Abolition and Racial Equality

New England

Here’s an excerpt below from Paul Goodman’s Of One Blood: Abolitionism and the Origins of Racial Equality.

I’m really enjoying this book. There is a lot of good stuff in here – really, too much to post highlights on this website. It begins with this:

“Finally, let us urge upon you a total abandonment of prejudice against color,” abolitionist leaders instructed the thousands of rank and filers who had enlisted in the cause by 1837. Were slaves white skinned, they told them, no one would tolerate their bondage for an instant. White abolitionists who harbored color prejudice could never be efficient advocates of the cause because American slavery was racial in character and justification. “The abandonment of prejudice is required of us as a proof of our sincerity and consistency,” abolitionists affirmed. Seven years earlier, at the outset of his conversion to immediate abolition, William Lloyd Garrison had reached the same conclusion: “O that [my countrymen] might feel as keenly for a black skin as a white skin.” The black leader Samuel Cornish understood the significance of his people of the emergence of these white immediatists, despite their shortcomings:  “They have shown that God created all men EQUAL.”

In the 1830s, for the first time in American history an articulate and significant minority of Americans embraced racial equality as both a concept and a commitment, although it was an ideal far more difficult to live up to than to profess. Earlier proponents of racial equality were isolated voices that left few traces. This new development marked a change in the history of race relations in America – at a time when the dominant view among elites and common folk held that there was no future for free blacks in the United States …”

Goodman has done an excellent job of tracing the pedigree of racial equality back to New England in the 1830s. “Immediatism” was a fanatical “ultraist” reform movement (teetotalism, another example, was often bundled with abolition) that grew out of the Finneyite revival during the Second Great Awakening.

“In the half-dozen years following the publication of Thoughts on African Colonization, white abolitionists, in the course of producing the founding texts of the movement, developed the most extensive defense of racial equality in American history. From Lydia Maria Child’s book length Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans (1833), to a fifteen-page pamphlet, Prejudice against Color (no date), published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, to Richard Hildreth’s powerful first antislavery novel, The Slave, The Memoir of Archy Moore (1836), abolitionists addressed the issue of prejudice and argued for immediate emancipation. Believing that race prejudice underpinned slavery, abolitionists committed themselves not just to emancipation, but, in the words of Article 2 of the New England Antislavery Society’s constitution in January 1832, “to improve the character and condition of the free people of color, to inform and correct public opinion in relation to their situation and rights and obtain from them equal civil and political rights and privileges with the whites.”

The only thing missing here is the modern term “racism” which abolitionists called “prejudice” or “race prejudice.” Otherwise, every aspect of the modern progressive worldview on race was in place by the 1830s: the DZGD (the dogma of zero group differences), White guilt, the hysterical moralizing, the magic negro, “prejudice” as the explanation for black dysfunction, etc.

“Correcting public opinion was no mean task. “Our prejudice against blacks is founded in sheer pride; and it originates in the circumstance that people of their color only, are universally allowed to be slaves,” Child argued. “We made slavery, and slavery made the prejudice.” Color phobia, abolitionists contended, is irrational, wicked, preposterous, and unmanly. It is contrary to natural rights and Christian teaching, which recognizes no distinctions based on color. Race prejudice, Elizur Wright Jr. exploded, is “a narrow, bitter, selfish, swinish absurdity.”

In the Northeast, racial equality grew out of evangelical Protestantism and Enlightenment rights talk: the former emphasized spiritual equality while the later emphasized the equal rights of humanity.

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
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  1. “every aspect of the modern progressive worldview on race was in place by the 1830s”

    You know, ever since the 1960s, neocons such as Rush Limbaugh, Jonah Goldberg, and Rich Lowry have argued to liberals that the entirety of Amurrikan history is marked by the “struggle” to overcome “racism” and “White Supremacy.” Conservatards both in the Beltway and normal everyday life insist to liberals – who bash America as a racist country founded by white slaveholders and built on the backs of slaves – that whites in the North fought against slavery and segregation, and that they did so to fulfill America’s “promise.” Conservatards happily cite the War Between The States as the prime example of white Americans giving their lives to “end slavery.” Glenn Beck took it furthest when he did that special on “America’s Black Founding Fathers.”

    By contrast, White Nationalists and other racially conscious white Americans have long argued that the “+200 year anti-racist America” championed by mainstream conservatives is a myth and a lie. They agree with liberals that the United States was built by Whites and for Whites. For example, the National Policy Institute on January 17, 2012 published a research piece by Jared Taylor titled, “What The Founders Really Thought About Race.”


    Furthermore, while a lot of pro-White advocates come from the vanguard (like William Pierce) and/or were never conservatives to begin with, many of them were systematically purged from mainstream conservatism – the most famous of who was Sam Francis. They called themselves Paleoconservatives, or the “Old Right.” There’s an entire essay on Wikipedia about the Old Right vs. New Right.

