A blogger asked the question of when the Southern states would have ended slavery if not for Lincoln. I remember you saying (but can't find it) that there were plans to end slavery by a certain date. I've been unable to find anything online and wonder if you can point me toward a source.
Sorry it took so long to get this post up. Lots going on.
There was not a certain date that the South was ending slavery by. Rather it is more accurate to say that Slavery was dying a slow death of economic causes. The fact is... Slavery was simply no longer economically viable as a business model. Slaves were to expensive... and in addition... their care... was far far to expensive. The problem wasn't whether or not to end it. It was ending. The problem was... how to end it?
First let me back up my claims about how expensive slaves were. There is a book called The Kith and Kin of the Dark Clan. It traces legal documents of the Dark family all the way back to the 1600s or so in America. Several sales receipts .. wills... and other documents mention slaves. For example one will shows two slaves... each valued at $5000. This was in 1790. To put that in perspective... in 1790.. an ounce of gold cost $19. These slaves would've cost 263 ounces of gold in 1790. See where we are going here? In today's dollars... those slaves were worth $420,000. Each.
Now tell me... how well do you care for something that is worth that kind of money?
Do you send your $400,000 horse to the cheapest vet you can find? Do you put it in the cheapest barn you can build and give it the cheapest food you can find?
In addition to the upfront purchase cost... slaves had to be fed, housed, and cared for. In the south for a long time the owners were obligated to teach the slaves to read so they could read the Bible and be saved. All of this...was very very expensive.
In fact... just before the War for Southern Independence... and during it... many Southrons moved to Brazil to start large plantations there. Slavery was legal in Brazil at the time... but they didn't use slaves in their new operations. Why? Because it was not economical to do so. That should tell you everything you need to know. By the way... to this day there is a city called Americana in brazil... because so many southrons moved to that area back then.
Contrast this with the industrial revolution in the North. You didn't have to house your employees or feed them. You paid them less than what they could live on... and then you open up a company store and lend them the difference so they can survive. And then... they owe the company... so they cannot quit until they settle their bill... which grows each month because they are not paid enough to live on.
So much for being free.
The fact is working conditions in the North were far... far worse than slavery in the South... and even though they were called "free" in the North... they were arguably less free than they were in the South. They worked more, for less, had worse living conditions, and often dealt with the same kind of punishments at work that they got from the cruelest slave masters in the South.
This is the part of American history that gets swept under the rug.