Bill O’Reilly and America Need to Be De-Programmed

On Tuesday’s episode of the O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly got in a huge fight with liberal guest Kirsten Powers.

As is usually the case on the Factor, the fight was all about race and racism. Kirsten Powers said that racism was still a problem in American; Bill said it wasn’t, and argued that the racists who do exist are a small minority and just an unfortunate byproduct of human nature.

Bill is wrong. Racism is still an issue in America, and that’s because we’ve never de-programmed ourselves from our national death cult of white supremacy.

You see, one of the startling facts of history is that nations, just like people, can be taken over by cults. Most of the time these national cults are benign and gentle like Canada’s love for hockey. But sometimes these cults are brutal and destructive.

They’re more than just cults; they’re death cults, and they destroy everyone and everything that belongs to them. The two greatest examples of this in the 20th century are Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

In Nazi Germany, the majority of Germans literally thought that Hitler was the reincarnation of Jesus who was going to usher in a 1000 year Reich, and so they followed him into the most destructive war the world has ever known.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the people thought that their emperor was descended from the sun god and were so hopped up on xenophobic nationalism that they crashed planes into our ships thinking it would bring them into eternal favor with the god-emperor.

This what death cults do - they use myths to convince regular people to participate in evil.

In the end, what ultimately destroyed the German and Japanese death cults was war. When Germany and Japan lost World War II, their people saw for the first time how their societies had been hijacked by evil, and they rejected it.

We here in America could learn a thing or two from the Germans and the Japanese because our national death cult - the cult of racism and white supremacy - is still as powerful as ever.

We defeated that death cult’s most dangerous form in 1865 when the North won the Civil War, but we never did what the Germans and Japanese did. We never confronted our death cult head on, recognized it as evil, and exorcised it from our national consciousness.

We started to during the decade of Reconstruction that followed the Civil War, but when Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew some of the last federal troops from the South to get elected president in 1876, that put an end to our first best hope at de-programming the American death cult of white supremacy. And so that death cult survived.

Without any federal troops to stop them, KKK terrorists re-imposed white supremacy with Jim Crow, which was slavery by another name.

Even now, half a century after the Civil Rights movement liberated black Americans from the worst kinds of segregation, the legacy of America’s original death cult lives on. The idea that some people are inferior because of the color their skin still infects every single aspect of our society, especially public policy.

It’s not a coincidence that, as Paul Krugman pointed out in the New York Times the other day, “Only one former member of the Confederacy has expanded Medicaid” and that “a history of slavery is a strong predictor of everything from gun control (or rather its absence), to low minimum wages and hostility to unions, to tax policy.”

And it’s not like this is limited to the South.

The reason why only one state of the old Confederacy has expanded Medicaid is the same reason why people cheer when Scott Walker tries to drug test welfare recipients, and it’s the same reason why being “tough on crime” helped Rudy Giuliani get elected mayor of New York City. As a nation, we still think “those people” don’t deserve equal rights.

Slavery is gone, but the racial logic that made it possible is still very much with us. So why is that? Why, more than 150 years after the Civil War, do so many people still hold on to the white supremacy death cult?

Easy – Because Republicans have told them it’s OK to do so.

Ever since Nixon in 1968, the Republican Party has made a conscious effort to capture the white-racist vote using a strategy recapped by Reagan advisor Lee Atwater back in 1981.

Atwater’s strategy has worked like charm, especially in the South. One recent study actually found that even when controlling for other factors, counties in the South with active Ku Klux Klan chapters saw the biggest shift towards the Republican Party between 1960 and 2000.

In other words, the KKK helped the Republican Party win the Solid South. So it really shouldn't be any surprise, then, that people like Dylann Storm Roof are still being indoctrinated into this death cult.

It shouldn't surprise us that white right-wing racist terrorists have killed more Americans since 9/11 than Muslim terrorists have?

