I have always marveled at the citing of that figure. It's sorta like saying "the majority of child molesters have molested fewer than five victims."
Originally Posted by tompritchett
I have slave-owning ancestors. They lived in Virginia's tobacco country, and gradually worked-out the land. They apparently took several of their house servants to Missouri when they relocated there in the 1830s. When the war broke out, three of them fought for the Confederacy (none for the Union, it was not a "brothers war" in my family).
Slaves were a part of their social and economic order, and the fact that they didn't own "a lot" of them made no real difference from what I can see.
Educators do us a disservice by trying to imply that the South was fighting to perpetuate plantation slavery. Of course, the life of a field hand on a maleria-infested sugar plantation in the deep South was much, much worse than the lot of a "house ######" in Maryland or Delaware. But that doesn't change the fact that it was slavery.
It's perfectly understandable why Southern men would fight for the continuation of a system they aspired to enjoy. After all, many of us play the lottery today because we hope to get rich. And to use another modern example, the widespread, grass roots support for abolishing the Federal estate tax (the so-called "death tax") comes from people who would not be touched by its reach. The result is that it has helped the very rich, yet that support comes from the fact that most of us aspire to be rich, and want to keep as much of our money once we get there as Rockefeller or Mellon or Vanderbilt or Trump.
Southerners had numerous reasons for wanting to keep slavery beside personal aspirations, including a belief that a free society would mean the end of white supremacy, the intermingling of the races, and the decline in wages for free white workers because of black competition.
But to say that most Rebs didn't own slaves tells us something about the cause of the war (the usual reason for the citation) is plain wrong in my opinion.
Treasurer, The Rowdy Pards
'In the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of tomfoolery can explain away anything that makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong."