A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Which came first: Racism or Slavery?

The Bill or Rights Institute's sessions today were on the origins of American goverment and the central part property plays in its development. Locke and Jefferson and Mason and Hershey's kisses. Roanoake and Jamestown and Plimoth and the trading of dollar store finds. Six are people and places. Two of the eight listed were classroom exercises we tried and will be added to my tool kit back home. Great ways to explain limited resources, self-interest and industry versus inacation.

There was a story today that is me pondering. 1676. Virginia. Nathaniel Bacon leads a group of former indentured servants to press the government to build more forts and send more troops to the western edge of colonial Virginia. Governor Berkley says no. His reason is 'Indian Affairs', but the real reason is to lower the number of tobacco farmers therefore raising its price. Bacon and his men rebel and ... I won't finish the story ... there's massacre of indians, the burning of a city and dysentary ... google Bacon's Rebellion for all the good stuff.

What struck me was the result. The reaction to the rebellion caused the virtual end of indentured servitude as well as a series of rules ending autonomy for enslaved people. Enslaved people, some of whom had been supportive of the rebellion, were not allowed to own guns, buy their freedom or enter into legal contracts. Prior to 1676, blacks could enter into legal contracts and sue in court. In one case an all white jury sided with the black litigant. A significant number of enslaved people had been able to buy their freedom in the same way indentured servants had and, so, had, many of the same rights as their white counterparts. They had owned businesses and become successful. The response to the rebellion ended that. The article above suggests that the reaction to Bacon's Rebellion is the genesis of "The Old South".

I've been thinking about the idea of slavery without racism. Is it even possible? Thoughts?


  1. Without racism? Certainly. There has been enslavement of people of the same skin color throughout history (see also: the Bible). But I don't think you can enslave people you view as your equals. Slavery, in my limited historical knowledge, seems to stem from the subjugation of people from other cultures, or in the modern case of sex trafficking, poor women, who would also be viewed as inferior by those enslaving them.

  2. I agree with EllenQ's statement that there must be a perspective of inferiority for slavery to occur. An "-ism" of some type, but not necessarily racism. Another example would be Hitler using a form of slavery with the Jews forced to work in the camps & factories. The info. you shared about Bacon's Rebellion was enlightening. I need to investigate further into that event. Thanks!