And the simple reason is that politicians from one of our major political parties - the Republican Party - depend on America’s racist white supremacy death cult to get elected.

Forty-eight percent of Americans people still think the Civil War was a constitutional dispute about state’s rights. Gone with the Wind is still treated like authentic true-to-the books history.

Now that we’ve seen the evil face of this death cult in Dylann Storm Roof, it’s time to call it what it is. It’s time to say that the pre-Civil War South was a police state, that plantations were concentration camps, and that white supremacy was the guiding belief behind the “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy.

And it’s time to admit that we’ve never really come to grips with the real history of slavery or its legacy.

If we don’t deprogram ourselves from the white supremacy death cult that has infected this country from its very founding, it will destroy us all.

Taking down the Confederate battle flag is a good first step, and so is calling Dylann Storm Roof a terrorist. But what really needs to happen to deprogram America from its death cult is for Republicans to stop pandering to racists and racism and for white Americans to come to grips with the power of white privilege.

And that starts with policy - like stopping the Republican voter suppression efforts in the South, having those states accept Medicaid expansion for all their people, and beginning to regulate in a rational way our national civilian arsenal.

Only then can we exorcise the demons of our past and move towards a more just and equal future.


marhab21's picture
marhab21 7 years 50 weeks ago

Hi Thom!

I appreciated your comparison of the Republicans/Right Wing/White Supremacist to a Cult. I think it is very apt.

But where does it start? To me it starts with the outrageous notion of "American Exceptionalism". Even President Obama subscribes to that and is proud to do so.

"American Exceptionalism" is the first step toward the notion that some humans are superior to others, and therefore are justified to do anything...where did American Exceptionalism come from? And how can we deprogram it??

Thank you so much for your show!

Martine in San Francisco.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 50 weeks ago
#2 is giving me nothing but stuff about India.

I guess Thom misspoke; it's

stopgap's picture
stopgap 7 years 50 weeks ago

It all comes down to taking money out of politics. If that doesn't happen, then very little of substance will ever happen.

Proposed Bernie Sanders campaign motto: Can You Stand The Truth?

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 50 weeks ago

American Exceptionalism = American Arrogance.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 50 weeks ago

OK, but your wrong about Hilter and the Japanese emporer. You are confusing propaganda with what people actually thought.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 49 weeks ago

Dr Econ -- What makes you think the people were not in bed with the idea of their leaders being nearly deities? That book Thom refers to "They Thought They Were Free" seems to support Thom's position.

bokiluis's picture
bokiluis 7 years 49 weeks ago

Once coming home from a European holiday, I said to my best friend that moving forward, I didn't want to be referred to as an American. I had felt more comfortable in France and Pain, for instance, as a person of color, rather than constantly feel that my racial heritage/origin was under challenge. I would prefer to think of myself as a "world citizen".

As we were coming into New York, he scolded me about being ashamed of a sort of American superiority. My friend, being Caucasian, could not understand how the disease of racism and bigotry had possibly damaged the soul of America......most evident in the behavior of the American bigot and it's oppression of the American people of color. It ended up causing a temporary rift in our communication until we were home for a couple of weeks and was reminded of discrimination and prejudice being

alive and well.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 49 weeks ago

