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Sat Oct 17, 2020, 05:39 PM

The bogus U.S. census numbers showing slavery's 'wonderful influence' on the enslaved



Original bars on a window in the basement of the Freedom House Museum in Alexandria, Va, where enslaved people were housed before being transported to the South. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

By Peter Whoriskey
Oct. 17, 2020 at 6:30 a.m. CDT

Americans have long looked to the decennial census for truths about themselves, and the 1840 version presented them with an improbable and incendiary notion.
Slavery was good for Black people, the figures indicated, and freedom led to insanity.

Specifically, free Black people were far more likely than the enslaved to succumb to insanity. “Insanity and idiocy” was ten times more common among free Black people than among those who were slaves.

What else could this mean, advocates of slavery asked, but that Black people were mentally unsuited for freedom? The idea quickly spread to newspapers across the United States, the reports of elite European scientists and the halls of Congress.

“Slavery has a wonderful influence upon the development of moral faculties and the intellectual powers,” Edward Jarvis, a Louisville-based doctor wrote in a prominent medical journal, one of many such reports citing the census. It saves people “from some of the liabilities and dangers of active self-direction.”

. . .

The numbers in the 1840 census were profoundly flawed, it would turn out, but for several years, advocates of slavery exploited them to portray Black people as better off enslaved.

More:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2020/10/17/1840-census-slavery-insanity/

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Reply The bogus U.S. census numbers showing slavery's 'wonderful influence' on the enslaved (Original post)
Judi Lynn Saturday OP
Faux pas Saturday #1
safeinOhio Saturday #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2020, 05:43 PM

1. Kickin' with disgust!

And

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2020, 06:41 PM

2. In that case, I can see lots of

21 Century White people needing it now.

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