A Comment on Needleman’s American Soul
James S. Turner

All cultures and nearly all nations throughout history practiced slavery. The word slave is related to slav — the peoples who lived in weak states in Eastern Europe — white peoples I may add. These peoples were enslaved by mongol and muslim conquerers. Many of the people who were brought from Africa were themselves slaves in Africa and sold to muslim middlemen who brought them to the coast for the slave traders to bring to America. Let’s hope they were brought to America because those brought to the Caribbean and Central America rarely survived the brutality of the non-English slave owners.

Yet America, especially religious Americans inspired by Judeo-Christian values condemned and ultimately defeated slavery. (Except it still exists in muslim lands.)

Let us not forget that the American Indian tribes were continuously at war with one another. One historian commented that the European conquest of North America saved countless Indians from inter-tribal warfare that were continuously characterized by massacres and slavery. Further the Indian tribal lands the European settlers conquered had been conquered by other Indian tribes and taken away by prior Indian tribes.

I am not glorying slavery or domination of one culture by another but we must put all this in perspective. All cultures approved of slavery — but America was a beacon of light to the world and destroyed the institution.

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