were over 429,000 slaves in the Union at this time. Tens of thousands of Union soldiers deserted upon learning of the Proclamation. They were fighting to “save the Union”, (actually, to subjugate the south) not free the slaves.
Lincoln stated that the best use of the western territories was for white people. Nobody wanted blacks, free or slave, in the western territories. Lincoln was never in favor of giving blacks social or political equality with whites. He was devising a plan to resettle blacks in other countries and move them out of the U.S.
America was not divided, as we have been taught, between those who thought slavery was wrong and those who thought it was right. Northerners were not opposed to slavery in principle, but eliminating it could mean having free Negroes in their states and they did not want this. Most southerners would have gladly been rid of the curse of slavery, but realized that a method of gradual emancipation would be best so that blacks could be educated and trained in various skills and trades, preparing them to enter society as free people. In fact, many slaves were already being freed in the south and a lot of slave owners had it written in their wills that upon their death the slaves they owned would be freed.
Harvard professor and militant liberal activist, Charles Eliot Norton, supported the “free soil” movement in the west to “confine the Negro within the south”. While the northern abolitionists said they thought slavery was wrong, they desired not association with blacks and shared racist attitudes with most other northerners. Ohio abolitionist and Senator Benjamin Wade, upon arriving in Washington in 1851 said, “It is a God forsaken N…..ridden place.” He said, “The food was all cooked by a N….. until I can smell and taste the N…..” Wade said he didn’t like blacks, but hated southerners more. But it is the southerner who has been branded with the title “racist”.
Misconceptions of southern slavery as the brutal land of whips and chains, no doubt bolstered by the writing of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, can be easily disproven by “The Slave Narratives”, as well as the following excerpts from “A Southside View of Slavery” written in 1854 by a northerner, Nehemiah Adams, who paid an extended visit to the south to care for a sick relative. On page 18 he says, “A better-looking, happier, more courteous set of people I had never seen than these colored men, women, and children whom I met the first few days of my stay in Savannah. It had a singular effect on my spirits. They all seemed glad to see me.” On page 28 he says, “People habitually miserable could not have conducted the musical service of public worship as they did; their looks and manner gave agreeable testimony that, in spite of their condition, they had sources of enjoyment and ways of manifesting it which suggested to a spectator no thought of involuntary servitude.” He says on page 32, “My previous images of slaves were destroyed by the sight of those women with dresses which would have been creditable to the population of any town at the north.” On page 73, “Slaves are allowed to find masters and mistresses who will buy them.” Page 151, “Are we afraid that the sight of the happy relation subsisting between masters and their slaves will make our people in love with the institution?”
This is not to deny that abuses occurred. They most certainly did, but they were the exception, and not the rule. Slaves were well cared for and in most cases had a close and loving relationship with their masters.
In Donald W. Livingston’s essay, “Why The War Was Not About Slavery”, we read on page 18 the following:
“The editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel said the two races could never live together in peace. ‘Whether it is instinct, reason, or prejudice is scarcely profitable to discuss…It exists throughout the whole north and time seems to do little or nothing to modify it.’ An abolitionist said this about his fellow Midwesterners who supported Lincoln’s no slavery-in-the-west agitation. They are more properly Negro-haters, who vote free-state to keep Negroes out, free or slave; one half of them would go for slavery if Negroes were to be allowed here at all.”
“The editor of the Chicago Times said “There is in the greatest masses of the people a natural and proper loathing of the Negro which forbids contact with him as with a leper.”
Senator Sherman of Ohio, brother of the Union general said that northerners were “opposed to having many Negroes among them”.
The anti-slavery talk in the north and west consisted of no moral intentions, but rather the political and economic interests of those in the north and west against those of the people in the south. The true accounts of our history have been suppressed more so than ignored. Believing all that we have been taught in school and what we hear and see in the media and what is put out by Hollywood is not only a mistake, but it prevents us from learning the truth and keeps us buried in the dungeon of historical ignorance. You can choose to remain in that dungeon, or free yourself by learning the historical truths which are so readily available.