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Saturday, July 02, 2011
Ramsdell points to the "apprenticeship" and "vagrancy" laws in Texas, in page 122. Texas had the advantage of following on other states' heels. The other Dixie states' conservatives had instituted overtly racist "black codes". The Federal government - even the notoriously conservative President Johnson - could not stomach this; all the DixieCons managed was piss the North off. Seeing that, Texas legislators ensured that its laws would apply to whites as well.
There are some asides to make about vagrancy as well, which Ramsdell neglects. Thomas Woods in The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History points out that Illinois, too, had vagrancy laws. (Remember: Illinois stretches from Wisconsin almost down to western Tennessee. Southern Illinois was a slave-territory, before the Yankees in the north overwhelmed the state's government.) Another point is that Texas had an ample supply of white vagrants and ne'er-do-wells as well.
Where did the American South get the idea for "apprenticing" blacks, to teach them to understand freedom before setting them loose? From Barbados.
Barbados is generally considered the slave-"state" which crossed over with the least fuss and muss. In the 1800s, Barbados was a "state" of Britain. The British ensured its apprenticeship programme, from 1834 to 1838.
But apprenticeship didn't work so well in Texas, for various reasons, not the least that Texas is a little larger than is Barbados.
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