Forgotten History: How The New England Colonists Embraced The Slave Trade

So the first anti-slavery publication was published in 1700. It was called “The Selling Of Joseph” by Samuel Sewall. He was a wealthy Boston merchant and chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court. What did this publication advocate?

WARREN: So Samuel Sewall’s an interesting guy. He was involved in the Salem witchcraft trials, and he was the only judge to later publicly recant his participation in those trials. He stood up in front of a congregation and apologized. He said he was wrong. So he’s a man given to self reflection. He’s not above humbling himself in public. And he writes this pamphlet called “The Selling Of Joseph” in which he says, basically, he’s troubled by the numbers of slaves that he sees in Boston and he wonders if this is an OK thing. And he says, no, it’s not, that this is not God’s work, that we’re bringing these slaves and then we’re not helping them and it’s wrong.

And it’s a startling pamphlet to read. What’s more interesting to me – so people often put him in sort of – he’s the origin of a lineage of Northern anti-slavery sentiment. But what’s more interesting to me is that he’s actually, for his time, wrong. A man named John Saffin responds to him and rebuts him point for point. And according to the thought of the time, Saffin is right. He says, no, what are you talking about? There’s a hierarchy in the world. God developed this hierarchy. Some people are born to serve, and this is them and the Bible justifies this.

He says, moreover, it’s not wrong to take them from Africa because we’re Christianizing them, you know, what do you mean that that isn’t right? Of course we’re saving them.

And Sewall’s pamphlet falls into oblivion, really. It’s not, (laughter), it’s not welcomed by anyone in the region. His own son later advertises for slaves. So even in his own family, he has little effect.

The Actual ‘Single Greatest Witch Hunt of a Politician’ in U.S. History

some people accused them of being witches as a result, because it was believed that the devil controlled the Indians. And since the devil also controlled witches it was easy for people to conflate witches and Indians in their minds. The Indians were winning this war and the late 17th century English settlers, the Puritans, put the two things together and decided that the reason they couldn’t defeat the Indians was that the devil was helping them—and the witches, of course. That’s the main thing that happened in 1692 to make it such an explosion, because there had always been witch craft accusations in New England, but they come in ones or twos or threes—there were about 150 accusations in 1692, leading to 21 executions.

.. The big witch hunts were mostly in Switzerland and Germany, in a much earlier period. There was a comparable witch hunt in England during the English Civil War in the 1640s with hundreds of people accused and many executed. There was also a witch hunt in Scotland very soon after Salem in 1696 too, and that was really the last in the history of the Western world.

The History of U.S. Intervention And The ‘Birth Of The American Empire’

In 1898, as you point out, the United States burst from being a continental empire, if you want to call it that, within North America to taking territory overseas for the first time in those countries that you mentioned. This was a huge turning point for the United States, and everybody that studies American history is aware of this episode.

.. As for Andrew Carnegie, he was a great believer in the principles of America. And in his famous article denouncing American expansion, he wrote, with what face shall we hang in the school houses of the Philippines our own Declaration of Independence and yet deny independence to them? The United States paid $20 million to Spain to buy the Philippines.

Andrew Carnegie offered to pay the U.S. Treasury $20 million to buy the Philippines so he could set the Philippines free and give them independence.

.. Teddy Roosevelt definitely believed that war was the only condition of life that was worth living, that peace was only for (unintelligible) jellyfish who had no place in the great American nation.

He wanted to go out and fight. Even when he sent his sons to fight in World War I, he wrote that he hoped they’d come back missing a few limbs. The business factor was also huge back in 1898 and has continued to be.

.. We’ve twisted ourselves into pretzel-like shapes over many years trying to explain what is Puerto Rico and what is Guam compared to the United States? And we do this because we can’t use the word colony. We can’t call them colonies, so they have to be dependencies, territories, commonwealth, free-associated state. We’ve gone through a whole vocabulary – a whole lexicon of vocabulary in order to get through this difficult minefield.

In Many Ways, Author Says, Spanish Civil War Was ‘The First Battle Of WWII’

They wanted to restore Spain, the Spain of old, a Spain where the dominant institutions were the large estates in the countryside, no more of this nonsense of land reform. There would be no trappings of democracy, no free trade union. The army would remain – would reign supreme.