Thom, you really went too far this time. The Japanese might've thought that Tojo was God but to say that most Germans thought Hitler was Jesus is just wildly false.
My family comes from that area of Europe, I had two uncles who served in the German army in WW II, I was brought up to admire Hitler, mistrust the Jews and look down on foreign nations and peoples. I was sent to special schools where I was taught that popular versions of history and current events were distorted and manipulated by the Jews controlling the press and the Jews that had disproportionate presence and influence in the State Department. It was commonly believed in our exile community that the U.S. and Britain fought on the "wrong" side of the war because Roosevelt and Churchill were Jews ( they both had a close antecedent - one of their mothers, in fact - with a Jewish sounding surname, apparently Nazis go by a "one drop rule" about that).
I went to high school in West Germany in the '70s where there was a very strong anti Nazi, "Never again!" sentiment that persists 'til this day and back here in the States I knew many in our exile community, young and old, who espoused the purest, most traditional form of Nazi philosophy.
In all of my contact with and immersion in Germanic culture and the society of WW II veterans and refugees, NEVER did I ever know or even hear of ANYBODY who believed Hitler was Jesus Christ or his reincarnation. You really hurt your credibility - and our movements - when you embellish like that. If you keep doing that you'll be known as "that crazy lefty on the radio" and "lefty" will become synonymous with "crazy".
What was at work in Germany in WW II was simply the wounded nationalism of the Germans and their indignation at the punitive sanctions from the Allied Powers after WW I. Excessive nationalism and nationalistic chauvinism always need a scapegoat or a perceived "enemy within" as well as without. Thus racial and nationalistic hatred are always necessarily the flip side of such obsessive nationalistic conceit.
Before WW II and the Nuremberg trials EVERYBODY was a Nazi, the nationalism, racism, antisemitism and militarism of Germany wasn't that different from those of Britain, France, Belgium, Poland, Russia, etc..
The same was true even in the new United States. I once heard someone ask how the United States could've tolerated the formation of the KKK in the early part of the 20th Century. The answer was that MANY organizations in the U.S. in 1915 didn't accept membership of blacks, Jews or Catholics and many of those often militated against those groups in some way. It was not at all uncommon. It wasn't until the shock and outrage of the discovery of the death camps and the revelations of the Nuremberg trials - and the generations born after WW II and Nuremberg finding voice - that that began to change.
Until then racial and religious intolerance were the rule and tolerance the rare exception. That was also because there was much invested in those attitudes. The relatively extravagant living standards of Europe and the United States depended upon the colonialism - which the U.S. also practiced, as much as any other Western power only not as overtly. Europe, openly and without guile, conquered and subjugated foreign people who were less technologically developed, darker skinned and not Western in their culture and religion and continued indefinitely to plunder them their natural material and human resources. The U.S., on the other hand, pretended to respect the self determination of such peoples but in reality kept them under the heel of, ostensibly independent but actual, puppet governments that Washington controlled. It also wasn't until after WW II that this too began to change, not only because conquest, racism and nationalism fell out of moral favor after Nuremberg but also because the major colonial powers were greatly weakened by the war so the colonized peoples saw their opportunity. They were aided by the Soviets, whose founding Leninist philosophy declared, as among its cornerstones, the right of self determination of all ethnic groups, as well as by those forementioned post Nuremberg generations of the West.
The issue of the Confederacy was also one of nationalism and there is an element of truth in the claim that they weren't fighting to defend slavery but because they didn't appreciate a "foreign" government telling them what to do. Conversely, Lincoln had said that he wasn't fighting to abolish slavery but to maintain the union and that if he could've done so without freeing a single slave he would've.
In the 1940s, one Southern youth explained. "The way I was brought up, I always felt, I don't know why, that something bad would happen to the South if I treated a black person as my social equal.". There may well have been a reaction of stubborn defiance among Southerners to an "outside" authority telling them how to behave - but I'm not sure I care.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 49 weeks ago

It's a bit like the debate of whether we should invade Muslim countries and "force our way of life upon them", as it were, because of how the horrendous way women are treated there. On the one hand, one doesn't want to violate the self determination of national groups and dictate culture to them and decide for them what values they are to have and how they should live - especially when Washington is gonna decide it, you already KNOW they're gonna place private property rights before all others. On the other hand, you'd like to believe in universal standards of human rights. It's a dilemma.
That's why I'm an anarchist - sometimes.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 49 weeks ago

Mark S -- It seems to me this is the battle between the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution. I think the only reason the South wanted to go back to a form of government like the "Articles of Confederation" is because they forgot how bad it was. As Charles Darwin pointed out the most successful species is the one that uses "love and co-operation".

