In his book The African Slave Trade, Basil Davidson contrasts law and in the Congo in the early 16th century with law in Portugal and England. In those European countries, where the idea of private property was becoming powerful, theft was punishable brutally. In England, even as late as 1740, a child could be hanged for stealing a rag of cotton. But in the Congo, communal life persisted. The idea of private property was a strange one, and thefts were punished with fines or various degrees of servitude. A Congolese leader told of the Portuguese legal codes asked a Portuguese once, teasingly, 'What is the penalty in Portugal for anyone who puts his feet on the ground?
Slavery was immensely profitable to some masters. James Madison told a British visitor shortly after the American Revolution that he could make 257 dollars on every (black slave) in a year, and spend only 12 or 13 dollars on his keep.
Very few tyrants argued for the slavery of the masses. Instead, they argued for their right to protect the people from themselves.
Slavery happened. That flag stands for segregation. We have monuments to Civil War generals and slave owners, as well as preserved plantations. But we have only one slavery museum, and that was built by a private citizen. We have no national or federal slavery museum. There is no government-funded slavery museum. A proposal to put one in Virginia came through in 2001 and went unfunded and failed. Another one in Richmond reached a similar fate. This is absolutely shameful.