The Instigator
Adam2isback
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
KyronTheWise
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

United States slavery was never racial

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
KyronTheWise
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/9/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 503 times Debate No: 80755
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

Adam2isback

Pro

I will arguing my case. Thanks to my opponent in advance.
KyronTheWise

Con

This is my acceptance of the debate. As the claim is US slavery was NEVER racial, I need only prove the possibility it was (IE, a single situation in which it would have been racial invalidates the claim).

I shall define racial as: having to do with race.

I shall define slavery as: a situation as to where property law is applied to a person.
Debate Round No. 1
Adam2isback

Pro

http://www.washingtonpost.com...
https://en.wikipedia.org...

This was perfects one of the biggest claims for freedom from in US history. It resulted in a court case in 1845, this was not too long before slavery ended either.
Sally Miller v. Louis Belmonti (1845 La)
http://www.anb.org...

This slave wasn't black, but of German ancestry.

Which proves once and for all that slavery in America, or elsewhere in America for that matter was never a racial thing whatsoever.
KyronTheWise

Con

All due respect to my opponent....no it doesn't.

First, the case in question is suspect. No one knows if she actually was German or not. The German immigrants believed her to be, bu appeal to masses does not make something true. Further in that article you cited from ANB, which is possibly the only qualified source used (Wikipedia is sometimes suspect, and historical novels are not good sources) it states that Salome Muller, the girl who the Germans were thinking of, was discovered elsewhere. Sally Miller, who was arguing the case, was born to a slave and an unknown white man. That would have classified her as a mulatto, half-breed, and mulattoes were considered a race that was slave-worthy . Sally Miller was not German, she looked like a girl who was, and used that to argue for freedom. Why would this work for her? Because that would mean she wasn't black or mulatto, and thus could not be treated as a slave. The fact that if she could prove she was not a specific race could free her is in support of my claim.

To quote the wikipedia page you cited:"That on the law of slavery in the case of a person visibly appearing to be a white man, or an Indian, the presumption is he is free, and it is necessary for his adversity to show that he is a slave." That, right there, which is from one of the supreme court justices who ruled in her favor, says that since she appears to be of a certain race, the burden of proof is on the person claiming she is a slave. Again, the single fact that is throwing this case into question is about what race she is. It doesn't matter which side it comes from, if a determinant for a person's candidacy for slavery is race, then it's racial in some manner.

However, even if this case was true, and she was German (She wasn't), that does not provide absolute claim on the idea that slavery in the Americas was never racial. That would require you to show that race was NEVER, in any circumstance, a consideration for slavery. You have yet to do so. Saying that it wasn't just Africans who were enslaved isn't enough, you have to show that they never considered race for slaves, which, is admittedly a tough claim to prove.

I turn it back to my opponent, and eagerly await his/her reply
Debate Round No. 2
Adam2isback

Pro

All due respect to my opponent....no it doesn't.

First, the case in question is suspect. No one knows if she actually was German or not. The German immigrants believed her to be, bu appeal to masses does not make something true. Further in that article you cited from ANB, which is possibly the only qualified source used (Wikipedia is sometimes suspect, and historical novels are not good sources) it states that Salome Muller, the girl who the Germans were thinking of, was discovered elsewhere. Sally Miller, who was arguing the case, was born to a slave and an unknown white man. That would have classified her as a mulatto, half-breed, and mulattoes were considered a race that was slave-worthy . Sally Miller was not German, she looked like a girl who was, and used that to argue for freedom. Why would this work for her? Because that would mean she wasn't black or mulatto, and thus could not be treated as a slave. The fact that if she could prove she was not a specific race could free her is in support of my claim.
Thank you, con for your argument: Here's mine:

https://books.google.com...
This book is important because according to many this woman in question looked familiar to many of the German citizens. The circumstances surrounding this event seem to point that Muller wasn't trying to hide anything. It also gives sources that her real mother was indeed from Germany and she didn't survive the voyage.


However, even if this case was true, and she was German (She wasn't), that does not provide absolute claim on the idea that slavery in the Americas was never racial. That would require you to show that race was NEVER, in any circumstance, a consideration for slavery. You have yet to do so. Saying that it wasn't just Africans who were enslaved isn't enough, you have to show that they never considered race for slaves, which, is admittedly a tough claim to prove.
I turn it back to my opponent, and eagerly await his/her reply
I already refuted it

This is a hard case, admittedly, but it's not impossible to refute. This the only source people who claim that slavery and racism intertwinned used. It's a misleading source.
https://en.wikipedia.org...;
But this is a red herring. What this guy is talking about is not slavery but rather menial labor (which is not slavery). The only form of actual slavery legalized in America at the time was plantation and chattel slavery. This seems to be more an argument for having a subservient class rather than outright slavery. This is the only time any of these folks talked about race, and even then slavery is not mentioned in it.