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 49 weeks ago

Articles of Confederation? I didn't think the Confederacy wanted to go back to that. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about but I thought the secessionists wanted a government different only in its enshrining of the institution of slavery. I didn't think ANYBODY wanted to go back to the Articles of Confederation, disaster that those were.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 49 weeks ago

The Confederate constitution (which is easily found on the Internet) was a rip-off of the U.S. constitution. Little was changed, and the only pro-states' rights parts were some stuff about inter-state pacts not needing national permission if they're only about water traffic, and letting states impeach federal judges. But there was also the anti-states' rights part where it forbade states from outlawing slavery.

It was nothing like the Articles of Confederation, which had no executive or judicial branch, and didn't let the central government tax people directly. The Confederacy also made it easier to amend the constitution, and harder to admit new states, though there was oddly no provision for peaceful secession.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 49 weeks ago

Reply to #8: Mark, you really do come from a unique background. The more I learn about it, the more I respect and appreciate your point of view. Much as I love and respect Thom (totally!), I hope he reads your post. You obviously have walked the talk and can speak to this with some authority.

Truth2010 7 years 48 weeks ago

And since we are talking of the democracy of skin cilor then it's only logical that there will be racial strife until everyone has the same skin color in a thousand years or so. And? Then it will be something else that the banksters will use to divide us. Maybe heighth? Fatness? Etc all to make a buck. And racism or "Democracy of skin" occurred in the North and still does. 4 slave states did not secede from the union.

I understand Thom is running an entertainment show and he ruffles feathers for attention but Thom needs to quit pretending that the North were a bunch of moral do good nice liberals fighting and dying to free slaves. That wasn't why the Civil war started. Lincoln only used the slaves after 2 years of losing battle after battle with unstoppable Robert E Lee. Lincoln used slaves manpower to help the North and take that manpower from the South. Lincoln favored deporting the blacks even in the North to Africa. It's true the South does have racist as do all races black white etc... but to conflate racism with a death cult is false and absurd. Most white racist will benigningly sit in a lazy boy complain about affirmative action but would never actually get a gun and do unnecessarily what Roof did. White racism is not a death cult. Thom is wrong to conflate the two. The death cult then as it is today are the banksters of the South who used turned racism into radical racism a death cult. That's how the banksters made money in the South and in 4 slave states in the North .
Lincoln and Malcolm X both believed in seperation of blacks and whites. And it was not just the South who had Jim Crow laws. As a matter of fact California ( Union state) had more Jim Crow laws than any southern state. O'Reilly would have been more accurate to say there are no more Jim Crow laws against blacks anymore. There was/is a black president in the white house for 8 years.Blacks have the best chance they've ever had to work and be a responsible successful citizen than ecer before.

Also the evidence does support Mark Saulys' post #8 reply to Thom "...NEVER did I ever know or even hear of ANYBODY who believed Hitler was Jesus Christ or his reincarnation. You really hurt your credibility - and our movements - when you embellish like that. If you keep doing that you'll be known as "that crazy lefty on the radio" and "lefty" will become synonymous with "crazy"..."

Hitler did manipulate protestant Christianity through the Greek scriptures through his protestant "theologians". And the Catholic Church also made a deal the the devil Hitler.

Doktor Gerhard Kittle, of Kittle's Theological Dictionary, was one of Hitler's theologians. Doktor Kittle was imprisoned after WWII by the allies. The allies went straight to the university where Doktor Kittle taught and arrested him. Kittle was imprisoned for 17 months? The NIV Bible today is based the Kittle's TDNT Greek to english mistranslations. The current h cult I was forced to attend also used TDNT for support of its false mistranslations. Are mistranslations insignificant? No way. Kittle tried stripping the humanity of Jesus by attacking the Greek to english translation of the blood of Jesus. The result was attacking the humanity of the Jew Jesus. And later used by neoconservative churches to attack the humanity of MLK and all humsn loving liberals.


