The New York Times commemorates the Civil War’s 150th anniversary with an ongoing series called Disunion. The closed patriarchy of slaveowners clashed with the freedom and opportunity of the West. The article Mitchel Thompson’s War documents the strong support for the war in the Union Midwest.
Slave ownership made for bad economics …
[F]uture governor Richard Ogilvy told how, as a young laborer in Kentucky, he could charge only $6 a month, lest he lose out to slave labor, which could be rented out at $75 a year.
… and bad culture.
Rev. Charles Beecher said the question was not “ whether black men are forever to be slaves, but whether the sons of Puritans are to become slaves themselves.”
The country was growing up and recognizing the externalities of an unjust and imbalanced socioeconomic system.
Northwest Illinois farmers’ mantra became “free territories, free homesteads, and protection to free labor.”
Is it any different today as billionaire industrialists have created their own plantations of wealth, often squirreled overseas to save every last penny … where their enterprises are too big to fail … their jobs are guaranteed with golden parachutes … their adverse actions have no consequences? Their money has bought the political power to increase their holdings at the expense of the rest of the country. They’ve destroyed the middle class, weakened the social network, gutted job security, increased poverty, and cheapened life for those who are not privileged.
150 years ago:
[A] new Republican Party alliance was struck between Western free farmers and Eastern industrialists.
Where is the alliance, Republican or otherwise, that will break today’s slavery?
When will the technology and innovation industries meet their social obligations and join with the people to make the US great again?