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 Posted: Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 07:39 pm
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ole
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Well, dang, Texas Defender. Sought out this thread to post an answer before going out to mow (again) and slay some dandelions, queen anne's lace, and plaintain. It would appear that Hank C beat me to it by 10 minutes.

Reliability of a crop is a big factor in what is planted where. Nothing kinks a farmer worse than a bad year. Bad years are inevitable, even in the cotton belt. Bad years are expected in Kansas. Some years, cotton could grow in North Dakota, but the odds aren't good enough to invest in it. I'll repeat. Cotton would never be a factor in Kansas agriculture. (Hank C made a good point in that cotton also required river transportation.) There are quite a number of cotton fields in SE Missouri, but I'll guess that cotton didn't get much notice in the Legislature at the time. Having looked at a map of slavery distribution in Missouri, it was concentrated in what flatlands there were along the Missouri and Mississippi.

Going beyond the point of crops, I would maintain that even if the slave system gave little advantage in the territories that would become states, the south would still want it to be legal there. Their friends and allies could then provide them with more senators, House members, and thus electoral votes, etc.

Legal would be nice. But I'll stay with the idea that slaveholders in the territories would have been vastly outnumbered by the freesoilers -- there would be no govenors, senators or electors -- maybe a representative or two.

It is for these reasons I reject the idea that slaveholders seriously sought to extend slavery to maintain political power or parity. Exclusion of slavery from the territories did them no real damage.  The idea that they couldn't did more damage to relations than the reality that it would have made no difference. It was the idea that gave fodder to the proponents of secession.

Just to make a short story longer. Was there ever any real effort of major slaveholders to move into the territories? What was the slave population of Kansas in 1857? 1860?

There's another thing I'm missing..... Oh yes. The 3/5 rule.  A non-issue in my opinion. It was not in any party platforms, nor am I aware of any abolitionist rant about it. That it might have been mentioned once or twice in congressional arguments over the Missouri Compromise or the Kansas/Nebraska act does not elevate it to a factor. (No more than the squeekings about New England Secession.)

Good to be discussing this with you, Texas Defender. Keeps me learning.

Ole


 

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