The best way to forget history is to rewrite it. And in the rewriting, to carefully delete references to any historical events or circumstances we find uncomfortable. Thus, American history books are totally silent on the matter of these white slaves, mostly of European stock with a great number of Irish, but also English and Scottish, who were kidnapped or otherwise forcibly deported to the US as slave labor. In fact, an examination of available documentation indicates that white slavery in the Americas was a much more extensive operation than was black slavery, and the numbers may be severely under-estimated.
Several authors have claimed, and I have seen reports that appear credible, that white slaves in America outnumbered the black. In his book, They Were White and They Were Slaves,
Michael Hoffman wrote, Negro slavery was efficiently established in colonial America because Black slaves were governed, organized and controlled by the structures and organization that were first used to enslave and control Whites. Black slaves were late-comers fitted into a system already developed.
The new nation had a need for cheap labor since the settlers were in the process of exterminating the inhabitants of a large country and taking possession of the lands, but lacked the workers to develop it. These white slaves were more important than the blacks, in both number and economic advantage. One white slave owner, Virginia planter John Pory, stated that white (not black) slaves were the nations principal wealth. It was due in large part to the overwhelming majority of white slaves that America built its foundations of wealth, since slavery was exclusively a matter of economics and profit. American capitalism was viciously predatory from the days of its birth. One eyewitness to the mass kidnapping of poor Whites estimated that from his personal knowledge alone, at least 10,000 were sold into slavery every year from throughout Great Britain for perhaps two centuries.
American history texts make reference to what is called indentured servitude, as a kind of benignly paternalistic system whereby colonial immigrants spent a few years working off their passage and went on to better things. The myth is that overseas passage was expensive and British and European civilians willingly signed indentures requiring them to work for a few years to pay off the cost of their passage, after which time they would be given land and their freedom to pursue a glorious future in the New World. But it was no such thing. There may indeed have been a few such indentured persons fitting this description, but they were a minuscule minority with their conditions not better than that suffered by all slaves. In fact, their indentures most often amounted to a life sentence at hard labor, and with a life that would be preciously short when we look at the hideous mortality rates. There are documented records of white convicts asking to be hanged in Britain rather than sent to the gulag that was America.
It is only the elite establishment in America today who present a disingenuously impassioned propaganda to soften the brutality. The fact is that if this indenture process were really the standard, then thousands of the contracts would have survived and our museums would be full of them. There is no evidence of this. Some Jewish and other sympathetic historians pretend that this system of indentures, a kind of privileged form of bound labor, was representative of the entire experience of White bondage in America. But this definition would apply only to those voluntarily binding themselves to service, and of these there were very few, with the contracted indenture being maintained only as a spurious cover for plain and simple lifetime chattel slavery. Even the Whites referred to themselves as slaves who were not better than cattle, and who were by all accounts degraded chattels on a par with farm animals. There is evidence of many hopeful but illiterate migrants who were duped into signing indentures, ignorant of the actual content of the documents that legally designated them as personal property that could be bought and sold, gambled away, or killed without concern like any other animals. In any event, the indentures provided countless excuses for the slave-owners to extend the period of servitude indefinitely, often by 7 years for the most minor of offenses and 10 or 15 years for others. Few escaped.
The slave traders exerted grand efforts in inducing free whites to sign indentures, supposedly placing themselves in temporary slavery with the promise of 50 acres of farmland at the end of the indenture term, but this was nothing more than a despicable racket. The promised lands were entrusted to the slave-owner on the understanding the land titles would later pass to the slaves, but these land rights could be forfeited for almost any reason, including laziness, with the land titles then becoming the masters rightful property. Many slave-owners purchased large numbers of these so-called indentured persons and quickly concocted excuses to seize all the entrusted lands, occasionally with a gift and a wink to the relevant authorities. Certainly, hundreds of thousands and potentially millions of acres of fertile land were obtained in this manner, with many slave-owners accumulating vast estates and great wealth, which is precisely why this benignly paternalistic system was created. Indentured servitude was never more than an immense and cruel fraud.
One author wrote that historians deliberately maintain the fallacy that wherever White servants constituted the majority of servile laborers, they worked in privileged or even luxurious conditions which were forbidden to Blacks. In truth, White Slaves were often restricted to doing the dirty, backbreaking field work while Blacks and even Indians were taken into the plantation mansion houses to work as domestics. A Major named Mordecai Manuel Noah, who was described as the most distinguished Jewish layman of his time, promoted slavery by equating it with freedom. Incredibly, he made pronouncements like this: There is liberty under the name of slavery. A field Negro has his cottage, his wife, and children, his easy task, his little patch of corn and potatoes, his garden and fruit, which are his revenue and property. The house servant has handsome clothing, his luxurious meals, his admitted privacy, a kind master, and an indulgent and frequently fond mistress.
David W. Galenson wrote a treatise titled White Slavery entitled White Servitude in Colonial America, in which he stated, European men and women could exercise choice both in deciding whether to migrate to the colonies and in choosing possible destinations. These comments, and so many more like them, are pure fiction, very large lies meant to erase the evil of centuries. White slaves were obtained from the poorest levels of British society who were regarded as expendable by the ruling class. Economists advocated the enslavement of poor Whites because they saw them as the cheapest and most effective way to develop the colonies in the New World while ridding themselves of the surplus poor who were unprofitable to England. As American agriculture expanded, landowners demanded the legalisation of the practice of kidnapping poor Whites for slavery. Parliamentary legislation was passed to specifically permit the capture of White children, with this becoming what we can call an open hunting season on the poor of Great Britain as well as anyone the British aristocracy happened to despise.
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