Came across this excerpt from a sermon delivered in 1860 in South Carolina by Rev. William O. Prentiss. The title is, “The Power of Slave Labor.”
Three hundred and fifty thousand white men directing the labor of less than four millions of African slaves, have furnished the material, out of which has been reared this colossal fabric, and it begins to topple to its fall at the first bright promise that their sustaining aid shall be withdrawn. If further proof be required that the labor to which I have alluded, has built up these vast, these important interests, consult the statistics of our country; study figures which no human ingenuity can torture into indorsement of a lie. History shows that the country makes no palpable improvement until the grand staple of the earth’s necessities begins to be reared here, and that its advances are exactly proportioned to the amount and value of the African slave labor employed by us. The whole commerce of the civilized world is based upon this labor; it feeds the hungry, it clothes the naked, it employs the idler, it supports tottering thrones and starving paupers; kings in their diadems, and beggars in their rags, all cry aloud to the god who feeds them, ‘Give us this day our daily cotton.’
And that, my friends, is a mid-nineteenth century interpretation of American Exceptionalism.