|View single post by Texas Defender|
|Posted: Fri Sep 7th, 2007 07:51 pm||
I believe that appeals to white supremacy to justify discrimination against other ethnic groups had at their core economic considerations. I believe that more people were concerned with losing their jobs rather than their women when large numbers of competitors established themselves on the scene.
Of course white southerners considered themselves superior to slaves and free blacks. So did white northerners (including Abraham Lincoln). Their status in society was considered to be higher. It had always been that way.
Throughout American history, the newest wave of immigrants always faced discrimination by the more established citizens. The greater the ethnic differences, the greater and more prolonged discrimination they faced. The fiercest opposition usually came from those in the wave that had just preceded the newest one. The new arrivals would compete for their jobs, or at least drive everyone's wages down by working for less.
Those at the bottom of the totem pole were those most threatened by the newcomers. They were the ones most likely to face competition from those coming into the job market. The thought of masses of newly freed black slaves arriving on the scene frightened many.
An example that I would cite would be what happened in the New York City Draft Riots in 1863. The whites (mostly Irish), began a spontaneous and deadly series of attacks on black people who were minding their own business. The reason was pent up rage against those (free blacks) competing with them for their jobs. The Irish as newcomers had experienced discrimination ("No Irish Need Apply," etc), due to different ethnicity and religion. They felt themselves superior to the blacks, and this feeling gave them cover to attack them.
When the Emancipation Proclamation was announced, it enraged many Union soldiers. There were even some protests made by soldiers. They had signed on to fight for the Union. They weren't interested in taking a bullet to free the slaves. Like most 19th century white men, they felt that the blacks were beneath them.
Even before this announcement, many in the north feared a massive black immigration to the northern states. For example, in 1862, the state of Illinois ("Land of Lincoln") passed a consitutional provision to bar black immigration. They, too, feared that would threaten their economic interests.
My point is that feelings of white supremacy (To justify keeping other ethnic groups down on the economic ladder) were not simply a: "southern" thing. They were the norm in the 19th century, and they were widespread in more than the south.
Last edited on Fri Sep 7th, 2007 07:58 pm by Texas Defender