What ***should*** be taught in history classes?

IIRC, this was a topic of consideration in the initial drafting. But given that several of the founding fathers had slaves, and their loss would’ve resulted in significant loss of economic power, they were against any such explicit statements in the Constitution and agreement to keep that issue a “state-determination” issue.

The result was the eventual identification of “slave states” and “free states” . . .

I know what really happened. You understand what “What If” means, right?

I don’t know whether this subject warrants its own thread as it is the type of discussion that merits being included in a high school history or social studies class, which is the subject of this thread.

I would have argued in high school that slavery gave the US a competitive agricultural advantage versus other countries that generated more wealth than without slavery. That is, without slavery, the US would have been a poorer country. A more interesting question may be how the distribution of wealth within the US would have been different in the absence of slavery?

Less powerful and poorer as well. A huge competitive advantage that the US has is its large domestic market. Size matters in this respect.

The “Search” here doesn’t find anything, I mean ANYTHING. I’d like it to move this to that thread. Mods will save the day.
I agree with you, and to the whole point that USA is what it is are today because of Slavery. Because it was kicked down the roat for 70 years, and there was A LOT of kicking.
Suffice it to say, I don’t think the US Constitution banning slavery in 1787 would be the same USA in 1788 as we now know it.
The Southern states would not ratify it.
I think The War of 1812 might have ended differently, with half the USA going back to Great Britain.
Washington, DC would not have been built between MD and VA. Capitol might have stayed in Philly or NYC, until 1813 or so.
Lots of dominos fall (even China!) if slavery were banned in the Constitution, ratified by only six states.

So, just to pin this back to this thread: It would be an interesting “think project” in history class to ask my question.

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THAT’s what it’s called! Thanks! Um, Mods, please move my topic there. TIA.

lol VA and twig are like two sides to the same coin, Adam and Even, Alpha and Omega

The reason the Constitutional Convention was convened was that the Confederation was on the verge of collapse due to impotence. At the time there was speculation/anticipation that the confederation would have broken up into at least 3 pieces. Further down the road, that would have set the stage for possible inter-state wars over lands west of the Appalachians, and the stage would have been set for potential reconquest by the British (would have depended on the chaos in Europe; no telling how the British might have allocated their military differently).

The history of Florida would have been quite different, likely remaining in Spanish hands until the Spanish colonies gained independence. And lands west of the Mississippi River probably would have been under European control until Mexican independence and/or until Canadian confederation occurred.

I do not agree with this statement. Several individuals/families would have been poorer, but the generation of raw materials would’ve continued; more likely with different people.


Quote your post, navigate to the desired thread, remove your quote tags, click “Reply”.

You’ll see a dialog pop up asking if you want to post in the “current thread” (which should be the desired thread) or the “original thread” (in this case, this thread).

No need to bother the mods for this one.

Would we have started the war of 1812 if we weren’t a country?
I think the South might have started it on their own, since that’s what they actually did, but it at least seems unlikely…??
And then would the result have been any different? The North already didn’t help, so would their not helping matter?
And even assuming we started it with a weaker army, would the final outcome have changed? Like basically we lost the war either way. Would we have lost territory or just quit sooner?
That war was pretty dumb.

Maybe the resident Canadians can answer this?

We’ll have to disagree on this one. The US had a competitive advantage in the production of cotton due to slavery and was able to produce and export more than otherwise would have happened. The wealth did primarily accrue to the owners and the financial industry that supported them but that does not change the fact that total wealth increased. As I mentioned earlier, the distribution of wealth is a separate issue that warrants discussion.

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The War of 1812 demonstrated to me that the Brits might have earlier squashed the American Revolution if they had devoted the proper resources to do so. By the time of the war of 1812 the British had given up on reclaiming America and were content to just repel the 1812 American invasion and inflict a few black eyes.

The 1812 American invasion of “Canada” was as deluded as the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. This excerpt from Wikipedia may sound familiar:

“US politicians assumed American troops would be greeted as liberators, guaranteeing an easy conquest. Thomas Jefferson believed taking “…Canada this year, as far as Quebec will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us the experience for the attack on Halifax the next and final expulsion of England from the American continent”.


A personal footnote on the War of 1812.

My ancestor, who was expelled from the US after the American Revolution, got to see two of his sons fight on the British side in the War of 1812 so he had some measure of revenge. It was incredible that the Americans believed these expelled loyalists would want to side with the invading Americans rather than with the British who had given them land in Canada after being expelled from the US.

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I mean, I suppose your GDP/capita would be much higher if you just don’t count half the country in your capita count

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I assume that, without the competition from slave owners, free Europeans would have settled in the south and grown cotton as a cash crop. They would have probably been more productive than slaves because they were working for their own benefit.

I might have a different opinion about sugar. The health conditions in the humid areas where sugar seemed to thrive might have been so bad that free people just wouldn’t do the work.

But, I don’t see how this revenue “made the US stronger”. I think of per capita economic growth as driven by technical innovations, cotton and sugar didn’t drive much of that.

The wealth generated by cotton and sugar also benefitted the banks which enabled them to finance other industries where that capital was well deployed. Wealth begets wealth.

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Women would’ve been excluded from this calculation at that time. I’d also guess that any unlanded peoples would also not have been counted (i.e., you were counted only if you owned property). So most Blacks of that time would have zero impact on this number regardless of their status.

However, representation in Congress might’ve been impacted.