Paul Krugman Overlooks Northern Slavery

The ever astute Paul Krugman erred, at least by omission, in an otherwise nice column in today’s New York Times about the history of our nation. The Princeton economist highlights the South’s slave-based farms at the time of the revolution. But he doesn’t say – perhaps because he, like many Americans, is unaware – that slavery was legal in every colony in 1776, and most states, including those in the North, would continue to have slavery for many years. New York State in particular had a high percentage of households with slaves, and the state would not outlaw slavery completely until well into the 1800s. It’s important we not edit this out of history, because it shows we as a nation often progress slowly, through gradual change – which is basically one of the points of Krugman’s column