    Anyway, here’s what the historical narrative looks like in base form:

    Liberals: America was built for White people, and that’s bad
    Conservatives: America was built for everyone, not just Whites
    Paleocons/WN/Alt Right: America was built for Whites, and that’s good

    Liberals: America is still fulfilling its promise of equality
    Conservatives: America already fulfilled it
    Paleocons/WN/Alt Right: The promise can never be fulfilled

    For 40 years, that was the discourse. Then this happened:

    Some time in the second half of the 1990s, a terminological change occurred in the racially conscious community.

    For what began after 1945 as a “movement” to maintain the integrity of America’s racial character and prevent alien races from intruding into its various “life worlds” had, by the 1990s, ceased to be a realistic project — 30 years of Third-World immigration, “civil rights” legislation, and various measures imposed by the federal government to subordinate white interests to those of nonwhites had irrevocably transformed the American people so that it was increasingly difficult to characterize them as even a majority-white population.

    As a consequence, “white advocates” in the late 1990s started making traditional nationalist claims for secession and self-determination because the United States, in their eyes, had become a threat to their people.


    In other words, the agreement of most in the pro-White movement is that “pro-White” and pro-American are not synonymous anymore. We identify as Americans only for purposes of explaining what country we physically live in. VDARE and to a lesser extent Amren are the two biggest holdouts – i.e., they still hold onto the idea of the “historic American nation” long articulated by Francis, Sobran, and others.

    Here’s what I’m getting at: this book by Goodman and this passage that Hunter has shared with us prove that, in a way, the conservatards were right all along. White Americans in the 1800s DID fight for equality and DID fight against slavery. The rhetoric of January 1832 is indistinguishable from December 2013. Beck still went too far with his “black founding fathers,” but the fact of the matter is that White Northerners in this country believed in racial equality all along. It was ONLY when black men tried to marry their daughters, or when groups of blacks lived in the same neighborhood as them, that Yankees became the hated “racists” that liberals love to highlight about American history. As long as Yankees themselves were physically separated from blacks, they felt free to preach black liberation and to enforce it at the barrel of a cannon against White Southrons who actually lived among blacks and associated with them daily.

    Despite the fact that White Northerners have always been high as a kite for racial equality, they still get no respect for it from liberals. I can’t remember who said this, but he explained that in the future, Jimmy Carter won’t be remembered as a patron saint of equality. He’ll be remembered as just another old, white, christian man who was President during an era when White Privilege was still the norm. It’s the same story with all Yankees from 1776 till today: Obscure authors like Paul Goodman will mention them and maybe even given them credit like Goodman appears to do, but because they’re white (and because their jarring hypocrisy on race relations is well-known by non-whites), they’ll still be viewed as evil.

    As I saw myself in a discussion Palmetto Patriot got into on Facebook, rank-and-file conservatives eat up the “anti-racist” narrative hook line and sinker. A lot of it is still bullcrap – such as the myth that Martin Luther King was a limited government loving conservative. However, for the longest time, we race-conscious Whites were adamant that the USA was founded by our race and for our race. We would write infuriating essays on why mainstream conservatives are so full of it with their “everyone loved darkie” historical narrative. But after reading this excerpt by Goodman, I am now convinced that we were wrong all along. It’s not just that America has “fallen” since the end of WWII – its that America was never “our nation” to begin with. Or, as Dean Malik quoted an Amren commenter in a July 24, 2011 op-ed:

    America was only America when it was WHITE. It no longer is,(at least REAL Whites) so it is not MY America.

    I totally agree that White nationalism is not American patriotism. I feel about America about the same way the 19th century Irish immigrants felt about the English occupiers, the same way the Florida Cubans feel about Castro, the same way Jews feel about Hitler, the same way any dispossessed people feel about those who have dispossessed them.

    America is the enemy of Whites. America is well into a program to exterminate us. Why should Whites be patriotic?


    Whether you’re a WN who fights for a White ethnostate, or a Southern Nationalist who fights for an Independent Dixie, discrediting the messianic “Enlightenment” garbage that conservatives spew about U.S. history is now a moral imperative. We cannot create a New Order unless the Old Order is discredited. The Old Order might collapse on itself, but lets be honest: Did the fall of the Soviet Union result in a glorious Golden Age for Russia? Nope. The fall is not good enough. Regimes fall all the time. Ideologies are discredited all the time (as the Family Research Council is discovering in the fight against sodomite marriage). But not since the 1700s has there been a metaphysical change which governs all the regimes and ideologies of the Occident. Such a metaphysical change is long overdue.

  2. Dan Poole, Southern Nationalists are by definition fighting to restore the Old Order. Aren’t you barking up the wrong tree here?

