Saturday, February 19, 2011


Silliman College, Yale University
Mr. Kemper's Article on Color


Dred Scott

Chief Justice Taney


Slavery is QUALITATIVELY different than the Holocaust. The latter was the result of a MAD-man and a MAD nation. The former was DELIBERATIVE.
Slavery was the result of a national POLICY ; upheld by a Supreme Court DECISION (1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford) and bolstered by the then de facto national RELIGION, Protestant Christianity, whose MALE divines preached the biblically certified holiness of slavery---so repugnantly so that a WOMAN author courageously called those Christian preachers hypocrites through her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (the first publication to go VIRAL) which many scholars believe was one of the five CAUSES of the Civil War, without which slaves might be serving meals at Silliman this very day 2011.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin
(Her father, Lyman Beecher , Yale Class of 1797, a famous Congregational preacher of the day, was not an abolitionist and favored gradual emancipation.)


>Slavery was the result of a national POLICY ; upheld by a Supreme Court DECISION (1857 >Dred Scott v. Sandford)

This is incorrect, in my opinion.  The Dred Scott decision did not
"uphold" a pre-existing policy, but rather was a reversal of the
previous policy, which was to keep slavery out of the Federal
territories.  The Dred Scott decision held that Congress lacked the
power to do this.  The decision was widely perceived as an outrage.
This was the position of Abraham Lincoln; this formed much of the
content of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.  Abraham Lincoln won the
presidency largely on the platform that Dred Scott was wrongly

>and bolstered by the then de facto national RELIGION, Protestant Christianity, whose >MALE divines preached the biblically certified holiness of slavery

This is true of *some* Protestant preachers, generally Southern, not
all.  Preachers of this persuation were not in the majority, and thus
had to split off from their denominations in order to preach their
views without interference.  Thus you had split-off groups like the
Southern Baptists, the Southern Methodists, etc.

There were plenty of Protestant preachers who took the opposite view,
and many of these were part of the Abolitionist movement.



Dear JS:

  Thanks for your comments. 

I'm not a lawyer, but wasn't the "national policy"  the decision NOT to interfere with states' rights which certified the selling of human beings ?

As to Protestantism: It depends on whether you think 50 years is a short or a long time.  Mrs. Stowe's 1851 novel came a half century after the Great Revival of 1801.  Abolition sentiments grew slowly over the next 50 years.

  Wikipedia:Though facing much opposition - from violence to the U.S. Postmaster General refusing to allow the mails to carry abolition pamphlets to the South [88][89] - many Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian members freed their slaves and sponsored black congregations, in which many black ministers encouraged slaves to believe that freedom could be gained during
their lifetime. After a great revival occurred in 1801 at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, American Methodists made anti-slavery sentiments a condition of church membership.[90] Abolitionist writings, such as "A Condensed Anti-Slavery Bible Argument" (1845) by George Bourne,[91] and "God Against
Slavery" (1857) by George B. Cheever,[92] used the Bible, logic and reason extensively in contending against the institution of slavery, and in particular the chattel form of it as seen in the South.

The only national preacher voice I can recall in the abolition  movement was Ralph Waldo Emerson, and he was hardly a mainstream Protestant. I think Mrs. Stowe over and over in her novel beseeches "Christians" to do the right thing .


NB: Abolitionist Theodore Parker, also a Unitarian minister, stood in Emerson's shadow intellectually. He too was hardly a mainstream Protestant.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Emancipation Proclamation. An Address Delivered In Boston In September, 1862.

On Lincoln’s proclamation:
It is by no means necessary that this measure should be suddenly marked by any signal results on the negroes or on the Rebel masters. The force of the act is that it commits the country to this justice,—that it compels the innumerable officers, civil, military, naval, of the Republic to range themselves on the line of this equity. It draws the fashion to this side. It is not a measure that admits of being taken back. Done, it cannot be undone by a new Administration. For slavery over-powers the disgust of the moral sentiment only through immemorial usage. It cannot be introduced as an improvement of the nineteenth century. This act makes that the lives of our heroes have not been sacrificed in vain. It makes a victory of our defeats. Our hurts are healed; the health of the nation is repaired. With a victory like this, we can stand many disasters. It does not promise the redemption of the black race; that lies not with us: but it relieves it of our opposition. The President by this act has paroled all the slaves in America; they will no more fight against us: and it relieves our race once for all of its crime and false position. The first condition of success is secured in putting ourselves right.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in 12 vols. Fireside Edition (Boston and New York, 1909). Chapter: THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. an address delivered in boston in september, 1862.
Accessed from on 2008-05-22
The text is in the public domain.

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