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The Debate over Slavery: US History Essay

5 pages
1350 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
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Slavery began in the United States in the mid-1500 after the arrival of the first Africans in Northern America. However, as at 1750, this was a significant issue of concern, and most states in Southern America started to abolish slavery as they claimed that blacks also had a right to live independently like the whites majority. Whereas Minnesota was the last southern state to abolish slavery in 1804, all the states of North America continued with the practice of forcing African Americans to work under harsh conditions in their plantations. However, the Second Greta Awakening of 1820s inspired most people and groups to write articles that were against bondage, and pro-slavery authors countered them. For example, while authors such as David Walker and The American Anti-Slavery Community urged American to stop captivity, others like James Henry and George Fitzhugh advocated for continuity of the program. The primary paper objective is to highlight the opinions of both pro-slavery and anti-slavery writers. Proslavery Authors

Most proslavery authors justify slavery by citing that the society must have different classes of people. For example, James Henry is one of the leading authors who advocated for the captivity of African Americans, and he claimed that it was essential to have the African Americans working for the whites since it created a boundary between the two communities. Moreover, these pro-slavery authors justified their arguments by claiming that it was dangerous to abolish slavery since it would make the blacks dominant and take over their country. Additionally, some the writers who supported suppression of the black community asserted that African Americans were just grown up children and it was impossible to let them live on their own, He the Negro is but a grown up child, and must be governed as a child (Fitzhugh 50). Therefore, it was crucial to make the minorities work under the whites who are supremacists and obey all the instructions that they provided. Moreover, these authors warranted their support for slavery claiming that blacks were inferior and impoverished to the whites, and making them live in their midst would influence chaos amongst the community.

The authors who encouraged slavery also identified the place blacks have in the society. As they write, the African Americans best place in the nation is working for the whites since that is why they were created. It is provided in the reading materials that blacks were suffering in Africa and having them in the United States was a favor. Arguably, their suffering in African proves that the only place they have in the society is classified under distress, and that is the reason they have to work with the whites.

Apparently, the authors who support the advance of suppression of the black community also have stereotypes of the African Americans. First, they believe that African Americans are lazy and they would be idle if they are not engaged in slavery. Notably, most of the writers claim that it is vital to push the African Americans to work harder on the farms so that they can better their living standards and that of their masters in the United States. Arguably, the laziness stereotype is what makes the whites believe that black people were shipped from their continent in Africa into the United States since they were poor and that lifestyle was influenced by their reluctance to work hard (Hammond 18). Furthermore, some of the authors who are for slavery are certain that African Americans practice cannibalism and worship idols, thus the need to remain under the whites rule for civilization. Fitzhugh who is amongst the persons who support the suppression of blacks claimed that the whites were helping the slaves to become better people through enlightenment.

Abolitionists Authors

Most of the slave abolitionists hailed from the northern states, and one of the primary reasons why it was vital to abolish this system was that it was evil and against God will. Writers such as David Walker claimed that it was unfair to treat other people like animals when both the blacks and the whites were Gods creatures. Mainly, he asserted that it was important for people to read the bible so that they could understand that this was a wrong mission. For example, one of the authors uses the story of the Israelites to prove that slavery was against Gods will (Walker 4). Moreover, the authors advocated for the ban of the suppression of the black community since it denied African America's liberty. Whereas the blacks could live independently and decide on what was best for their future, working with the whites denied them even a right to vote or freedom of movement.

Importantly, one of the principal criticism authors have for the American society is that it is an evil society and does not fear God. As previously highlighted, these writers reasons for abolishing captivity focuses on the Biblical teachings of humanity. Whereas the Bible provides that people must respect each other since everyone is Gods creation, the American community has ignored these lessons, hence lack of respect for the Creator. Additionally, the authors criticism is that the American society is full of racists (Garrison 68). They state that the community is full of racists since they have decided to hold hostage just one race, while all the others are free to choose what they want to do with their lives. Whereas the supporters of suppression believe that class is essential in the community, they are challenged to also take whites as slaves if they are right to their statements.

Unlike the other writers, the abolitionists have a different view of African Americans. According to this group, African Americans are hardworking and have potential to reach greater heights just like the whites if given a chance. Moreover, they view them as equal to other races in the society since they were also created in the image of God. In David Walkers writings, he insists that there is no race in the world which is better or superior to the other. Apparently, they also believe that African Americans are humble people because they have accepted to work under as slaves despite the reduced living standards. Furthermore, the abolitionists classification of the African Americans in the society is different from that of the supporters of slavery (Walker 2). For example, they ascertain that blacks place in the community is equivalent to that of the whites as both of them are human beings. Notably, nothing is supposed to bar an African American from achieving their dreams or becoming wealthy just like the whites.

In conclusion, the paper has highlighted different sentiments of both proslavery authors and the abolitionists. First, it was important to note that proslavery authors believe that it is right to have blacks as slaves since they are grown up children. This argument implies that African Americans are not mature enough to lead themselves and achieve prosperity. Furthermore, the proslavery writers claim that class is vital in the American society and that is the reason for having the masters and slaves who work on the plantations. The paper also notes that there are several stereotypes of whites against the slaves. For example, it is believed that the black race is made up of lazy people who only work well under close supervision. Apparently, there were the abolitionists writers who provided different opinions regarding slavery. As initially highlighted in the paper, the antislavery authors argue that all human beings were created in Gods image and that is why is wrong to enslave specific communities. Additionally, abolitionists such as David Walker have a high opinion about the place of Africans in the society. Notably, they state that the blacks who are enslaved have equal rights and potential just like the whites, and they can earn wealth and lead themselves when given an opportunity.


Works Cited

Fitzhugh, George. "The Universal Law of Slavery." The Universal Law of Slavery 13.2 (1970): 44-67.

Garrison, William Lloyd. "The American Anti-Slavery Society:Declaration of Sentiments." Done at Philadelphia 2.34 (1883): 67-71.

Hammond, James Henry. "The Mudsill Theory." Africans in America 34.4 (1958): 18-22.

Walker, David. "David Walkers Appeal." Excerpts from the Appeal 2.1 (1995): 1-5.





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