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Everybody,

I have long been a student of history. It has been said that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

When travelling, I often make it a point to visit historic sites, attractions, and living museums.

In sixty-three years on this planet, I did not learn the significance of this date until this week -- but we're never too old to learn. But this in 1865 is when the visions of our nation's founders became a reality.

"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...." -- Thomas Jefferson, U. S. Declaration of Independence, July 1776.

ALL men; not white men. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness -- God-given rights, until then unjustly deprived to some.

There's a very compelling case that this date marks the completion of the founding of our nation. It's true that slavery remained legal in two border states that never seceded from the union (Maryland and Delaware) until the ratification of the thirteenth article of amendment to our constitution, but the emancipation of the slaves in the states that seceded sealed its fate by ensuring sufficient supermajorities in both houses of Congress and among the legislatures of the several states to enact that amendment. That process, completed on the 6th of December of that year, was thus a mere formality.

There clearly is a very compelling argument for a national holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States. The only real question is whether that holiday should occur on the 19th of June or the 6th of December. I'll support either date.

Norm.
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The only real question is whether that holiday should occur on the 19th of June or the 6th of December.

It shocks me when people say they have not heard of this holiday in the year 2020, although I suppose I cannot say I am surprised. In my home state, it has been celebrated for forty years or more.

As for the only real question of the date, I really don't see it as a question. Juneteenth would have to be the holiday. To celebrate December 6, would be celebrating a statutory event, not the actual ending of slavery. It has to be the date that slavery **finally** ended, not just officially.

Pete
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Pete,

It shocks me when people say they have not heard of this holiday in the year 2020, although I suppose I cannot say I am surprised. In my home state, it has been celebrated for forty years or more.

When I studied American History in high school 4 1/2 decades ago, I don't recall that appearing in the text. Here in Massachusetts, where slavery never existed, Longfellow's telling of "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" (https://poets.org/poem/paul-reveres-ride) and the "Shot Heard Around the World" fired by an "embattled farmer" at the Old North Bridge in Concord on 19 April 1775 (https://poets.org/poem/concord-hymn), giving rise both to the holiday known as Patriot's Day and to the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, drew far greater emphasis. For the record, the British Army was marching on Concord to confiscate an arms cache of the local militia. But, contrary to Longfellow's poetic license, we did learn that the "redcoats" actually apprehended Paul Revere before he made it to Concord -- but we also learned that he was NOT the only rider, and that it actually was a black rider named William Dawes who DID make to Concord to communicate the critical intelligence.

As for the only real question of the date, I really don't see it as a question. Juneteenth would have to be the holiday. To celebrate December 6, would be celebrating a statutory event, not the actual ending of slavery. It has to be the date that slavery **finally** ended, not just officially.

That was exactly the reasoning behind the suggestion that December 6th might be the more appropriate date for a holiday commemorating the end of slavery. "Juneteenth" commemorates the actual end of slavery in the last of the states that seceded from the union on 19 June 1865, thus giving the Emancipation Proclamation its full effect.

The nuance that you apparently are missing is that the Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery only in the states that formally seceded from the union -- and thus excepted the two slave states that did not secede (Maryland and Delaware). Thus, slavery remained legal, and persisted, in both of those states until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment abolished it nearly six months later, on 06 December 1865.

Norm.
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Slavery has not ended, in the US only made illegal, so the name has changed to protect the guilty... human trafficking, chain gangs, company stores, sharecropping, and others I am not aware of.

The trafficking of humans for sexual purposes is illegal but will only end when we start putting the people who pay for sex in prison instead of the victims.
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If our fore fathers thought all men were created equal.... blacks or slaves would not have been counted as 4/5 of a real person.
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I think there was slavery in Missouri and Kentucky as well until the Emancipation Proclamation.
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I am sorry there was slavery in states that did not succeed until the passage of the amendment.
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Lawrence,

Slavery has not ended, in the US only made illegal, so the name has changed to protect the guilty... human trafficking, chain gangs, company stores, sharecropping, and others I am not aware of.

Not quite. Slavery is BOTH (1) involuntary AND (2) not punishment for crime. Human trafficking is an adjunct to slavery -- it's a means of getting people to the place where they will be enslaved -- but the rest of these do not qualify as slavery at all.

>> Chain gangs are teams of convicted criminals -- not slaves -- performing work outside the physical walls of their prisons. Also, in the United States in the present day, prisons that operate chain gangs usually allow eligible convicts to choose whether to participate or not. Those who choose to participate usually do so because they appreciate the fresh air and the change of scenery that the "chain gang" provides, and prisons also might provide other rewards.

>> Company stores, now thankfully illegal, were pernicious institutions that extended credit to the company's employees for purchase of necessities that the employees could not afford because the company did not pay them enough. The employees theoretically were free to leave, but the caveat was that the loan was due and payable in full upon termination of employment. The indebted employees lacked the means to pay it off, and thus felt compulsion to stay. But the injustice here was an insufficient wage rather than true enslavement.