KyronTheWise

Con

The issue, Pro, is that you made the claim that slavery was NEVER about race. Not African Race, RACE. Race doesn't necessarily mean skin color, it can also mean national origin (Such as the Irish. The Irish are considered a different race from, say, Germans, even though they are both light-skinned). In fact, you use that in your argument, that she was German. Let's say she was. You are using race. In order to win, you must show that race never even came into the equation.

Now, here is the major point. So Sally/Salome claims to be German, and thus she shouldn't be a slave, right? The judges said that if someone appeared to be of the races in my quote from the wikipedia page you linked, then there was burden of proof on the person claiming them to be a slave. THEY WERE USING RACE AS A MAIN DETERMINANT for her to not be a slave.

Second. This is from the American National Biography, the source you cited. Same article even:
Testimony in later trials, though, proved the Court wrong. John Miller uncovered dozens of witnesses who had known his former slave from birth. Members of the Wilson family of Alabama testified that she was a slave born into their household, known as Bridget, and sold to John Miller when she was about twelve years old. Perhaps most importantly, John Miller uncovered the whereabouts of Salom" Muller, who with her sister Dorothea had been orphaned soon after their arrival in the United States. The two girls had been indentured to a farmer near Monroe, in northern Louisiana, and the farmer's family and neighbors remembered them. Although Salom" Muller had recently died, Dorothea Muller provided written testimony of her sister's history. The two had spent their lives working as servants near Monroe, and both married when they reached adulthood.
Sally Miller WAS NOT Shalome, the German. Sally was born to a black slave, and a white immigrant. She looked fair due to this mixing, which is something that happens. Sally also could not detail how she went from immigrant to slave. Shalome was never enslaved. She was in Indentured Servitude, which due to the presence of a contract, and the lack of property laws to the person in question, is not slavery.

It DOES NOT matter that people thought she looked like someone. The fact is, it was proven that Sally Miller, born to a slave and a white man, was a distinct and different individual than Shalome Miller, who was born to Germans. EVEN if that wasn't the case. Sally was using her apparent race to argue for freedom. The Supreme Court decided that if she was a German, she couldn't be enslaved, because that race is no bueno for slavery. Race was being used to determine if she was a slave or not. Again, Sally was USING HER RACE AS AN ARGUMENT THAT SHE SHOULDN'T BE A SLAVE. Race came into the equation. Thus, slavery was, in some way, racial.

Okay, let's ignore that conclusion too. Your claim, as it stands, is that United States slavery was never racial. To prove that, you need to show that, without a shadow of a doubt, race was never used as a determinant for slavery. That doesn't mean give one case where it wasn't and you're good. No, there can't be even ONE instance of race being used. EVER. You cannot provide a single case and use that as proof for an absolute claim, you need to be able to prove that it was IMPOSSIBLE for them to have EVER used race. That is why it's hard to prove.
Debate Round No. 3
Adam2isback

Pro

Thank you, con.

The issue, Pro, is that you made the claim that slavery was NEVER about race. Not African Race, RACE. Race doesn't necessarily mean skin color, it can also mean national origin (Such as the Irish. The Irish are considered a different race from, say, Germans, even though they are both light-skinned). In fact, you use that in your argument, that she was German. Let's say she was. You are using race. In order to win, you must show that race never even came into the equation.

Race and nationality are two different things. As in all imperialistic eras, the conquered were always subjected to slavery. There were Irish slaves because Cromwell made the Irish slaves. Race has more to do with specific definition -- if you will and a specific set of ideas, such as skin color.

Now, here is the major point. So Sally/Salome claims to be German, and thus she shouldn't be a slave, right? The judges said that if someone appeared to be of the races in my quote from the wikipedia page you linked, then there was burden of proof on the person claiming them to be a slave. THEY WERE USING RACE AS A MAIN DETERMINANT for her to not be a slave.
It's a little misleading. I can understand how you came to that conclusion. However the issue wasn't her race. The issue was her mother. The main determiner of slavery wasn't really race, but whether your ma was a slave. That was the big issue of the case, but I'll give it to you, since you're an intelligent man, that's it's a misleading case. However it had more to do with the mother.y She also claimed to be a German citizen. That was her claim. It had nothing to do with race. She was German, so she was not bound by US laws. See the link below.