Thus the logic being if you can remove Jesus' humanity and your normal judgement of right and wrong through Greek mistranslations then you've destroyed the neoconservative christians own judgement of right and wrong thereby allowing all kinds of Fox propaganda internalized into the neoconservative Christian's psyche without thier own judgement. You can pass off as prejudice lies etc... as "spiritual christianity".

And the humanity of Jesus is removed through mistranslations then you get to go to heaven and don't need to be that pesky human to human to one another. You can make millions and send people to thier deaths in false wars for profit. And not have to worry about having a conscience. You could be Adolf Hitler and still go to heaven.

Truth2010 7 years 48 weeks ago

Thom I like your show but you are framing this debate all wrong. I was a white racist when I was a teenager in the 1970s. I had that Confederate battle flag hung up on my wall in my bedroom. I was taught to be that way because of family and church. I was trained to be that way. it wasn't until I had the strength and realized that the church was led by a racist and was teaching False teachings for political gain of the Republican Party of basically Fox News. this is before Fox News even existed. I changed because of conscience of right and wrong before I could prove the church was a wrong racist political paramilitary death cult. It took me years of study to breakdown the Greek to English translations of the scriptures and how what I discovered was different than the death cults intentional mistranslation
. The death cults Greek to english translations wasn't really Greek to english. It was Greek to Fox news mistranslation summarized by an extremely well trained in Greek racist neoconservative. (And submit unquestioningly to your leader because you dont know greek was the common understood advise) He was a retired US Air Force colonel"pastor" who had earned his master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. I was so full of this cult indoctrinationI that when I was 14 my fantasy was to be dropped from an airplane into russia with only machine gun and hand grenades and kill as many commies as I could before they killed me. Looking back now the intense indoctrination two or three Bible tapes a day each an hour long was so self destructive psychologically and socially that I cut off ties with my friends. and I think after time I became so alone there's a need to do something to get a great amount of attention. something I could be remembered for because I felt so alone . these thoughts were not on the surface they were deep in my psychology because the words of the intense indoctrination was constantly in conflict withwhat I thought of right and wrong ,thinking for myself. anyhow I decided that this was not for me I change my mind and took control of my life at age 15 and I caught pure hell from my family and the church cult.

Also the plans for attacking the Middle East all Muslim countries Iraq Syria Iran we're up on the screen behind the pulpit and this is 1972 3 & 4. it is also notable that Barbara Bush and Dan Quayle had attended this "church" in Houston Post Oak Galleria area. Robert E Lee was idolized. Martin Luther King was demonized. You never said anything against the leader of this paramilitary church cult without being punished somehow. Green berets, Army Rangers, Navy seals were in the audience and they were idolized. The leader carried a .45 under the pulpit.

So I know what a neo conservative white supremacist racist is.

So as I said I turned on them and caught hell for doing so. College money was taken away and I was told to leave because my mother didn't want discipline from God because of her "guilt by association" with me. I slept in my car and painted houses to pay for my first semester at Texas A&M. I took 2 bottles of gallon water and went into the woods and showered. I got it done. No one was the wiser.

I did what it took to get it done. I didn't ask for handout because I was mistreated by white supremacists. It was tough but I did it.

So I'm not a racist but I am proud of being white and of my ancestors as black people should be proud of being black and thier ancestry.

So when Thom says white people need to get over there "whiteness" then Thom needs to be fair and say black people need to get over their blackness. otherwise Thom doing the same thing that the white supremacist do white people this time attacking people based on the color of thier skin. and that's b*******. you might as well say humans need to get over there humaness. blacks murder blacks blacks enslaved blacks and murder whites. We are talking about human nature and that murderous nature is equal and has nothing to do with skin color. I'm for equal rights not blacks having more rights than white people and not for black people taking revenge on white people for what happened in the past.

