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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

"Slavery in All But Name"

“Slavery in All But Name”
from Theodore W. Allen
The Invention of the White Race
Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control
(1994; Verso Books, Nov. 2012), p. 144

The Material Basis for the Abandonment of Reconstruction

Just as the British ruling class had come to accept the necessity of involving the Catholic bourgeoisie in Ireland in the maintenance of social control; so the Northern bourgeoisie, though only for a limited period of time as it turned out, “made him [the Negro] a part of the state,” as the investigative journalist Charles Nordhoff wrote. “If the North had not given the negroes suffrage,” a Southern Democrat confided to him, “it would have had to hold our states under an exclusively military government for ten years.” John Pool, a Republican Senator from North Carolina, said he “accepted the necessity of Negro suffrage only reluctantly, as the only means by which the country could be “nationalized.” The country was in fact in a material sense “nationalized” by other agencies. In 1867, Abilene, Kansas became the railroad loading point for cattle driven up the Chisholm Trail from Texas, intended for northern and eastern markets. Two years later, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads met at Promontory Point in Utah completing the transcontinental steel spine of United States industrial capitalism. Thus were doomed the hopes of the slave bourgeoisie beyond all appeals to ink or blood. The Northern bourgeoisie, its hegemony in national affairs thus undergirded, signified its acceptance of post-Emancipation racial oppression by abandoning Reconstruction. The subsequent white supremacist system in the South was established, not by civil means, but by nightrider terror and one-sided “riots” in order to deprive African-Americans of their Constitutional rights, reducing them again, by debt peonage and prisoner-leasing, to a status that was slavery in all but name. Read More 
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