There were some respondents to the Loewen article saying it might have been better if the Federal government had just outright purchased the slaves. Some even said the owners should have been paid reparations.
Some answered these posts with incredulity: How can anyone even think of such a thing?
Actually, there were other nations who ended slavery by doing just that. It was one way of doing it without going to war. Lincoln opted out of that option – primarily because the states had already seceded before he took office – and the war was the only option apparent to him. Although a smarter person might have thought of something better, but… Well, let’s just not go there, huh?
Many people expressed outrage that the government hadn’t just outlawed slavery without offering any reparations. That same concept could be used in the government today of going completely green and outlawing all carbon-emission vehicles. Almost all vehicles on the road today would suddenly become illegal. When you bought the car (in good faith) it was entirely legal. Now, you have to cough up $35,000 for an electric auto, even if you had purchased your new Prius only a month before. This law harms you… should you apply for some sort of reparations? Should the government alleviate your hardships due to their errant capriciousness? Why? Just because they bailed out the fat cats on Wall Street, why should they do the same for you? Or for the Southern slave owners who did nothing illegal – immoral, hell yes! – illegal?, no.
In retrospect, it would have been far cheaper to simply buy the slaves’ freedom.
Hindsight, always 20/20.