Racism does exist and it always will. It's actually the "Democracy of skin color". If you go to San Angelo Tx. You will see 75% Hispanics and reverse racism happens everyday.

But attacking the white race and "you lost" is not how the cult is deprogrammed. And you certainly wont convince borderline radical rascists to listen to your show because you will just strengthen thier resolve to be a radical rascist. . I think your jumping on a band wagon because of South Carolina. The cult is deprogrammed basically in two ways. 1) by head on collapse. When the cult members see death or destruction before thier eyes the fleeting lies of the cult are forgotten. When the immediate survival instincts of "now destruction" kick in then the previous twisted "survival instincts" programmed by whatever cult then thosr lies are kicked to the curb. 2) Questions. By producing facts based on proveable evidence which run contradictory to the cults rhetorical falsehoods. This causes the cult member to use thier own brain to question the cult thier involved with. You ask questions for th initially but ultimately they have to question for themselves or they won't leave.

Chances are the shooter in South Carolina was lonely guy, but somewhere somebody trained him to be a killer. That's who needs to be found out and gone after and debunked. Whether it's parents church etc...

God bless the 9 souls

Truth2010 7 years 48 weeks ago

And you "dont want to forget about your Native American brothers to" Thom? well they did it to. Native Americans had black slaves and fought for the confederacy. They had southern-like plantations with black slaves.

Also see History Channel's special 'Time Machine-"Indians Warriors: The Untold Story of The Civil War" '

Truth2010 7 years 48 weeks ago

And? Let's talk about slavery in the North. Shall we?
� Slavery was legalized in New Plymouth and Connecticut when it was incorporated into the Articles of the New England Confederation (1643). Rhode Island enacted a similar law in 1652. That means New England had formal, legal slavery a full generation before it was established in the South. Not until 1664 did Maryland declare that all blacks held in the colony, and all those imported in the future, would serve for life, as would their offspring. Virginia followed suit by the end of the decade. New York and New Jersey acquired legal slavery when they passed to English control in the 1660s. Pennsylvania, founded only in 1682, followed in 1700, with a law for regulation of servants and slaves.


Northern slavery grew out of the paradox the new continent presented to its European masters. So much land was available, so cheaply, that no one was willing to come to America and sign on to work as a laborer. The dream that drew Europeans across the Atlantic was owning acres of land or making a fortune in a trade or a craft. It was an attainable dream. In the 1680s a landless Welsh peasant from the mountains of Montgomeryshire could bring his whole family to Pennsylvania for �10 and acquire 250 acres for another �5; placing just one son in a trade in Britain would have cost the family �7.

Yet workers were needed in the new continent to clear the land, work the soil, build the towns. Because of this acute labor shortage, all the American colonies turned to compulsory labor. In New Netherland, in the 1640s, a free European worker could be hired for 280 guilders a year, plus food and lodging. In the same time and place, experienced African slaves from the West Indies could be bought outright, for life, for 300 guilders.

�To claim that the colonies would not have survived without slaves would be a distortion," historian Edgar McManus writes, "but there can be no doubt that the development was significantly speeded by their labor. They provided the basic working force that transformed shaky outposts of empire into areas of permanent settlement.�[1] Or, to consider the situation from a broad view of the entire New World, �... export agriculture and effective colonization would not have occurred on the scale it did if enslaved Africans had not been brought to the New World. Except for precious metals, almost all major American exports to Europe were produced by Africans.�[2]

