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The Lockean Project

Slavery a benefit to Democrats

“Slavery a benefit to Democrats”, Monterey Herald, sent in Aug. 1, 2023, not published

Slavery was never a benefit to slaves; it was a benefit to Democrats. Unfortunately, Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan’s commentary (July 29) is light on history. They mention nothing about the newly organized pro-slavery Democrat Party of 1828 that inflicted so much damage on Blacks.

During the 1820s-30s, slavery was dying in the South. The Abolitionist movement was making great strides in the Southern states. The slave state of Virginia almost abolished slavery in 1832. The southern slaveholders were in a panic. Democrats came to the rescue and provided the intellectual ammunition to shore up the socioeconomic arguments for the involuntary servitude of Blacks. In 1837, Senator John C. Calhoun (D) declared in the U.S. Senate, “slaveholding is, instead of an evil, a good – a positive good.”  Southern Democrats based their defense of thralldom on “benevolent paternalism,” along with white supremacy.

As for Governor DeSantis’s new African curriculum in Florida, it explains how Black slaves learned a skill, were rented to other slaveholders or merchants, paid a pittance, and eventually earned enough money to buy their liberty. This is a historical account, not a controversy.

Lawrence Samuels, Carmel