Second. This is from the American National Biography, the source you cited. Same article even:
Testimony in later trials, though, proved the Court wrong. John Miller uncovered dozens of witnesses who had known his former slave from birth. Members of the Wilson family of Alabama testified that she was a slave born into their household, known as Bridget, and sold to John Miller when she was about twelve years old. Perhaps most importantly, John Miller uncovered the whereabouts of Salom" Muller, who with her sister Dorothea had been orphaned soon after their arrival in the United States. The two girls had been indentured to a farmer near Monroe, in northern Louisiana, and the farmer's family and neighbors remembered them. Although Salom" Muller had recently died, Dorothea Muller provided written testimony of her sister's history. The two had spent their lives working as servants near Monroe, and both married when they reached adulthood.
Sally Miller WAS NOT Shalome, the German. Sally was born to a black slave, and a white immigrant. She looked fair due to this mixing, which is something that happens. Sally also could not detail how she went from immigrant to slave. Shalome was never enslaved. She was in Indentured Servitude, which due to the presence of a contract, and the lack of property laws to the person in question, is not slavery.
True but this doesn't prove that it was true or not. You even said it in the beginning. Even if it does prove that she was indeed a mulatto, it doesn't prove that this was a racial case. As the link shows.

It DOES NOT matter that people thought she looked like someone. The fact is, it was proven that Sally Miller, born to a slave and a white man, was a distinct and different individual than Shalome Miller, who was born to Germans. EVEN if that wasn't the case. Sally was using her apparent race to argue for freedom. The Supreme Court decided that if she was a German, she couldn't be enslaved, because that race is no bueno for slavery. Race was being used to determine if she was a slave or not. Again, Sally was USING HER RACE AS AN ARGUMENT THAT SHE SHOULDN'T BE A SLAVE. Race came into the equation. Thus, slavery was, in some way, racial.
Sir I think you have it wrong.
She was using her nationality to say she wasn't a slave. Even you said yourself that they decided she's a German.
https://en.wikipedia.org...
It doesn't make a mention of her saying she was doing it because she was white. She was doing it because she claimed to be a German citizen, thus not bound by US laws. this happened with all slaves, white, Hispanic, Asian, black (whatever slaves there were).


Okay, let's ignore that conclusion too. Your claim, as it stands, is that United States slavery was never racial. To prove that, you need to show that, without a shadow of a doubt, race was never used as a determinant for slavery. That doesn't mean give one case where it wasn't and you're good. No, there can't be even ONE instance of race being used. EVER. You cannot provide a single case and use that as proof for an absolute claim, you need to be able to prove that it was IMPOSSIBLE for them to have EVER used race. That is why it's hard to prove.
I gave my sources. I wish the best to you, con. This was a great debate. I look forward to befriending you (which I will do now).
KyronTheWise

Con

Alright, conclusion time. I agree, interesting debate. If it seems like I be getting heated, it's because of the Natural Law paper I'm writing for grad school right now.

First point: Wrong. She was a German immigrant, and claimed to be. That is no longer a citizen of Germany, they moved to the US. Her status of citizen never seemed to be the argument for if she should be a slave or not.

Point the Second: Sally's case goes all the way up to the State Supreme Court. Here is a quote from the ruling (Pulled from Wikipedia Sally Miller page): "That on the law of slavery in the case of a person visibly appearing to be a white man, or an Indian, the presumption is he is free, and it is necessary for his adversity to show that he is a slave." The Supreme Court, who are the ones who made the final ruling, used race as the determinant for slavery here. Recall, due to your use of an absolutist claim, I need only provide one example in opposition to debunk.

Further on 2: The mother? Dead by the time this happened. Salome's mother was dead on the journey to America. Sally's mother was a black slave. Now, I think what you are actually talking about was Sally's attempts to free her own kids. You see, she was set free by the Supreme Court's decision, which came before all of that evidence showing Sally wasn't Shalome. She tried to get that for her kids. Failed. Fun fact by the way: After that particular decision, Louisiana was not amused, abolished that Supreme Court, and then remade it, without any of the Judges who made that ruling on the bench.

Point the Third. This section was meant to show that Sally was not Shalome, but in further examination, I suppose it doesn't support the claim. I concede that section.

