The Founders and Slavery

Leslie Goldstein lesl at UDEL.EDU
Fri Apr 21 10:59:59 PDT 2000

Is Paul arguing that this bill was a get-rid-of-free-blacks bill rather
than an emancipation bill?
I do have trouble seeing how keeping the offspring of female slaves in
slavery for perpetuity is an "emancipation bill"
especially since notoriously the slaves in the U.S.(especailly the
northern south) increased their population even without importation.
an aside--I see tom as condemning not Paul as Marxist but condemning all
extremism (even of the right?) as akin somehow to Marxism in the evils
it is willing to countenance.  I cannot , however, help adding that Marx
himself did not particularly dislike chattel slavery (or so I am told by
historians) an d viewed "wage slavery" as the greater evil.
Tom West wrote:

> Michael McConnell asks whether "Jefferson in fact supported
> gradual emancipation in Virginia. Apparently the Jefferson
> papers contain a proposal for gradual emancipation. Tom seems
> to infer from this that Jefferson wrote, and therefore supported,
> the bill. Is that a correct inference? (Some items in the Jefferson
> papers were written by other people.) Paul states that Jefferson,
> as chairman of the relevant committee, prevented the bill from
> going to the floor. How do we know that?"
> In Papers of TJ, 2:470, "A Bill Concerning Slaves" appears.
> According to the editor, "This bill was prepared by TJ; . . . Bill
> presented by Madison 31 Oct. 1785, amended by Senate 8 Dec.,
> and Senate amdts accepted by House 9 Dec."
> The bill as originally written by TJ (this was changed by the VA
> legislature) says only those currently slaves and "descendants
> of the females of them" would be slaves in the future, and that
> free negroes and mulattoes would not be permitted to reside in
> VA. The editor remarks that this was "a definite system for
> gradual emancipation, the ancitipated decline being brought
> about by failure to replenish the stock through importation and
> by manumission on the part of individual owners."
> Tom West

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