It would be a military dictatorship, and education would be handed back to the Catholic Church. And you can actually see photographs of bishops and cardinals giving the fascist salute alongside nationalist officers. So it was a pretty stark difference between what two kinds of Spain these two sides wanted.

.. GROSS: You said that Franco’s war was against modernity.

HOCHSCHILD: Absolutely. I mean, he also talked about regaining the Spanish Empire of old. But of course, it was always very foggy how that would happen because the former Spanish colonies in South America, for example, had been independent for hundreds of years. So exactly how the empire was to be regained wasn’t clear, but he certainly had the idea of an empire on his mind.

.. he also talked about regaining the Spanish Empire of old. But of course, it was always very foggy how that would happen because the former Spanish colonies in South America, for example, had been independent for hundreds of years. So exactly how the empire was to be regained wasn’t clear, but he certainly had the idea of an empire on his mind.

And in fact, after Franco and his nationalists won the war, he bargained with Hitler about whether he was going to actually join the Axis in World War II – finally decided not to because Hitler wouldn’t give him everything he wanted, which were a huge swath of British and French colonies in Africa and a slice of France. So he was definitely somebody who want0ed to expand his power.

.. One of the most interesting characters that you write about in this book is the head of Texaco oil, Torkild Rieber. He was the head during the Spanish Civil War, and he supported the fascist cause, the military coup in Spain. And he made a deal with Franco’s regime. What was the deal?

.. He not only did that but he gave them the oil at a big discount, which, as far as we can tell, he never told Texaco shareholders or even his board of directors about. And he violated American law in a couple of ways because U.S. neutrality legislation was pretty strict

.. And this information was passed on to the Nationalists to help submarine captains and bomber pilots look for targets. Twenty-nine oil tankers heading for the Spanish Republic were destroyed, damaged or captured during the war. And in at least one or two cases, we can specifically tie it to information supplied by Texaco. So the United States might be neutral, but Texaco had gone to war.

.. GROSS: Wow, Texaco was acting – because of Rieber – was acting like a spy.

HOCHSCHILD: Absolutely, absolutely. I don’t know of any parallel where a private corporation has supplied a vast amount of intelligence information to a warring government secretly.

.. many of the principle weapons that the Nazis used during World War II had their first trial in combat in Spain – the Messerschmitt 109 fighter plane for example, the Stuka dive bomber, the 88 millimeter artillery piece, which could be used both for antiaircraft purposes and also shelling on the ground. And American soldiers were the victims of these things in Spain, American volunteers.

So this war was really a testing ground for Hitler. And he learned a great deal from it about the strengths and weaknesses of these different weapons.

.. a woman named Virginia Cowles, who was 26 years old when she arrived in Spain, never been to college.

.. What makes her reporting so good, I think, is that she’s one of the very few people who reported from both sides in the war.

She reported from the Republican side. Then she set her sights on being able to get into Nationalist Spain, which was very difficult, especially for a journalist who had written from the Republic. But she managed it, traveled all over the place, was the first foreign correspondent in Nationalist Spain to be able to quote Nationalist officers admitting that they had bombed Guernica – because this was something that Franco and Hitler were strenuously denying.

.. if President Franklin Roosevelt had agreed to sell arms to the Democratic side in Spain, that maybe the Democratic side would’ve won.

Spain would not have become a fascist country. Hitler wouldn’t have been victorious in Spain because Hitler was aligned with the fascist side in Spain. And maybe he would have thought twice before invading so many other countries, and he wouldn’t have had all the military experience that the Spanish Civil War provided for his troops and the tests that it gave to his new bombers and artillery.

So do you think it’s possible that if the U.S. had been willing to sell arms to Spain, that World War II wouldn’t have happened? Or it wouldn’t have happened in the same way that it did?

HOCHSCHILD: I don’t think World War II wouldn’t have happened because Hitler was determined to conquer the world, especially Eastern Europe, the Balkan and Caspian oil fields. This is what he had his eye on. And I think a setback in Spain would not have deterred him from that. But I still think it could’ve made a difference if the Spanish Republic had won because during World War II, Franco was sort of a de facto ally for Hitler.