46 slaves

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    Mr. McClanahan,

    In your presentation you mentioned that by 1860 only 46 slaves remained and 20 slave-owners. I tried to talk about this with a friend, and was met with a strong disbelief. Could you give me some reference where to check this number and maybe show to people? Thank you.

    The friend told me to see the movie “Amistad” from 1997, which I did, and there Martin van Buren’s character assesses, in 1837, US having 3-4 million slaves. That’s a movie, sure, but still… it’s hard to see how would such huge number drop to 46 in just 20 something years.


    It’s been a while since I listened to that particular lecture, but might it be the case that those 46 slaves were only the number for a given state? (For example, I know that NJ had slaves, albeit a low number, up until 1865)


    Right. That was in the Western territories in 1860. There were about 3.5 million slaves in the South in 1860 out of a total of 11 million people.


    Mr. McClanahan – I picked up on our forum author’s original error in taking your statement to include the entirety of the Southern states and territories. You did state that you were referring to the West, which was your entire point, in stressing that the North was looking to suppress southern influence and slavery was their leverage to box in the South.
    I, however, am also looking for a citation on this. I’m actually working on two different papers encompassing this same time period. A citation for this would certainly help me expand on this point and bring it into context, even in my own understanding.

    Thank you! Loved this course. I’m on my third go around with it.

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