>> But sharecropping was a business transaction between two free men, that could reflect either of two arrangements. The first is an arrangement in which a tenant farmer leased a plot of land and paid the rent in kind, with a share of the crops, rather than in cash. The second is that a tenant farmer and a land owner entered a business partnership between a tenant farmer and a land owner who shared the harvest from the latter's land. In either case, both were free to terminate the arrangement.

So, no, these do not constitute slavery.

The trafficking of humans for sexual purposes is illegal but will only end when we start putting the people who pay for sex in prison instead of the victims.

Rather, human trafficking will end only when our criminal justice system (1) deals surely and severely with those who engage in human trafficking AND (2) sees to the safety and security of the victims. This is one crime against humanity for which there's a very compelling argument that capital punishment is appropriate.

Expanding upon this, there's no doubt that prostitution is immoral -- but I'm not persuaded that voluntary prostitution should be a crime under the laws of secular society. Rather, legalization of prostitution might be the only way to dry up demand for illegal prostitution and the networks of human traffickers that sustain it.

And, on the other side of this issue, not all human trafficking is related to prostitution. Rather, every now and again, one encounters news reports of federal authorities busting underground "sweat shops" where large numbers of workers illegally trafficked into the United States do arduous work without ever seeing the light of day. One also occasionally hears of instances in which ICE finds shipping containers full of people captured by street gangs, most commonly in the People's Republic of China but possibly also in poorer countries of Asia such as Cambodia and Thailand, or, worse still, full of corpses of individuals who died in transit. And, even worse, when authorities do raid a "sweat shop," the victims rescued by the raid often are very reluctant to talk because they fear that the gangs that kidnapped them will exact retribution, or even enslave, members of their families that they left behind.

I think that most Americans really don't comprehend just how real, and how extensive these problems are. It is a situation that warrants the most aggressive investigation and prosecution, and the most severe criminal punishment, that we can muster.

And on the other side of the coin, victims of human trafficking, whether for sex or not, should face no prosecution whatsoever. Rather, our government should do everything in our power to provide for their well-being and restoration of their freedom -- including the choice of returning to their homelands or of receiving "green cards" as permanent immigrants to the United States.

Norm.
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Lawrence,

If our fore fathers thought all men were created equal.... blacks or slaves would not have been counted as 4/5 of a real person.

Unfortunately, "politics" is defined as "the art of the possible" -- with the consequence that a political compromise often does not reflect the beliefs or desires of those on either side of the issue in question. Rather, it's simply what both sides to be the least bad arrangement that will provide a path forward.

Article I, Section 2, of our federal constitution was such an ugly compromise. The original provision states that the census for apportioning both representation in the House of Representatives and federal taxes, which originally were levied on the states in proportion to the census rather than on individuals, was to count all "free persons" and 3/5 -- not 4/5 -- of all "other persons," with no mention whatsoever of race, while excluding Indians who were not taxed. This provision assigned the same weight to free black persons as to free white persons, and the same weight to white persons who were not free, if there were any, as to black persons who were not free. This compromise meant that slave states had proportionately less representation, but also paid proportionately less in taxes to the federal government.

I think we all agree that this provision was not consistent with statement that all men have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of our Declaration of Independence. However, it's also a document drafted by a different group of people to address a very different political situation over a decade later.

Norm.
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Lawrence,

I think there was slavery in Missouri and Kentucky as well until the Emancipation Proclamation.

That's correct.

I'm finding some inconsistencies in the literature.

>> According to the article that I found last evening on Juneteenth, Missouri and Kentucky formally seceded, but never joined the confederacy and never actually participated in armed rebellion.

>> And the Wikipedia article on the Emancipation Proclamation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emancipation_Proclamation for article) contradicts itself. One paragraph says that it also did not apply to Missouri and Kentucky. Another paragraph indicates that it was even more porous: ... The Proclamation applied only to slaves in Confederate-held lands; it did not apply to those in the four slave states that were not in rebellion (Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri, which were unnamed), nor to Tennessee (unnamed but occupied by Union troops since 1862) and lower Louisiana (also under occupation), and specifically excluded those counties of Virginia soon to form the state of West Virginia. Also specifically excluded (by name) were some regions already controlled by the Union army. Emancipation in those places would come after separate state actions (as in West Virginia) or the December 1865 ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which made slavery and indentured servitude, except for those duly convicted of a crime, illegal everywhere subject to United States jurisdiction.

But, in any case, it was the ratification of the 13th amendment on the 6th of December in 1865, vice the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas on the 19th of June of the same year, that actually put an end to slavery in the United States. Thus, the 6th of December is the more appropriate date for a national holiday marking the end of slavery.

Norm.
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