Point the fourth: Actually, the thing is, the case only took off because she didn't look black, inculcating doubt. Again, the quote:
" "That on the law of slavery in the case of a person visibly appearing to be a white man, or an Indian, the presumption is he is free, and it is necessary for his adversity to show that he is a slave.""
Even conceding the nationality part, notice that this ruling makes no mention of such. It says, that since she looks white, you need to prove she's mulatto. The question here wasn't if she was German or anything. It was if she was a mulatto or not. If race is skin color, which I personally find to be too limited,

The final point: I suppose this part could be confusing. This has nothing to do with the case itself, it is mechanics of logic.
Okay, say you claim that the sky is ALWAYS blue. Not just every now and then, ALWAYS. How do I prove that wrong? By giving an example where it isn't blue, say, sunset, when it is red. In logical arguments that use an absolute claim, such as X is never Y, or Z is always B, these claims are proven false if a single counterexample is true. If X can be Y if I smack it with a hammer, then the statement X is never Y is obviously false, yar? If Z is always B, unless I snort Z, in which case Z becomes C, then Z is always B is a false statement.

With me? So let's apply your argument. Slavery in the United States was never about race. Okay. Lets make that S (Slavery in the United States) is never, and could never contain R (Race). That is your argument in Symbolic Logic (Somewhat, I'm not using the equation symbols, because they're unnecessary). Alrighty then. In order for that to be true, S can NEVER contain R. EVER.

If I provide ANY examples in which S=R, then your claim is false. That means, if someone bought a slave in part because it was black, your claim is false. That would be a situation in which race was involved in the slave thing. Doesn't matter how many times race wasn't involved, if it is involved once, your argument fails. That is simply how absolute claims work. If it was "Slavery in the US wasn't always about race", it'd be the reverse. You see, the argument there is that the absolute "Slavery is always about race" is wrong.

The reason the claim is so difficult to defend is that if one racist person decides to enslave a person in part because they are black, then Slavery was about race in a case. It would've had to happen in the US, true, but if it did, at any point, my claim is true.

That's part of the reason why I got slightly irritate. You see, to defend an absolute claim, you can't point to one example. The sky guy in the earlier example can't point at the sky one time it is blue, and say that's how it always is and automatically be right.

My argument here is that, since this particular case did actually involve race at at least one point, the judge's statement about how if someone looks white or indian, proof has to be given they aren't for them to be slaves, there is an example of when race got involved. Even if that quote is somehow magically not about race (which it is), you still have to show that race never came into the equation elsewhere. Again, EVER. An example, which is something I should've started off with (I got caught up with Sally Miller):
"Act I. It is enacted that all servants [...] which shall be imported into this country either by sea or by land, whether Negroes, Moors, mulattoes or Indians who and whose parentage and native countries are not Christian at the time of their first purchase by some Christian [...] and all Indians, which shall be sold by our neighboring Indians, or any other trafficking with us for slaves, are hereby adjudged, deemed and taken to be slaves to all intents and purposes any law, usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding."
Let's examine this legal code from Virginia, defining slaves (source: https://en.wikipedia.org...). "If you are Negro, a Moor, mulattoes, or Indian...." Alright, so those are the first requirement for being a slave, you MUST fall under one of those categories, for Virginia to call you a slave. Are you white? Can't be a slave there. Asian? Nope. The point is, there is a racial distinction here. That means, at one point, in Virginia, which is in the US, they used race to qualify/disqualify you for slavery. And again, I need only provide one example to prove the absolutist claim "US Slavery was Never Racial" wrong. It was pretty racial right here.

I look forward to future debates.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by KyronTheWise 1 year ago
KyronTheWise
Again, that's fine. However, that was not your claim. You claimed that they NEVER used race. Several does not equal always. One example works to break that.

Now, if you were trying to prove that there were instances race was used to determine slavery, that's fine. That is, however, a different argument than race was NEVER used as a factor.
Posted by Adam2isback 1 year ago
Adam2isback
Regulating non-whites to serve whites sorry
Posted by Adam2isback 1 year ago
Adam2isback
Several of the sources used to show that slavery and racism intertwined are red herrings.

The Hammond speech was about menial labor (plantation slavery, the only legal form of slavery at the time, is not mentioned in that speech -- rather regulating races to serve non-whites).
Posted by KyronTheWise 1 year ago
KyronTheWise
Hmm...I do wish there had been more debate periods. I mistakenly spent all of my time arguing about Sally Miller, when I could have simply brought up an example where racial qualities were used in slavery in the US.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by AtkinsonCameron 1 year ago
AtkinsonCameron
Adam2isbackKyronTheWiseTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con showed throughout his arguments that slavery was racial. Pro never was able to provide sufficient evidence to support his position.