Slavery Is Not a Peculiar Institution

The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), July 19, 2017 | Go to article overview

Slavery Is Not a Peculiar Institution


Around 1800, three-quarters of world population was in bondage

Too many people believe slavery is a peculiar institution.

Thats what Kenneth Stampp called slavery in his book, Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South. But slavery is by no means peculiar, odd or unusual. It was common among ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, Persians, Armenians and many others.

Large numbers of Christians were enslaved during the Ottoman wars in Europe. White slaves were common in Europe from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages.

It was only after A.D. 1600 that Europeans joined with Arabs and Africans and started the Atlantic slave trade. As David P. Forsythe wrote in his book, The Globalist, The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.

While slavery constitutes one of the grossest encroachments on human liberty, it is by no means unique or restricted to the Western world or the United States, as many liberal academics would have us believe.

Much of their indoctrination of our young people, at all levels of education, paints our nations founders as racist adherents to slavery, but the story is not so simple.

At the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, slaves were about 40 percent of the population of the Southern states. Apportionment in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections would be based on population.

Southern delegates to the convention wanted slaves to be counted as one person. Northern delegates to the convention and those opposed to slavery wanted only free persons of each state to be counted for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College.

The compromise reached was that each slave would be counted as only three-fifths of a person.

Many criticize this compromise as proof of racism. …

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