  3. NYYankees,

    If by “Old Order” you mean the Antebellum South, then yeah, sure, they want to do that in many respects (I’m pretty sure Hunter, Dr. Hill, and Palmetto Patriot are all on record as not wanting to bring back slavery, but that’s just my presumption). However, while Old Order sounds like a euphemism for a traditional aristocratic/hierarchical establishment (like pre-1789 France), here I was using it to reference the existing but outdated egalitarian social order, which has existed in the USA since its inception (arguably) and has most certainly existed since 1865.

    In any case, I’m not a Southern Nationalist. I might sound like one because I’m heavily critical of my fellow Yankees, but I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life and quite frankly would prefer to stay here if possible. My loyalties don’t lie with Dixie even though I’ve become deeply sympathetic to the Southern Nationalist cause. I comment on here because Hunter and Jack write a lot of informative, interesting stuff, and also because this is the only pro-White site I know of that tackles the Yankee Question (i.e., what should be done with an entire ethnic group of whites in North America that is systematically committed to racial and cultural suicide – and has been so since they arrived here in 1620?).

  4. “I was using it to reference the existing but outdated egalitarian social order, which has existed in the USA since its inception”

    Considering that until the Age of Jackson the franchise was restricted to White male tax-paying property owners that statement is demonstrably false.

  5. As a teetotaler, I resent being lumped in with abolitionists. Both movements originated in New England, but while racial egalitarianism is a fraud abstinence from alcohol is one of the few things known to really improve behavior in peoples prone to crime. For instance, in Natuashish, Labrador, an alcohol ban in the Inuit community resulted in significant reductions in crime.


    (The article is old, but they voted in a landslide to keep the ban.)

    To Mr. Poole, one advantage paleoconservatives have is that their focus goes beyond race alone. A full examination of the founding shows implicit or explicit understanding that America was a White European nation, yet embraced the poisonous Enlightenment ideology of John Locke, which is ultimately incompatible with ethnoracial integrity. Ideology was foremost, and in time became much more important in American identity than race.

  6. “Considering that until the Age of Jackson the franchise was restricted to White male tax-paying property owners that statement is demonstrably false.”

    Hence why I qualified my statement with “arguably.” Liberals would say Amurrika STILL isn’t an equal society. I remember back in November 2011 when I was at one of those staged debates hosted by some lefty student group, one of them said that the U.S. has a caste system ala India. For liberals, equality is the “promise” always pursued by never fulfilled.

    That said, the Declaration of SINdependence explicitly says, “all men are created equal.” Ergo, egalitarianism is rooted in the founding of the USA, not to mention the structure of the Constitution (“we the people” means everyone, not just Whites). Everything that has happened since then is just a natural fulfillment of that egalitarian structure. Conservatards love to rail against “judicial activism,” – and indeed, all those rulings are moral catastrophes – but SCOTUS hasn’t done anything that wasn’t justified by the Constitooshen or the spirit of the Founding.

    Insofar as there was social and political inequality between 1776 and 1840, it was just the calm before the storm. These sentiments that were expressed in January 1832 didn’t just spring out of nowhere. They were bubbling below the surface in the Northeast for decades – probably since the ‘Murikan Revolooooshen. Sooner or later, rubber was going to meet road, and any notion of America as a “White Republic” was going to be utterly discredited. This “nation,” such as it ever was, was born to die.

  7. “This “nation,” such as it ever was, was born to die.”

    And die the Old Republic did as soon as Sherman burned Atlanta (and Georgia, and the Carolinas.)

  8. crusader,

    I don’t have a problem with the Temperance Movement and don’t think there’s an inherent connection between temperance and abolitionism (except insofar as both are examples of “righting a wrong”). The Irish and the Russians would do well to reduce or abstain from alcohol.

    “A full examination of the founding shows implicit or explicit understanding that America was a White European nation, yet embraced the poisonous Enlightenment ideology of John Locke”

    There’s no doubt that some of the Framers, like John Jay, saw America as a White European nation (specifically an Anglo-Protestant nation), but a lot of Framers did indeed see it as a Proposition State. Just look at the country’s first two Presidents:

    George Washington:

    “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”

    “Happy, thrice happy shall they be pronounced hereafter, who have contributed any thing, who have performed the meanest office in erecting this stupendous fabrick of Freedom and Empire on the broad basis of Independency; who have assisted in protecting the rights of humane nature and establishing an Asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions.”-General Orders (18 April 1783).

    John Adams:

    “I always consider the settlement of America with Reverence and Wonder– as the Opening of a grand scene and Design in Providence, for the Illumination of the Ignorant and the Emancipation of the slavish Part of Mankind all over the Earth.”– Diary of John Adams, 1765

    As I read these despicable quotes, I remember Galatians 6:7:

    Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

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