Hindsight on History


Slave Auction Block Green Hill Plantation, Campbell County Virginia, Historical Buildings Society courtesy Wikimedia Commons

One topic for American as an  election draws near, is the progress of civil rights throughout our history. English author Charles Dickens wrote scathingly about slavery after his 1842 U.S. visit.  Delancey Place notes in their April 16, 2018 blog that in his book, American Notes for General Circulation (Penguin Classics 2000), Dickens described three type of slave owners:



“The first, are those more moderate and rational owners of human cattle, who have come into the possession of them as so many coins in their trading capital, but who admit the frightful nature of the institution in the abstract…

“The second, consists of all those owners, breeders, users, buyers and sellers of slaves…who doggedly deny the horrors of the system in the teeth of such a mass of evidence as never was brought to bear on any other subject…

“The third,…is composed of all that delicate gentility which cannot bear a superior, and cannot brook an equal; of that class whose Republicanism means, ‘I will not tolerate a man above me: and of those below, none must approach too near, whose pride in a land where voluntary servitude is shunned as a disgrace, must be ministered to by slaves…”

Dickens spoke truth, but Americans condoned using men, women, and children as slaves for another 19 years before they tore the country apart in order to end slavery.




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