Early in the 17th century, black slave status in the British Americas was not quite absolute bondage. It was a nebulous condition similar to that of indentured servants. Some Africans brought to America were regarded as "servants" eligible for freedom a certain number of years. Slavery had been on the decline in England, and in most of Europe generally, since the Middle Ages. That may be why the legal definition of slavery as perpetual servitude for blacks and their children was not immediately established in the New World colonies. The first official legal recognition of chattel slavery as a legal institution in British North America was in Massachusetts, in 1641, with the �Body of Liberties.� Slavery was legalized in New Plymouth and Connecticut when it was incorporated into the Articles of the New England Confederation (1643). Rhode Island enacted a similar law in 1652. That means New England had formal, legal slavery a full generation before it was established in the South. Not until 1664 did Maryland declare that all blacks held in the colony, and all those imported in the future, would serve for life, as would their offspring. Virginia followed suit by the end of the decade. New York and New Jersey acquired legal slavery when they passed to English control in the 1660s. Pennsylvania, founded only in 1682, followed in 1700, with a law for regulation of servants and slaves.

Roughly speaking, slavery in the North can be divided into two regions. New England slaves numbered only about 1,000 in 1708, but that rose to more than 5,000 in 1730 and about 13,000 by 1750. New England also was the center of the slave trade in the colonies, supplying captive Africans to the South and the Caribbean island. Black slaves were a valuable shipping commodity that soon proved useful at home, both in large-scale agriculture and in ship-building. The Mid-Atlantic colonies (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) had been under Dutch rule before the British conquered them in 1664. African slavery in the middle colonies had been actively encouraged by the Dutch authorities, and this was continued by the British.

Both the Dutch and English colonists in the North preferred to get their slaves from other New World colonies rather than directly from Africa. Direct imports from Africa were considered too dangerous and difficult. Instead, the middle colonies sought their African slaves from Dutch Cura�ao and later from British Jamaica and Barbados. �These slaves were familiar with Western customs and habits of work, qualities highly prized in a region where masters and slaves worked and lived in close proximity.�[3] Having survived one climate change already, they also adjusted better to Northern winters, which incapacitated or killed those direct from Africa. Both causes contributed to the adjective often used to advertise West Indies slaves being sold in the North: "seasoned."

By the late colonial period, the average slave-owning household in New England and the Mid-Atlantic seems to have had about 2 slaves. Estates of 50 or 60 slaves were rare, though they did exist in the Hudson Valley, eastern Connecticut, and the Narragansett region of Rhode Island. But the Northern climate set some barriers to large-scale agricultural slavery. The long winters, which brought no income on Northern farms, made slaves a burden for many months of the year unless they could be hired out to chop wood or tend livestock. In contrast to Southern plantation slavery, Northern slavery tended to be urban.

Slaveholding reflected social as well as economic standing, for in colonial times servants and retainers were visible symbols of rank and distinction. The leading families of Massachusetts and Connecticut used slaves as domestic servants, and in Rhode Island, no prominent household was complete without a large staff of black retainers. New York's rural gentry regarded the possession of black coachmen and footmen as an unmistakable sign of social standing. In Boston, Philadelphia, and New York the mercantile elite kept retinues of household slaves. Their example was followed by tradesmen and small retailers until most houses of substance had at least one or two domestics.[4]

There is argument among historians about the economic role of Northern slaves. Some maintain that New England slaves generally were held in situations where they did not do real work, such as might be done by a white laborer, and that many, if not most, of the New England slaves were held without economic justification, working as house servants or valets. Even in Pennsylvania, the mounting Pennsylvania Quaker testimony against slavery in the 1750s and '60s was in large part aimed against the luxuriousness and extravagance of the Friends who had domestic slaves. But other historians who have studied the matter in some depth (Greene, McManus, Melish) make a forceful case for slave labor being an integral part of the New England economy. And even those slaves who did the arduous work required in a colonial household freed their white owners to pursue careers in law, religion, medicine or civil service.


The interweaving of Christianity and white supremacy is considered a defining quality of Southern slavery. Yet this also happened in the North. Not only was slavery sanctioned by the God of the Old Testament, it was a positive duty of his chosen people in the New World, because it brought the Gospel to the pagans of Africa. 

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 48 weeks ago

Truth 2010 -- You should have also mentioned there were more than twice as many abolitionists in the South as in the North.

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