This line of argument is important to consider but I recommend a look at the eonic model, and some posts here, on the issue of democracy emergence in world history, which shows the way democracy has twice emerged against its true character in the persistence of slavery.
Here is the risky line of reasoning that requires caution in its use: A teleological system in 2400 year system return as a sequence of transitions, has a limited launch window to seed democracy, its now or never point ca. 1800: if conditions are not completely right, too bad, proceed anyway. Here however the system seeds a future that ends up confounded in contradiction, soon to slide into Civil War.
The eonic model allows us to consider that history can move indirectly: democracy was founded in compromise but within two generations the Civil War emerges. We can just as well consider that the founding of American issued a promissory note to future abolition. Conventional theories are not likely to resolve the dynamics here. We have previously discussed the ‘teleology of starting points’ rather than end points. The modern divide is the classic example of the teleology of starting points.
Isn’t this an outrageous ‘intelligent’ argument? Who knows, very doubtful. We see the dynamics almost like a ‘noumenal’ mystery next to phenomenal history.
Re: [marxmail] GOP Still Wants to Pretend the Preservation of Slavery Wasn’t a Major Reason for the American Revolution – CounterPunch.org
If I’m hearing this correctly, what impelled the southern planting class to rebel in the first place? If they were pro-British and had no sense of being American, but rather saw themselves as the natural aristocracy of separate political entities, why would they risk their self-sufficiency and their so-called “liberties” in a revolution that must have carried with it the threat of a dangerous social levelling.
George Washington, the model for the disgusting and overrated Robert E. Lee and–despite his later professed antislavery sentiments and posthumous freeing of his slaves–the whole beastly borgata of subhumanity known collectively as “southern gentlemen,” surely would not have rebelled out of concern for the great number of his fellow colonists whom he must have regarded as his inferiors by birth and natural endowments.
A convenient article on why Washington joined the Revolution, on the Mount Vernon website (https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/the-revolutionary-war/why-did-george-washington-join-the-revolution/) lists numerous written grievances of Washington, all turning on perceived insults to his monstrously inflated ego coupled with financial losses–starting with the insult of insufficient respect of rank and privileges in the British Army during the French and Indian War and including unfair pricing of tobacco, etc. These early complaints culminate in the familiar pious psalm-singing about the rights of British subjects, which of course means the “liberties” of “drivers of negroes” as Johnson put it.
“We cant conceive, that being Americans shoud deprive us of the benefits of British Subjects; nor lessen our claim to preferment: and we are very certain, that no Body of regular Troops ever before Servd 3 Bloody Campaigns without attracting Royal Notice.”
There is no fury like that of a would-be aristocrat scorned by his sovereign and sneered at by the great families of the Mother Country.
Taxation was the final straw. As late as 1774 Washington professed a reluctance to withhold remittances because it would entail the renunciation of what he still struggled to see as a legitimate debt:
“I think it a folly to attempt more than we can execute, as that will not only bring disgrace upon us, but weaken our cause; yet I think we may do more than is generally believed, in respect to the non-importation scheme. As to the withholding of our remittances, that is another point, in which I own I have my doubts on several accounts, but principally on that of justice; for I think, whilst we are accusing others of injustice, we should be just ourselves; and how this can be, whilst we owe a considerable debt, and refuse payment of it to Great Britain, is to me inconceivable. Nothing but the last extremity, I think, can justify it. Whether this is now come, is the question.”
By rebelling against the crown over taxes, if the rebellion failed, Washington and his kind risked losing everything–including their slaves. It would have been one thing to contemplate the eventual abolition of slavery, especially at a time when King Cotton, in the embrace of developing capitalism, had not yet made slavery even more indispensable than it had been before the Revolution; quite another to envision the destruction of slavery-for-Me in consequence of a “disgrace,” that would undoubtedly have been regarded as treason. Not only were death and the destitution of one’s family in play; defeat would have meant the likely ruin of the planting class as a whole, no matter by whom they might have been replaced, and whether or not the institution of chattel slavery itself continued after that fact.
Abolition of slavery had been thinkable in the life of the colonies before the Revolution. James Oglethorpe banned slavery in the original constitution of the Georgia colony in the 1730s, a fact of which Washington and the rest of the Floundering Bothers can hardly have been unaware. Abolition was perhaps more unthinkable by the time of the American Civil War than earlier, given the rise of cotton and its dependence on slave labor. But the threat of destruction of the colonial class system, with its incorporated systemic racism, seems to me independent of the topic of abolition in and of itself as a cause of political rebellion. To see revolution as requiring a decision in favor of a homegrown ruling class in place of what had become a foreign one requires no great leap of faith–and the continuation of a version of systemic racism in that solution–which undeniably must have occurred–likewise does not require any great leap.